March 20, 2019

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  • Not my president

    The vast majority of older Copts voted for former Mubarak Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik.

    BY JOSEPH FAHIM

    My name is Joseph. I’m a liberal Coptic Christian writer. Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s newly elected president, does not represent me, nor does he represent the 10 million Christians who refused to vote for him, or his party, at this month’s presidential election.

    Mohamed Morsi is not my president, and he’ll never be.

    Like millions of Christians, I sat home on the day Morsi’s victory was announced, watching the festivities in Tahrir Square from a distance, overwhelmed with a sense of alienation. How did it go so wrong? How did we allow ourselves to compromise so much?  Unlike some of my liberal Muslim friends, I could see no silver lining in this farce.

    Before I dwell further, here’s a little background about my family. The wave of immigration in my family started half a century ago with my eldest uncle, now a prominent, published geologist living in Texas. My uncle graduated from the Faculty of Sciences, Alexandria University and was tenured in Cairo University after graduation. In the early 1960s, he was denied a promotion by his senior professor, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, simply because he’s a Christian. When he received a grant to study in the US, he left and never looked back.

    My entire family followed in my uncle’s footsteps, making America their new home. Since his departure, my uncle came back once in the past 25 years. He still has good memories of his home country, occasionally reminisces about singers Asmahan and Farid Al-Atrash. But he has never forgotten or forgiven the discrimination he was subjected to, and naturally, the Brotherhood remain his bogymen.

    My large family, spread out in Texas, California and Philadelphia, are all conservative republicans unaware of the daily realities in Egypt. I usually avoid talking politics with my family for obvious reasons, but in May, as the results of the first round of the presidential election began to show on the TV screen, I was dragged into countless discussions about the future of Egypt under Islamist rule, the Mubarak trial, and, most pressing of all, what my family dubbed “the failure of the revolution.”

    My uncle did not look disappointed or distressed; he was agitated and frustrated, paranoid even. I tried to explain before that the MB are not as extreme as the American rightist media make them out to be; that Morsi, as terrible a choice of president he is, will not lynch every Copt in the country. But he didn’t want to listen. He couldn’t, and he’s not to blame. Fifty years since he left Egypt, my uncle remains bitter, wounded and unforgiving. His experience is a narrative shared by thousands of Christians.

    Fear and hatred are not born overnight; they have deep roots in direct or indirect experiences. Nearly every member of my middle-class family was subjected to one form of discrimination or another that propelled them to leave the country. Coveting a better lifestyle was surely part of their choice, but the most imperative motivation behind their departure was the desire to be treated as equal citizens, to experience a freedom they were not privileged enough to enjoy in their homeland.

    Their exaggerated fears were passed on to the next generation whose members maintained an ambiguous relationship with the motherland. Such fears are still shared by many Copts in Egypt who either experienced discrimination first hand or are surrounded by people who were.

    Are these fears unfounded? It would be patronizing to say so.

    In the first round of the presidential election, the vast majority of older Copts voted for former Mubarak Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik. That’s a fact. My own mother was among the minority backing Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi. The younger generations were split between Moussa and Sabahi. The choice of candidates made sense. The younger generations are more proactive, less politically attached to the Church and less fearful than their parents. The older generations, on the other hand, remain scarred by decades of bigotry, injustice and marginalization.

    Lest we forgot, the rising sectarianism was not, as many misleadingly continue to report, an independent product of the Mubarak regime. The real beginning of the Coptic malaise commenced the day Sadat declared himself the Muslim president of an Islamic state. Prejudice was a fact of life long before Mubarak and Sadat, but the real fracture in the country’s social fabric did not occur until the latter decided to impose the religious identity on the nation’s social mosaic. The Muslim Brotherhood, which was given the freedom to emerge from the dark by Sadat in the 1970s, is seen by many Christians as the group responsible for the Islamization of Egypt and the growing radicalism. Mubarak was, without a doubt, an enemy for many Christians, but the MB were the bigger enemy; a vigilante group that altered Egypt’s societal DNA.

    Politically, Egypt’s past dictatorships have exploited Islamists to gain popular support, using them to intimidate society at large and to crush the secular opposition in specific. But most Christians refuse to see it this way.

    All but a handful of Copts I know in the US are convinced that Christians were safer under the Mubarak regime. Most of their provocative remarks reek of ignorance; an inability to see the bigger picture, to decode the complexities of a nation more divided than ever. Nor can they admit that the military leadership is responsible for the calamity we’re facing. Copts, here and abroad, still regard themselves as a minority under threat of persecution. Religious identity, the biggest disease of the Sadat legacy, continues to trump the national one.

    Copts are asking themselves: Are we better off than we were a year and a half ago? Do we feel more secure now? Do we feel more equal now?

    I could never bring myself to answer those questions because, simply put, I don’t perceive myself in religious terms. There is no doubt in my mind that Mubarak and his regime had to go and as an Egyptian, yes, I do feel safer now than I did 16 months ago.

    This brings us back to the fateful hour when Morsi was announced the winner of the first real presidential election in Egyptian history. For most Copts I know, this was doomsday. The Morsi win means a further Isalmization of the nation, loss of personal freedoms and more discrimination. I was showered by phone calls from friends and family slamming me for invalidating my vote, for allowing the MB to hijack the nation and turn into a religious state. Many are fearful of the implementation of Sharia as the main source of legislation, many are anxious of the possible loss of Egyptian identity; many are terrified of Egypt turning into another Iran. For the lower classes, Morsi’s win means a continuation of the harassment they suffer every day. A few families I know are re-considering immigration again; some were so petrified that they started selling their assets for nothing in order to find a quick way out of the country.

    I do not harbor the same fearful feelings about the Brotherhood as most Christians. I am not afraid of Morsi, or his party; I will not allow anyone to violate my rights as a citizen of this country and I will raise hell if anyone does. And no, I do not believe Egypt will be transformed into the next Iran and I’m confident that the opposition, which has been growing and gaining momentum over the past few months, will not allow Morsi, or his cronies, to alter the identity of Egypt. The days of a single ruling party, or a president who is beyond accountability, are long gone.

    Yet at the same time, I cannot see any benefit in Morsi’s election, whether for Copts or Muslims in general.

    I do not have any respect for our newly elected president; a member of a failed group with no vision that exploited people’s weaknesses and ignorance for political gain; a party that, in its brief six-month rule, became the laughing stock of the world.

    I have no reason to trust the MB, as do many Egyptians. Apart from heading the Freedom and Justice Party, Morsi has little political experience and his program doesn’t offer anything revolutionary, anything truly inspiring.

    Morsi will be obliged by the entire Coptic community to accomplish what other leaders before him failed to do: to issue clear-cut laws that improve their conditions and preserve their citizenship rights.

    Under Morsi rule, will Coptic history be finally taught in schools? Will a unified law regulating the building of houses of worship finally pass? Will any Copt be appointed as head of any university in Egypt? Will religious conversion be protected under the law? You could give Morsi the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not optimistic, and neither Morsi nor his party have given me any reason to believe otherwise.

    Since Morsi was declared the winner last week, I’ve been bombarded with stories about Coptic girls in poor neighborhoods told to cover their hair and others told by their Muslim neighbors that no one will come near them “as long as they behave.”

    Whether or not these stories are true is any one’s guess, but they do reflect the undeniable Coptic panic, a feeling of helplessness and marginalization, fears that were not allayed by Morsi’s speech on Saturday at Cairo University.

    The most pressing danger is not Morsi or the laws his party and their Salafi allies might push for; it’s the influence of what he represents on extremists empowered by his victory to run amok, on the various lobbies and pressure groups adamant on taking control of the country and amplifying the role of religion in politics. The ripple effect of a religious state will not be felt by the middle and upper classes; it’s the economically deprived and isolated communities that will be hit the hardest.

    Many Copts are starting to develop theories about the MB’s strategies to monopolize the economy, a
    far-reaching plan engineered by business tycoon Khairat El-Shater to control the supply of basic goods in the country. “It won’t matter whether they’ll be in power or not in four years,” a bunch of friends told me recently. “By then, they will control all agents of change, they will control the soul of the country, and it will reflect on the everyday aspect of life in here. By then, they can shape the face of the country and no one will be able to stop them.”

    Some may regard the Coptic agenda secondary to the bigger issues like boosting the economy, eradication of poverty and improvement of education. But an unjust, discriminatory society is bound to collapse sooner or later and unless Morsi and his party, which will surely return to power, draft firm laws that guarantee Copts their rights, that put an end to this mounting feeling of marginalization, and that treat all citizens as equals, the widespread wave of violence witnessed last year will come back even stronger.

    Next year, I’ll be back in Texas for Christmas. My uncle will be waiting to know all about Morsi, all about the new Egypt. He’ll remain wary, confused and nervous about the country he once called home. I just hope that next time, he won’t strike me with the line I’ve long dreaded: I told you so.

    Joseph Fahim is the Arts and Culture editor of The Egypt Monocle.

    Comments
    31 Responses to “Not my president”
    1. El Awrence says:

      (Here’s an edited for grammar and sp. version of my earlier comment, please publish this one, instead of the other)

      I was a boy when my family emigrated to the US, during Nasser’s era. Many of my friends in Cairo and Alexandria, then, where Copts; some of them are still there, many aren’t. At the Lycee du Caire in Bab el Louk, which I attended, I sat next to a Jewish élève, when no one else would, whom I did not know – not because this made me some great hero, but because I believed, then and now, that we were all equally Egyptian, and that religious intolerance of any stripe should be opposed, wherever it is found. He became my friend, this Jewish student, and I visited his family’s house, and, in return, he used to attend the basketball games I played in, for the Gezira Sporting Club, and cheer me and the team on, a team that had Moslem, Copts and Jewish teamates. Later, my Jewish zemeel and his family were of course were all forced to emigrate, with nothing but the shirts on their backs, to Canada. We also left everything behind, in early ’67, just before the 6-day war. Before that, in the 50s, after Nasser instituted his land reforms, and all the farmland belonging to my family was taken away, my father, an engineer, never complained, and instead started a small contracting company, one that became successful. In the 60s, Nasser of course nationalized it. So we had no land, and no company/income. No matter. He stayed in Egypt, even though his business could have easily given him cover to leave with the rest of the family, and live abroad. Instead, he stayed on to help Egypt succeed economically, and was appointed (directly by Nasser) in a high position of a large company that had been nationalized. Soon thereafter, he started getting requests for lists of Jews who worked in this big company, to be targeted for dismissal (or worse). His right hand man, a Christian, was also targeted for dismissal. In fact, Nasser’s party wanted a list of all and any other Christians who worked in the company my father managed. My father refused to supply them with such lists, as he believed, Allah rest his soul, as I did then, and still do now, that Egyptian Christians and Jews have every right to live freely in Egypt, the same as Moslems, or anyone else, for that matter, with family history there. Call my father and I naive, but this is how we all felt in Egypt before Nasser. Because of his refusal to obey Nasser’s lackeys, my father himself was then targeted, and our phones were tapped, and police followed us everywhere. The chief suffragi in our house in Zamalek turned out to be with the secret police… who taunted us in English, on the day my father found out, and fired him. Nasser and his mukhabarrat destroyed our family, and destroyed Egypt. We never wanted to leave. We loved Egypt, and were completely supportive of the revolution, and of Egypt being free of the English. A free and secular Egypt that took pride in, as the phrase goes, the rich mosaic of its heritage. But my father wanted my brothers and I to grow up in a free country, not a dictatorship, where anyone who disagreed with the self deluded, deeply vicious, paranoid megalomaniac son of a postal worker would disappear in the night; and so we left. Little did he (my father) know that America would end up being the land dominated by cynical Arab and Moslem hating Christian chicken hawks, a land where some Moslems would also disappear in the night, some rarely to be heard from again, just like in Egypt during Nasser’s time. I am returning to Egypt this October, and it shall be a pleasure to breathe the air in a land where the word Moslem is not an insult. I have returned many times to my country in the last twenty years, and will never tire of her, or the water of the Nile, as the saying goes. With all due respect, Mr Fahim, re your uncle who went to Texas: any Egyptian who emigrates to the US, lives in a state that is the home of the war criminal Bush, and becomes a Republican is, IMHO, someone who betrays what it means to be an Arab, has perhaps forgotten what it means to be Egyptian, and, instead, has turned into someone who has foolishly bought into the Moslem/Arab hating neo con agenda, lock, stock, and barrel. And that might be the saddest story of all.

    2. Olfat Elalfi says:

      thanks for a well written article on your views. i am a muslim woman and i left egypt during nasser’s regime like your uncle but for different reason, like we say تعددت الاسباب والموت واحد i am afraid i do share your views and fear for egypt and i admire your decision to stay and stand up for mb if they sway away from the right path and i hope all Egyptians, Muslims and Copts would do the same thing, because honestly i am scared for Egypt

    3. EgyptiannotCopt says:

      I would like to balance this article my experience as an Egyptian-Christian raised in Egypt, we have managed to ignore our shortcomings and failures and hate also to Muslims and never looked into ourselves and our actions. My experience with some the churches and some of the Egyptian-Christian community was negative. I have seen hate from Christians also to Muslims people who would refuse to give business to Muslim local markets or hire muslims. I have witnessed constant comparisons in churches to “the other ones” referring to muslims and how our religion is the right one. I have also witnessed discrimination on many levels towards muslims. I am not disputing the fact that there is discrimination against Egyptian-Christians but I believe that the church and it’s priests have harbored and fuled the discrimination against muslims. I refuse to call myself a Copt and not Egyptian and I think the author of this article should never speak on my behalf. I am disappointed in the choice of Morsi but will abide to the rules of democracy and accept him as a president that is a good EGYPTIAN citizen. The backlash I have personally experienced from Egyptian-Christian after Morsi’s won was totally unChristian and not what Jesus taught us. I hope one day hate from both sides will end and Egyptian-Christians will live in peace and enjoy their country and freedom in practcing their religion as well as other people of many other religions.

      • Firas Al-Atraqchi says:

        You provide valuable insight into your experiences and it is always enjoyable to read comments to articles.

        But what Joseph Fahim has written is NOT an article. The author is writing of his experiences, sharing in his commentary and opinion on how HE sees things. No need for balance here as it is clearly marked OP-ED.

        • egyptiannotcopt says:

          Firas,

          Thanks for your input, I didn’t notice to OP-ED part reading from my smart phone is not a good idea.

    4. Jasem says:

      If you leave your country because of perceptions of discrimination, as was suggested in this piece, then it probably points more to a lack of attachment to your land and availing of opportunities made available to you because of your faith by Western countries, than real discrimination. Unfortunately, what many Christian Arabs don’t realise that the West’s positive discrimination towards Christian migrants is working to uproot Christian Arabs from their native lands. You will look back one day and only blame yourself for having pushed the rich Christian heritage of the region to the pages of history.

      • mo says:

        try living as a victimised minority in a country where you are abused daily on the streets for your dressing, and sidelined at your place of work every day, and maybe burnt to death for saying something wrong about religion without thinking much. go on, try this in another country. and then tell yourself, this is actually my own country that has been hijacked and made into this. then share your feeling. may not be the same as the above.

      • Firas Al-Atraqchi says:

        Habibi, go live as a Christian in Basra, Iraq. Then come back and tell me what you see.

    5. ahmed namatalla says:

      very well-written ya Joe. but i think the only case in which we could have said “he’s not my president” is if it was shafik or soliman or someone we revolted against. and in that case, you know you, me and millions of others would have backed that up by going back to the streets. for us to say that now because we don’t agree with his ideology means we are standing up for the future rights of salafies and others to say the same when (and it is a matter of when, not if) we someday elect a christian or a woman for that post.

      for now, i think we have to recognize the accomplishment of breaking the military’s monoploy on that office. say elhamdolellah it wasn’t a runoff between soliman and abu ismail. and use the momentum of the growing movement for reach change to make it happen. we’re probably not going to see coptic history taught in schools anytime soon or the freedom to convert under brotherhood rule. but i don’t think we can blame them alone. they have interests and they have the right to defend and promote them.

      we need to look at ourselves and christian egyptians have to start seeing their movement for equality as part of the bigger movement, for equal rights for women, shiias, bahaiis, etc. so effective alliances can be formed. past and present injustices do not justify the underlying thinking i see in many that they will be protected by the continued oppression of the islamic right, which translated on the ground into voting for shafik.

      hope you’re well.

      • Mateo says:

        In spite of my skepticism, I tend to agree with ahmed namatalla’s optimism. Egypt has needed this starting point and their youth should hold on tight to it in a “to be or not to be”.

    6. MD says:

      T. Salama – please reread this gent’s article.

      He addressed all your objections above in the following articulated lines:

      “All but a handful of Copts I know in the US are convinced that Christians were safer under the Mubarak regime. Most of their provocative remarks reek of ignorance; an inability to see the bigger picture, to decode the complexities of a nation more divided than ever. Nor can they admit that the military leadership is responsible for the calamity we’re facing. Copts, here and abroad, still regard themselves as a minority under threat of persecution. Religious identity, the biggest disease of the Sadat legacy, continues to trump the national one.”

      No Copts I know want to be treated like minorities, they do not want SPECIAL opportunities, they do not seek special privileges. They want the end of discrimination. They want EQUALITY, they want SECULARISM – they have no intention of running the country their way.

    7. Firas Al-Atraqchi says:

      It needs to be mentioned that the Copts in Egypt can look to another country in the region in which a functioning country collapsed. Iraq, which once celebrated its 2,000-year-old Christian heritage, is now a burial ground for many in that minority. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled since the wonderfully liberating US invasion of 2003. The community is now but a shadow of itself.

      I have had this discussion about the Iraq cataclysm with a number of Copts. They cautiously say the Iraq scenario will never be repeated in Egypt, but they do remain nervous.

      The protection of minorities should not only be enshrined in Egypt’s new constitution but also be among the priorities of the new government’s mandate.

    8. Marwa Ibrahim says:

      Muslim or Copt, no one can stop you from leaving Egypt (whether permanently or temporarily). It’s a personal decision. Authoritative oppression under the Mubarak regime and throughout Egypt’s history has impacted both Muslims and Copts and almost every Egyptian family has a story of relatives who emigrated.

      However, in my humble opinion, there’s reasonable ground for optimism now that Egypt is transitioning to a democratic state and slowly but surely, a democratic climate is borne from the sacrifices made during the revolution (sacrifices made by Muslims and Copts alike – Khaled Said and Mina Daniel). Factoring in the influence of this new political environment, I don’t believe in a rationale that evokes fear of the MB. I believe Muslims and Copts together will observe them carefully, judge them by their present and future actions (based on fact, not media fabrications), and take the side of the opposition to enrich the democratic process. The MB has seen the numbers and now recognizes that they’re not a popular majority. This presidential term is a test for their capacity for political leadership.

      More importantly, as a Muslim, knowing that my religion speaks of doing no oppression to Copts (or people of the book), I believe that there are bounds that are sacred and which will not be crossed by people of honest faith. Individuals who may act upon their own malice ought to be kept in check by society.

      God bless ALL Egyptians.

      • man says:

        “my religion speaks of doing no oppression to Copts (or people of the book)” Question to person who posted this, and all others who believe this ( this has been quoted often enough : what is the ‘people of the book’ stuff. what book of what substance? i am a foreigner, and glad i am not from any of these hate mongering stuff pouring out of so called books.

      • Eliyahu says:

        How come the Egyptian Jewish community has almost entirely disappeared? What happened to the Greeks and Italians in Egypt? Jewish families that had been in Egypt for 2 millennia were dispossessed and driven out with the clothes on their backs. Maybe the Copts will be luckier.

    9. Atef says:

      Nasser’s Era leaned to Liberalism. I miss His Days.

    10. Ahmed says:

      Thank you for a well-written piece that presents a Coptic Egyptian viewpoint that is usually unvoiced.

      Here are some comments:-

      What does your Uncle say about the long period of discrimination that Muslim Egyptians faced when Egypt was under British colonial “protection”? During that period, Christians and other minorities received many privileges in education and work, and I do not think they ever declined these privileges. Furthermore, it was the policy of Canadian and Australian immigration authorities up to the early 1970s to almost openly discriminate against Muslim applicants. I never heard of Christians denouncing such crass discrimination; quite the contrary, they made use of it.

      I mention this history because it captures the general era during which your Uncle emigrated to the USA.

      Having lived abroad many decades, and in different countries, let me tell you about the view I saw and was narrated to me by my parents. Whereas, in general, Coptic Egyptians reached out to Muslim Egyptians in the diaspora, they shared none of the spoils. They helped each other out and congregated around each other, but never extended that spirit to their Muslim compatriots. In fact, there are always stories of the occasional characters who would backstab Muslims with their foreign employers.

      Christian Egyptians abroad never hesitated to rant against and cry foul of discrimination against a Muslim Egyptian in a position of some power in the foreign country, suspecting them of something even when everyone was subject to the same laws of the foreign country.

      Such seemingly pathological mistrust and paranoia is not helped by a cabal-like culture within Egypt itself. Constant whispering against the majority – the Muslim version of things is a lie – ultimately renders the whole cause a basket case of paranoid suspicions. It is actually difficult to tell where the genuine injustice is, if most everything is horrid and Christians are saints withstanding it all throughout the centuries.

      There may well be horrific injustices that were carried out against Christians in the past; stories that have been buried by the Muslims. That may be the case; and our historians need to arrive at a fairer version of the story. But I think that it is very difficult to make a solid case that the past hundred years of Coptic Egyptian existence have been nothing short of persecution and discrimination. And many Christians would agree; there is a positive version of the story amongst Coptic Egyptians but it has low circulation figures.

      • john says:

        just a couple of thoughts. most countries look for immigrants who will immigrate in the true sense, add value to diaspora, integrate, and live and share common values and stand for their new adopted country and flag and fight for it. do you think an immigrant fundamentalist believers will stand for their adopted country, or for their blind faith. and how will an adopting country ever weed out a radical, peaceful believer who will never integrate in the true sense, and keep them out. you actually blame western nations in retrospect today, who might have shown some level of discrimination against muslim immigrants ( and this is also a urban legend, i can vouch for thousands of muslims from this region who immigrated to the west during the period you are referring to). and as for copts crying wolf here in egypt and complaining historically, let me assure you, this is what minority muslim populations in western, or for that matter, any geography does at the first possible chance. so that seems to be a global strategy to get attention and help. whether deserving or not, you can look inside your heart to answer that for egypt, words are not enough to convince people any more..

      • egyptiannotcopt says:

        well said

      • Eliyahu says:

        There is a lot of paranoia in Egypt, in the press, TV and govt [under Mubarak too] about Israel. How about the notion of sharks at Sharm ash-Shaykh trained by the Mosad to eat tourists and ruin the Egyptian tourism industry? That’s not a paranoid fantasy?

    11. wael afifi says:

      An articulate spokesperson for the real fears of many Copts. I didn’t like the generalisations that portrayed the 10 milliion copts as one block. Nevertheless, the article is refreshing in terms of its ability to relate to realities on the ground as opposed to irrational thoughts about a repeat of the Iranian or Afghani experiences.

    12. Sultan Al Qassemi says:

      A great piece that I wish was never needed to be written. The MB need to go out of their way, way out, in order to assure others that they understand that a party in power for a few years will not attempt to alter the rich mosaic that is Egypt’s identity.

      • sam says:

        and you actually think that is going to happen. you are smarter than this, I know. facts on the ground here already point in another direction. come and ask around, ask women who are on the roads here.

    13. Soha says:

      i do understand the fears of many copts but i don’t think that it englobes the ten millions copts, we can’t generalize as long as we don’t any scientific study of the copts perceptions of the MB

    14. azza sedky says:

      I don’t think it matters if you are a liberal, a Copt, a secular Egyptian, or something in between. We are all marginalized in this new regime. However, I personally am not afraid of Morsy’s government or his system. Diplomacy and political discourse will force much on him. He will likely be unable to implement the Islamic approach because there will be others who will tell him that he is alienating this group or that group, or the Americans or the Saudis, etc.
      My fear stems from the Ikhwani on the street, who suddenly believes that he is the proprietor of all things Egyptian. Read: My fellow Islamists: It is my Egypt, too. http://azzasedky.typepad.com/egypt/2012/06/my-fellow-islamists-it-is-my-egypt-too-.html

      • mo says:

        you should be very afraid of morsy and his party and his system. he is just an individual and we are not talking individuals here. we are talking what he represents, and brings to table. and if ikhwani are going to be stronger on streets, it is exactly because their godfather is at the top of government, and will let them get away with so called religious crimes they could not get away with earlier. So all the more reason to be afraid of morsy, done be under any delusion, end of the day he holds the key for street politics. in any case, none of us are afraid of morsy coming with machine guns to kill us, we are afraid of what is the hidden agenda they are going to roll out, and then deny all of this in public for the western media. one boy in suez already dead today for walking with his fiancee, thanks to morons like this.

    15. T. Salama says:

      I do not know what to say other than adding some facts. Copts, preferably called Christian orthodox, were not the only persecuted citizens in Egypt. Other citizens also left Egypt with no return. It is also worthwhile mentioning that copts supported fully the Mubarak regime, although not directly but through the Church institution which was a definitive mistake. I guess that Egyptian Christian orthodox felt protected but fact is it was the worst period in modern history transforming them to second class citizens. I hope that the actual phase Egyptian Christian orthodox start to behave like “normal” citizens and not like a minority. Its about time to change their demands instead asking for a special treatment as a religious faction, applying church rules as specific laws but to ask for a secular egyptian state that would benefit all citizens and applying concept like civil marriage, true equal rights for women etc…. far from the nearly open bigotry of religious institutions either Islamic or Christian ….

      • Simon says:

        You didn’t add any facts.

      • mo says:

        when you have the ruling party whose preferred slogan is ” islam is the solution”, what do you expect minority people to do? when majority ask for votes saying it is a religious obligation, where were your arguments? security and freedom of practice as second class citizens under mubarak or shafik or army is by far preferable to being insulted, living under constant fear of death, have their women constantly harassed on the streets as is happening now. you can deny this is happening on this forum, let me not convince you, please go out on the streets and speak to them.

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    1. […] Fahim, an editor of the Cairo-based webzine The Egypt Monocle, has a tribune on the reaction of Egypt’s Copts (who are some 15-20% of the country’s population), to […]



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