Take Egypt for example

Don’t you often hear people say “Christian in Egypt are persecuted”? This is one of the many nice little bullshit myths one hears on the Middle East or on “Islamic” practices. Copts (Christian sect in Egypt) are actually significantly present in parliament (much more relative to the size of their community), and the few Egyptians I know to seem to agree on the idea that there are no sectarian animosity there. In a recent discussion, my Egyptian musician friend Mohammed (who studied for a long time Coptic musical liturgy) explained to me how often enough the media feeds the public with the news of ‘sectarian clashes’ breaking out and once some honest reporter tries to entangle the real cause of a fight he would find behind the ‘sectarian’ element some tribal, social, or personal issue at stake that has nothing to do with the fact that the people were Coptic or Muslims.

Not only that but Coptic Pope Shenouda III has made it clear that the biggest problem in the Middle East is divisive American foreign policy and the growing ego-centric urges of some Copts (Check the rare gem that is Pope Shenouda, here, here, and here are the enemies of Shenouda). For a nice comparison check History of the Maronites in Lebanon 101.

See, American policy have this really nice special feature in that they create new ‘substance’ to re-actionary identities. Thanks to NGOs of all kind and religious rightist groups Christians in Egypt are starting to feel they are in danger because hell they’re Christians. To make sure these fears are crystallized, they are simply financed.

Come on marNasrallah Boutross Sfeir, that is the best role model you can get in this par of the world.


3 Replies to “Take Egypt for example”

  1. are actually significantly present in parliament (much more relative to the size of their community)

    Numbers (or at least source), please. The info I have on this contradicts that sentence.

    I hesitate in getting into another argument over semantics, but not correct to state that there “is nothing to do with the fact that …” just as it is incorrect to state that it is “everything to do with the fact that …”


  2. On Coptic Representation in Parliament: According to this January 2001 article in MERIP, only 3 of the 444 members in Parliament at the time were Copts. I couldn’t find the figures for Copt representation in Parliament after the 2005 elections.

    There’s another article by Issandr El Amrani in MERIP that looks at Coptic-Muslim tensions in the wake of the April 2006 riots in Alexandria. While claims of persecution are exaggerated, it’s hard to deny that Copts feel politically marginalized and discriminated against. However, as El Amrani says, this probably has more to do with Egypt’s pervasive nepotism than with hostility towards Christians per se.

  3. Hi! Just wanted to mention that in this case US might not have a hidden agenda. In many countries USAID is supporting mostly marginalised minorities – in Eastern Europe for example most projects go for the gypsy communities. I find it natural that in Egypt they will target the Copts.

    As for the Pope, he is on an important post, close to the government, and it might well be his duty to play down the abuse to his flock.
    Of course, this might be the right thing to do anyway. The losers from any radicalisation will be the copts in the country. Those outside dont seem to care much about their brothers. Calling for sanctions? Sound a bit like the cuban expats.

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