Friday, December 11, 2009
Suppression of Christian religious minorities in Egypt
Christians of Egypt, also known as Copts, have been living under discrimination, oppression and persecution for almost 1430 years.
The world is now beginning to hear and know about Copts and their problems, thanks to the immigration opportunity from Egypt to civilized Western countries initiated a half century ago, but moreover, thanks to technological advances in communications.
In spite of today’s new era of communication and Western freedoms, Copts face another threat called political correctness, which began almost at the same time, a half century ago.
The original purpose of political correctness was for respecting others and fighting discrimination and oppression. Political interest shifted that purpose to fit certain interests, but overall to shut down freedom. In the last few years, freedom of speech and other forms of freedom of expression were challenged by political correctness with the intention to discourage and suppress citizens from expressing ideas, frustrations or complaints about obvious issues.
Political correctness can be seen when changing the names of facts, for example, terrorists are called “Fedayeen” or fighters for their rights. Also, Christian symbols became offensive. Christian greetings have to be changed to something that does not indicate Christian events. Almost everything in today’s life is treated in the political correct manner. I would not be surprised to see in a few years all church-goers labeled republican (right) and politically incorrect. Personally, I feel this is a new form of oppression and discrimination.
As a Copt, I can say that Copts have been living under political correctness for more than 1400 years. In fact, Copts were unable to keep their own language and forced to speak the language of those who occupied their country. Copts could not pray in their own place of worship, if not following certain direction given by occupant leaders (see Hamayony decree and Al Omrania).
The Western world is refusing to sit back, think and decide the right thing because of this brainwashing that has taken place for decades in our society and our schools. For me it is very simple to look at Egyptian history and relate it to the future of the West. Westerners, on the other hand, are unable to do that for one obvious reason, namely, political correctness.
The majority of you well know that women in the West suffer discrimination in various ways. Because women do not hold the power in each culture and society as men do, they are the part of humanity that tends to suffer in silence their discrimination and oppression. As a human right’s organization, I am asking each and every one of you to stand up and speak up for women’s rights, dignity, and equality of life.
Coptic women, as well, need your help without political correctness. Things need to be spelled out loud and clear. Coptic women and girls are targeted for a specific plan of forced Islamization in Egypt . In actuality, abducting a woman and child is one of the most horrible crimes of civilized society and is met by stern punishment.
In Egypt , on the other hand, the opposite of morality is occurring. I would like to emphasize that I am not comparing Egypt with any Western or civil country. Any crime committed against a Coptic woman is treated without morality, conscience and legal deterrence. It is an outrage to receive reports of such facts from a country that was once considered the cradle of humanity.
I cannot consider the aggression against Coptic women and girls merely random acts, due to the following facts:
- Its happening exclusively to Coptic women and girls.
- In a moment of desperation 33 years ago, the Coptic Pope publicly denounced forced conversion of Coptic women and girls. Coptic Pope Shenuda III, in one of his weekly meetings on or around December 17th 1976, in a conference held in Alexandria , said “there is pressure being practiced to convert Coptic girls to embrace Islam and marry them under terror to Muslim husbands”, furthermore, he demanded the return of those abducted girls to their families.
Now, after 33 years, we can say that the abduction of Coptic women is not just a passing phenomenon but is part of a widespread plan aimed to clean the Middle East of Christians. I could also whisper to all of you that the same plan is in effect in the West, but in different ways and with different methods. The Western legal system is clearly the only element keeping this phenomenon inactive.
On the other hand, and in a country like Egypt , the regime has a direct responsibility over everything that has happened and is happening to any Copt or Coptic person. I could simply say that if the state is unwilling to protect its citizens then the state is complicit and effectively perpetrators against the Copts.
Many Westerners think of Copts as simply a minority in Egypt . However, Copts are the real Egyptians who were forced to speak Arabic. Copts have the complete right to be protected by those governing them or through the international body. I am not referring to Copts in terms of their religion but in terms of their heritage.
Considering the politically correct environment that we live in, many of you here today may consider what I have said as an exaggeration and even label me. Fighting to alleviate oppression, discrimination and persecution is worth any label given, if only one or two of you can realize that in a part of our planet in the second millennium there are governments acting in the same barbaric way of 1400 years ago. According to any Western definition, the state is to generate law and order for safety and security for its citizens accordingly. Such is an understanding between the citizenry and the government that provides protection for citizens from inside (law enforcement) and from outside (military).
In examining what happened only in Mubarak’s era, it’s effortless to point out that no single kidnapper was brought to justice, in spite of the gravity of the crime and its frequency.
The real numbers of girls is unknown officially for various reasons. One of the reasons is the cooperation between Egyptian law enforcement and the kidnappers. Coptic families decide to hide the shameful issue with their silence. Others do not talk due to threats from law enforcement.
Local researchers indicate that there is cooperation between the Saudi and Egyptian authorities for funding and establishing a price for each case based on the economic cultural level of a girl’s family.
The abductions are carried out by different methods, starting with friendships between Coptic girls and others during school activities, targeting the girl, spraying her with drugs, then transporting her to another place to be raped. In this last one, the girl gets raped from a gang, becomes pregnant and is forced to convert and marry.
Reacting to this marriage/conversion incident the Egyptian government labels it a “love story.” Once the case reaches the media, those living in the West accept this version. But the question must be asked, why are only Coptic girls falling in love with Muslim men and why are no Muslim girls finding Christian husbands? The saddest issue is that the consequences of those actions are devastating psychologically to the majority of girls because they are in their teenage years.
In spite of the great physical and psychological affect on most girls, the prospect of their future in a life under these new circumstances is horrible because there are serious differences between the relationships of the Coptic family and the Arab family.
Finally, and due to time constraints, I will end by quoting some of the examples of instigation throughout the Egyptian media, schools, universities, and mosques as well as in the streets:
- The endless number of “fatwa” edicts that provoke against Copts. Such “fatwas” range from considering Copts infidels to be killed, subjected to all kinds of injustice. Some “fatwas” encourage kidnapping Coptic daughters and others. In spite of the “fatwas” being a clear instigation to violent and criminal acts, the Egyptian government does nothing to prevent them.
- Sheikh Abdel Haleem Mahmood, the former Imam of Al-Azhar wrote in his book "Believing in Allah" saying, "Christians are like a malignant and contagious disease. Muslims should be unjust to them; they should despise them, treat them roughly and boycott them to force them to convert to Islam".
- Sheikh Muhamed Metwaly El-Shaarawy wrote in Al-Ahram newspaper on 9/2/1992 saying, "Having sex with female POW's bestows honor on her since the master does to her what he does to his wife.” He also was complaining along with his group when Serbs raped Bosnian women. Personally, I condemn the actions of Serbs, but I wonder why the Sheikh never said anything to protect Coptic women. Perhaps, according to this, Coptic women and girls do not deserve this respect.
- The Imam of the mosque of the Juristic Society in Assiut repeated publicly and for many years in his Friday sermons that, "Christian women are loot for every Muslim."
- In some Mosques you could hear imams saying, "Raping Christian women are permissible to oblige them to convert to Islam."
- Another example is the edict issued by Sheikh Gad-El Haq, the former Imam of Al-Azhar, in answering a question regarding the marriage of a Muslim woman to a Christian man. To answer that question, the former Imam of Al-Azhar issued a “fatwa” edict based on thorough Islamic jurisprudential research which concluded that Jews and Christians are infidels. Therefore, a Muslim woman should not be given into marriage to a non-Muslim whether a Christian or a Jew or others, and the followers of both religions are considered infidels and polytheists.
- One of these edicts is the one issued by Al-Azhar Committee of Edicts in 1996 concerning the legality of marrying a Christian man to a Muslim woman, "This is forbidden since Islam is superior to all other religions. And children should follow the better religion of the parents according to the jurisprudential rule."
- Hisham Khalifa, attorney, wrote in Al-Ahram ( Cairo newspaper) on 9/16/1996 under "Legal Matters" column says, "an act that involves disbelief such as going to church." "Islam is unique amongst world beliefs being the only one that we can call a 'religion.' Also, Christianity as sent by God to Issa" (Jesus) -- Peace be upon him -- was lost after his death." (Hussein Moaness in (October magazine) on 15/3/1992.)
- Look at the venom propagated against non-Muslims by Zaghloul El-Naggar in his weekly article in Al-Ahram ( Cairo newspaper), "Infidels, polytheists and hypocrites, especially the people of the book who falsified their religion, and the Jews, those criminals who were the pivot of disbelief throughout history, as they are still today, and will be until the end of days. They represent the worst image of disbelief." (Al-Ahram 7/15/2002)
- Herewith, some statements from text books that students use to study in Assuit University (upper Egypt):
1. Christianity hallowed Jesus exactly as the Marxists did.
2. Christianity, just as Judaism, is an Egyptian Judaic concoction.
3. Christianity is based on Judaism and the latter is not a religion.
4. Christianity was inoculated with Paganism.
5. Christianity has turned into a Pagan religion.
6. Human fiddling around with Christianity changed it into a mixture of both Judaism and Paganism.
7. The Apostle Paul pretended to be a Christian to distort Christianity.
The following are some examples of what Egyptian (Christians and Muslims) learn in public schools:
1. A Muslim washes his hands before and after eating.
2. A Muslim walks quietly and with dignity.
3. Christians are the misguided.
4. The only religion accepted by Allah is Islam and no religion other than Islam satisfies Allah.
PS: Also, please visit: http://www.realcourage.org/
For additional information
Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah