Losing a heritage
The passing of time lends value to buildings, especially such special edifices as churches. When you visit a church you know when it was built and when it was renovated. Renovation of such places should mean an adherence to the original style. However I have been surprised to notice that modern decorations have been placed in many older churches, and they do not fit in with the original style. I hope the architects affiliated to the patriarchate will supervise such renovations and ensure they keep to the original style.
Tawfiq Mikhail, Cairo
Stop such media tactics
I recently published an article under the title of “What next, professor?” criticising the attitude expressed by Professor Zaghloul al-Naggar on the Egyptian TV. I never intended to attack Naggar but to attack the extremist media whose finance depends on the ‘petrodollar’. That is why most times talk shows host people like Zaghloul al-Naggar, Muhammad Emara and Selim al-Awa, who are renowned for their immoderate attitudes. I wonder why they don’t host moderate, intellectual Muslims like Tareq Heggi, Ahmed Sobhi Mansour, Muhammad al-Zohairi and others who consider Egypt’s benefit one of their top priorities. Announcers always ask how we can stop sectarian conflict. I suggest the solution is in their hands; they should stop inviting guests who despise other religions, and host those who respect their country and the Egyptian identity. This may be the first step towards stopping sectarian strife.
George Ghali, Cairo
A place of worship, not a pharmacy
All of us are troubled by the successive incidents of Muslim attacks on Copts when they build or intend to build a church. Such incidents remind me of a similar comparison; when a pharmacist finds another pharmacist intending to open a pharmacy near his, jealousy fills his heart and he keeps on filing complaints against him. He tries by all means to prevent him from opening his pharmacy so as not to rival him and steal his livelihood. In our case, though, what is the problem if Copts intend to build a church to worship God? Will a church rival a mosque? Is there a livelihood the church will take from the mosque? On the contrary, the church’s and mosque’s role are integrated. A Muslim prays in the mosque and a Copt prays in the church. What is the problem, then? The case is logical and warrants no argument, but people in this country turn logic into dilemma.
Karim Azmy, Cairo
A unified law for building
I went with some friends to visit Mar-Girgis Monastery in al-Khatatba. It was a Friday. Just 20km from the monastery I was surprised to see no fewer than nine mosques on the road, a road which seemed to have few residents. After the end of the Friday prayer, very few people came out of the nine mosques. All these mosques were built easily, despite a low population. Yet thousands of Copts cannot built a church. We do need a unified law for building places of worship.
Wassim Mikhail, Cairo
The little Tuk-Tuk
In a fierce campaign launched against the petrol-driven tuk-tuk, Giza’s security forces confiscated vehicles and detained their drivers for causing unbearable traffic problems. Although I am completely opposed to the little tuk-tuk, I feel concerned about the hundreds of families that live on its profits. If this vehicle is banned, how come it was imported into Egypt? Why did the authorities allow it to spread when they were planning to confiscate it? Why did they let these families start up their tuk-tuk businesses? Has the fate of these families ever crossed the minds of these officials? Have they ever thought of the young men who might be driven to crime after finding themselves with no work and no profit? Why do we facilitate crime and then complain of its existence?
Ezzat Aziz, Giza
So many reasons
Our professor was deeply distressed when he entered the lecture room. He wanted to know why Coptic students were always isolated from their Muslim colleagues. He told us about the love and compassion that used to prevail in previous generations. Then he asked why Copts believed they had a raw deal in Egypt. A short answer jumped into my mind. Copts feel an injustice because they are dealt with as second-class citizens; no one respects their freedom or their belief and never gives them the right to build places of worship. Why shouldn’t they feel aggrieved while they are prevented from appointment to high positions?
Yasser Nabil, Alexandria