Two days ago, the vice Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Khairat al-Shater, claimed that the protestors who were demonstrating in front of the presidential palace in Cairo were mainly Copts. Today
Two days ago, the vice Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Khairat al-Shater, claimed that the protestors who were demonstrating in front of the presidential palace in Cairo were mainly Copts. Today, the MB leader Mahmoud al-Beltagui stood before the thousands of Mursi supporters who were demonstrating at Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, east of Cairo, and insisted that 60 per cent of the secular demonstrators in front of the presidential palace are Copts.
On the level of stories circulated among mainstream Muslims, rumours go that it was Coptic militias armed by the Church which killed the Muslim demonstrators on Black Wednesday—Wednesday 5 December.
Such stories, whether on the part of the MB leaders or the grassroots, are being severely criticised by the national political movements.
Gamila Ismail, vice head of the liberal al-Dustour party, said that Copts are Egyptian citizens entitled to the right to demonstrate. No-one, Ms Ismail said, should terrorise the Copts into giving up their right by falsely casting them in a non-patriotic light.
Father Rafiq Greiche of the Coptic Catholic Church said that the inflamed political situation in Egypt cannot accommodate any more divisions, and that the MB are palying with fire. “Just to hear them speak, one might imagine that all the demonstrators at the presidential palace are Copts and all those at Rabaa mosque are Muslims. This is not true,” Fr Rafiq said, “and serves to polarise the nation along sectarian lines.”
In case of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a Church source said that Egypt cannot afford more divisions or sectarianism. “Copts are Egyptian citizens with full citizenship rights, including the right to freedom of expression.” This is not the first time the MB resort to playing the sectarian card, the Church source said. This is a very serious error, since it splits Egypt into Muslim and Christian instead of supporter or opponent. Egypt in its entirety stands to pay the price.
11 December 2012
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