30 January 2011
In the wake of the New Year Eve Alexandria bombing, the Mujahideen Electronic Web (www. Majahden.com) posted threats to Copts, churches, and many Coptic public figures or journalists and intellectuals who, the website claims, are anti-Islamists. Prior to the Alexandria bombing, the Mujahideen had posted threats to Coptic churches and posted a list of the addresses of targeted included ones—including the Church of the Saints. Even though the Mujahideen denied responsibility for the Alexandria bombing, and no other group or organisation claimed responsibility, they posted a strongly-worded declaration that read: “This is just the first drop of the torrent”.
Since the new threats were, for many, disturbing, Watani decided to sound the opinion of rights activists and intellectuals on the threats.
Mohamed Mounir Megahed, coordinator general of Egyptians against Religious Discrimination, believes that, given the Mujahideen have no base in Egypt, these threats are intended to create a state of chaos and fear among members of the community. As such, Mr Megahed says, the only way to retaliate positively would be to spread awareness and inform the public of all the facts.
In perfect agreement with Megahed, writer William Wissa who currently resides in Paris, says that, following the bombing, the media played a positive role in rallying all Egyptians behind the national cause of defending Egyptian national unity. “Religion is a very private issue,” Mr Wissa stressed. “It is a relation between a man and his creator. No-one is entitled to pass judgement on that.”
For his part, philosophy professor Essam Abdullah sees the recent threats as an admission of failure on the part of the Mujahideen. The entire nation joined hands in solidarity following the Alexandria bombing, Dr Abdullah says, “meaning the Mujahideen failed miserably in polarising the people of Egypt.” It is the responsibility of the government, however, to beat with an iron fist the head of the sedition viper, he says.
“It is a dire mistake to overlook those who exploit religion to their own ends,” lawyer and activist Ahmed Abul-Magd believes. “This has driven Egypt to the fringe of the abyss, especially given the rapid escalation in sectarian violence.”
Islamic religious scholars, Abul-Magd says, ought to revise ultra-conservative religious books which inevitably spread extremism. Such books and publications, he says, serve to promote hatred among the simple and uneducated, thus doing Islam a bad turn. Scholars, Abul-Magd insists, should work to promote a culture of compassion, equality, justice, freedom, tolerance, and acceptance of the other.