23 August 2009
The State exerts much effort through the symposiums, meetings and festivals it holds on different occasions to strengthen citizen concepts, but it forgets or seems to forget, some wide open gaps that defeat such efforts.
Extreme elements of fanatical groups have crept into the seats of Muslim Imams in mosques, and we fear that what we hear from them in Friday sermons will lead to bitterness and violence. The messages provoke hatred of ‘the other’, planting the seeds of sectarian conspiracies and uprisings, and exciting the emotions of Egyptian Christians. The authorities meanwhile seem unable to control the situation, and loud expressions of extremism on the Internet make matters far worse.
Banned but present
It is puzzling how the Muslim Brothers, the banned group—banned on paper only—has infiltrated the seats of Egypt’s Parliament, unions and certain vocational posts, as well as vital positions on the authority level. There are also large establishments whose declarations have succeeded in creating a wedge in the fabric of the nation, causing tension and instability. The Ministry of Education has allowed schools, both official and private, to build mosques, yet prevent the assignment of a room for Christian children to perform their rites. How does this emphasise tolerance and equity in society?
I believe school curricula should include an introductory lesson on religious tolerance, to plant unity among the children of one nation. Everyone should pull together so the question marks that hang over the lives of Copts would then disappear. Why does not the State set an example by being the first to show tolerance before claiming the people should profess tolerance towards one another?