I applaud the words of Mustafa al-Fiqi, head of the Foreign Relations Commission in the People’s Assembly—the lower house of the Egyptian Parliament. Dr Fiqi has been outspoken against the increasing influence of the Islamic tide in politics, citing the history of Islamists on the Egyptian political scene since the Muslim Brotherhood movement began in the 1930s. All through, he said, Islamist influence had been detrimental. He also criticised the Arab regimes that call upon Egypt to open its borders to the Gaza Isamists. Dr Fiqi said Egypt had done more than any other Arab country to further the Palestinian cause—including going to war with Israel in 1948 and 1967—but was still consistently criticised. Egypt would not allow an Islamic state on its border, he warned.
I think it is high time Egypt put itself and its interests first. As for the Arabs, they are already split within themselves.
Zarif Kamel, Cairo
A modern-day renaissance required
When Mohamed Ali Pasha became ruler of Egypt in 1805 he realised that there was only one way to pull Egypt out of the Middle Ages and into the 19th century, and that was education. He thus set about sending Egyptians on scholarships to Europe, opened modern schools and institutes in Egypt, and thus triggered an Egyptian renaissance.
Today, we complain of unemployment and soaring prices, but I believe our basic problem lies in the prevalence of a shallow culture, non-critical thinking, and shoddy education.
If we do not go back to respecting and promoting education, science and arts, our culture will remain backward-oriented and we will surely decline. Our only hope forward is education, modernisation, and the promotion of a dynamic culture capable of dealing with the world around us, benefiting from it and contributing to it.
Kamal Wahib, Kom Ombo
Following the murder of the young, Egyptian, veiled woman Marwa al-Sherbini, in a courtroom in Dresden Germany by an anti-Islamist fanatic, the grand imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Sayed Tantawi, demanded that the international community, as well as its religious and secular associations, should take strict and prompt actions to put an end to fanatic violence.
Through Watani Mail, I wish to send an appeal to Dr Tantawi, who is famous for his tolerance and patriotism, to make the same demands concerning fanatic violence against Copts in Egypt.
Kamal Moheb, Cairo
I finally found the magic lamp and instantly began to rub it until the genie that was hidden inside was badly scratched and hurt. He got out angrily and asked me “What do you want?” I told him I just needed an answer to a question that has been long bothering me. The question is why do some Muslims become enraged when they hear—just hear—that Copts may be planning to build a new church? Following a bewildered stare the genie embarked on the task of getting back into the lamp, saying: “ It would have been easier if you asked me to bring you pigeon’s milk.”
Robeir al-Faris, Sohag