29 May 2011
We need that law
If we assume that Copts use the genie in Aladdin’s lamp to build 1,000 churches in the twinkling of an eye, will the Egyptian majority convert from Islam to Christianity? If the answer is no, what kind of harm can be caused if a new church is built anywhere? The journalist Hazem Abdel-Rahman answered this question in an article recently published in Al-Ahram, when he wrote: “Definitely no harm at all”. In other words, a new church, whether or not licensed, will not tarnish Egypt’s beautiful image. Yet so many incidents of sectarian violence occur as a result of the attempt by Copts to build a church. Many Muslims and Copts have called for the passage of a unified law for places of worship in order to resolve the many complicated problems we now encounter on this head. I hope that law can see light soon, given that Egypt is living through a new phase in its history where the people’s will conquers all. It would surely be a negative indication if such a law is not passed—an indication that religion discrimination has won over.
Medhat Farid, Cairo
Don’t move history
Regarding the rumours about transferring the Cairo train station from its current home in Ramses Square in Downtown to Qalyoub… how could that be? Is destroying this part of our history the only way to solve the problems of bad traffic, poor planning and the crazy increase in population? Capitals all over the world are proud of their train stations. They would never entertain the idea of moving them to solve traffic problems.
Ramses Kamel, Cairo
Egyptian writers or media persons who accuse Copts of inflaming sectarian tensions and describe them as violent fanatics because they demonstrate to claim their rights, only overturn the truth. Copts suffer from religious discrimination, marginalisation, and curtailed citizenship rights. Shame on Egypt’s government and military for allowing discrimination against Copts to continue even after the 25 January Revolution. During the revolution, the Copts stood hand in hand with the Muslims calling for a free Egypt. The fact that attacks against Copts, their homes, businesses and churches were resumed directly once Mubarak stepped down gives cause for concern. Meanwhile, Islamist currents were allowed to grow, gaining unprecedented proportions and weight. Islamic hudoud were applied against a number of Copts; the victims were then made to sit down with their offenders and ‘reconcile’, thus relinquishing all their legal rights. Again, shame on Egypt’s authorities. If anything, such moves lack a clear national vision.
Zarif Kamel Hakim, Cairo
What’s in a term?
• National unity: a hollow term that goes into circulation once problems crop up between Muslims and Christians.
• The Egyptian educational system: The most effective system on earth to raise the proportion of illiterates and backward-thinkers.
• Egyptian hospitals: A place a patient goes to until preparations for his funeral are completed.
Wassim Mikhail, Cairo