7 November 2010
Copts at the mosque
A Cairo daily newspaper recently published a piece of news under the title “Copts at the mosque”. The news mentioned a unique event which took place at Abu-Shousha Village, Qena, when Muslims opened a new big mosque opposite the church. The Governor Magdy Ayoub attended the opening together with crowds of officials and Muslim villagers. During the sermon, they were surprised to see Bishop Makari and Coptic clerics accompanying the Coptic congregation enter the mosque and attend the sermon. After the sermon they congratulated their Muslim neighbours who happily and warmly welcomed them. The following week, crowds of Muslims went to the church after Mass to thank the Copts for their “visit of love”. I felt very happy to read this news, and so should all Egyptians, Muslims and Copts, because this should be the ‘default’ feeling of Egyptians, who believe in one God.
Maurice Anwar Farag, Fayoum
Citizenship is the answer
“Copts for Egypt” is a political movement that aims to uphold the concept of citizenship and that all citizens enjoy the same right and embrace the same duties. It supports freedom of belief and rejects discrimination. The slogan of the movement is “Citizenship is the answer”. Among its targets are bringing into force a unified law for places of worship; putting an end to the practice of resolving sectarian problems or crimes against Copts through traditional ‘reconciliation sessions’ instead of taking the criminals to court. Even though such sessions are widespread in rural Egypt to bring about calm to bruised communities, they are notorious for lost justice in cases of crimes against Copts, since the so-called reconciliation involves forcing the Copts to relinquish their rights. The movement has been set up by some young people who love Egypt and believe in the importance of participating in political life.
Zarif Kamel, Cairo
The only weapon
Some Muslim extremists have been avidly circulating the claim that Copts are stockpiling arms in churches and monasteries. This is a very serious allegation, since it gives the impression to poorly informed Muslims that Copts are preparing to wage war against them. The claim is thus tantamount to a call for civil war. Yet the claim can be very easily refuted; churches are open the whole day and accordingly can have nothing to hide. Muslims are free to visit churches, which they normally do during such occasions as weddings, funerals, or condolence gatherings. The claim of stockpiling arms can only come out of sick, irresponsible minds. Yet there are indeed arms in churches, but not in the material sense: they are the potent spiritual weapons of love, peace and prayer. A monk once said: “Our only weapon is the Cross.” Copts are Egyptians who love their homeland and are faithful to it. They are examples of loyalty and I quote Pope Shenouda: “Egypt is not a homeland we live in but a homeland that lives inside us.”
Copts love their Muslim brothers; they pray for them, for their leaders and for the peace of the whole world as per the Bible teachings. Why do some people try to destroy the good relations between the sons of the same country?
Nash’at Abul-Kheir, Alexandria
The Media Ministry recently issued a ban against religious debates, especially where ‘other’ religions are concerned, in the media. During the same week, the widely-viewed talk show on State-owned TV Misr Enaharda (Egypt Today) hosted Sheikh Adel al-Guindi saying that Jesus had never been crucified. He said this was a definite fact, but offered nothing to substantiate it. Surprisingly at the beginning the announcer, Mahmoud Saad, talked about the importance of tolerance and living peacefully together and then the show went on with Guindi attacking the most basic belief in Christianity.
In another talk show, al-Ashira Masa’an (10 PM), Mona al-Shazli hosted the lawyer Mohamed Selim al-Awwa, who deviated from the main topic that was supposed to be discussed and insulted Pope Shenouda III. Here I ask: whatever happened to the Media Ministry ban?
Magdy Shehata Hanna, Cairo
Never regret giving help to someone who does not appreciate it; it is better than not helping someone who needs it.
Never regret time ‘wasted’ in learning something beneficial; it is better than spending your whole life learning nothing.
Never regret forgiveness from the heart to someone who wronged you; it is better than wronging someone who never then forgives you.
Never regret doing good to someone who repays it badly; it is better than regretting an opportunity lost to do something good.
Nabil Kamel, Cairo