An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Coptic Christians, Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

In The Times newspaper this week Professor Amr Darrag, Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt, wrote an article in which he repeated the words of the late Pope Shenouda: 'Egypt is not a country in which Christians live, but a homeland that lives in the hearts of Christians. We share this sentiment entirely. An Egyptian Christian is an Egyptian citizen with rights and responsibilities. There is no differentiation between Muslims and Christians in our party...'

A surge of hope and optimism filled me when I read that because of the suffering of the Coptic Christians in Egypt in recent years. Coptic Christians make up 10% of the 80 million Egyptian population. Their stalwart leader and protector Pope Shenouda III died in March. Pope Shenouda was instrumental in speaking up for the rights of Coptic Christians. In the post-Mubarak political arena of Egypt the field is open wide and a resulting fear for the future of Christians in Egypt is a real one. However, Professor Darrag offers a conciliatory and inclusive tone. He states that the true teaching of Islam is about social harmony, justice and prosperity and that one of Islam's guiding principles is the freedom of individuals to choose their own faith.

The persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt goes beyond the faith realm. They are denied jobs in the civil service and are discriminated against when it comes to other forms of employment. Please click on the link for further information.

Islam is often portrayed as the guardian and censor of other religions and as being unwilling to scale back on its' combative rhetoric but Islamaphobia goes the other extreme too and refuses to offer an Olive branch. This was evident recently when the Brotherhood visited Washington and President Obama was attacked by Republicans for granting them a visit. Note, the Brotherhood didn't actually meet with the President but a visit to Washington was sufficient for Islamaphobia to surface. Professor Darrag calls on the Western world to help Egypt rebuild itself. Prayers please for our Coptic brothers and sisters to be a part of a new and peaceful Egypt.

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