Are Coptic Christians better off today than they were under Mubarak and Sadat, or has their situation worsened?
The situation for Copts is worse than ever.
My colleague Ashraf Ramellah, President of Voice of the Copts and SION Board member, was interviewed by Arab Daily News on the dangerous situtation for Christians in Egpt. It is a must-read.
Here's an excerpt -- but go here and read the whole thing:
Coptic Christians fear continued turmoil, new Constitution in Egypt
An interview with Coptic activist Ashraf Ramelah The Arab Daily News, December 17, 2013
1 — What is your view of the newly proposed constitution
Any constitution containing religious references is antiquated. The writers of Egypt’s new constitution tried to please both Islamists and secularists, an impossibility, and in doing so left an open door to another uprising and another constitution.English: Egypt´s president Nasser with a delegation of Egyptian Coptic bishops from Daqahlia, Qena, Qous and Suhag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Copts are citizens of Egypt. They do not need to have special rights. In a democratic country all citizens are equal under the law. However, this constitution is not democratic and falls short of establishing principles of individual freedom and human rights; therefore, it undermines the rights of all Egyptians especially Christians who remain second-class citizens.
3 — Are Coptic Christians better off today than they were under Mubarak and Sadat, or has their situation worsened?
The situation for Copts is worse than ever. The Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi experiment made life more difficult and oppressive than under Mubarak but reverting to the Mubarak era is not what Copts have risked their lives to obtain. Thus, I believe that if things are to get better in Egypt (real freedom in Egypt), things will first get worse.
During Nasser’s era, Copts paid a high economic price when their businesses were nationalized. Nasser confiscated the agricultural lands owned by Copts and sold divided parcels to Muslims. Both Copts and Jews were stripped of their economic power through Nasser’s government seizure of private businesses. Sadat furthered Nasser’s Islamization of Egypt which worsened the plight of Copts. By the time of Mubarak’s presidency, Islamic supremacy had saturated the country. The Mubarak era protected Muslim thugs and mob attack of Christians, their churches and homes, by allowing police and thugs to take the law into their own hands with the court backing. In short, the corrupted justice system, stacked against Christians, led to further degradation.
Worse now: Decades of adverse conditions for Copts weakened the body of Christians into passivity even before Morsi’s Sharia-leaning, anti-Christian and anti-democracy government came to power. During Morsi’s term, Copts were daily victims of mob violence with no guilty party ever paying the price. Then Morsi’s downfall resulted in a Muslim Brotherhood backlash against Christians faulted for Morsi’s overthrow. Egypt’s new constitutional draft just written proves to be a replica of the Sadat-Mubarak constitution without any promise of equal rights for all citizens.
4 — Has the Arab Spring treated Christians fairly or has the Arab Spring focused more on Islamic concerns and needs, ignoring Christians
Arab Spring is a deceptive label created by western leftists as a misnomer for the Islamic revival in Arab countries. Arab Spring was a massive project instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood in a series of countries with the Islamic Caliphate as its ultimate goal. Christians, like the Jews before them, are meant to be purged from each country. In the Middle East — Egypt, Iraq and Syria – Christians suffered the most losses (property damage, injury, and death). Central Africa – Nigeria and Kenya – on the whole had less impact on the Christian populations, although much suffering.
5 — What is the current state of Coptic Christians? How bad is the discrimination they face?
It is very bad. Christians live in fear. Kidnapping of girls and women and firebombing of churches and towns and more take place without reliable police protection. Law enforcement – police and army – are infiltrated by Islamists many of whom are criminals recently released from jails by Morsi. Hamas is prevalent and Christians are soft targets.
6 — What needs to be done?
By some miracle this past July, the sea parted for the Egyptian people. Now freedom fighters must be led through this time period by true representatives acting boldly to achieve their ends. First, the police and the army must be cleansed of terrorist and Islamist infiltration, both in ranks and in leadership, in order that the people have real protection. Also, all terrorists and criminals roaming the streets must be rounded up and jailed or deported from Egypt. Already, all Islamic teachings on satellite TV can no longer be seen because TV stations spewing Islamic propaganda have been shut down – a hopeful sign.