- March 22, 2006
Copts Refuse Discussion of Their Affairs Outside Egypt
In statements to the Ikhwanweb, the Coptic well-known thinker, Dr. Rafiq Habib, asserted that the referral of the Coptic question to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and the discussion of the note submitted by the “United Copts Organization”, jointly with the International League of Human Rights, on the situation of Copts in Egypt, “constitutes a clear interference in the domestic affairs of Egypt and is against the interests of Copts since, ultimately, it amounts to using the Coptic file in order to achieve foreign interests and putting into effect the policies of big powers”.
It is to be recalled that the “United Copts Organization” had submitted to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights a note, jointly with the International League of Human Rights, on the so-called “persecution of Copts” in Egypt.
Dr. Habib added, “We, as Copts, do not deny that we suffer from problems but these are the same problems from which all Egyptians, both Copts and Muslims, suffer and which can be solved among the country’s citizens themselves. This is an attempt to exploit Copts not for their own interest but in order to exert pressure on the Egyptian regime”.
On the question of the relative weight of the trend supporting the international discussion of the Copts’ file, Dr. Habib said the “United Copts Organization doesn’t represent all expatriate Copts, and it follows an arrogant confrontational policy that is based on political sectarianism and calls for the secularization of the Egyptian regime and the hegemony of western values. This discourse does not express Egypt’s Copts either at home or abroad. It only expresses a trend among Copts that has supporters inside and outside the country. We only hear that discourse abroad because it is rejected by the bulk of Copts at home and it increases the gap between Muslims and Christians.”
On the other hand, George Ishaq, the Coordinator-General of the Kefaya (Enough) movement, affirmed that “this question concerns Egyptians alone and that no foreign or international body should interfere therein, because the national unity is the backbone of the nation. Kefaya’s resort to international bodies with regard to the assault it had suffered from the regime is a different question since assaulting Kefaya amounts to assaulting all Egyptians.”
Coptic leader Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour agrees with him, confirming that the Coptic question is an Egyptian one and must be discussed within the national community. “Discussing it outside that framework is a grave injustice to Egyptian nationalism which, in my point of view, is the strongest asset of the Egyptian people in comparison with other countries.
Abdel-Nour called for an immediate action to hold a national conference bringing together all those who believe in national unity, including leaders of civil society organizations, from among Copts and Muslims alike, with a view to finding all-out solutions to the problems of Copts.