Democratic Experience for Copts and the Muslim Brotherhood
Two good democratic experiences took place before our eyes, proving that we are evolving, gaining new skills, and perhaps even new ethics.
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) elections experience is no doubt an important introduction to the concept of democratic elections in Egyptian political life. Two senior candidates, each with his own name and history with the Muslim Brotherhood, entering an election race that ends with one victor (Saad Katani), without leading to a political conflict or a split in the party.
Of course, some will not believe the FJP election was not influenced by any Brotherhood directives to party members. Most observers, however, will assure that the competition was genuine, and the group leadership’s electoral influence on party members casting their votes was well within the limits of what could be described as normal ‘human’ rather than political impact. Evidently, there were not orders for anyone to vote in any specific direction; otherwise one of the contenders would have withdrawn in favor of the other.
The electoral scene at the FJP gives a shining example that should awe and inspire other political parties – the religiously-conservative parties, which must adopt the ethics of politics in Islam, and the liberal parties that need to be more liberal (i.e. tolerant) in its members’ relations with one another.
Recently, Egypt witnessed another election experience: choosing the Coptic Orthodox church’s new pope according to old and fraying regulations, which were designed for church leaders to work with until they reached safety, – already reached decades ago.
The greatest danger was that the gap between the mandatory regulations (of 1957) and the desire for broader, and thus more representative, electoral base would cause splits in the Coptic community, which would lead to losses Egypt is not ready for right now.
However, elections have passed, and progress has been made, and a new Coptic pope (Bishop Tawadros) has been selected, through processes which themselves are not entirely agreed upon among Copts partners.
It is no secret that the new Pope Tawadros II is one of the wise Coptic figures, judging by his responses in matters pertaining to the issue of tolerance and co-existence.
Now Copts and Muslims alike hope for more harmony, understanding and appreciation, less escalation, more openness and reconciliation, and a brighter future, with no more exaggeration of events and situations.
Tyranny took centuries to shape up and take root in our culture. Democracy will take years to grow and also take root.
It is important to open our minds for the newcomer: Democracy.