• Copts
  • May 15, 2007
  • 5 minutes read

Egyptian Left: Show US True Islam, True State

Egyptian Muslim citizens set ablaze 5 shops, a source of living for families, and burnt 25 houses owned by their Coptic neighbours. The Muslims burned the shops and houses with kerosene, and assaulted their owners with batons and stones. All this was reported by Al-Masri Al-Youm Newspaper about what happened in the southern Giza village of Bamha Al-Ayat district; ten Egyptian Copts had burns and bruises.

The Reason

The reason behind this was that 300 Copts living the village wanted to turn one of their own houses in the village into a church. Someone, reportedly the mosque imam distributed leaflets in which he demanded the Muslims to defend their good-looking village.

Reactions of State Controlled Institutions

Well, this incident may be carried out by a deviant group of people in any country all over the world. Let’s see reactions of the various state-controlled institutions:

The Ministry of Health and Population did not issue any statement regarding the number of injured and nature of wounds. The Minister of Health and Population didn’t visit the injured persons.

The state-owned newspapers didn’t mention this incident; only Al Akhbar newspaper mentioned it in the page of Crimes, as if the aim of the fire was theft or that erupted out of nothing.

The Interior Ministry issued a statement which was at odds with what independent and official media said about it; it stated that the number of burnt houses are three and the number of injured persons are three and that the injuries are light; the statement referred to the victims three times as “members of the Coptic sect” to establish sectarianism in return for citizenship.

In addition to this, the Interior Minister did not go to the scene. In its first reaction, the security services turned off power from all the village to control over the situation; this power outage, I think, horrified other Copts who weren’t burnt.

As for the attitude of the Islamic institution, Al Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayed Tantawi condemned the incident and called it “a sectarian strife” and clarified that the Islamic Sharia respects followers of other religions, allows freedom of belief for the others and that that all citizens are equal in rights and duties. It is noticeable that Al Azhar Sheikh did not comment on freedom of worshipping and establishing places of worship, the core of the issue.

The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) did not issue any statement regarding this; the NDP chief did not visit the injured or even order compensations as is the habit after terrorist incidents.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Reaction

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement in its official English web site in which it condemned the incident and described it as “violence between Copts and Muslims” and quoted, Ahmed Abdou, the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentarian for the constituency Mazghona, in Giza, who said:” The assault contradicts with the spirit of love and fraternity that has been unifying the Copts and Muslims for centuries. And that Islam does not prohibit building churches and does not curb religious freedoms. He added that these exercises aren’t deeply rooted and they will end as soon as people are taught the correct teachings of religion“. This Muslim Brotherhood’s official Arabic web site ignored the incident and no statement has been issued from the MB chairman so far.


In fact, when I reviewed reactions of the various state controlled institutions, I found out that the statement of the MB’s English web site is the most responsible statement. Consequently, I call on the Muslim Brotherhood group to launch campaign of gathering apologies and donations to build a church in Bamha. I suggest that MP Ahmed Abdou leads the campaign because he is the representative of people, and that the campaign shouldn’t be confined to members of the group. It should include all Muslims who know the sound teachings of Islam, and that moderate Muslims contribute to building the church and that MP Ahmed Abdou attends the first Mass of this church.