- November 4, 2007
- 8 minutes read
Egypt’s Copts, Muslim Brotherhood Reject Copts Problems Solved Abroad
The US city of Chicago hosted on Saturday, October, 20th, a conference entitled “The Coptic Issue…A New Treatment”, organized by a group of Copts in diaspora topped by engineer Adli Abadir and included a number of top Christian figures.
The conference stirred many controversies, the most prominent of which was the statement issued by the Coptic movement “Partners for Homeland” which strongly criticized such a conference, pointing out that problems of Egypt”s Copts must be solved inside the country, without any intervention from any foreign powers and that such issues must be discussed on an Egyptian table ” in closed doors against those trying to harm homeland security and against any risk of internationalizing the issue”, according to the statement.
Regarding his views towards discussing Coptic issues abroad, Dr Rafik Habib, a top the Coptic intellectual said in a phone call:” Those organizing such conferences want really to help Egyptian Copts, and they make use of their presence abroad to do so.”.
“But the method adopted is wrong. They adopt the view that the Egyptian ruling regime is currently following the US administration in all its decisions. This is actually true. But the Copts in Diaspora resort also to the US administration so that the Egyptian regime succumbs to US pressures and respond to their demands of solving the problems of Egyptian Copts. This is actually a wrong method of thinking”, said the Coptic thinker.
Habib went on to explain that:” The Egyptian regime is trying- through its allying with the US administration- to secure its an maintain its powers, a relation of mutual interests and nothing more. While the problems of the Copts in Egypt are societal problems which mainly concern the Egyptian people. Consequently, it should e solved inside Egypt and by the Egyptian people only”.
The top Coptic intellectual approved statements issued by the coordinator of the Coptic movement “Partners for the sake of Homeland”, Samuel Ashari, in which he said that the US administration uses the Copts as a card of pressure on the Egyptian regime to make upt ist mind towards specific political files. Habib said:” The US administration never cares about the Copts” conditions in Egypt . It cares only for its interests. The US slogans around democracy and human rights are only slogans which are used to exercise a pressure on governments. It only halts the pressure sometimes and exercise it at other times. But this never means that it wants to solve the Copts” problems in Egypt “.
Habib saw that any solution for the problems of the Copts must be made inside Egypt , adding that it is actually related to establishing a state that achieves justice among all. But, unfortunately, we still lack this kind of state.
He also pointed out that the problem lies in an internal political system. ” Most Egyptian people- not the Copts only- suffer from unjust conditions. Therefore, we want to reach a state that achieves justice for all people”.
However, he added that the real problem is that “we do not know specifically who is the one that can solve such problems. The problems facing Egyptian people- including the Copts- are problems which are in the hands of the government. When political parties convene to discuss these problems, they realize that they do not have the ability field specific solutions because of the ruling regime”.
“The real problem is that the Egyptian public opinion and people can”t exercise any pressure on the ruling regime to improve their conditions. The real solution for the time being is to form popular movements that may exercise pressures on the ruling regime, in addition to reaching an Egyptian social consensus along the national spectrum to campaign for the problems on the ground- including the Copts” problems- and to find appropriate solutions for them and to demand the ruling regime to change”, said the Coptic intellectual.
He saw also that any intervention from any foreign power- specially the US administration- may lead to contaminating relations between Muslims and Copts, particularly because Arabs and Muslims consider the US administration as an enemy, a true view of course. He stated that resorting to the US government is undoubtedly rejected on the popular level and will have a passive impact on the Islamic-Coptic relations.
Asked about the controversial repeated call launched by supporters of engineer Adli Abadir, the leaders of the Copts in Diaspora, of recommending a militia among the Copts inside Egypt , Habib said:” These are unrealistic and unacceptable ideas and they are inapplicable as well. Thus they are calls in the vacuum”.
“This is because Egypt isn”t based on a sectarian system and forming militias means that a sectarian war breaks out”, said Dr. Rafik Habib, adding that problems of the Copts are mainly due to the ruling regime, not the Egyptian society”.
“We can”t deny that there is a growing phenomenon of fanaticism lurking in the Egyptian society, but this can”t be solved through forming militias. The idea of forming militias is totally rejected and it will not happen in Egypt at any time” added Habib.
For his part, Dr. Essam El-Erian, the chairman of the political section inside the Muslim Brotherhood group supported what was said by Dr. Rafik Habib and “Partners for homeland” movement, saying:” I support voices of national Copts who reject exploiting any rows taking place inside Egypt or any local problems to impose interests of other foreign countries”.
“The escalation of conferences organized by Copts in Diaspora, harms Egyptian interest, and harms even the interests of the Copts themselves. It is to the benefit of the Copts to discuss their problems in a national framework and not to consider themselves as a minority. The Copts shouldn”t see themselves as a minority, because this is untrue and may harm Egypt ” said Al Erian.
“If they were a minority, I think that they are the happiest minority in the world due to their guaranteed rights, except for issues imposed by the Muslim majority and the constitution” he added.
“There is a real injustice which is exercised by the government on all citizens- Muslims and Christians. Consequently, the Christians feel that they oppressed in some issues. This is true, but if it is put in its general framework, it will be so much less than its current”, said the chairman of the MB political section.
The top MB leader added that:” The true Islam secures all rights for Christians. The Quran advises us not only to deal with them in a good way, but also be tolerant and benevolent with them. Our Islamic culture orders us to deal with them with more than justice”.
Al Erian said that” establishing and the right use of this Islamic culture in the society mainly guarantee that every one living in the society will enjoy equal and fair rights”.
Pope Shenouda III, the Coptic Pope of the Patriarch of the See of St. Mark in Alexandria, urged in a speech in front of 35000 citizens and 35 bishops and archbishops of the orthodox church, in the saint Anba Bishay monastery the Copts to” be tolerant and not to respond to wrongdoers”. He also advised them not to seek force to restore their rights, and that they should work for gaining their enemies and making them friends. Some Coptic sources linked these speeches with the occasion of holding the conference of the Copts in Diaspora.
Coptic sources declared that pope Shenouda decided to carry out his tour in Upper Egyptian cities to coincides with holding the conference of the Copts in Diaspora and that he chose to respond to those taking part in the conference through calling on Copts to be tolerant, not to respond to wrongdoers and not to seek force to restore their rights.