Rafiq Rules Out Copts Planned Violent Clashes With Military

Rafiq Rules Out Copts Planned Violent Clashes With Military

 Coptic thinker, Dr. Rafiq Habib, vice-president of the Freedom and Justice Party (political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood), ruled out possibility that there were amongst Copts some who deliberately pushed for a bloody clash with the military (SCAF) to get what they demanded.

In a special statement for "Ahram Gate", Habib accused "multiple forces united in their interests to derail the January 25 Revolution" of involvement in the events of Maspero Bloody Sunday.

He saw, in the unfolding of events and some eyewitness stories, signs that "Certain parties tried to take advantage of the Copts’ dignified anger, causing the situation to violent the way it did, with shootings, car-burnings and the loss of such a large number of lives and victims".

"These parties may well be the remnants of the former regime, disaffected business-men and others trying desperately to defend their interests, to disrupt the elections, or prevent the passing of any laws such as the Treason Law or political isolation," he said.
"We should not underestimate those factions, which disintegrated from the a large network of interests into small networks with funds and information that facilitate their interference with the stability of the country, with the help of thugs and bullies who are very much like an armed militia," he added, pointing out that "The issue of sectarian strife is the weakest point in the community, which can be exploited by these factions".

However, Habib did not absolve the government of "its responsibility in providing a favorable environment for these factions to try and undermine the revolution with unsteady lackluster performance unable to resolve many problems".

Habib did not demand that the government should be changed or dismissed, but to expedite the completion of the transition period and the election of constitutional institutions capable of dealing effectively with these issues so-far unresolved, including the problem of the Copts.

He noted that: "There is a scenario always repeated, that starts with a peaceful protest march, and then suddenly things move irrationally towards escalation and unjustified violence like a ball of fire rolling out of control, suddenly to end demonstrations in barbaric bloody nights".

He pointed out that "what happened last Sunday is similar to what had happened in front of the ‘Balloon’ Theatre, where events spread with astonishing speed to Tahrir Square, then to the Ministry of Interior. The same scenario was also repeated in front of the Israeli Embassy and the Giza Directorate of Security". He said: "There are, of course, extremists amongst the Copts, just as there are extremists among Muslims, and even among secular factions of society. But I would rule out the possibility that the Copts have just practiced brinkmanship or tried to push matters to this sticky point to force the military to respond to their demands. It just is not their way of doing things".

He believed that what facilitates the occurrence of such events is the confusing political landscape, "where the political forces are focussing on consolidating their positions before the elections, and on pressuring the military to meet the demands that are sometimes difficult since the military is not so well-versed in political action and, therefore, tends to adopt a more bureaucratic and administrative approach".

Rafiq Habib also explained: "Appropriate solutions require strengthening of the state which is currently passing through its most vulnerable times, and the strengthening of the institutions through elections which must include all state institutions.
Further, there is a need to pass strong legislation that would restore state power and prestige, and to carefully study the law of worship, and to rid it of bureaucratic obstacles: it was rejected by Coptic and Islamic leaders for the impossibility of implementing its provisions".

He noted that "Egypt did go through similar crises and dealt with similarly difficult situations, due to the strength of the state, including the Coptic Conference in 1911, which started a massive dispute between the Copts and Muslims and ended by both sides uniting against the foreign occupier".

Rafiq Habib concluded by praising the statement of the Holy Synod which he deemed: “sober and balanced, as much as possible, despite the great loss of Coptic lives, with the Church realising its truly Egyptian nature and recognising looming dangers that threaten the homeland".