Thursday, March 03, 2005Copts Demonstrations
Another Copitc riots erupted in Egypt almost a week ago... this time it's not for protesting a priests wife converting to Islam but the conversion of two young Coptic women. I don't think these women were forced to convert or anything like some people might claim, they might be attracted to Islam whether through being convinced with its principles or being lured by a money incentive... we don't know really but whatever made them convert it was their choice. Now, if they were underage their families have the right to their return... I'm not going to discuss the legality of the issue because simply I no nothing about that particular part of the law. BUT these two are women, they are Doctors, they are "adults" so their families have no right whatsoever of claiming them and the Police have every right to protect them without handing them to their families or the church who might use force to "de-convert" them. (I witnessed similar cases). There will be religious counseling form both sides to make sure the women made the right choice. This makes the Coptic riots absurd since we are working here with the freedom of religion issue but I can really understand where the Coptic anger is coming from.
I might anger a lot of rigid people by what I'm going to say now, as I will compare religions to commodities and the Priests, Imams, and Clerics to salesmen. (sorry but I'm a marketing person after all). In order for any commodity to compete (and in this case exist) in a market, there must be competitive environment. For Christianity this competitive environment does not exist in Egypt with the Islam monopolizing every type of media and laws. For example, in TV there are no Christian programs except for airing the Xmas mass while Islamic programs are daily and in dozens... in Newspapers there are many pages dedicated for Islamic teachings daily, this is not available for Christianity except when every once in a while when a Priest writes an article that's usually political. Even on the Egyptian Satellites "Nilesat" there are four Islamic teaching channels (Wahabi sect I might add) and nothing for Christians... Copts had to launch a channel on the European "Hotbird" satellite. Another example, in the Egyptian law, a Muslim can build a mosque with a permit obtained from district authorities in 3 hours, while a Christian need to get a permission from the President that might take years to obtained or rejected.
Another thing that upsets me whenever we land on a Christian feast or something we hear the people on TV say "we congratulate our Coptic brothers...". The word "brothers" here upsets me, because I feel it's not sincere (or maybe it is) but it's meant to alienate the Copts... we use the word "brothers" to refer to our Arab neighbors but that should not be the case with Copts because they are us or they are one of us, so stick with the "Merry Christmas" only.
Christians feel that they are not given a fair ground that's why they are angry and they became sensitive and sometimes irrational. And let's not forget what we as Muslims will do if we had a convert on the other side... It will turn ugly I'm afraid, meanwhile we cheer converts to Islam in every media as if they were some kind of war heroes.
Finally, my message to fellow Muslims, put yourselves in your fellow countrymen "Christians" places, if you have confidence in your product you have nothing to be afraid of by giving Christians a chance of marketing theirs... as for me, I'm a satisfied Muslim religion consumer I have nothing to worry about, so play it fair and let us move past this sensitive coexistence.
And God bless Egypt.