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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Egyptians muslims and christians clash, 8 injured so far

Here we go again: Eight Egyptians have been injured in clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians in a village south of Cairo. Police said that the violence erupted in the village of Al-Ayat, around 24 km south of the capital. It reportedly followed Muslim anger over the construction of a community centre by the local Christian minority. Muslim residents accused the Christians of seeking to turn the centre into a church. Ohh, how dare they? Kill Kill Kill! Five Muslims and three Christians were wounded in the fighting, but none were believed to be in a serious condition. Sigh....

26 Comments:

At 2/21/2006 02:02:00 AM, Anonymous Jokerman said...

Sandy
Egyptian tolerance has ended. these clashes will increase more & more. Nowadays christanity will be respected as long as it stays in the shadow & submissive or else.
Things werent like this before there, centuries ago muslims & their coptis & jewish brethren used to celebrate together literally, you couldnt tell who was muslim or jewish or christian.
These days are over, intolerance is the rule as the misguided rabble take over blinded by humiliation & prejudism. Do you think the clerics have something to do with the way the situation has become?

 
At 2/21/2006 02:15:00 AM, Anonymous Kevin said...

Hey, but Sandmonkey, you have to look on the bright side as well. Some muslims may have their little differences with christians and jews, but you all love us really. Here we are told what Arabs really think of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

http://www.gulf-news.com/indepth/danishcontroversy/main_story/10020241.html

Now we know how all muslims 'hate the zionism, but love the Jew.'

 
At 2/21/2006 02:42:00 AM, Anonymous Jokerman said...

Kevin
Unfortunately, majority of arabs belive such rubbish like the protocols book, what is more important is that they have excluded logic from their brains when discussing it.
I got that book back in 1991 & found it a load of shit & threw it. I was young at the time but i could easily see it was theatrical.
Most Arabs say they are ok with jews but not with zionists which isnt true, very few would realise & make the distinction.
When a prof talks about economics & mentions a jewish company, i know straight away hes an impostor.
I asked several friends what does a Jewish company mean & never got one answer not half an answer, yet its mentioned all the time & people say it without thinking.
Does it mean a company that employs only jews? Is it a company with the Torah as its charter & its founding president is Moses?
Some say, its a company founded with jewish money, again what does jewish money mean? money owned by jews? money is money, its only religion is Capitalism, while omitng how any company can have shares that are owned by different nationalities which makes it hard to determine what is a jewish company? why isnt there christian companies & budhist aswell? it gets more ridiculous as you move with the conversation further on.

 
At 2/21/2006 02:48:00 AM, Anonymous Kevin said...

The article amused me. Is it a complete lie? Presumably not. The publisher was 'stupid' because he displayed the book at the Cairo Book Fair. The 'sensible' thing would be to just display it on bookstalls and in bookshops - next to the copies of Mein Kampf. I just wonder how much of what this guy wrote he actually believed.

 
At 2/21/2006 04:10:00 AM, Anonymous Sally said...

I was just talking about this at work! People were saying how Egypt is more moderate in it's attitude towards Christians than let's say Nigeria (!!) and I was like really?? I don't think so. Just think of that nun who got stabbed in Alexandria.
And now look at this....
Ridiculous.

 
At 2/21/2006 04:24:00 AM, Anonymous Jokerman said...

Sally
Please be objective & look at this a bit. Yes relations between Muslims & copts have been less than cordial in the past few years but not as hostile as you may imply. Just because of a nun that got stabbed by an idiot doesnt mean all the copts are going to face a similair fate, then accordingly the rise in gate crimes in the US means all muslims there are under a threat of some sort & can be compared with the siituation in egypt.

 
At 2/21/2006 04:39:00 AM, Anonymous Sally said...

I'm not saying that this is common, but I do feel that religious strife has strong potential and has been brewing in Egypt for quite some time. I live next to a church and Sunday mornings are absolutely tense with all the security needed for Copts while they're praying. Why do they need such security just to pray if there wasn't the potential for violence?
But you're right, I was overreacting a bit. Just reading SM's post got me angry.

 
At 2/21/2006 05:15:00 AM, Anonymous Abukhalid said...

I don't think the issue here is religious tolerance. That won't be enough to solve the problem. The problem is much deeper than that in the ME and much of the Third World(Rwanda anyone?) actually. It's the lack of democracy. These cultures have lived by muscle and by the gun for a long, long time. The strong eat the weak. It's all about power. No individual rights to protect you. What protects you is your religious sect or your tribal affiliation or your wealth or your political clout. If you don't have any of these you have nothing. You are fair game. The concept of protection for the weak, women, children, minorities -that can't exist without a culture of democracy and rule of law. The Copts in Egypt are Christian and they suffer yes. But the Darfurians suffer much more and they are Muslims. And the Kurds suffered more and they are also Muslims. And the Berbers. Everyone who is a minority and not a member of a politically powerful group is vulnerable to discrimination and victimization. We live in the jungle. And you cannot talk about tolerance in the jungle.

 
At 2/21/2006 05:34:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Abukhalid, I am just curious here: what do the darfurians or the kurds have to do with this? Or are you trying to point out that they were also getting killed by muslims?

 
At 2/21/2006 07:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intolerance in Egypt is not only in poor-class or "fallaheen" or coutnryside. It's in the middle of Cairo: at my time, Muslims used to send their children to the nuns & priest schools because they were the best (at that time!). Muslims used to attend the weekly mass Christian celebrated, and we used to talk about tolerance and religion similarities, etc. NOwadays, the children of my same classmates, come home reporting what they hear in the courtyard during the break: kids repeat that since they have different religion, they shouldn't play together! my God, 25 years ago, we never thought like this. It's a proof that with years, you can still go backward with your thinking and not progress!!!!!

 
At 2/21/2006 08:25:00 AM, Anonymous AhmedT said...

This is the same exact comment I posted to BP about the same subject, only addressed to Sam :-).

Sam,
I haven't been living in Egypt for a long time, but what do you mean the "Can't build a Church anymore?" Is the government not allowing them (i.e. not issuing them permits) or is this just the local Muslims population bullying their Christian counterparts? If they can get or already have a permit then why isn't the government (police) intervening ? If they can't get a permit to build a church, is there any legal backing to it ? Why aren't Christians challenging this in courts?

Whenever we talk about sectarian tensions in Egypt, I just have this feeling we're not really talking about the issues and we're not really identifying the problems and how to deal with them. It's always about what happened but never why and never in detail enough to draw anything more than an emotional conclusion.

I'm not defending any party here, I really want to get more information about they WHY and the BACKGROUND of the situation.

If you have information about the questions posted above then please post it. I'd be very interested in knowing more; and I'll be the first one to defend the rights of Egyptian Christians once I have enough information.

 
At 2/21/2006 08:43:00 AM, Anonymous AhmedT said...

>>> Abukhalid, I am just curious here: what do >> the darfurians or the kurds have to do with
>> this? Or are you trying to point out that
>> they were also getting killed by muslims?

--- From Sam above in Response to Abukhalid.

Sam,
sigh............

He meant that minorities in general tend to be discreminated against. And Muslim populations in a majority situation aren't different than any other Majority. They are human beings that have biases and prejudices. And in response to your "factoid" about the minorities being "Killed by Muslims" I remind you that other minorities in the world suffered the same (and MUCH more) at the hands of majorities that had nothing to to with Islam. Bosnia anyone ?

For God's sake, some objectivity. You imply that something is deeply wrong with Islam and I disagree. Something is deeply wrong with a ton of "Muslims", I'll give you that much.

I'm also no disagreeing that something is wrong in the Muslims-Christian relationship and Egypt; so read this again before you start drawing conclusions :-D

AT

 
At 2/21/2006 09:08:00 AM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Well AhmedT let me see if I can shed a little light on the issue.

You ask if the government will not allow Christians to build churches. Actually, Muburak just signed a decree that gave authority to repair and rennovate (not build) existing churches to the Governors. In the past, if a group of Copts in a village wanted to build a church they had to receive the direct signature of Muburak himself. This is stipulated in the Ottoman Era Hamoyoni Decree which requires presidential approval. Of course there are no such requirements for mosques.

Regardless, the situation of building houses of worship is no different from years past. Instead of Muburak impeding the construction, rennovation or repair of a church the Governor now does this.

You see, this is one of the Copts biggest problems. They find the inequality when it comes to building houses of worship as one of their biggest problems. And from this specific issue there have been many violent conflicts that have occured over the years.

So when Copts realize that their situation is hopeless they start to construct or repair their churches without approval or permission or whatever. And then this leads to Muslim mobs/fanatics taking matters into their own hands and trying to destroy what they build.

This is the reality that Christians in Egypt live under. Terribly sad.

You say that you would stand next to Egyptian Christians if people were trying to harm them. I hope that's true and I wish more muslims in Egypt would do the same.

The situation is almost dire...

 
At 2/21/2006 10:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of you who wonder where the spirit of tolerance of twenty-five years ago went might want to look at this document, and consider what the Muslim Brotherhood has been doing for the last couple of decades.

http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD109206

I've read a lot over the past few days about blasphemy. The cartoons were not blasphemy, and they were no big insult to the Prophet. This document, however, is the real thing.

Valerie

 
At 2/21/2006 10:40:00 AM, Anonymous AhmedT said...

Egypeter,

What you describe basically means that (be it the Governor or the President) the building of Houses of Worship (be it a Mosque or a Church) is at the discretion of the assigned official (who probably is Muslim in 99.9% of the time) which is ridiculous because I can't think of a possible win/win scenario here for the sitting official.

If he is Muslim and gives permits for Church building he gets accused by right-wing Islamists of a bunch of crap, if he doesn't he is surely discriminating, if he is Christian it even gets trickier ! It's a situation of Damned if you do Damned if you don't. It's ridiculous. There has to be clear rules and guidelines (if there needs to be to start with) to govern the building of ALL houses of worship (Mosques and Churches); these are service facilities for their respective communities and should be built whenever there is a need.


Egypeter,
The Islam I know and will face my creator with in the day of judgment does not preach discrimination. The Islam I know allows me to marry a Christian or a Jew and have her Mother my children ! Could the same religion that tells me to marry a Christian/Jew woman, love her, trust her to be the mother of my children be at the same time asking me to deny her to practice her religion ?! This would be utterly ridiculous wouldn't you say so?

I fully support Egyptian Copts in building Churches and to be given their freedoms if what you outlined in your response is the fact of the matter (I'm not discrediting you, so please forgive my disclaimer, I just don't know enough to decide.)

It is true Egypeter, I will stand by Egyptian Christians if Muslims in any shape, way or form try to wrong them not because its humanitarian of me; its because I'm Muslim and My version of Islam, as outlined above, is against oppression of anyone anywhere under any name tag.

AT

 
At 2/21/2006 10:42:00 AM, Anonymous AhmedT said...

Egypeter,

What you describe basically means that (be it the Governor or the President) the building of Houses of Worship (be it a Mosque or a Church) is at the discretion of the assigned official (who probably is Muslim in 99.9% of the time) which is ridiculous because I can't think of a possible win/win scenario here for the sitting official.

If he is Muslim and gives permits for Church building he gets accused by right-wing Islamists of a bunch of crap, if he doesn't he is surely discriminating, if he is Christian it even gets trickier ! It's a situation of Damned if you do Damned if you don't. It's ridiculous. There has to be clear rules and guidelines (if there needs to be to start with) to govern the building of ALL houses of worship (Mosques and Churches); these are service facilities for their respective communities and should be built whenever there is a need.


Egypeter,
The Islam I know and will face my creator with in the day of judgment does not preach discrimination. The Islam I know allows me to marry a Christian or a Jew and have her Mother my children ! Could the same religion that tells me to marry a Christian/Jew woman, love her, trust her to be the mother of my children be at the same time asking me to deny her to practice her religion ?! This would be utterly ridiculous wouldn't you say so?

I fully support Egyptian Copts in building Churches and to be given their freedoms if what you outlined in your response is the fact of the matter (I'm not discrediting you, so please forgive my disclaimer, I just don't know enough to decide.)

It is true Egypeter, I will stand by Egyptian Christians if Muslims in any shape, way or form try to wrong them not because its humanitarian of me; its because I'm Muslim and My version of Islam, as outlined above, is against oppression of anyone anywhere under any name tag.

AT

 
At 2/21/2006 10:43:00 AM, Anonymous AhmedT said...

Sam,
Sorry for the double post. My bad. Please delete on of them.

AT

 
At 2/21/2006 11:24:00 AM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Well AhmedT - You are a good moral open-minded muslim...just like our buddy Sandmonkey. It's people like you who are needed to help shape Egypt. It's people like you that need to be the voice of Islam and not these crazy people that go around torching churches or burning christian bussinesses.

You are right about the "damned if you do" and "damned if you don't" scenario. But it seems like that the consequences, for people in authority, of discriminating against the Christians isn't nearly as dangerous as discriminating against the islamsists.

It's gonna take a lot of work to change Egypts current society and open it up. It's gonna take the work of Muslims, Chrisitan, men and women all working together.

Anyway, thanks for your kind words and I do not doubt your sincerity. I am sure you would stand next to a fellow Egyptian if they were being attacked for their religious beliefs and I would do the same.

BTW - I've linked an article about the problems regarding the church and the new decree. It's really informative.

http://www.wataninet.com/article_en.asp?ArticleID=5956

 
At 2/21/2006 02:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What has happened is that there is no compassion or mercy for our fellow human beings - our hearts have run cold. How terribly sad it is that human beings have sunk so low.

I've always believed there are those who are good and those who are evil, and the war is waged between and amongst them.

Joanne

 
At 2/21/2006 06:55:00 PM, Anonymous Mohamed said...

The responsibilty of establishing religious or ethnic harmony anytime or place should always fall on the majority, in this case egyptian moslems no matter what. Failing to do so is an implicit admittance that we're a bunch of cowards who take pleasure in picking on the copts just because we could (actually not only for picking on them, but more for not standing up to those picking on them) . If what anon @ 7:48 is saying is true about the kids, well, that might be one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever heard about Egypt. What happened to us? I have no idea.
Seriously, I 100% agree with jokerman, we weren't just like that, we were the exact opposite.

 
At 2/21/2006 07:43:00 PM, Anonymous AhmedT said...

Egypeter,

Thanks :-) I read the article and I think its very informative too. I, for so long, was looking for a Coptic voice to explain to me the situation. I have a couple of Coptic friends here in Toronto by they are always very reserved in talking about the situation (I guess there is an aquired lack of trust when it comes to discussing that particular issue, and I understand why)

One of the biggest problems is our inability to discuss the problems openly. It's such a taboo subject for both sides !

I did bookmark Watani :-)

Egypeter, it would be good if you email me; at least we can get into more of these discussions. I always want to understand and know more about this issue.


One last thing. I'm looking for a translation for the word "Himayouni Edict" in arabic letters (i.e. how is it spelled in Arabic) I know of course what an edict is :-) I want the Humayouni part :-) I'd look to research its origin a bit and maybe trace it back to some source or another in Islamic Fiqh.


Cheers,
AT

 
At 2/21/2006 11:20:00 PM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

"For God's sake, some objectivity. You imply that something is deeply wrong with Islam and I disagree. Something is deeply wrong with a ton of "Muslims", I'll give you that much."


Ahmed, my remark wasn;t an attack against Islam at all. I was just marveling at the very poor choice of examples that AbuKhalid used. I mean u could've used the Hutu and tootsies of Rawanda or the catholics and protestants of Northern Ireland, but the guy goes and choses 2 examples of muslims getting persecuted by muslims to use as his example that christians don't suffer as much on the hands of muslims. That struck me as kinda stupid is all,and I was just being the devil's advocate as usual.

My point is: Perfect your argument. Be careful of the examples you use to support it, because if I can tear it apart, so will others and they will be 1000% more malicious than me.

 
At 2/21/2006 11:25:00 PM, Anonymous AbuKhalid said...

to sandmonkey in response,

There must be a political/cultural climate where you respect other human beings because you believe they are equal to you and have rights that - like yours - cannot be infringed upon - independent of gender, race or religious/political association. We do not have that in the Third World. We don't respect humanity. We respect power. Power from guns, numbers, wealth, political influence, religious affiliation whatever. Nature of the beast. Dictatorship is a system of governance by which the guy with the biggest guns is king. We have no respect for the weak. We believe they have a duty to be subservient to the strong. So we abuse women and children and minorities.
The problem is not religious tolerance. Obviously as a Muslim you believe yours is the true path and everyone is going to hell. That is why you choose this particular faith over others. And Christians believe all of us Muslims are lost souls. And Buddhists think we're all crazy. Not a problem. You can think I'm an infidel, you can think my skin color is ugly, you can think my lifestyle is decayed and immoral, or my culture is repressed and inferior, whatever. You don't have to call me your beloved brother if you really don't like me or people like me. All of this is not a problem if you respect me as a human being and the law protects my individual rights and freedoms. Copts in Egypt are being punished really for being the minority - just like the Kurds in Iraq and the Darfurians and the Berbers etc....In our part of the world your biggest crime is being easy to pick on.
In this kind of climate believe me if there were no Christians in Egypt the Egyptian majority would single out some other minority group to scapegoat. They'd start abusing darker-skinned people or people from a certain region, they'd develop a caste system, whatever. Under certain sociopolitical conditions, the majority will always do that - if it can. And in Egypt there is a system where it can. There is a government which is not doing its duty to protect the rights of all its citizens. And there is nothing to check or balance that. No independant judiciary, no free press, no civil society, no process of law. As I was saying, it's the jungle.

 
At 2/21/2006 11:47:00 PM, Anonymous AbuKhalid said...

sandmonkey,

I mean u could've used the Hutu and tootsies of Rawanda or the catholics and protestants of Northern Ireland, but the guy goes and choses 2 examples of muslims getting persecuted by muslims to use as his example that christians don't suffer as much on the hands of muslims. That struck me as kinda stupid is all,and I was just being the devil's advocate as usual.


I never said that Christians don't suffer as much on the hands of Muslims. I said that not only Christians suffer. All minorities suffer. And so do women and children. And everyone who is suffering deserves protection. The problem seems too deep and ingrained to be resolved by Muslims suddenly remembering they have a lot in common with Christians after all and getting together with Christians in one big Abrahamic group hug so let's not oversimplify. That is all:)

 
At 2/22/2006 04:03:00 AM, Anonymous Jokerman said...

Ahmed
what about a muslim woman marrying a christian or a jew??

 
At 2/22/2006 12:00:00 PM, Blogger scandiwoman said...

AbuKhalid,
I liked your speech, it was touching. I'm from a very safe and stable nordic country where there is an unusual degree of common consensus (our elections are so boring! ;)!) virtually no poverty nor corruption. I've lived half my life abroad, though, and spent a great chunk of my childhood in undemocratic '3rd world' countries so I have an idea of what you're talking about. We took on maids like the locals and they never wanted to work for their countrymen again! Our mindset took them as equals and used to the pushy labour unions and minimum wage laws we just naturally applied it there. I attended the expensive private schools yet my parents didn't mind us making friends with the 'lower class' kids from the vicinity -to the horror of some foreigners as well (who would warn us to keep an eye on our valuables. we were kids, playing and honestly having a good time!) All in all, this inequality has always bothered me. As most of my friends in these countries were from the immensely rich set not only did I learn that money doesn't bring happiness but I do understand them as well -don't like their ignorance but I know it's not malicious. They also just don't know any different.

 

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