Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Church: Riot is Connected to Election

The Coptic Church in Alexandria is also saying the attacks by Muslims on St. Gergis Church appear to be about politics:

It was unclear who was giving out the DVD, and church officials, as well as local residents, speculated its distribution may somehow be connected to the upcoming parliamentary elections, where aggravating sectarian tensions could help certain candidates win votes.

"Raising this now is to be looking for a problem to break national unity," the church said in a statement issued Saturday. "We believe that this problem was raised in light of the coming parliamentary elections."
NYT's correspondent has noted an attitude that always bewilder me:
In Alexandria, several shopkeepers and pedestrians spoke of their waning patience for their Christian neighbors, and of a sense that their tolerance has been taken for granted and abused.

"Did we make plays that insult the Christians?" said the pharmacist, Mr. Ali Mahmoud. "They will pay the price in terms of their security, comfort, and now no priest will be able to walk in the streets."

It may be that there is only about one Coptic believer for every ten faithful Muslim, but tolerance is still a mutual thing; Islam may be the official way but the Coptic Church is equally recognized. Can we please therefore try to get away from this notion that the Copts are visitors that ought to behave like guests in the presence of their housemasters? Even if anyone is offended by a DVD? Which very few people actually are:
Though few people interviewed Saturday said they actually saw the play or the DVD, the word on the street was it was anti-Islamic.

Needless to say, scenes of trouble always attract the worst sort: filling your pockets with gold is hardly a mark of the faith you're claiming you're demonstrating to defend:
A shoemaker, who said his name was Muhammad Abdo, said that police first fired tear gas into the crowd, which only served to anger those in the streets. The crowd, he said, then went wild with people turning over cars and lighting them on fire, smashing storefronts and looting a gold shop.

The shoemaker is also revealing a notion of ignorance this nation have to overcome:
"No one will stop until they give a formal apology," Mr. Abdo said, adding that he heard the play denied a central tenet of the Islamic faith - that Muhammad was God's prophet.

In their ignorant bliss, most people can' grasp that if you acknowledge Muhamed as God's prophet, you are a believing Muslim. If you do not, it simply means that you are not a Muslim. Nothing more or less. It does not mean that you deny the Muslim believer his or her right to acknowledge the prophet. Only that you do not. It would be odd if Christians, Jews, Buddhist's and other believers suddenly said God is Great and Mohamed is his Prophet. That would make them Muslims.

Most people haven't thought that far though. They are raised to declare that God is the Greatest and Mohamed is his Prophet; not to question it or to search for other world views. That someone does not subscribe to the same idea is unfathomable. Thus, in their view of the nation, everybody do belive Mohamed is the prophet. Even if they are Coptic Christians. It just means that they are not realizing his importance. Or that they are on the wrong path here and there in their spiritual quest. To this people, saying that a Coptic Christian probably do not think there was another Messiah or Prophet after Jesus is to say that the world is not flat. Equally upsetting.

Fortunately, a lot of people, including the faithful, are better educated than that. But if we are speaking about the rioting masses, this is the level where you have to begin. Link.

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