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

The Other Side of the Coin

The trouble-makers in Alexandria deserve to hear that they are doing wrong and why, as expressed here and in other blogs and by religious and political leaders. That said, and since so many tend to see the world as black and white today, we ought to stress that the world is not black and white. In other words: this is not a religious conflict; it is a conflict by troubled people who are hi-jacking their religion for whatever other purposes. True, that is not how many demonstrators see it; they want it to be a fight between Muslims and Christians; good and bad; faithful and not. But that a group of people - even a large group or a majority - feel that it is between black and white does not make it black and white. It means nothing more than that is how they perceive it. That these people perceive it this way is not the same as that is the way it is. In other words: there is no inherent conflict between the two religions just because the troublemakers in Alexandria want to believe there is.

Fortunately, most people know this. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not want to know this. They want everything to be "them against us." And since they choose to define themselves by religion it becomes a conflict between religions. In Alexandria at the moment, the victims are the Coptic Christians. In my eyes, they are innocent victims. The tabloid-talk about an offensive DVD is old rubbish. Adults should know better. But of course, they do not want to know. They are troubled and they need an outlet. Have no illusions that it is only among the Muslim population you find the radical and ignorant. Absolutely not. There is plenty of fanatic Christians as well in this country. Loads of people who don’t know a lot at all. Regardless of religious faith, it is not their fault. It is what poverty does to a nation. It is what happens when the educational system has collapsed. There cannot be any other way when people have been robbed of their opportunities. We should rather ask why they are not more radical. Why they are not more violent. Then there is a question to which we already know the answer: the reason they are not attacking the root of their problems. It is because they are afraid. It is also because they have been brought up on lies. They hit at what they can. It does not hurt them selves as much as challenging what they always have thought is true will. It is their loss. And our biggest problem.

But why is it Muslims, again, who are resorting to violence? Because they are more frustrated? Because the Muslim population is so big it make more noise? A lot of people like to say it is because of faith; that there is something in Christianity that doesn’t is in Islam. I think the history of fundamentalism answer that question; enough autocracies have taken place under the banner of Christianity that we should not have to doubt that all religions can be hi-jacked. It makes judgements by either side obsolete. This is the point where religious and political leaders like to stop. End of discussion. It is the easy escape from the threats that are facing our societies. Instead, we should face up to the question of why, in this particular moment, the violence is taking place under the banner of Islam. Why the religion is hi-jacked. Why, on religious grounds, they are misled. Attempts to answer occasionally surfaces. Al-Azhar is issuing statements by duty and default. So does the Presidency and the Ministry. But when are they going to stop the hatred that is preached in newspapers and on satellite TV and in some places, the mosques? When will it be replaced with talk about the love of God and tolerance?

Or is the problem that those who should provide the alternative do not have the answers themselves, that they simply do not know what to say? I find that very hard to believe (rather: stomach). If that is the case, we are in big trouble. Not because there is not a solution because there is. But because the solution is Change with capital C and such changes do not come easy or without pain.

That, if nothing else, is a notion I share with the demonstrators in Alex.

God Bless.

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