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Copts in the eyes of the Constitution and the President

By-Naseem Ebaid Awad | 5 March 2012

 After the elections of the People's Assembly and Shura Council, come the election of a new president and the selection of the founding committee for the Constitution, then the referendum, followed by accepting the Constitution. Yet, I can’t discuss the Constitution in this article: Mainly because it’s not the choice of us, the weak minority, and whether it has happened intentional by "Elbeshry" and his Committee or stupidly and ignorantly, there is nothing left to do. What we have now is the election of the president and setting the constitution. But before we discuss what Copts are going to do, we should think about all what happened to Copts to set it clear before everyone that these events is planned carefully, especially before electing the president and writing the Constitution. So, What happens to the Copts? 

First, there is a war agianst churches in the villages and cities by demolishing or burning, preventing priests from entering their churches, occupying places of churches by force, and buildings on the lands of churches. Second, strange Christian girls kidnapping in large numbers, with no restraint, whether the girl was aged or under age, no one cares! Simply what happens is kidnapping a girl for a certain period then security sends for her family telling them that the girl has convert to Islam. Yet, the family has no right to object! Third, making a deliberate problem, such as a relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman and proving it by photos, and the result is the displacement of the Copts from their country, and robbing their money. Fourth, charge of defamation of Islamic religion, not all religions. As "Abu Islam" as well as many other people publicly insult Christianity , and in all types of media, but no account! It’s so common today to charge Christians of defamation of Islamic religion, especially for known Coptic symbols, such as the businessman " Sawiris ", and so on. I may have also avoided mentioning many other actions which may be rated as abuses for Copts. Consequently, does this aim at affecting the next presidential election and writing the Constitution? 
Choosing the next president and writing the Constitution are critical issues for Copts. I mean Copts and not church leaders, for problems like building a church or Law of Personal Affairs are Coptic problems‏, the fact that it related to the new president, but we must add these files to MPs to issue these laws. I hope to prevent the church from fighting this civil war; as we insist on the civil state, putting the religious institutions away from the management of the country. Harsh and painful was the Copts’ experience with the previous three military presidents, or even a war against their Coptic people that reached forcing studying Islamic religion as basic subject at schools, and the establishment of Al-Azhar University, colleges and schools all over Egypt, while making it limited for Muslims with all its privileges. As well as the nationalization of Coptic economy which represented about 75% of the Egyptian economy, by "Gamal Abdel-Nasser", and sowing the seeds of sectarian strife all over "Egypt", and the persecution of Christians publicly by “A Muslim President of a Muslim country” (Anwar Al-Sadat’s speech), and writing so in the country's constitution, and allow sectarian massacres to happen that is planned by security of the state, such as those of El Khanka and Elzawia Elhamra, and then insulting and throwing the leaders of the church, headed by the Patriarch of the Copts, in prison and away from his official residence. Finally, a president who turned the country into a police state for thirty years, enjoying the games of sectarianism, killing the Copts, demolishing and bombing their churches. What entertaining games to the Minister of the Interiors, blessed by the President!! Sixty years that left cracks deepened more and more until they reached the graves of the Coptic martyrs, under an individual ruling, with no equality between citizens before the law, and leaving the country governed by discrimination, especially among Christians and Muslims in all walks of life, and in front of the judiciary, which has permitted the killing of innocent Copts and freedom of the murderers.  All this painful history and memories of our martyrs’ blood make us carefully select the next president, Coptic organizations should meet with the candidates, and candidates should meet with Coptic people, to answer questions about such tragedies files of the Copts and their rights of citizenship.  I think it does not matter who the person is, but it is important to be outside of the military or the police foundations, not from those who stirred up sedition in "Egypt" through "Al-Jazeera" channel or any other... All we care for is “How does he see the Copts? What is he doing for the active citizenship for all? Is he going to put Christians equally with the other citizens without discrimination? how does he see the contribution of the Copts in the new civil state. 
We hope that we are on the verge of political life which will achieve full respect for the law, the Constitution, and the freedoms that we expect which will be protected by the Constitution. All of us hope now in the Constitution of our country after the darkness of the former sixty years, and it is all about the committee that will write the Constitution. The Copts would not be the majority, but they should be represented not only by a bishop, but there are Copts scientists and law-makers, and also representatives for the three million Copts living outside Egypt. I don’t think the Copts should be less than 15 percent. 
For the Constitution, I believe we have a perfect one that works for a modern civil state; I mean the constitution of 1954. I don’t think we will find today as wise and patriotic scientists and scholars as those of the fifty who put that Constitution, which was detained by the Revolutionary Command Council. 
Overall, Copts don’t agree with the second article in the previous Constitution to be written a second time in the new one. Secondly, we do not agree on applying the Islamic law in the Constitution, nor any one that prevents Christians of "Egypt" from enjoying the full citizenship. I hope Copts everywhere should participate with all their organizations in choosing the President and writing the Constitution, and work together as a one hand, and a clear goal: freedom, democracy, full citizenship and justice for all. Our eyes must be focused on the current significant stage to choose the President and write the Constitution, and to protect the Copts from disasters that may affect our country for long time.
 
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