What do Copts of Egypt want, and how to achieve it?
By-Nabil Abdelmalek | 7 March 2012
Topics like “the future of Egypt as a state” may seem weird to Copts. Many people think that the future of Egypt under the rule of the Islamists is in danger, especially the status of Copts under this political current.
However, it seems to me and to others who care for Egypt, that the problem of Egypt is not brand new, and that the rule of the Islamists will not be worse than Mubarak's. The issue is no longer related to persons, but to deep regulations and systems that cannot be changed by changing individuals or groups.
Apart from the disadvantages of both the defunct or current team, it is not that easy to judge them that way, especially that the former regime had left Egypt and its institutions semi-paralysis, and the Egyptian society in general is afflicted by underdevelopment in many ways.
Accordingly, the problem is not brand new, and therefore it needs long time plans to re-build the community if we want to achieve such development for Egyptians; Muslims and Copts.
As for the Copts, they are linked to the whole society, the nature of the state, and its system, and not just the rulers. Also, they suffer from injustice in many ways, which lasted for decades, but recently has gotten worse with the increasing bad conditions of the country and the Egyptians.
The second issue: what do Copts want? It seems obvious to the Copts who have called for their demands for decades, and are still demanding, but no response. Something which raises question as well as anger by many people.
Demands of the Copts are well known, and in short they want to:
- Practice their Christian rituals freely by building churches without hindrance, same as with building of mosques.
- Pass a law of unified personal status of the Christians approved by the Church, and reflects the biblical verses.
- Stop cheating minor Christian girls or kidnapping them and converting them to Islam by force, which requires the return of "advice and guidance sessions" to make sure that they are neither under pressure nor coercion, nor as victims of kidnapping and sex trafficking stories.
- Prevention of discrimination against the Copts in many jobs, especially the leadership positions and marginalizing them in political life, and in political representation on both the national and local levels.
- Stop the aggression against them generally, as well as the associated killings, burning and looting of properties operations that have never had a deterrent trial or compensations, which clearly points to the complicity of all powers, executive, legislative and judicial system.
There may be other details of other important abuses and injustices, which we can’t mention here, as the aim of this article is not to set a detailed list of grievances, but to ask the critical question, which I consider a key to resolve the full implementation of all the problems and demands of the Copts!
This critical question, and the key to the solution, is "How to achieve the just demands of Copts?"
Time have demonstrated that the complaint and asking for our rights had no result, thus, Copts have to reconsider their old and consumed methods by:
- Thinking carefully about these problems in which they live and suffer.
- Making researches about the mechanisms to solve these problems on all levels, and use them effectively.
- Search the mechanisms of solving these problems internationally, and the chances to be used effectively.
There are details of the three points mentioned above, which I am going to talk about in an article to come. I also ask all Coptic activists to present their ideas.
However, in order not to get lost, they should organize themselves inside Egypt and abroad in the form of foundations which are able to create, or use the mechanisms of political and legal institutions, to influence the Egyptian reality to get their “rights”, not "demands" by continuing claiming them!
In other words, the solution will come not only through the establishment of a "civil institution" (That gathers representatives from inside and outside Egypt) to look after the Coptic affairs of the minority (with its all denominations), to cope with all the suffering of the Copts, and to cooperate with national authorities to achieve the legitimate objectives.
The establishment of such civil institution and getting its support from the Copts inside and outside, financially and scientifically, can play a significant role not only in solving the problems of the Copts, but also in supporting Egypt at the political, economic, and scientific level. This is, from my point of view, the sound entrance and the practical way to participate in developing our homeland, Egypt.