Mubarak's Letter to Coptic Immigrants
why the greeting of Mubarak's Letter to Coptic Immigrants was sent only to the Copts in the Diaspora and why such a letter was never addressed to the Copts in general including those living in Egypt.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Ashraf Ramleh - Copts Rights
The Eastern Christian and Orthodox Churches had their Easter this year on April 19, one week after the Easter of Catholic and Western Christians. The Copts of Egypt celebrated the resurrection of Jesus together with the other Eastern Churches. On this occasion the Egyptian president sent an Easter greeting letter to the Copts in the Diaspora. This letter was read by general consuls in Washington DC, London, and Kuwait. I wonder why that greeting was read only in those three capitals and not the other countries that have Coptic immigrants. Furthermore, I wonder why the greeting was sent only to the Copts in the Diaspora and why such a letter was never addressed to the Copts in general including those living in Egypt.
A few things got my attention while reading such a greeting that I would like to share with Voice of the Copts’ friends. Al Ahram, one of the government newspapers, dedicated its first page to the president’s letter. I would like to emphasize a few paragraphs. The first read’ ” أكد فيها أن أحدا لا يستطيع النيل من وحدة مسلمي مصر وأقباطها الذين يشكلون نسيجا واحدا لمجتمع مصري عريق ومتماسك يتمتع الجميع فيه بكامل حقوق المواطنة, ويؤمنون بأن الدين لله والوطن للجميع.” The first sentence of the above paragraph high lighted that Copts and Muslims are part of one old and united society. I cannot understand why in the third millennium a president still uses the religion to classify the citizens of that state. My question would be what about other faiths, or what about those Egyptians who decide to be atheists? The second sentence indicates that all citizens enjoy their civil rights and an individual's faith is a personnel matter; the country is for all. This sentence confuses me more due to the various cases of negative information coming out of Egypt. Concerning that all Egyptians are enjoying their civil rights without any discrimination is a great attempt to hide the truth. For the sake of information I would like to indicate several instances of discrimination which occurred in the last few months in Egypt: - Certain Egyptian citizens were arrested due to praying without licenses. The arrested were citizens that were not a part of the State religion. These citizens need licenses to pray while others can pray without licenses; they are allowed to pray in middle of the street blocking traffic. - There are over eighteen million Egyptian citizens that do not have the right to access a high political ranking, diplomatic or educational. These Egyptian citizens are considered brainless by the regime from the day of their birth. - Citizens that are arrested have been kept in custody without reason; others are jailed for crimes not committed. Those who are not part of the religious majority are treated more harshly when it comes to sentencing.- Changing your faith is only appropriate when you are changing it to the religion of the majority. In the greeting to the Copts in the Diaspora the president showed his care concerning the unity and peace in Egypt. He increased his tone and promised that the law will be after anyone trying to destabilize the country! This last sentence needs to be deeply analyzed to understand what Mr. Mubarak's message is. I believe if Mr. Mubarak intends to make any radical changes in Egyptian society, it would have been better to address this message to all Egyptians living in Egypt. Since the president sent his message to Copts in the Diaspora his intention was different. Did Mr. Mubarak use the Coptic Easter to threaten Copts? Personally, I hope that my reading between the lines is wrong. Since I do not believe in political correctness, living almost all my life in countries that respect my human rights and beliefs, I must speak my feelings out loud. If the Easter greeting was a threat, we at Voice of the Copts are sending it back in first class mail. Otherwise, we are asking Mr. Mubarak to pronounce his care towards the Egyptian citizens in Egypt in order to gain better results. Dott. Arch. Ashraf RamelahPresident