الجمعة، فبراير ٢٤، ٢٠٠٦

مصر ليست وطنا نعيش به و لكنها وطن يعيش فينا

Egypt is not a home in which we live...
But rather, a home that lives within us.

That's what the title of the post means in English for those who can't read Arabic. They are also the words made immortal by our shepherd Pope Shenouda the third. As a matter of fact I used to think that it was the pope himself who said that, because I so often heard him saying it growing up in Shoubra. (Forgive me but I don't remember who originally uttered these words. I just remember it was a prominent Coptic personality)

That's how we feel about Egypt Mohammed. We, the Copts have a part of Egypt in our hearts no matter where we go. Whether we live in Egypt or abroad. Whether we are young or old, teachers, builders, mothers, children, doctors, engineers, labourers, you name it. It is undeniable and you can see it in a Copt's face.

It is true I've lived here in Australia for many years, and I love this great country too and feel loyalty and respect to my new home. But the love I have for my old home is always there.

I take offence to your implication we don't understand or that we're trying to smear our country's reputation. There's something that keeps coming up in Egyptian media about this too:
"why do we need to air our dirty laundry for the world to see"

And to that we say: "why have dirty laundry to begin with?"
"why don't we clean our laundry ourselves?"

The Copts of Egypt have endured 1400 years....1400 long painful years of subjugation, humiliation and oppression in the name of Islam. We have shown goodwill and loyalty only to be rewarded with thuggery and hatred. We faught the Crusaders alongside the Arabs, and we faught the British alongside the Muslims, we faught the Israelis away from Sinai alongside the Muslims. We always faught alongside our Muslim compatriots, believing promises of a happy independent home land where we can live together as equals. We never regretted fighting to protect our beautiful home...but

What did we get in return?? I'll tell you what we got:

* We lost our language (they cut our tongues off in fact if we dared speak Coptic)

* They burnt the Alexandria library

* They forced us to wear huge wooden crosses and forced our women to wear prostitutes dresses

* We weren't allowed to ride horses, we had to ride donkeys...Backwards sometimes, just so the Muslims could have a laugh

* We were told either convert, pay a tax or we kill you

(all the above was done before the Crusades, so you see even after all that we still gave Islam the benefit of the doubt)

* The Hamayoni decree: presidential approval required to build/mend a church

* El Zawya Elhamra attacks

* El Kosheh massacre

* Church of The Virgin Mary in el Menya was attacked because the Muslims were offended by the ringing of the bells

* A newly built in El Oboor city was attacked by the POLICE. They claimed the church didn't have a permit

* State security police raided a church service in St Mark's Church in al Tor Sinai. They kicked the worshippers out, desecrated the altar and stole the Holy Altar Vessels (usually made of gold or silver)

* Our Muslim neighbors attack us for daring to pray (Udayssat and Ezzbat Wassif) while their Saudi fellow Muslims are ensuring the nightclubs of AlHaram have a steady trade. But no, a church where people pray is more offensive to them

* Books of the nature of those listed in post "How Enlightening" that insult our faith. Not to mention the abuse we hear out of loudspeakers of mosques and the tapes they play in minibuses and taxis

* Our daughters are being taken away and forced to convert

* The army...our country's army attacked one of our charitable organisations...a center for disabled children!!!

And many more heart wrenching and painful attacks on our churches, homes and businesses.

If we mistakenly gave the impression of weakness because we have been abiding by Jesus Christ's message of loving our enemy and turning the other cheek...we're sorry. We are not weak. We are the children of Jesus Christ and of beautiful Egypt. Jesus taught us to be humble, but never taught us to be weak. We'll never use arms or force, we'll never shed blood. But we won't take the abuse anymore. We'll shout it from the roof tops Mohammed, we'll keep telling our story. You can't possibly deny us that right as well.


Blogger Egypeter said...

Thank you Thank you Neferteeti!!!

I don't think anyone could have articulated it any better!

Mohamed - In the spirit of friendliness, please refute this post. Now, when I say "refute" I mean proof with evidence and facts not fallacies and rumors

Are any of these crimes lies? Did they happen? Do Egyptians know that these incidents OCCURRED?

I hear about "crusade this" and "crusade that" from muslims but what about the 1400 years of muslim crusades against Copts in Egypt? How come I don't hear a damn word about it??!

فبراير ٢٤, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Mohamed said...

انتوا قاعدين على البلوج ولا ايه...كل اما اعمل preview يظهر لي تعليق جديد...

The adress is really really good and indicates a great meaning.

The part about loving Egypt is no boubt..

But what indicates the history 1400 years..Islam entered Egypt in 640(before about 1360 years)..So what you meant by struggle you faced(by they)?you should have meaning Romans..yes I know that however they were also Christians,but they were from a different churh;so they were killing and fighting against the Egyptian church..
But if you were meaning Muslims,please don't.
Prophet Mohammad said:"إذا افتتحتم مصر فاستوصوا بالقبط خيرا ، فإن لهم ذمة و رحما ",when Amr Ibn Al-aas entered Egypt Christians helped him,and Islam started to spread in Egypt after 200 years,how Muslims burnt Alex library however the prophet excite to ask for science,the story when son of Amr hit a coptic shows the justice of Islam..etc

And if you consider Muslims as the enemy,so make sure that they don't,as Qur'an commended Christian in more than one place e.g 3:75,3:(113:115),5:(82:85)
In contrary,my Prophet is sweared in bibles which you claimed that it's from the Only God(verses about Prophet Mohammad,not all of it is corrupted)

By the way,Islam invite you to love your country,so as I love my religion so much;I love Egypt and ready to provide my spirit which Allah gave me to protect it.

Related links:

فبراير ٢٤, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Sorry for writing in Arabic in my last comment..
the apologize is for visitors who don't speak Arabic..as in Islamic teachings we're ordered when we are a number of Arabian people and among us a non-arabian and we speak his language;we should speak his language..

فبراير ٢٤, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Bent El Neel said...

Hi Mohamed
sorry, your comment in Arabic isn't showing up for some reason.

We don't consider Muslims as an enemy. What gave you that impression? Is it the "love thy enemy" command I mentioned? That's a known command by Christ that he gave us to show the highest level of love one can express. If you love those who love you then that's nothing special, everyone does that. But loving those who don't love you is a higher level. Loving your enemy, enemy being someone who wishes you harm, that's the highest level.

Incidentally, you haven't ever addressed a single incident I cited in this blog, except to tell me how wonderful the prophet was to Christians and how great Islam is and about the infinite mercy of the early Muslims.

Look Mohamed, you still respond with the same answers. I tell you what's happening to Copts right now, not far from where you live...and you tell me "but the prophet said such and such and the Quran commands such and such"

OK, so the prophet and the Quran command love and peace and co existence. That just means you have a huge problem on your hands with all those people running around abusing, killing, stealing, desecrating places of worship...etc. What are we going to do about it? Is the solution to keep our mouths shut and take whatever abuse they dish out, just so we can protect the country's image or Islam's reputattion???

You needn't tell me how lovely Islam is. Tell them. Tell them they're wrong. I don't mean specifically you but all the good real muslims who believe what you are saying. You need to stand up to them if you really believe they're wrong. If you truly believe they are misguided. Teach them what you are telling me about Islam.

Because it's wasted on me Mohamed. I'm never going to convert, and I don't care if Islam is a haven if its followers are killing my people. I'm sure families of murder victims don't care that the law prohibits murder...they care that they lost a loved one.

Finally, kindly stop telling me that my Holy Bible is a fake. If you want to enter into a religious debate about whose religion is right and whose religion is wrong, this isn't the right place for it. If you think you read a couple of books that told you how misguided Christians are, there are hundreds of books that disprove everything the prophet of Islam said. Lets not go down that road. It doesn't, nor should it matter, what we believe in. What matters is that we should be able to accept each other, respect each other and live together in one world without conflict.

فبراير ٢٤, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Why you took the feeling that my aim from this discussion is to make you convert?!!
I'm just talking with another one who has different ideas to know more about the world around me.

Christians shouldn't take it as offensive,but should think about moderate books of them,and ask themselves:Are they logical?
And as I said:If any body have a word about Islam,he can say it but just don't use bad language and critic calmly,and Muslims will defend Islam(by writings not violence)

And another point..If you see a wrong thing and hope to tell the one who believe in this thing that it's not correct,but in the same time you want to keep his feelings,Will you leave him,saying that his feelings is more important than correcting his ideas?!!

It was my reply for another one on my blog,and then I ask you a question: If you saw your friend on a wrong position(at the least from your point of view),what will you do?

فبراير ٢٥, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Egypeter said...

Hi Mohamed -

I would like to address some of your comments:

"So what you meant by struggle you faced(by they)?you should have meaning Romans..yes I know that however they were also Christians,but they were from a different churh;so they were killing and fighting against the Egyptian church."

I want to explain to you a little something about Coptic hisotry.

When the Arab Invasion of Egypt occurred in the 7th century Egypt, which was entirely COPTIC, was under the yoke of the Byzantine (Constantinople) Empire. The Copts sufferred greatly under their dominion. The Byzantines did not aknowledge the Coptic Patriarchs and would install a Byzantine Patriarch to rule over the Copts. Of course this was the way that Constantinople could "control" Egypt. This was very very troubling for the Christians of Egypt as they were unable to have control over their own church. SO, when Amr-Ibn-Alass came to Egypt as a conqueror he promised the Copts that they would have authority over their own church. The Copts wanted the Byzantines out badly so the Copts sided with their conquerors not realizing the consequences of their decision. For a time, while Arab/Muslim rule was growing in power in Egypt, relations b/w the Arabs and Copts were cordial. But as soon as their power and number were strong enough the persecution of Copts began. And it was a TERRIBLE persecution that the Copts endured. All the points that Neferteeti brought up were FACTUAL. Did you know that the Arabs really did cut off the tongues of Copts to eliminate our language/culture?? Did you know that? And the Arabs truly did make Copts walk around with 10 pound crosses around their neck to humiliate them? The Copts were called "Blue bones" because of the bruise that the cross around their neck caused. The HISTORICAL stories of humiliation and persecution go on and on...I have more if you'd like.

Another point:

You also speak of the Roman persecution against the Copts. There is no disagreement there because the Romans were TERRIBLY vicious with Egyptian Christians. Emperors like Diocletian, Septimus Severus, Caracalla personally came to Egypt to murder Copts. You also mention that the Romans were Christian during their persecution of the Copts...well, that's not true. They were pagans and did not believe in God during the time Romans ruled Egypt.

So let's take a look at the history of the Copts and who they have been persecuted by:

1)It began with the Romans. After the conquest of Alexandria by Julius Ceasar the Romans persecuted the Copts who were very strong and very active in Egypt AND the new Christian world.

2)After the Roman Empire failed, control of Egypt went to the Byzantine Empire. Even though they were Christian the persecution of Copts was incredibly severe. The Byzantines considered the Copts heretics and were intent on converting them to the Eastern Rite of Orthodoxy. There were continuous problems b/w the Byzantines and Copts during the Byzantine rule of Egypt.

3)Arab Invasion of Egypt passed the torch from the Byzantines to the Arabs. Persecution was terrible.

4)The Crusades. Another epoch where Copts were mercilessly killed. Abouna Tadros Malaty says this time was possibly the worst time in the history of the Copts. You see we were stuck in the middle. The Crusaders sadly considered the Copts heretics and the Arabs of Egypt thought the Copts were traitors because they believed in the Cross that was emblazoned on the shileds of the Crusaders. SO, they were persecuted on BOTH ENDS!

So I hope you can understand why Copts get angry when they hear that there are no problems in Egypt b/w Copts and Muslims. And since the Koran mentions a few verses here and there that that's proof of the great relations b/w all people in Egypt...it's simply not true.

I think Bent brings up a good point. The Copts are not going to convert the muslims to Christianity and the muslims sure aren't going to convert the Copts to Islam. The Muslims have been unable to convert the Copts for 1400 YEARS...I'm sure it is not going to happen now.

So the bottom line - Both groups need to figure it out. They need to figure out how they can live peacefully with each other...without burning their churches, abducting their women, killing their children and CONSTANTLY CONSTANTLY slandering their religion.

Thanks. If you have any questions about the points I bring up please ask.

فبراير ٢٥, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Hi egypeter,

No,thanks I don't have any questions,it's a good article,you should have joined Faculty of Literature section History:),
but could you give me neutral sources(like historical websites)and not even Muslim or Copts!

I completely understand why you became angry,and the same thing will happen to me if it was said that there is no killing and crimes against innocents in Islamic world,
but I didn't completely deny it,I'm just saying that majority position is that relations is good,and who said that I don't hate events which I hear about which harm Christians or Muslims!!!I love my religion so much and it tells me to be kind with all people and to love them and to argue them peacefully and mercifully,
and as for the rest bad relations;it may be caused because of misunderstanding of religion(from both sides) and on the other hand,I think(from my point of view)that a society which has people from different ideas may has some problems,and victimes from both sides.So the role of the government is to calm these problems and treat justly with both sides,and the role of both sides is to raise knowledge of other side about their beliefs and habits.

And I didn't said that Qur'an spoke about Egyptian position,No,I just said that it tells Muslims that Christians(as a special position)should be treated well..so when a Muslim treates a Christian badly he will be the(Khaseem)of the Prophet in day of judgement(as the Prophet said)

I have a word about your statement about converting between two religions...I think that I will be so egotist,if I was on the right way and know that my brother on the wrong way and left him!!

At the end I apologize if I insulted you or your religion or if I caused harm to you,and ask Allah to forgive me if I did wrong.

Thanks,and best wishes,

فبراير ٢٦, ٢٠٠٦  
Anonymous غير معرف said...

Yes, it is H.H. Pope Shenouda who said it

فبراير ٢٦, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Mustafa said...

Dear Friends,
1st of all I want to correct a definition people lately misunderstood badly. The word copt is from New Latin Coptus, which is derived from Arabic قبطي an Arabisation of the Coptic word kubti (Bohairic) and/or kuptaion (Sahidic). The Coptic itself is derived from the Greek word Αἰγύπτιος, aiguptios: "Egyptian", from Αἰγύπτος, aiguptos: "Egypt". There are some theories which explains why The Greek called Egypt this name. One of them is that the Egyptians themselves called their lands Ki-met (The red land). Other theory claims this name refers to some of Ham's descendants who is Noah's son.

This means that Coptic doesn't means Egyptian Christians. All those who lived in this country is simply Coptic. & When Muhammad The Prophet said that Hadith he simply meant any Egyptian. Those Arabs who came to Egypt, settled down in Egypt & were mixed with Egyptians are also Copts.

No one can deny that Christians in Egypt suffered a lot from Muslims mainly through The Fatimid, Mamluks & Ottoman rules in Egypt. Everyday we discover something tells us about a new way in humiliating them. But the comparison between that & what Romans did in Egypt is so unfair.& If you really read history you will discover that back on these eras not only Christians suffered this humiliation but also Sunni Muslims through the Fatimids.

Also if we really want to live with each other in peace & harmony we should forget all the past. Then we should really think about the relationship between Muslims & Christians in Egypt.

The idea of not accepting conversations between us in religion really scares me out. Because let's face it, if I died while I am practicing the wrong religion then I might get damned from salvation. I always remember something my prophet said one. He said that if god has a son then I should be the 1st to believe in that. Simply this means that Muslims & Christians really should talk about what the believe. Through history there were hundreds of conversions from each side as a result to these conversations.

Now many Muslims might get offended because the Christian's conversion campaigns. I don't think that there is any problem in that. But in the other side Christians must never feel discomfort with Muslims conversions ( I am talking about the two lately incidents that happened in Egypt). Christians should never accuse Muslims of kidnapping their children & force them to convert.

Mosques don't really need permission to be built. I dream that someday Churches get the same facilities like mosques.

At last I have to say that none of our dreams will be accomplished if we didn't really have the well to accomplish them. Both religions believe in love & believe that god is love. We all should ask god for mercy & salvation. We all should ask god for guidance.

فبراير ٢٦, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Bent El Neel said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Sorry I haven't been ignoring you, I've just been a little unwell. I have so much to say but I gotta go now. You;ll hear my reply in a couple of days.
Peace be with you until then.

فبراير ٢٧, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Bent El Neel said...

Hi Pete, Mohamed, and Mustafa
I have replied to your comments in a new post dated 28/02/06 titled: to Peter, Mohamed and Mustafa.
See you there :)

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