Why an Independent Coptic State is Simply NOT an Option
Before I go any further, I'd like to clarify that what I say here is my opinion which I formed after researching the issue best as I could, and discussing it with some of the older members of the Coptic community here in Australia.
Why it's not an option...
1) Strategically, it would be a great mistake. A Coptic state in Upper Egypt wedged between what will be the Islamic north, and the Sudanese Arabs in Northern Sudan, will be the equivalent of painting big red spots on our foreheads, and giving out invitations to the Muslim extremists to attack from North and South!
2) Logistically, it would be a nightmare. Copts currently live in cities and villages all over Egypt. Some have businesses, all attend churches built in all corners of the country. We have monasteries and convents containing sacred relics, from St Catherine's in Sinai to Wadi el Nattroun and all over Masr El Qadima. It's not an option to leave all that behind, so how are we to transfer all this to Upper Egypt?
3) How would we defend ourselves against attacks that are certain to take place? The myth about secret stashes of weapons in monasteries and churches is just that...a myth!
a) Monasteries and churches are always open, and receive worshippers and visitors every day of the year. If anyone wanted to wander around a monastery they're free to. If the police, the military, or state security wanted to investigate and search they welcome to. If this were true, it would be a matter which threatens national security, why hasn't anyone bothered to search?
b) The Coptic church has preserved the faith for 2000 years. One of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ is: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Matthew 26:52. How is reasonable then for priests and monks and servants of Jesus to stash weapons in His churches and near His consecrated altars????
Who is claiming...
A greater insult added to the persecution suffered by the Copts in Egypt, is that Muslim extremists and indeed a lot of our moderate Muslim compatriots have denounced the diaspora Copts the right to speak on their fellow Copts behalf, but have freely given themselves that very right. They speculate and make conclusions regarding Coptic affairs without so much a thought for what we really believe and want.
An example of this is the references quoted by my guest Sara, in response to my request for verification as to why she believes Copts are planning to form an independent state. Let's examine them briefly. My comments will be between brackets:
This page is from an Arabic forum and the topic is the Israeli plan to break up the Arab nation. The members discussing this topic have cited the following page: http://www.bahethcenter.org/arabic/malafat/wathaek/alwathaka_alsohionia.htm
which contains an article by a writer named Mohammad Seif-AlDawla. Mr Seif discusses "The Zionist document for breaking up the Arab nation" which he says was published in an Israeli paper called "Kifonim" in 1982. Mr Seif laments the step taken by Egypt to sign the Camp David agreements which he says took Egypt out of the equation and left Israel to take on the other Arab countries (as if Egypt was the mighty force stopping Israel to begin with?)
The Zionist document apparently says teh following:
ـ في مصر توجد أغلبية سنية مسلمة مقابل أقلية كبيرة من المسيحيين الذين يشكلون الأغلبية في مصر العليا، حوالي 8 مليون نسمة. وكان الرئيس محمد أنور السادات قد أعرب في خطابه في أيار/مايو من عام 1980 عن خشيته من أن تطالب هذه الأقلية بقيام دولتها الخاصة، أي دولة "لبنانية" مسيحية جديدة في مصر...
-There is a Sunni Muslim majority in Egypt, and a Christian minority (8 million) living mainly in Upper Egypt. In his speech delivered in May 1980, president Mohammad Anwar Sadat expressed his fear that this Christian minority will demand an independent Christian state in Egypt.
(Right, so here we have an Israeli, saying that the Muslim president has concerns about a Coptic state. No mention however of where the respected president arrived at this conclusion. No mention that a Coptic personality, prominent or not, gave any indication of this intention)
An article by Mr Mohammad Abdulla AlMo'ti published in the Arabic Times 11-20 September 1992.
Mr Abdel Mo'ti says: analysts are speculating that after the clashes between Muslims and Copts in Upper Egypt, the attacks on tourists busses and the government's apparent failure in managing the earthquake disaster, may result in a civil war which will result in 3 states in Egypt: A Coptic state, an Islamic state and a Nubian state.
(there's too much conjecture and speculation here)
Also:"المحلل للمؤتمر الصحـفي الذي عُقد بالكـنيسة المصرية في مصر، يشعر أنه يحمل تهديدًا مبطنًا بأن الأقباط بإمكانهم طلب الدعم الخارجـي، وأنهم يعانون من الاضطهاد".
Again, he says that from a political analyst's view point, the Coptic conference had hidden implications of the Copts requesting the support of foriegn nations as a result of their oppression.
Then he says: ازدياد الجماعات المتطرفة المسيحية (هناك 14 مجموعة مسلحة)،
The number of armed extremist Christian gangs in Egypt has risen to 14 .
(WOW!!! FOURTEEN?? he doesn't say where they are, who their members are and how they managed to avoid detection by the state security forces, when they're obviously known to a journalist like him)
Why would they want to claim it...
In my opinion, it seems Anwar Sadat made that claim back then to divert attention from Camp David. It's no secret that he angered the masses, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, by merely shaking hands with the enemy, let alone signing a peace treaty. What to do? What to do?
Support fundamentalist Muslim gangs, give them another enemy to hate...this time an easy target so they can vent their anger successfully...THE COPTS. But how to arouse their ire? AHA! look out, they're storing weapons and they want a separate state!!
So successful was he, that the carnage increased in rate and in ferocity. He also paid a high price for his decision. Those very same gangs assassinated him. However, it seems he had the easy way out, while the Coptic community are still losing children, churches and freedoms til this day.