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The Coptic quarter

Youseef Sidhom | 3 February 2011
I have never reviewed a book in this space; book reviews have their special place on the literary page and are reviewed by specialised staff. Yet today I intend to review a book and I have a very special reason for doing so. The Muslim-Christian solidarity, which followed the heinous bombing at the Church of the Saints in Alexandria on New Year Eve killing more than 24 and wounding some 90, should be fully exploited to effect imperative change, and should never be left to lose steam. Candid dialogue is pivotal in achieving that end since it exposes the hardships and grievances Copts endure day in day out, which should in turn fortify the public opinion calling for the enforcement of equality and citizenship rights. For its part, the State should initiate measures to reform the flawed conditions Copts suffer under. .. More

Egypt’s Bumbling Brotherhood

Others | 3 February 2011
AS Egyptians clash over the future of their government, Americans and Europeans have repeatedly expressed fears of the Muslim Brotherhood. “You don’t just have a government and a movement for democracy,” Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, said of Egypt on Monday. “You also have others, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, who would take this in a different direction.” .. More

Egypt’s anger

Youseef Sidhom | 23 January 2011
The Coptic anger which exploded in the wake of the New Year Eve bombing at the Church of the Saints in Alexandria was fully justified. It is my firm belief that this anger went beyond the direct crime and its horrifying outcome, and extended to cover a long history of blatant discrimination against Copts, marginalisation, and inequality. However, I also reject the destructive, tumultuous, mobbing wrath; there can be no excuse for outlaw fury. Copts need to understand they are not alone in their anger and grief; Egypt in its entirety has proved it is also grieving and wrathful. The Coptic grievance has fused into the national concern, and it is of the utmost importance that this national endorsement should not be lost... More

Pity the Christian Arabs

Others | 23 January 2011
Who Will Protect Them from Islamist Assault? Miriam Fekry, a 22-year-old Egyptian, savored her life as she updated her Facebook page. “2010 is over. This year has the best memories of my life. Really enjoyed this year. I hope that 2011 is much better. Plz God stay beside me & help make it all true.” She was to die coming out of New Year’s Eve mass at St. Mark and St. Peter Church in her hometown of Alexandria. More than a score of her fellow Copts were killed, and about a hundred wounded, in the most brazen deed of terror against the Coptic minority... More

After Bombing, Copts Worship and Worry

Others | 16 January 2011
Grief quickly transformed into anger on Sunday as a couple hundred Christians returned to the church in Alexandria that was bombed on New Year's Day. During the morning Mass, women sobbed against one another in the pews, while the priests chanted. Afterward, the attendees gathered in the lobby, screaming angrily about a government they say has repeatedly failed them. The bodies and tangled wreckage of cars had already been cleared from the street. But blood was still splattered across the .. More

Christians Under Siege in Middle East

Others | 16 January 2011
Christians are increasingly under siege in Egypt and Iraq. Over the past year, hundreds have been killed or wounded in attacks, and the violence is further raising political and sectarian tensions in the two countries. All people, regardless of their beliefs, should be outraged... More

Are Attacks on Assyrians and Copts ‘Genocide’?

Others | 16 January 2011
Christmas and the New Year were marked by two bloody and ominous attacks on Christian worshippers in Iraq and Egypt. On December 30th, in Baghdad, at least two Christians were killed and nine wounded in a string of six attacks on Christian homes. The areas targeted were predominantly Christian areas, and the homes attacked were specifically Christian homes. And, on new Year's Eve, an even more lethal attack resulted in the massacre of over 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians in the ancient city of Alexandria... More

Ya, we know the real killer

Dr. Naguib Gibraeel | 13 January 2011
the security services, at all levels, exert great efforts in order to reach the actual perpetrators of the bombings of the two Saints Church in Alexandria, and by the previous efforts exerted in order to reach the killers of Martyrs of el-Kosheh, Nag' Hamady, el-Omraniah, Sa'nabo, Di'routt, el- Bagour, Moharram Bey, Qena and Marsa Matrouh, to reach the offenders behind the disappearance of minor Christian girls and to identify the perpetrators behind the Islamization of Christian minors under the age of maturity that was stipulated in the Egyptian constitution, namely the age of "Twenty-one years old"... More

Coptic fury boils over

Youseef Sidhom | 9 January 2011
Before a year on the Christmas Eve crime in Nag Hammadi, in which one Muslim passerby and six Copts were killed as they left church after Midnight Mass—Copts celebrate Christmas on 7 January—terrorism reared its ugly face, this time on New Year’s Eve. A year that did not lack for fierce sectarian violence against Copts, 2010 ended with hundreds of worshippers in churches praying for a more clement new year. But in Alexandria’s Church of the Saints, what had started as a joyful, hopeful event ended in a bloodbath as a bomb exploded, claimed the lives of more than 20 and left some 80 wounded... More

Egypt Coptic Nerves Frayed by Tension with Islamists

Others | 5 January 2011
It has been a tough year for Egypt’s Coptic community. It began with a gruesome murder outside a church on Coptic Christmas day and ended with security forces killing two men and arresting more than 160 Christians who rioted after they were prevented from converting a charity building into a church... More

Copts and Muslims …the difference remains

Youseef Sidhom | 26 December 2010
Last Sunday saw President Mubarak give his inaugural speech before Parliament for the new parliamentary round. Egyptians awaited the speech eagerly since it was expected to offer clear indications on the upcoming legislative agenda and the presidential assignment to the government in the new legislative term. In short, it offered a preview of the bills that would in all probability be placed before Parliament to pass into laws... More

The Woes of Egypt’s Christians this Christmas

Others | 26 December 2010
More than 150 people, many of them minors, (were jailed) following the November 24th clashes between Egyptian security forces and Coptic Christians protesting the block on construction of their new church near Giza. Security forces opened fire on the unarmed crowd, killing three people and injuring dozens. A four year old child died after suffocating from tear gas... More

When Uncle Elie came back to Egypt

Others | 22 December 2010
It was at the café overlooking the Baron Empain Palace in Greater Cairo that I met for the first time recently with “Uncle Elie.” His full name is Elie Amin Kheder, and he is one of tens of thousands of Egyptian Jews who were forced out of their homeland by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime in the wake of the 1967 defeat... More

For a new political map

Youseef Sidhom | 19 December 2010
Today I proceed with discussing the topic of the new People’s Assembly and the hegemony the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) holds over it. Whether this hegemony is the result of NDP superiority compared to the other political parties, or of a lopsided political map which the NDP has drawn and worked to put into effect, it is time to figure out an escape from this rigid political scene. Work has to be exerted to achieve a climate conducive to real political pluralism within which other political parties no longer play second fiddle to the NDP, but actively participate and compete... More

The Sorry State of Human Rights in the Muslim World

Others | 19 December 2010
Coptic Christians make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 80 million. They complain frequently of discrimination. The Coptic community says authorities in Egypt are reluctant to approve permits to build churches, which they say they need to accommodate the growing numbers of worshippers. .. More

Who’s responsible at al-Ahram?

Youseef Sidhom | 12 December 2010
Al-Ahram, Cairo’s topmost daily paper, which is State-owned, carried on its second page last Monday a column under the title “Copts 2010” by Abdel-Nasser Salama. In highly offensive, aggressive rhetoric which blatantly instigated reader opinion against Copts, the Church, and Pope Shenouda III; the column cited ‘information’ which it claimed for historical fact and which ‘proved’ Copts have been for decades acting in a treacherous manner against their homeland. It takes no effort to detect that the unsubstantiated so-called ‘information’ is entirely groundless; its only base is in the writer’s imagination... More

Christians in the Middle East “Endangered Species”

Others | 12 December 2010
It is obvious by now that the Christians in the Middle East are an "endangered species."Christians in Arab countries are no longer being persecuted; they are now being slaughtered and driven out of their homes and lands... More

Finally, a Coptic majority

Youseef Sidhom | 5 December 2010
It has been decades now that Copts have suffered marginalisation and exclusion from promotions to high-ranking positions of public office. The countless hours I repeatedly spend scanning official lists—whether those approved by the president or by ministers—of appointments or promotions of public servants invariably end in frustration since the number of Copts on these lists compared to their Muslim counterparts is slight, rare, or non-existent. This inexplicable official stance against Copts was the topic of several articles I wrote, in which I cited in detail the numbers and proportions of Copts on these lists. .. More

Copts should not fear democracy

Others | 5 December 2010
Egypt's current social and economic problems are serious, perhaps overshadowing the mounting sectarian tensions in the country. More than anything, Copts and Muslims alike want good jobs, a proper education, decent living standards, a free media, mutual respect for religious places of worship, and, above all, a democratic regime in which power is not concentrated in the hands of a narrow elite... More

Why don’t Muslims build non-licensed mosques?

Youseef Sidhom | 28 November 2010
Giza governorate officials have vociferously cast the blame for the recent riots in Talbiya and Umraniya on the Copts. The Copts, they said, are fully to blame for violating the terms of the building permit for a social services building and converting part of it into a church. The claim is misleading and embodies an uneven situation embraced by our officials and exploited every time they are in a position to blame. .. More

The Failed Promise of Multiculturalism in Canada

Others | 28 November 2010
Forty years ago, then prime minister Pierre Trudeau created a policy — multiculturalism — that allowed immigrants to become Canadians by integrating into our culture without abandoning their own. He was trying to differentiate between Canadian integration and American assimilation (the melting pot)... More