SHAFAQNA – What happens when a country loses its soul to radicalism? Wonder no more as Egypt just opened a window into the abyss which once upon a time was filled with more than blind hatred, and despicable bigotry.
What is left to say of a country which brutalises an elderly woman on account of her faith – on account of her difference? Has Egypt lost all sense of decency, that it is willing to turn on itself, and feed on its people should they dare choose to live free under God?
A 70-year-old Christian woman has been stripped naked, beaten and paraded through the streets by a mob of around 300 Muslim men in a village in southern Egypt.
The mob also burned down seven homes belonging to Christian families, according to an unusually outspoken statement issued by the local Orthodox Coptic church, after rumours circulated in the village that a Christian man was having a relationship with a Muslim woman.
The violence started at around 8pm on 20 May, and the local diocese said it was two hours before police responded, by which point the mob had already dispersed.
The woman who was stripped naked was reported to be the mother of the man involved in the rumoured affair. She has since met with church leaders, the Diocese of Minya and Abu Qirqas said.
“The violence is representative of the tensions between the two religions in the province south of Cairo, where extra-marital affairs between Muslims and Christians are strictly taboo,” read a report for the Independent.
I will offer my own insight here, and argue this: those tensions the Independent speak of bear witness not to a religious, but engineered sectarianism – the fruits of decades of latent radicalisation by Saudi Arabia, and the many “religious organizations” the kingomd has so generously financed over the decades.
Christianity is not foreign to Egypt … Christianity is as much a part of Egypt than Islam is a part of Egypt. Have Egyptian Muslims forgotten that in them Christianity lives … and that they ought to respect and value which came before them?
Have forgotten those words of peace, justice and compassion our prophets have all spoken – or is it those days that men ignorantly feels entitle to claim ownership over God by imposing labels and misconceptions?
How can anyone claim any Truth through violence and exclusion?
As a Muslim I am ashamed! As a Muslim woman I am outraged that men abused a woman …an elderly woman at that, so that their warped sense of self-righteousness could be quenched.
Shame on you Egypt! We owe Islam more than our hatred, and our shortcomings. We ought to know better … us, who every day, feel the bite of prejudice, sectarianism, racism … Will we offer worse, when bad is done to us, or will we live by those Words, God imparted on us and answer evil which what is better?
Speaking in an uncharacteristically candid TV interview on Wednesday night, Minya’s most senior cleric Anba Makarios said the response if it had been a Muslim man having an affair with a Christian woman “would not have been anything like what happened”.
He said police had been warned the day before of threats towards the Christian family from villagers, yet gave the mob “ample time” to do whatever they wanted.
“No one did anything and the police took no preemptive or security measures in anticipation of the attacks,” he said. “We are not living in a jungle or a tribal society. It’s incorrect for anyone to declare himself judge, police and ruler.”
Mr Nasser denied the elderly woman was stripped naked, and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of “exploiting” the situation which, he said, was always going to be “sensitive” when it involved an alleged relationship between a Muslim and a Christian.
“Some irrational youths threw flammable missiles at the houses of Christians in the village and some women ran away in their nightgowns,” he said, adding that the matter was being resolved.
The incident took place in the village of Al-Karm where, according to local media, similar violence has flared up in recent years.
This attack truly exemplifies Egypt’s descent into radicalism! Brushing it off under the rug as non-event only serves to highlight officials’ complicity in this grand machination which is theo-fascism.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna