Sunday, April 16, 2006

You’ve destroyed it and now you’re coming to sit on the ruins

As if fate were conspiring to terrify me, one of them suddenly shouted, “There are Muslims in your midst!”

I surreptitiously pulled down my rolled-up sleeves to hide the fact that I didn’t have a cross tattooed on my arm like everyone else around me did. For the first time, I felt as though I was a minority in a group that wouldn’t accept me on principle. I forced myself to talk to the man next to me to give the appearance of normality.

Suddenly I saw Ibram, an old friend of mine. We were together at school and we took part in lots of activities together at university. He’s my neighbor, and his father owns one of the biggest gold dealerships in the area. Ibram was carrying a gilt wooden cross and shouting at the top his voice, “Kyrie Eleison.” I never imagined Ibram amongst people like this. He was always one of the gentlest people I knew and one of the most respectful of others.

So now I have a problem. On my right is someone who’s calling on people to uncover the Muslims hidden among them, and on my left is Ibram, who’s leading a group of his friends in a chant. He was riding on one of his friends shoulders. He knows me well. Any indication from him about my true identity would make me a dead man.


A Middle Easter blog The Skeptic has an English translation of the account of a Moslem Blogger who was present at one of the Coptic Church stabbings in Alexandria. The full post is well worth reading. The author, who seems to be moderate and tolerant and, after coming out of Friday prayers sees a commotion at the Coptic Church across the street goes over to see what it is about. He stays as the crowd swells and their mood gets uglier.

Among that crowd are people he counts as friends in the beginning of the article, but in the end he seems not to be able to understand even a slice of the crowd's anger.


A final word: This country is far more beset by meanness, racism, and hatred than I’d imagined. Of course I understand the Copts’ response. But just because a criminal comes from one religion doesn’t mean you should criminalize all his coreligionists. All this does is foster resentment, persecution, and bigotry—and more importantly, charges of betrayal.

As one of the demonstrators hysterically told me: “For more than 1,400 years we’ve been treated like shit. It’s enough. We’ve had enough of burying our heads in the sand like ostriches.”

And to Mark: There’s no brotherhood in this country, not a third brother, not a second brother, not a tenth brother. Nothing.


Via Rantings of a Sandmonkey who has quite a few more posts on the situation in Egypt after the attack on the Coptic Churches.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

The important point to make here is that it is impossible for two competing systems of reality to reconcile their differences unless they are both willing to agree on the primacy of an external, third-party option. Thus, Muslims could theoretically live with Copts provided that both were ruled by Roman law. In other words, if the crime of a Muslim is not to be seen as a crime by all Muslims then it is necessary to have a concept of "crime" which is external to, and completely independent of, sharia. If sharia is to be the rule then it is impossible to make this distinction. This is fundamentally a religious issue thought it need not be framed that way. There has to be agreement that a secular "god" based on secular laws is superior to the Muslim and the Christian God in this particular application. For most Muslims that is an impossibility.

David Thomson said...

Hard line Islamic believers categorically reject the very notion of separation between church and state. One is talking nonsense according to their world view. Toleration cannot be granted to nonbelievers. Only scum bags refuse to convert to the truth faith of Islam. They well deserve to be harassed and killed.

Eric said...

So does this mean that the Copts are going to start suicide bombing mosques?

Could be interesting times coming up in Egypt.