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Author Topic: MODERN EGYPT  (Read 7813 times)
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« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2009, 10:31:01 am »

Abu Zeid, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, does not buy into the theory that fear of the "possible rule of the Brotherhood" is driving Copts to emigrate or being used as "a pretext" by the Coptic Church to announce its support for the succession of Gamal Mubarak.

The Muslim Brotherhood, he says, "will not ascend to power for the simple reason they do not have the kind of support they claim to have."

And, "if they do, their discrimination will not be restricted to Copts."

For Abu Zeid, as for Asaad, the issue is one of eliminating injustice in general and of securing democracy.

Zeinab Radwan, deputy speaker of Egyptian parliament, argues that legislation and representation alone, even if state-imposed, are no panacea for religious tolerance. "Relations within society are about people and laws. You need to get citizens to fully subscribe to the concept of tolerance, in practice as in theory, for any laws to be effective."

The trouble, says Bahieddin Hassan, director of the Cairo Centre for Human Rights, is that the "exercise of discrimination from Muslims to Copts or the other way round -- although it is more from Muslims towards Copts -- has become so deeply rooted that it takes courage even to admit to its extent, let alone begin working to change it".

Ramez, an Alexandrian taxi driver, complains that the cross he hangs on his rear view mirror "has put him in many difficulties". Traffic police, he says, stop him "for no reason".

"The officer will give me a ticket for breaking the speed limit -- when I wasn't -- and look at the cross in my car in a way that is obviously hostile."

Ramez is convinced that nobody in the Alexandria Traffic department issues directives to "harass Copts" and that not every Muslim traffic officer does it. "But if somebody feels like doing it he can," says Ramez.
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