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News: Plato's Atlantis: Fact, Fiction or Prophecy?
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Author Topic: MODERN EGYPT  (Read 7952 times)
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« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2009, 10:32:11 am »

Josephine -- not her real name -- complains about continuous and unjustified security harassment and threats. She attributes this gender harassment to no other reason than her Coptic faith.

Hassan, a bearded Muslim taxi driver in Alexandria, voices similar complaints about alleged harassment, this time over "Islamism". Samira -- not her real name -- an unveiled Muslim teacher, working in a high school in Tanta, Lower Egypt, complains that she has been subjected to pressure from the school administration to take the veil or be investigated over "inappropriate behaviour" with her male students.

Hassan agrees that tolerance has been steadily eroded until it is now a rare commodity. But the process, he argues, is not just related to the Islamicisation of society kick-started after "Gulf Islamic values" began to be imported to Egypt when Egyptians who had worked in Gulf countries starting in the mid-1970s began to return home. Like Assad, Abu Zeid and others, Hassan believes the state itself is promoting intolerance in an attempt to stymie social solidarity in the face of injustice.

"The state knows very well what it has to do to combat sectarianism," says Hassan. In 1972 a state-appointed committee was entrusted with examining a case of sectarian strife prompted essentially by a mixed marriage and produced "a set of recommendations that could have contained the problem right at the beginning".

"But nothing was done then and not enough is being done now."

Moukhles Qotb, secretary-general of the state- affiliated Egyptian Council for Human Rights, argues that the regime is less culpable and is trying, albeit in limited ways, to tackle the problem.

"We have seen some adjustments in school curricula and in the discourse of the [state-run] media. But this is not an easy task. It is a problem that developed over the years and will take time to resolve."
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