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Author Topic: MODERN EGYPT  (Read 7464 times)
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« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2009, 10:13:02 am »

For Hannah, the "unfairness" Copts face -- he wishes to avoid the word discrimination -- is neither systematic nor inevitable.

"Christianity has been in Egypt for 19 centuries and Islam has been here for 14 centuries and for the best part of these 15 centuries Egyptian Muslims and Copts co-existed peacefully, much more peacefully than in many other states," Hannah says. And religious-based discrimination, he adds, is something that Muslims face in some countries and Christians face in other countries. "In Egypt it remains in a relatively mild form."

Hannah acknowledges that despite his academic record "as a Copt" he was never promoted to the position of dean.

"But so what. I know that this is related to my religion but I also know that this does not make me a second class citizen." He adds that as a Copt he is "a well-acknowledged university professor who is granted a regular opinion article in no other than the state's most prominent daily, Al-Ahram ".

For Hannah, as for others like him, the overall picture is satisfactory despite some signs of frustration.

One focus of that frustration are the restrictions placed on the building or restoration of churches.

"Why can a Muslim turn any piece of land that he owns into a mosque when I cannot do the same for a church? I am also a citizen, supposedly an equal citizen, but as a priest if I have to fix a bathroom in my church I need to notify the governorate. It used to be even worse. Before we had to get a presidential approval," complains one village priest from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Assiut.
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