Long time ago in the Faculty of Sciences I was told “Each Problem has a SOLUTION”, as my speciality was Mathematics, I knew to get my Muster Degree, and later on my Ph. D. I had to solve an unsolved problem, meaning it was very depressing for me as a student to think I had to solve a problem my teachers who definitely know way more than what I know did not solve!
The fact is a problem remains problem as long as there are un-answered questions, however, not being able to find an answer does not mean there is no answer, but our knowledge did not yet reach that far yet, once we discover new facts, old problems are solved and can not more be problems but just facts!
A chronic unsolved problem in Egypt is Sectarian Violence that represents a very delicate file that either was treated by ignoring it or overlooking it depending on the true real natural love of the citizens regardless of their religion! True, in real life if someone is in trouble all people around that individual will try to help without hesitation and before even that individual really realizes he needs help!
If your house is on fire, all neighbours, will try to help you put off this fire, regardless of safety regulations or minimum precaution requests to protect your own house first! In a car accident, first in will try to help you without being trained on 1st aid procedures or being of any medical expertise or backgrounds! The most important is no one asks your religion when this happens they -all Egyptians- just help!
Sectarian violence and/or sectarian strife is violence inspired by sectarianism, that is, between different sects of one particular mode of ideology or religion within a nation/community. Religious segregation often plays a role in sectarian violence. However, it is not just religion the only cause of it!
Some historians say Egypt’s sectarian strife started as far back as 1798, sparked by anger among the majority Muslim population against a Christian businessman who was thought to have financially supported French occupation forces.
This country’s sectarian tensions, however, began to be strongly felt from the early 1970s. Since then, Muslims and Christians have clashed hundreds of times, some -and I would say most- unreported by the media, human rights activists say.
I know and I guess every Egyptian knows the 1919 revolution united clearly both Muslims and Christians in the marches and demonstrations their blood mixed on the Egyptian grounds facing the British -Christian- Bullets!
REST IN PEACE Pope Kurolos the 6th. Was a personal friend of President Nasser, and with their deaths we start to hear of Sectarian Violence 1970!
The surprising thing, though, was that most of these clashes were unable to attract the attention of decision-makers in this country to their root causes, R.I.P. Ex-president Sadat in a sarcastic portion of a speech said:- A Christian priest laundry water ignited the dispute between 2 neighbours -common event happens every now and then- the un-common was Christian vs Muslim neighbours! This was a 1st hand cover up to close a file that kept re-opening, and no one since then had the guts to look at it seriously and solve this chronic problem and the best they could do was a peace or seize fire gathering and life goes on but each party -Christians/Muslims- keep watching and expecting a new clash to take revenge of that previous one!
The following is a record of the most important sectarian clashes in Egypt over the last 40 years.
6 November 1972: A group of Muslims stormed into a church in the Greater Cairo governorate of Qalluibia and torched it, in the first serious sectarian crisis to hit this country in modern times. The crisis happened after local Christians turned a house into a church. Muslims objected to the move, opening the way for violent clashes between the two sides. A fact-finding commission later reconciled both parties, but mutual hatred had already been sown.
4 January 2000: At least 20 Christians killed in the southern village of Al Kosheh on New Year’s Eve after a financial dispute between a Muslim and a Christian shopkeeper in the village. The Health Ministry sent a team of surgeons to treat the wounded, who numbered more than 44, according to witnesses. Security police put the village of Al Kosheh, about 250 miles south of Cairo, and surrounding hamlets under curfew, and cordoned off the area to outsiders.
7 January 2010: Seven killed in a drive-by shooting outside a church in the southern town of Nagaa Hamady after a Coptic Christmas Eve Mass. The shooting happened as churchgoers left midnight mass to welcome in the Coptic Christmas on 7 January. The attack was thought to be in revenge for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Christian man.
1 January 2011: At least 21 people killed and more than 70 injured in the coastal city of Alexandria in a bombing outside a Christian church as worshippers leave a New Year service. It was initially thought that a car bomb had caused the explosion just after midnight at the Orthodox Al Qidiseen church. The Interior Ministry, however, suggested that a foreign-backed suicide bomber may have been responsible. A state security document later emerged placing the Interior Ministry behind the bombing, but its authenticity has not been verified. And in the trial of the century more facts unfolded!
5 March 2011: Christian homes in the southern Cairo village of Soul are attacked by a mob of Muslims who set fire to the Saint Mina and George Coptic Church. The violence was reportedly triggered by a taboo love affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman. The woman’s father was killed by his cousin after refusing to restore the family’s honour by killing his daughter. The cousin, in turn, was murdered by the girl’s brother in an act of revenge. Blaming the Christians of the village for the killings, Muslims launched an assault on the community’s 1,200 Christians.
30 September 2011: Clashes erupt between Muslim and Christian residents in the village of Al Marinab in the southern Egyptian governorate of Aswan. According to witnesses in the nearby city of Edfu, the clashes broke out after Muslim residents demolished a guesthouse that Christians were trying to convert into a church without official permission. They added that the clashes spread when the Muslim residents attacked local Christian-owned shops.
9 October 2011: Around 25 people killed and more than 300 injured in the centre of Cairo after a protest over an attack on a church erupts into the worst violence since the 18-day popular uprising against Egypt’s former ruler Hosni Mubarak in February. Trouble started when the protesters were reportedly met by army gunfire close to the state TV building. Appealing for calm after hundreds of policemen were deployed in the area, the prime minister of the caretaker government, Essam Sharaf, said the clashes were aimed at destabilizing Egypt and doing away with its revolutionary gains. This is the well known Maspiro massacre trying demolish the unity between the people and its Army!
Incidents of sectarian violence and attacks on Christians in particular were on the rise in Egypt in the latter years of Mubarak’s rule, when Muslim Brotherhood undocumented agreement to penetrate public life, in spite of the public announced stance of the government, the Muslim Brotherhood was a banned entity. Since the 25th. January2011 there has been a continuation of this worrying trend.
Let me re-iterate for those who do not get the hints; Since early 2000 and publicly announced Muslim Brotherhood non legal group banned by the constitution, Mubarak’s regime with or without his knowledge collaborated with them and left them be everywhere, they participated in the general public assembly elections and won sits in spite of their well known roots and ties to that banned bloody group that assassinated personalities even before the revolution of Nasser who put them all in jail, and Sadat had freed them and got best ever compensation, by not only killing him, but his killer was honoured in the annual celebration of October the 6th. Victory that was chosen to be the assassination day of Sadat!
Because of this rise in the sectarian violence 2004 R.I.P. Eng. Adly Abader with his amazing far overview saw the clear and present danger in Egypt and trying to cut it in pieces and with iron will created Copts United, and let me remind you that Copts means Egyptians that is Egyptians United!
To be united we need to unify our views toward events, we were united rejecting Muslim Brotherhood ruling Egypt, we united once again voting for our constitution, then once again choosing our president! But the divide seeds are still there Muslim Brotherhood, and FANATICS!
Muslim Brotherhood hands are clear in blowing bombs, doing demonstrations killing people, civilians passing by or officers both police officers or army ones, but we mast never forget that their first weapon always was burning churches to ignite sectarian violence! Honourable pope Tawdros said it clear cutting off this sectarian violence our churches is a cheap give away for our beloved country, however, some Christian Fanatics are there to spread oil over the ashes and re-ignite the fire -knowing or out of ignorance- that any incident touching a Christian is a good cause to attack the head of any institution, those fanatics exist in all races and religions Christians are not excluded, and this is the hidden ignition button to start unknown sectarian violence, when Muslim Brotherhood does a march or burns a church it is well known who did it, but when a Christian child is kidnapped, or a Christian girl raped or a Christian store broken and stole, and the police did not yet get the person who did it, those fanatics immediately will spread the oil to ignite sectarian violence incriminating the police and the police if attacked will respond and this ensures that the police is mis-treating Christians in general but where is Muslim Brotherhood in this -the hidden hand that pushed those fanatics!
January 25th.revolution there was a long huge gap between the people and the police, the majority of the people if not all had a clash with a policeman, few of us admit being wrong we in general love to victimize someone else rather than admitting to be wrong, the breaks did not work properly I was not speeding, there were no lights how can I see, and so on, therefore the norm was Egyptian police was brutal and really worked and pouched the public to burn police stations, until the people saw what life without police protection could be and re-united people with its armed forces and police one hand kicking away terrorism and violence!
Last two three weeks events shows, at least to me that some hidden hands are trying once again to ignite sectarian violence involving the police to re-create the lost cap between the people in its police, so people please stay united because of we loose Egypt we ourselves will be lost for ever!
I tried my best to uncover, to the best of my recollection some of the facts that might help in solving this chronic problem of Sectarian violence with was introduced by R.I.P. Sadat in the early seventies!
May God bless you all and keep blessing Egypt and happy Feasts and unity!