During the recent days, I was keen to follow the different reactions over the departure of four Coptic minors to Turkey seeking asylum in Switzerland. Despite their legal status as minors, they have been sentenced to five-year imprisonment in accusation of religious contempt.
The four minors, Albeer Shehata, Clinton Farag-Allah, Mollar Yasa, and Basem Younan, appeared in a video mocking of ISIS, while the extremists living in their Minya’s village of Beni-Mazar decided to retaliate for the group which they share its ideas.
Those extremists submitted a complaint against the Coptic minors accusing them of religious contempt, the crime used to undermine any citizen’s future under the umbrella of law. Religious contempt law, or more precisely “Islam contempt”, has not been used to punish any of those people who insulted Christianity simply because we do not have serious will to confront the different kinds of hatred currents, including religious hatred.
I do not know how the Coptic minors left the country to Turkey seeking asylum in Switzer. I do not care whether the national security authorities participated in Facilitating their escape or not.
However, the major question in this regard is to discuss the reasons that prompted them to leave the country. Those children had been arrested by the police and received imprisonment verdict on one hand and they still wait another punishment from the Salafists pushed by the force of hatred to destroy the other without any feeling of remorse on the other hand.
Amidst all the horrors, can we demand those minors to face this terrorist ghost that the government failed to confront? If we failed to put ourselves in the place of those children psychologically and intellectually, we should imagine their parents’ position. I, as a father of four sons, realize the feeling of any father if his son was vulnerable to abuse.
Can you keep silent if your son faces discrimination? Would you abandon his help even in illegal ways to save him? Of course, you will help your son as you can sacrifice anything just not to see your son paying the price of a long history of governmental failure to achieve equality among all citizens.
The departure of Coptic minors will not smear Egypt’s image before the world, while the absence of justice will do. The domination of Salafist vision and inability to protect the citizens from the extremists will undermine the country’s reputation. Egypt’s image would be broken when the government turns to negotiate with the terrorists and hate preachers.
The minor left to Switzerland, the country which I know well. It respects the freedom of individuals and ideas. Congratulations to them for their new society guaranteeing them a better future. However, Egypt could apologize one day for imprisoning its children when they become scientists in different fields thanks to high level of education that they will enjoy there.
Dear minors, I express my respect to all of you for your patriotic feelings. I wish patience to their parents on your passing. I believe that their future will compensate them for their forced absence from their country Egypt