Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt In Crisis

Two articles from Asia News from January 28:

"Burdened by the high cost of living and corruption, Christians and Muslims united in Cairo streets" is an interview with a Coptic priest. In answer to the question of the fate of Christians:

Right now, the demonstrations are not against Christians. Patriarch Shenouda has called for calm. But many Christians and non-Christians told him, that this is not the time for calm, because Christians are also affected by the crisis. In fact, for Christians the crisis is even worse because they suffer discrimination and have a hard time finding jobs. In case of promotions, they are passed over in favour younger Muslim employees. If a Christian opens a shop, fewer people buy from him.

"Egyptian revolt not only political but also spiritual and Islamic" by Samir Khalil Samir talks about a magazine article that interviewed by over a score of figures from the Islamic world. Father Samir explains:

Another interesting aspect is that this project of reform of Islam was published Jan. 24, one day before the outbreak of demonstrations in Egypt. These protests have economic and political roots. This means that in addition to current politics, there is an intellectual current that is fed up with the Islam that has spread in the last 30 years in the country, an "externalized" Islam that puts the emphasis on external things (clothing, beard, veil, etc. ..). This shows that there is a global movement - both spiritual and political - in Egypt that wants to transform the country. And since it is a leading country in the Middle Eastern world, one can expect that the changes in act in Cairo will spread throughout the region. Perhaps the same demonstrations that are taking place on the streets of the capital will have an influence on this "externalized" Islam.

He then goes on to examine several of the points of the article, including interaction between the sexes, jihad and its classical limits, and externalization of piety at the expense of personal responsibility.

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