An advice to every Egyptian, thinking about conversion;
Do it secretly
Originally published in Arabic on August 06 2006
Translated by Mohammad Dandan
On the Day of Resurrection in 1993 (As I recall), I was going by a church close to my residence. It was a time when our Copt brothers celebrate this occasion, I found personals from central security scattered around, protecting young Copts children, my neighbors, playing innocently wildren, my neighbors, playing innocently without realizing the dark tunnel we ,as a society, just entered. After a short while, I was at a conference at the (Egyptian Organization for Enlightenment), which we formed at the office of the late Faraj Fouda after his assassination. I gave a speech about the meaning of having our kids play in front of their church in the protection of state security….I could not finish my speech…my voice was drowned by my weeping.
I remember also, during the funeral procession of my late friend Faraj Fouda, one of the participants in the funeral, a Mohammad Abdul Quddoos, was assaulted by an enraged escort. There was no friendship or cordiality between us, but I felt sorrow and compassion for what befell him, he had nothing to do with the assassination of Faraj Fouda, although his brother in law, Mohammad Al-Ghazaali, was one of those who incited against the late Fouda. The maxim is, “no bearer of burdens can bear of burdens of another.” Perhaps Mohammad Abdul Quddoos was sincere in his sorrow when he came to participate in the funeral, or at least to convey his displeasure with what has taken place, or to condemn the assassination, at any rate his gesture should not have been reciprocated with physical harm and humiliation.
I imagined myself, the Muslim, participating in the funeral procession of my Copt brother, felled down by an evil hand upon finishing his prayer, I imagined myself, following full of grief, to share with my Copt brothers, their grief, being subjected to physical abuse, and my fellow Muslims, being subjected to the same form of abuse and humiliation, for nothing more than (assault by I.D.), which leads to (murder by I.D.), as that atrocious evildoer criminal did, and they claimed him to be mentally disturbed, truth be, we would be mentally disturbed if we believed them.
Since the time of Sadat, his alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror groups, and till now, we live in a state of sectarian congestion, standing at the edge of a deep pit threatening to turn this congestion into an explosion, and between the state of congestion and the state of explosion, the Egyptian society is transformed into two camps, fanatical against one another, and with this polarization, each member of either group will be treated as an enemy by the other, simply according to name and identity card, for merely being a Muslim or a Christian, and the animosity shifts gradually from being against the fanatics to animosity to all of different faith, and again slowly , and gradually ,towards the religion itself. This is exactly the phase we are in now.
In this suffocating enflamed atmosphere, freedom of religion becomes completely eroded. A Muslim who wants to convert to Christianity is considered a traitor to his fellow Muslims, and by the same token, a Christian is regarded as such to his own.. And the simple exercising of freedom of religion becomes a political, social and sectarian crime. It gets worse if the one who is converting is a girl or a woman, now it gets more complicated, for faith becomes entangled with honor, personal dignity and the whole sect. Those higher principles of (Faith, honor, dignity) are used in the service of fanaticism; moreover, fanaticism is turned into bloodshed, as an individual act to become on a large scale. Do we want for Egypt to become Lebanon of the seventies or Iraq of today?
For this reason I say to every Egyptian who is thinking about changing course…PLEASE do it secretly, privately…Do not add fuel to the fire…
To begin with…. We respect your right to convert to any religion of your choosing. But to publicize your decision and then to seek refuge with this religious authority or that, brings your private affair to the limelight, making it a public issue, contributing to fomenting animosity between the two camps, causing you to pay the price, along with innocent members of your family and other families. At any rate, you will find yourself a hostage to A- Azher, state security, Muslim Brotherhood, terror organizations and the Church. All of them fighting over you, snatching your corps or what ever were left of you. At the end, you would be the match stick that burnt Egypt…..I cannot think of any Egypt-loving person who wants to do that.