The Christians of Egypt

Egypt’s Christians are second-class citizens. They were second-class citizens during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, and they aren’t remotely likely to acquire new rights after his fall.

Westerners think religious freedom in Egypt means Muslims can opt out of being Muslims. But it’s a completely false supposition. No Muslim doesn’t want to be a Muslim. It’s part of their being. So when Egyptians talk about freedom and revolution, it has nothing to do with Islam. No Egyptian wants to be free of Islam. This is the most religious country in the entire world. According to a Gallup poll, between 99 and 100 percent of Egyptians say religion is very important to them.

So Islam is not the issue. What is the issue is the interpretation of Islam. Over the years, a large group of Muslims in Egypt have contextualized Islam in the modern world. They can practice their Islam and live as 21st century citizens. Women can dress modestly, yet also fashionably. They can go the beach in swimsuits. Maybe not bikinis, but swimsuits. They can drink alcohol from time to time. They are modern people.

Muslim society here as a whole has become more religious, but that does not mean they have all limited their lifestyle. So if and when the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, they’ll say “Muslims are not allowed to show their body, so the beaches are only for Christians and foreigners.” So if Muslim women want to swim, they will have to swim fully dressed. These women will be horrified to have these sorts of restrictions put on them.

Then the Muslim Brotherhood will say, “women will have to do such and such, and men will have to do such and such.” Islam is a way of life as well as a belief, so if you don’t interpret it in an open-minded way, your life will be very hard.

The Christians of Egypt, Part I

698 reads