Thursday, September 08, 2005

A Coptic Plotical Party?

By: Sameh Fawzy

The call for establishing a Coptic political party has been discussed extensively for years, and consistently rejected. The idea has recently again been brought into the open by people who hope to press their own sectarian political agenda—the Islamists. Strangely, this disastrous aim has found some Coptic supporters who do not appear to be aware of its hazards.

Segregate the Copts

This time the call comes from the Islamist political stream. The aim is definitely not to expand Coptic participation in political life, but rather to segregate the Copts within a religious sectarian party. Coptic citizenship would then become ‘religious’ since their political objective would be a religious one.

They would be gradually ghetto-ised and isolated from effective interaction with the community. In other words, Copts would belong to a minority party with sectarian objectives, and their political and cultural diversity would be discounted. Copts are and have always been socially and politically diverse—some come from the upper, middle or lower classes, being liberals, left or right wing, and associated with all kinds of professions, jobs and positions except those they are not allowed to hold. Who could benefit then should Copts be deprived of such diversity, and their participation in all communal exercise trapped within a sectarian framework?

Justification

The answer lies with the political Islamist tide whose leaders called for the formation of a Coptic party. The reason is clear and easily conceivable, as the formation of a Coptic party would justify the formation of an Islamic one. Since Muslims are the majority, their political project, which is in principle sectarian, would no doubt be the overwhelming power on the political arena compared to the corresponding sectarian political project of the minority.

Muslims, like Copts, are a vastly diverse group on the political, economic, and social levels, and it would be unconceivable to put them all under the umbrella of one political party. Such a situation would threaten to the very existence of Egypt as we know it, since the abolition of diverse ideologies would lead to violence and in-fighting. In modern communities, citizens are sorted according to their political, economic or social categories, but never to their religious denominations.

It is the hope of all Egyptians that the Egyptian modern State should be founded on full citizenship rights regardless of religion. Those who are calling for the formation of religious parties are only seeking to further their own sectarian mission.

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