Monday, October 31, 2005

Letter from the Bishop of Sydney to The Ambassador of Egypt

18 Babah 1722 AM (Coptic calendar))
Friday 28 th October 2005
Our Ref: B.D.02.039.04.05

Bishop’s Office

His Excellence, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Canberra;

Best regards and prayers for your continuous success in all issues.

We would like to congratulate you on the occasion of Ramadan fasting, asking the Lord God to accept all our prayers, grant His grace to the whole world, edified in peace and unity between all His people, world wide.

Your Excellence; when you hosted me in Canberra on 26th July 2005 celebrating the July Revolution, we noticed that you are an understanding, eloquent, calm, and a beloved person by all. Our relationship became strong, and on this basis we both are partners in weaving the one nation of Egypt, with its two wings. This nation which has a special love in our hearts, never waived by time or distance, or any other obstacle presented by the enemy of good, whether divisions or persecution, or sorrowful incidents which take place from time to time.

In recognition of this strong relationship, and on behalf of the Coptic Orthodox congregation in Australia and North East Asia, we would like to mention some points, which are recently bothering us:

1- The late incidents in Moharram Bek, Alexandria resulted in dangerous issues, the most important of which is the division between the children of the one nation.

It would have better been dealt with in a modern objective manner. Who is the beneficiate of this incident? Why would the Egyptian media remember something, which happened two years ago? Why especially at that time? Why didn’t the Egyptian media highlight what was hurting to one of the two wings of the nation (the Coptic Christians), as in the T.V. series of ‘The Time of Flowers’ (which is against the doctrine of the Holy Bible), the movie ‘I love Cinema’ (belittling the worship and Church), the series ‘A Girl From Shoubra’ (humiliating the Christian Religion as a whole)? This is not something new for the Egyptian media, as we can never forget what was released by ‘Al Nabaa’ (The News) Newspaper, which led to a calamity.

Would the Alexandria incidents lead some of our brethren from the other wing of the one nation, to ask H.H. Pope Shenouda III Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark in Egypt and the whole world, to offer an apology? The aim of the Church’s play was to enlighten our congregation, and to confirm their faith. Do we blame the Church for such an action? In addition, His Holiness and the Melli Council had reviewed this play, and they issued a report stating that there was nothing wrong with the play. What is really astonishing is that the Egyptian media totally ignored that report.

Do we have the right to ask an apology from Sheikh Al Azhar, if one of the mosques’ Sheikhs insulted the Coptic Christian brethren in Egypt (which happens frequently in some mosques in Egypt during the Friday sermon; I personally heard them during one of my visits to Egypt, saying that we are infidels)? Is it believable that the Alexandria incident would lead to the allowance of shedding H.H. Pope Shenouda’s blood, which was clearly stated in one of the Egyptian newspapers? Is it one of Islam’s teachings that one of its groups would destroy the neighbouring areas in the proximity of the place of the incident? Isn’t this considered unfair for those people whose possessions were destroyed?

Your Excellence the Ambassador: All these questions are flowing in the minds of the educated people, and those who have sincere love for their country. The issue is deeper.

We would honestly like to thank President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak for his quick reaction with Alexandria incidents, yet we have to investigate the matter in depth, objectivity and common sense. The huge amount of Egyptian media, whether articles, T.V. series, movies and many other media arms is in real need to an accurate investigation, carried by responsible officials in the country, reaching the level of modern thinking and caring for others, carried on an understanding, logic criticism, clearance and wise attitude.

We would also add that some of the Egyptian writers, play a big role in this situation, for example, Dr. Emara mentioned many times in his articles that the Holy Bible is not authentic, that Christians are infidels, and that there is no other religion but Islam. This issue also needs an understanding approach from the responsible officials.

The Alexandrian incidents were not demonstrations of thousands of Muslims without planning. If anyone is following these events, he would notice that there people planning a well organized destructive demonstration, there are people providing financial support, and there are people carrying these missions. The discovery of these realties is a real threat to the security of Egypt

The Investigation & Security Departments in modern countries discover the incidents before they takes place, then it becomes ‘Proactive’ and not ‘Active’. It also organizes a vision, a strategy and a plan to face such incidents, which threaten the peace of any country and destroy its civilization.

We need an investigation in the Alexandrian incidents, to discover the causes, so that such incidents never happen again. It is enough what was spent of time, effort and finance to fix such irresponsible actions. The time, effort and finance would have been rather spent in the development and upraising of Egypt, our beloved country.

2- Your Excellence, there is another important issue: What is the status of the Copts on the political and social map in their country Egypt?

- The nominations to the ruling National party, include only 2 Coptic Christians out of 444 Coptic and Muslim nominations. One of the two Copts Maher Khella, nominated for Ghorbal area in Muharram Bek in Alexandriawithdrew because of the late incidents. If we have a look at the statistics, we find that the percentage of one Coptic nominee in a total of 444 Coptic and Muslim nominees is a ratio of 0.225%. Our question is: What is the reason? Aren’t we the people about whom the President said: The Copts are one of the two wings of the one nation? H.H. Pope Shenouda III also said: Egyptis a nation which lives inside us, not a nation in which we live.

Your Excellence the Ambassador, the freedom of doctrine and opinion, the respect of others, living in peace and carrying out real democracy are basis for modern countries. In Australia
, we live in a society consisting of 200 nationalities; they all live in peace, love their country and do their best for its development. Our beloved country Egypt has only one nationality; which is the Coptic Nationality, as the word ‘Copt’ comes from the word ‘Egyptous’, which means in old Egyptian history “Egyptian”.

Your Excellence the Ambassador, we thank you for your love, we ask you to send a copy of this letter to President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Egyptian Minister of Information, the Egyptian Minister of Education and Sheikh Al Azhar.

Again, we wish full progress and success in your great mission, asking Your Excellence whenever you receive a response from any of the responsible officials in Egypt, if you could kindly send it to us, just to clarify the issue for the 70,000 (seventy thousand) Coptic Christians living in Australia, and the Coptic Christian families living in North East Asia, they are all very upset because of the latest incidents, especially the declaration of the shedding of His Holiness’ blood.

Your Excellence, we are the children of the martyrs, we do not fear death. Emperor Diocletian killed one million Coptic Christians in the third century (particularly in the year 284 AD), yet the Coptic Christians are still existing in Egypt and the whole world.

What had happened is inappropriate; it presents an unacceptable image of Egypt our beloved country.

May the Lord preserve Your Excellence for us, and for Egypt our beloved country.

The Faithful,Bishop Daniel

With the Grace of God

Bishop of Sydney And Affiliated Regions, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia.

===============

(Source: Copts United)

17 Comments:

At 8:48 AM , Anonymous Harisi said...

Finallay !!! One Bishop has the guts to say the truth. What about the other Bishops who are kissing up to your government?

 
At 10:33 AM , Anonymous Adel said...

Bishop David of NY and all his priests should be ashamed of themselves, they are no less than cowards when it comes to speaking out on behalf of the Copts in Egypt

 
At 11:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

adel comment is funny let us laugh plz hehehehehehe

 
At 2:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

الأنبا دانيال دائما سباقا فى التحرك ، أما بقية كهنة المهجر وأساقفتهم فعليه العوض ومنه العوض فيهم

 
At 2:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coptic’s problems and suggested solution

The following is a brief analysis of the Coptic issues with some suggestions for some solutions. I will show you that while some of these problems are severe, their solutions, nonetheless are in the hand of the COPTS and not the Muslims.

The Copts of Egypt are facing three major problems: Social-political, psychological, and spiritual
Social-political is discrimination, employments, and lack of public voice in national debates. Copts feel left behind, ignored and discriminated against in many situations.
solution:
• GET INVOLVED in all national and local elections, let us mobilize people to be active participant. Be proactive in every thing you do.
• Start a small business and hire Christians and Muslims, this way some Muslims will learn to do the same.
• Start clinic and orphans to help the poor of all faiths without discrimination when it comes to humanistic services (our parents did that and were blessed and they blessed many of the poor of all religious background).
• You noticed discrimination in school, go and talk with the teachers and the principles. Emphasis that we all need respected for one another. Don’t let your child face these discriminations all alone. Teach your children to raise their voices when they hear insulting remarks regarding someone else. Again encourage them to be active and assertive, but not militants.
• If schools are bad, then start your own school. Teach your children to love Egypt and its people. When we were exposed to discrimination our parents did not say Muslims are bad, but they said that we all need one another.
• Participate with Muslim Egyptians in social and humanistic efforts to help all poor. I remember going to Muslim-run for medical treatments and was treated with kindness. We need to do the same, to work with everyone when help is needed. By participating, we are less likely being ignored.
• Yes, work with all Muslims when it comes to helping our country. We served in the Army, and we should participate in all civic duties. Working with Muslims does not make our faith less, but more. James.1.27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
• Be active with love, which is unique to our Christian ‘spirit’.

psychological problems:
As Christians we were given a pure and blessed faith that is full of life, love, joy and peace. Yet, many of the Copts have hard times distinguishing between spiritual goals and social goals. Many of us grow up with the views that the world is evil, and that we should denounce the world. Many don’t know how to live a pure spiritual life in an evil world. As if we want to be monks, yet support our family. Some of us afraid that building a company, a school, or a clinic is some how evil and worldly pursue. If again you look at the verse of the bible I used above, you realized that action toward the poor, the unemployed are acts of faith. Here are some suggestions:
• Be proactive
• Start a business and by grace and when you can expand, invite other people to work for you and with you. Grow and be alive, because God will bless you.
• If you make money, then give to charity, to college, to school, to all kinds of activity that will benefit people of all backgrounds.
• Do Not be a victim, YOU are NOT one, because you are a child of God
• Don’t waste your time asking Muslims for your rights, go and works hard toward achieving these rights.
• Open your eyes and read carefully, NOBODY will give any things, it is all up to you.
• Don’t waste your time looking outside yourself for a solution, for the Copts abroad, or foreign governments, look at yourself and for God-sake, START doing something. Our community is very educated, so use this knowledge to energize other Copts to be proud of your citizenship to Egypt and to the world.
• Help your Church and your community and you will never feel a victim. Your destiny is in YOUR OWN hands.
• Remember that no body is a victim because of his/her hardship. You are a victim because you choose not to grow out of your circumstances.

Finally, when it comes to spiritual issues facing the Copts, let us examine the problem. Most Copts are spiritual and generally speaking most Egyptians. We were spiritual people before all religion, from ancient times. This attributes are both a blessing and curse. It is a curse because both communities are hot-blooded when it comes to religion debates and disagreements. It is also a blessing, because only very few Egyptians are violent. Yes, we all need to examine and study our history to clean it from claims and counter claims. We need to ‘understand’ that “RESPECTING” other opinions and faith does not undermine my own faith. I find it very unacceptable to attack Islam, as much as I disliked when my faith is insulted. People are ignorant, so let us teach them how great our faith by our actions. Don’t assume that average Muslims are happy seeing almost on daily bases the sliding of the nicks of the infidels in different parts of the world, especially when the people who are killed are also Muslims. We all want to see justice and fairness everywhere, but somehow, we tend to deny that rights to those whom we consider our enemies. We are not the enemy of Islam, and Islam was never our enemy. The only enemy I have is my own selfishness. Christianity calls to serve humanity with love and sacrifices. You are selfish when you don’t help your poor neighbor. We are very good on claiming our love for God, but when we are called to help our less fortunate fellow humans (All humans), then we chicken out.
Solutions:
• Live with these words:’Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself: on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22:37-40‘
• We look at our Church for direction on how to clean our hearts and our conscious. Now it is your time to start working on the second half of the Commandment, on your neighbors’ needs.
• While the part relation to God can be learned in the Church, the second part has to be used OUTSIDE (and inside) the Church. Open your heart and understand, he did not say your ‘Christian’ neighbors, but all neighbors’ Muslims, Christians, and even atheists.
• Be Christ like, and your spiritual and social life will be blessed.
In conclusion, all these solutions do NOT depend on Muslims’ participation but on Christian actions. Copts walk up and serve God and Egypt with the very little materials assets you have, because you have a giant spirit. EGYPT needs all your sweats to be a better place for everyone.
Get up, get involved, and Christ will bless you.

Salah
eemc2203@yahoo.com

 
At 3:20 PM , Blogger Franze said...

Impressionant letter, very good made bishop of sydney.

 
At 5:44 PM , Anonymous Proud Copt said...

I think the Bishops and religious leaders of the Coptic church suffer from (Stockholm syndrome). The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response of a hostage, or an individual in a hostage-like situation (e.g. dependent child, battered wife, etc) in which the more powerful person (a) has the power to put the individual's life in danger or at least the power to worsen the individual's prospects for the future life, and (b) occasionally exercises this power in order to show that he or she is able to use it, if the victim will not conform to the more powerful person's will. The main symptom of the syndrome is the individual's seeming loyalty to the more powerful person in spite of the danger (or at least risk) in which they are placed, due to this loyalty.

 
At 5:46 PM , Anonymous Proud Copt said...

Stockholm syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to 28, 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their victimizers and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term was coined by the criminologist and psychologist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast.

 
At 11:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Copts, you need to vote and make your interest known.

The best thing we can go is to help make Egypt a working democracy. The election is coming soon, so get out and go voting. Tell your friends and relative to vote. We are the LARGEST minority in Egypt and this is your country as it is for your Muslim fellows and friends. Even some of the most radical Muslims are trying to say that Copts are supporting them( Montasser al-Zayat, a former militant from Egypt's bloodiest Islamist group and ex-prison mate of Al-Qaeda's current eminence grise, is taking his battle against the regime to the ballot box.).
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20051031/wl_mideast_afp/egyptvoteislamistprofile;_ylt=AoixUnTlcCTJMED_bHebKBS96Q8F;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA–

If you don’t vote, then expect your this guy to say the following; ‘But Copts should stop asking for minority rights and to build more churches than they need. They are full-fledged partners in the state," he added in the same breath’

Remember it is YOUR responsibility to vote. If you don’t exercise your rights, then don’t run for help. Help yourself and VOTE.

 
At 3:16 PM , Blogger Peter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:38 PM , Blogger Peter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:54 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Fellow Copts, I agree with the previous individual in that you must exercise your political power and vote in the upcoming Parliamentary elections. Is it true that a Coptic candidate in an Alexandrian district withdrew his candidacy following the riots? If that is the case then that is a shame. Copts are severely under-represented as it is and we need qualified candidates to participate and contest and not to bow to Islamists and withdraw?. I also applaud these demonstrations and the efforts of expatriate Copts who are trying to make a difference in Paris and New York. Maybe a strong and unified voice abroad will convince international governments to pressure Egypt on implementing reforms granting ALL Egyptians full citizenship rights.
And as far as the comments that "proud Copt" wrote I HIGHLY doubt criticizing the Coptic Church and its Bishops are the answer. I don't doubt his knowledge of the "Stockholm Syndrome" but I think he should refrain from comparing the two. The Copts have lived and prospered in Egypt for 2000 years and were some of the first christians to embrace the good news of the apostles. They've lived through the Roman, Byzantine and Arab empires that have occupied and dominated Egypt so to say the Coptic church suffers from your, "Stockholm Syndrome" is quite ignorant.
And for an Egyptian newspaper to call for the blood of H.H. Pope Shenouda III? Are we reverting to the 7th century again? Do they want to stone him or put him under House Arrest again? These editors need to be held accountable for their hateful incitement as well as all media outlets that propagate intolerance, hate, and espically violence. The same goes for sermons that Imams hold that preach intolerance to anything that is not Islam or Muslim. The Coptic church does NOT and must continue to refrain from getting in a war of slander. People of ALL religions need to coexist and live in peace. They need to work together for the future properity of Egypt and to restore it to its past glory.

God Bless ALL christians around the world especially the ones carrying their cross.

Peter
A copt from St. Mark Chicago

 
At 12:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't fight Islam, read
I am fascinated that people noticed that where Islamic communities exist, it will always create troubles, irrespective if it was a minority or majority. For example, the Copts of Egypt numbered at 12-15 millions, and the native people of the land (as is the Muslim), yet they posses’ none of the political or social power. In fact for radical Muslim, they consider that allowing the Copts to live in Egypt is a great gift that can be denied any time they feel. For Copts to build a Church is considered by the state as great act of Muslim kindness, not as an essential human right. Contrast that with smaller minority of Muslim in Philippines, who are in a constant war for independence. So why are the native Christian Copts are silent in their own land, while the non-native (not sure here) Filipinos are making such noises. The difference between the two group is due to the difference between the two religions. So you might wonder: what is wrong with Islam?

Unfortunately, Nothing is wrong with Islam. While Christians consider religion as a private matter between man and God, Islam considers religion as act of a community. It is more of a collective religion not a personal one. It does not mean that a Muslim individual denies his/her personal responsibility toward Allah; they do. One of the main differences between Islam and Christianity is the ratio of the private/collective responsibility; this ratio is way high in Christianity (more on I), and way low in Islam (more on We).
Being a ‘collective’ religion adds more complications to the pictures. In a collective religion, anyone leaves the pack is considered a traitor who should be killed. If it is a ‘collective’ religion, then it does not matter if the size small of large; think of a group of solders in a battle field. Islam is a political system like any modern nationalistic movement such fascists, Nazism, and communist. These state-wide system have powerful impact on the individual. For example, during the Nazi or communist, personal freedom did not exist. These systems could not survive without wars; the same is with Islam (be careful here, I am not saying Islam is Nazi; but POLITICAL Islam is a system with great similarity to these political systems).

That is why Muslims are working hard to build Muslim States to block the advance of personal freedom (due to globalization). Personal freedom is considered as a source of all evil in the Islamic world. A Muslim individual in a political Islamic state is not only responsible to Allah but also to ALL Muslim fellows. So if I were a Muslim, how do I survive? I Join a Muslim group and be in state of high alert. Islam cannot survive unless they feel they are in state of war. When people attack Islam, they think they are weakening it, that is not true. Islam needs wars to survive and to strive. Without a war, a Muslim will have hard time thinking of HIS/HER OWN condition and thinking of his personal salvation. Being in state of War makes him think of something higher than self, the UMMA of Islam (the group). That is also why the act suicide attack is considered heroic in the Muslim world (a personal scarify for the benefits of the group)

See this web site by a woman from the Middle East and how she describes Islam. Everyone must read this, it is titled ‘ESCAPING "SUBMISSION"

http://www.noniedarwish.com/pages/745443/index.htm

Be wise, be Christian; It cannot get better than being in CHRIST presence.
Love
eemc2203@yahoo.com

 
At 8:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Coptic church has a very weak leadership

 
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