Monday, December 12, 2005

الهيئات والمنظمات القبطية فى المهجر تصدر بيانا ضد زيارة مايكل منير السرية الى مصر

تحت عنوان "غضب أقباط المهجر من اتصالات مايكل منير نشر موقع ايلاف بيانا شديد اللهجة ينتقد الى حد الادانة الزيارة التى قام بها السيد مايكل منير سرا الى مصر دون التشاور مع الهيئات والمنظمات القبطية وقد وصف منظم المؤتمر الرئيسى رجل الأعمال عدلى ابادير الزيارة بانها إستدعاء وليست زيارة بكل ما تحمل كلمة استدعاء من معانى ورغم نفى مايكل منير فى لقائه المطول مع موقع ايلاف بانه لا يمثل احد وانها زيارة شخصية ،الا أن ناشط قبطى آخر فى اميركا - بحسب ايلاف -وصف المسألة كلها بأنها محاولة التفاف من الحكومة المصرية على أقباط المهجر واللعب على وتر انقسامهم بعد عزمهم نقل القضية بشكل جدى إلى المحافل الدولية
ومن أبرز مما جاء فى البيان الفقرة التى تقول "الأقباط شعب عريق وليسوا جماعة متطرفة او سرية أو ارهابية حتى يجروا حوارا سريا مع رئيس المخابرات أو خلافه، فالقضية القبطية قضية سياسية واضحة وجلية
وشدد الموقعون على البيان على خطورة الالتفاف على العمل القبطي واختراقه لتحطيمه من الداخل والذى دأبت الحكومات المتعاقبة واجهزتها القيام به منذ عام 1952 وحتى الآن. وأضاف البيان : ننبه الشعب القبطى لعزل كل من يحاول تفتيت مسيرة الأقباط فى الكفاح السلمى العادل من آجل حقوقهم المهدرة والمسلوبة
وقام موقع الأقباط متحدون بنشر بيان المنظمات القبطية على استحياء وفى صفحة خلفية على غير عادتهم فى الترويج للبيانات الصادرة عن الموقع مع إضافة تعليق من المهندس عدلي أبادير يوسف أنهاه قائلا : "وللأقباط رب يحميهم وسيحميهم وسيرى الذين ظلموا أى منقلب ينقلبون ، لك الله يا مصر مع أولادك الأوغاد اللي باعوكى بالدولارات الوهابية" ! وتجدر الاشارة ايضا الى ان البيان المنشور على موقع الاقباط متحدون لا يحوى الملاحظة الختامية التالية والمنشورة على موقع ايلاف والتى تقول
"ملاحظة ختامية: لم يستشر السيد مايكل منير أعضاء مجلس إدارة منظمته (منظمة أقباط الولايات المتحدة) وهم د.كمال ابراهيم، م.كميل حليم، م.عاطف يعقوب حيث أن ادارة المنظمة لا تعلم بهذه الزيارة
وكان موقع الهيئة القبطية الأمريكية اول من انتقد الزيارة حيث صدر بيان مقتضب عنها يقول
بيان من الهيئة القبطية الأمريكية
علمت الهيئة أن السيد مايكل منير قد تم استدعائه للقاهرة لإجراء بعض المشاورات معه، ولما كان هذا التصرف فردياً وأتُخذ بصفة شخصية، ولم يتم التشاور بشأنه مع بقية الهيئات القبطية، لذا فإننا نبدى بعض التحفظات تجاه هذا التصرف ونعلن أن هذه اللقاءات بين السيد مايكل وشخصيات النظام فى مصر تتم بصفته ولاتمثل سوى شخصه

Saturday, December 10, 2005

من يتحدث باسم الأقباط؟

فى مقال بعنوان الأقباط ومسيرة المواطنة في القرن العشرين يتحدث الكاتب سامح فوزى عن موضوع هام ألا وهو:
من يتحدث بإسم الأقباط
يقول الأستاذ سامح فوزى: العقل الجمعي للشعب القبطي يعلق آمالا على الإكليروس للتعبير عن همومهم ومشكلاتهم
هذه الصيغة ظهرت عندما تراجع دور السياسيين الأقباط الذين عرفتهم مصر قبل ثورة 1952 وكذلك التكنوقراط الأقباط الذين لعبوا دورا في إدارة الملف القبطي في الستينيات. وبالرغم مما قامت به الكنيسة من دور رئيسي في السبعينيات وما تلاها للحفاظ على الكيان القبطي في مواجهة التيار الإسلامي، إلا أنه آن الأوان للتفكير بشكل مختلف
الأقباط بحاجة إلى قيادات مدنية تستطيع أن تعبر عن همومهم ومشاكلهم على أرضية المواطنة الكاملة، ولكن للأسف القيادات المدنية القبطية التي تأخذ على عاتقها هذا الملف محدودة العدد، وتكاد تكون غائبة في أوساط الشباب. المطلوب هو التفكير في إيجاد قيادات شابة واعية، تنخرط في كل فعاليات المجتمع العام، وتستطيع التعبير عن همومها ومشكلاتها على أرضية المواطنة. وفي ظل غياب هذه القيادات المندمجة المتفاعلة مع المجتمع ستضعف قدرة الأقباط في المستقبل على إيصال صوتهم للمجتمع العام، والتلاقي مع القطاعات المستنيرة منه
هل يجب أن يعبر الأقباط وحدهم عن همومهم؟

هذا السؤال يعني إلى متى يظل الأقباط يطالبون وحدهم بحل مشكلاتهم؟ لماذا لا يشركون شركاءهم في المواطنة من المسلمين المستنيرين القادرين على المضي قدما معهم في سبيل تحقيق هذا الهدف؟
هناك ميراث من التعايش الإنساني الشعبي بين المسلمين والأقباط. الاستفادة من هذا الميراث تحافظ أولا على بنية المجتمع وتساعد ثانيا الأقباط على الاندماج فيه على أساس من المواطنة الكاملة. نظن أحيانا أن هذه المهمة صعبة، ولكنها في الواقع صعبة لأن قطاع كبير من الأقباط متقوقعون على أنفسهم ولا يعرفون بعد سبل التلاقي مع العناصر الليبرالية والمستنيرة في المجتمع بالقدر الكافي. تكشف التجربة ذلك. هناك مثقفون مسلمون كتبوا في الهموم القبطية أفضل مما كتب الأقباط عن أنفسهم. الوقوف معهم في خندق واحد ضرورة للنهوض بالمجتمع وبث روح الاستنارة في شرايينه مرة أخري
هل ينكفئ الأقباط على همومهم فقط؟
الأقباط بحاجة للمساهمة الفاعلة في الجهود التي تبذل في الوقت الحاضر للإصلاح السياسي. يقدمون إسهامهم بوصفهم مواطنين فاعلين، لهم رؤية تصب في الصالح الوطني العام. من خلال هذا الجهد يستطيعون الحديث عن همومهم على نحو أفضل من ناحية، ويتمكنون من تغيير المجتمع في اتجاه الديمقراطية والحرية والليبرالية التي تمثل الإطار الطبيعي للنشاط والحركة بالنسبة لهم بعيدا عن مشروعات إنتاج دولة دينية يتحولون فيها إلى ذميين- أي ما دون المواطنة مثلما يطرح قطاع واسع من التيار الإسلامي مشروعه السياسي.

Egypt court extends detention of Nour

Ayman Nour
CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court extended the detention of liberal politician and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour on Saturday until December 12 when his trial on forgery charges resumes, Nour's lawyer said.

Nour, who was confined to a cage in the court room during Saturday's hearing, was President Hosni Mubarak's main rival in Egypt's first presidential election in September, winning 8 percent of the vote compared with 89 percent for Mubarak.

Nour was first held in January for questioning and released in March after the United States put pressure on the government. He was then charged with submitting forged signatures when his opposition Ghad Party applied last year for legal recognition.

Washington said it was watching Nour's trial closely after the court ruled on Monday that Nour be detained again, until Saturday's session.

"The judge ordered their (the defendant's) detention ... until the next session," one of Nour's defence lawyers, Amir Salim, said after Saturday's hearing, adding that the court would reconvene on December 12.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Calling on the Muslim Brotherhood to Share in Political Power (Part 2 of 2)

Will Democracy Survive? (Part 2 of 2)

By Magdi Khalil*

The previous article offered a brief review of the mission and activities of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood during the last couple of decades, without delving into their past history. The Islamic movements in the Arab countries are variations of the Muslim Brotherhood, and would probably follow its example.

So, what can we expect if the Islamists, by way of legitimate democratic means, take part in ruling their countries? It is quite possible that they will proceed, unhindered, in carrying out their proclaimed objectives at the expense of civil society and democracy.

This bleak prospect can still be avoided if there are predetermined safeguards to shield the democratic system, and effectively curb this wild fascist agenda to make it, in essence, a civil project carrying an Islamic name, much similar to the Christian parties in Europe.

If there is such a thing as a “recipe for democracy”, would the Turkish experience be a viable recipe for the Arab world? The answer is negative; Turkey’s democratic achievements are the product of a unique set of circumstances, and the result of the development and preservation of its civil society for the last 75 years; a strong focus on secular values and a close interaction with its European neighbors. The secular nature of Turkish society is safeguarded by its armed forces, laws, constitution, and a long history of democratic practices.

The lesson learned from the Turkish experience is that the development of a secular society is a necessary prelude to democratization. In a book published last year and entitled <The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad>, Mr. Fareed Zakaria discussed the theme of democracy, freedoms and civil society. He stated that the much desired democracy is not about the transfer of power from the hands of militaries to the hands of a religious rabble hiding behind fake religious masks; but rather the transfer of power into the hands of a sound civil society capable of choosing leaders who believe in power circulation, freedom, and the value of human life.


Evidently, democracy – in the true sense of the word – can never be attained without granting freedoms first. It is seriously misleading to define democracy as nothing more than ballots and polls. Democracy has a large set of fundamental values and practices that include strong institutions, political awareness, respect of individual choices, the practice of citizenship and political rights, a total separation of the three branches of government, and an effective reinforcement of the rule of the law.


The Muslim Brotherhood loudly advocate free elections; but a free democratic society is based on a lot more than elections. Honest and free elections are considered just one pillar, among a set of pillars that uphold the foundations of a democratic state:

- A complete separation between state and religion, all constitutional articles that indicate the state’s official religion or refer to the Islamic Shari’a should, therefore, be annulled.

- Religious freedom, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to freedom of religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, (or to have none) and the freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Religious freedom should be protected by constitution and laws.

- Political rights, including citizenship rights for non-Muslims and women. These rights should neither be based on, nor restricted by, religious creed; they should be based on the constitution and civil laws that opt for complete equality between men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims. The international treaties and agreements that support these rights should be accepted without reservations. A conditional acceptance based on the compatibility with “Shari’a” is against the essence of these rights, as it promotes discrimination and denies equality.

- To grant and respect personal freedom. A person is not required to give account of his individual choices or actions unless they prove harmful to others. From a religious perspective, he will be required to give account of his actions on judgment day, and that matter is strictly a personal matter that concerns no one but the individual and God Almighty.

- A national identity for the state as opposed to a religious identity. In that context, the focus on Islamic unity or Islamic Khilafa is not acceptable as it goes against the notion of a national state, and carries the dire prospect of a religious fascist rule.

- Freedom of expression in all its forms, including the right to publish newspapers and establish broadcasting media facilities, with no restrictions other than the ones that are applied in other democratic states.

- To abide by the international agreements and treaties approved by Egypt in the past, including the Peace treaty with Israel without religious or non-religious reservations, and to uphold the commitment to the peace process.

- To accept and respect the values of modernity which are adopted by the Western societies: individuality, privacy, private property, free economy, creative interaction with other societies, and the complete separation between the branches of government. These values stand against the submissive “flock behavior” and similar crippling social phenomena that crush individual vision and expression.

- To adopt the language of a civil state as opposed to the religious fascist terminology that reinforces tyranny and regression. The modern concept of democracy is, for example, conspicuously different from the religious concept of “Shura” (consultative decision making).

The following expressions are frequently used: “major governance”, “minor governance”, “the nation’s constants”, “the nation’s identity”, “the nation’s enemies”, “they (e.g. the Christians) have the same rights and duties as we do”, “land of war” and “land of peace”, the “unbelievers” or the “infidels”, “Jihad” (holy war), “cultural invasion”, “hesba” (informal police neighborhood). Some of these expressions are offensive and reflect a high level of intolerance and bigotry, and all of them are incompatible with the spirit of democracy and the foundations of a modern state.

- To endorse the elements of the civil society in the different aspects of life, and curb the religious tone, speech and expressions that presently color the media, culture and laws.

If we opt for the reformist religious movements to become part of the democratic process, they should first proclaim their full acceptance and abidance with the terms of civil society. Additionally, effective local and international safeguards should be set in place in order to protect the society against a violation of these rights.

A most effective local safeguard would be the formulation of a new social contract that endorses the values of coexistence, civil society, democracy, and a constitution that is consistent with those values. Such a contract cannot be in effect unless it is approved by the entire society, including political powers from the right and left wings, civil society organizations, political parties, religious leaders and prominent public figures. The High Constitutional Court would act as a supervisor to deal with possible violations, and under its guidance, the police and armed forces would act as guardians and protectors of the contract. The entire political process, including the elections, should be under the authority of an empowered and totally independent judiciary; without the interference of the executive authority or religious institutions.


The involvement of the international community in monitoring this social contract would additionally safeguard the democratic system. International foundations and civil society organizations should be involved in monitoring elections, the status of women and minorities, and democratic development.

In fact, the international community should keep a close watch on the local situation if the Islamists are allowed to take part in ruling their countries. If our worst fears come true, a request for international interference - in a military or non-military capacity – should not be deemed illegitimate.

It seems that the Western world, as eager as it is to reduce violence in the Islamic states, has opted for the Islamists to take part in ruling their countries. However, the citizens of these countries have no desire to suffer, unduly, for the sake of a ‘trial and error’ experiment; because in that case the error would prove fatal!

To conclude, this whole scenario is based on two far-fetched assumptions:

1. It is almost impossible to assume that Islamist parties would accept the values of a democratic and liberal society, since those are, in fact, in total contradiction with their proclaimed values. That would be like joining two opposite values, or claiming that there is such a thing as “a legal murder” or a “wise fool”. This erroneous assumption could best be described as an oxymoron, because the Islamists cannot possibly adopt those values and retain their identity as Islamists; they would otherwise become civil society advocators.

2. Equally unlikely is the assumption that the Egyptian armed forces would be amenable to the role of guardians of civil society, democracy and secularism - as is the case in Turkey. As a matter of fact, the armed forces believe they have “inherited” Egypt since the revolution of 1952; and act as legitimate owners rather than guardians. They have no quarrel with the Islamists – quite the opposite in some cases - however this is a power conflict and not an ideological one. The armed forces will not concede power, and would wage war on any potential competitors.

Obviously, such a serious - and potentially lethal - issue merits careful consideration; hopefully these couple of articles will encourage further discussions on this matter.


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

* Magdi Khalil is a political analyst, researcher, and author. Executive Editor of the Egyptian weekly Watani International. Columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, London. Free- Lance writer for several Arabic language newspapers. Frequent contributor for Middle East broadcast news TV. Published three books and written numerous research papers on citizenship rights, civil society, and the situation of minorities in the Middle East. Magdikh@hotmail.com

مايكل منير فى بيروت مناديا بحقوق العرب فى أمريكا !؟

Michael Meunier's visit to Lebanon
According to Al Diyar Lebanese newspaper on Wednesday December 7th, 2005:
The American president of the Copts visited Al Jameel and Qablan Yesterday, the former president of Lebanon received Michael Meunier, the president of the American Coptic association accompanied by Edmond Botrous, the president of the Lebanese Coptic Union in Lebanon
The meeting served as a chance to discuss the latest development of the Lebanese issues, Michael Meunier presented the resolutions of the international Coptic conference held in Washington few weeks ago to Mr. Al Jameel Meunier, accompanied by Botrous have visited Sheikh Abd Al Ameer Qablan, the vice president of the Higher Shiit Islamic Council in the presence of the presidency affairs advisor, Mr. Nazih Jamoul, an attorney.
They discussed the situation of the Arab community in the United States and the role of the Copts in it.
Sheikh Qablan has affirmed that “ The Copts are genuine in Arabism*, they are intermingled in their Arab community and reserve all love for the land upon which they live, and assimilate with its people as brethren in love and cooperation”, he referred to the “distinguished positions of Fr. (Pope) Shenouda who speaks in the name of all Arabs and expresses their positions against the Israeli occupation”, calling on the expatriate Arabs to “ fortify their bonds to their countries and brethren and respect their host countries to be a model of the good people in dealing with others”.
After the meeting, Meunier said: there is an Arab-American- Egyptian tendency to be a factor in affecting the American policies, at the same time of reaching out to the American people, and we have affirmed- with Sheikh Qablan- the importance of working in all arenas in order to demonstrate the Arab issues through the Arab communities and to influence the American policies in order to change the American foreign policies, specially that the American people are peace loving who hold the same love for other peoples, and policies are made by the people, therefore we have to reveal the good image of the Arab peoples to the American people.
=====
* Copts do not consider themselves Arabs, but rather pride themselves as Egyptians and heirs to the ancient Egyptian civilization
رئيس الأقباط الأميركي * زار الجميل وقبلان
استقبل الرئيس امين الجميل قبل ظهر امس في الصيفي رئيس منظمة الاقباط في الولايات المتحدة ‏الاميركية مايكل منير يرافقه رئيس الرابطة اللبنانية القبطية في لبنان ادمون بطرس.‏
وكان اللقاء مناسبة لتعرض آخر التطورات على الساحة اللبنانية، فيما اطلع منير الرئيس ‏الجميل على توصيات ومقررات المؤتمر العالمي للاقباط الذي عقد في واشنطن دي سي قبل اسابيع.‏
كما زار منير يرافقه بطرس نائب رئيس المجلس الاسلامي الشيعي الاعلى الشيخ عبد الامير قبلان في ‏حضور مستشار شؤون الرئاسة في المجلس المحامي نزيه جمول، وتم البحث في اوضاع الجالية العربية ‏في الولايات المتحدة ودور الاقباط فيها.‏
وشدد الشيخ قبلان على «ان الاقباط اصيلون في العروبة، وهم مندمجون في مجتمعهم العربي ‏ويكنون كل محبة للارض التي يعيشون عليها ويندمجون مع شعوبها كأخوة متعاونين متحابين». ونوه ‏بـ «المواقف المميزة للاب شنودة الذي ينطق باسم العرب ويعبر عن مواقفهم ضد الاحتلال ‏الاسرائيلي»، داعيا المغتربين العرب الى «تعزيز تواصلهم مع بلادهم واخوانهم واحترام البلاد ‏التي تستضيفهم ليكونوا انموذج الانسان الصالح في التعامل مع الآخرين».‏
وبعد اللقاء صرح منير هناك توجه عربي - اميركي - مصري عامل للتأثير في السياسة الاميركية، ‏وفي الوقت نفسه يمكن التواصل اكثر مع الشعب الاميركي، واكدنا مع الشيخ قبلان ضرورة العمل ‏في المحافل كافة، لاظهار القضايا العربية من خلال الجاليات العربية والتأثير في السياسة ‏الاميركية بغية تغيير السياسة الخارجية الاميركية لا سيما وان الشعب الاميركي محب للسلام ‏وللشعوب الاخرى، والسياسة من هذا الشعب. لذلك، يجب ان نبدي الصورة الحسنة للشعوب ‏العربية لدى الشعب الاميركي.‏

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Released after 3 days of detention and torture

Sherif Hassan Abdel Wahab, 34 year old, was released after spending three days in detention at the State Security headquarters in Giza, Egypt; he was beaten, tortured and humiliated while in detention.

Sherif was arrested last week in October 6 town, he had converted from Islam to Christianity 7 years ago. Security officials also mocked his conversion from Islam and accused him of contempt against Islam. Sherif was tortured for refusing to become an informer for the State Security against converts from Islam.
الافراج عن مواطن بعد تعذيبه
تم الافراج عن المواطن/شريف حسن عبد الوهاب 34 سنة بعد ان قضى ثلاثة ايام داخل مقر مباحث امن الدولة بالجيزة تعرض خلالها للضرب والتعذيب والاهانة والاستهزاء من عقيدته وقد رفض المذكور ان يقوم بدور المرشد السرى وتجدر الاشارة ان شريف عبد الوهاب والذى قبض عليه نهايه الاسبوع الماضى فى احد شوارع مدينه 6 اكتوبر قد اعتنق المسيحية منذ نحو سبع سنوات و ليس له اى نشاط دينى او سياسى من اى نوع ولكن عادة ما توجه تهمة ازدراء الاديان لمثل هؤلاء لاجبارهم على الارتداد او على الاقل ضمان عدم قيامهم باى نشاط تبشيرى

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Muslim Brotherhood and Women


The Muslim Brotherhood and Women
By:
Mona Eltahawy

A quick tour of Islamist attitudes towards women in Arab countries is a warning of their damaging views.
In Palestine, just ask women how they have been marginalized by Hamas over the past few years. In Kuwait, ask women about the Islamist candidates who until this year blocked legislation giving them the right to vote.

And ask Algerian women about the violence unleashed on them by Islamists.

I cannot talk about the Muslim Brotherhood's position on women without mentioning hijab. For many in Egypt this might be a moot point. They will say that the majority of Egyptian women wear the hijab. While this might be true, it certainly isn't the point.

Regular readers of my articles will remember that in an interview in June with Mahdi Akef, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, I asked him if the group planned to change anything in the Egyptian constitution regarding women's rights should they ever come to power.

To prove to me that the Brotherhood would not endanger women's rights, Akef pointed to me and said that although I was "naked" I had been allowed to enter his office. I objected and insisted I was not "naked." I was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt and trousers. I said there were many views on Muslim women's dress but he insisted that there were no differences among the views.

Such an attitude not only belies the Brotherhood's true attitude towards women, but it also highlights the two languages they use: one with Egyptian or Muslim journalists and another with Western journalists. Akef would never have told a Western journalist she was "naked."

Egyptians are fed up of government authoritarianism and we certainly do not want to replace it with the Brotherhood's religiously-inspired authoritarianism.


For more

بلاغ عاجل إلى قداسة البابا شنودة الثالث

The Muslim Brotherhood group reveals its ugly face

Brotherhood against non-Muslim leaders

A senior figure in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood organisation has argued against non-Muslims holding leadership positions in Egypt, including the presidency.

Mohamed Habib, the first deputy of the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, said that "if we are to apply the Islamic rule which says that non-Muslims have no guardianship over Muslims, then a Christian may not be president".