In the Name of the Kind and Beautiful Precious Beloved Lord
The sectarian violence that has gripped the land of my ancestors, Egypt, has been truly sickening to watch. The attacks on Christians and Christian churches in the past weeks are horrific, and they must be condemned. Not that my condemnation necessarily means much, but at least I – an American Muslim of Egyptian descent – have spoken out against it before God.
This internecine violence the world is currently witnessing is a totally new phenomenon in Egypt. Many of my relatives have grown up in Egypt and they all told me that this Muslim-Christian thing had never existed until after the Revolution. Egyptians always lived together in peace, not caring who is Christian and who is Muslim. One of my patients is an Egyptian Coptic Christian, and she just came back from Egypt, where she stayed at her Muslim friends’ homes and broke the Ramadan fast with them. This is the true spirit of the Egyptian people.
No doubt, there are some in each community who desires to see violence against the other. But, they are a tiny minority. Their rhetoric of violence and exclusion must also be condemned. But, what I can see – and it is clear as day - is that this interreligious violence is being stoked by nefarious elements within society. And what I urge Egyptians – Christians and Muslims – to see through the aims of those who want Christians and Muslims to attack each other and resist it.
The governing Council must do everything within its power to protect all Egyptian citizens – Christians and Muslims alike. They must do everything within its power – within the rule of law – to stop those who want to attack fellow Egyptians simply because are Christians. Yet, more than this, I urge Egyptians – those with my very same ancestry – to remember who they are: Egyptians, citizens of one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known.
This sort of violence is a stain upon our heritage as people of Egyptian descent. This violence is beneath both Egypt and her people. The Egyptian people are better than this, and I urge them to remember this fact. And for those Muslims who think that Christians are to be attacked, I remind them that this is totally against everything for which Islam stands. Moreover, it is a direct affront to the directives of our beloved Prophet:
This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet.
Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
The Muslims are to fight for them.
If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected.
They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).
Please see this for what it is: evil people trying to destroy all the good which the Revolution has brought by stoking violence between people who are actually brothers and sisters. Do not let the evil ones win.
This first appeared on Beliefnet.