The Muslims and Copts of Egypt: Hostility or Harmony?

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Life & Society Topics: Muslims Views: 8726
8726

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Strategically located between Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt ranks as one of the most influential Muslim countries in the world. It is the most populated Arab country and the second largest recipient of American Foreign aid (after the state of Israel). Its government is the first Arab entity to have signed a peace accord with Israel and has managed to build itself the reputation of being a major human rights violator. Nonetheless today, the Egyptian government is faced with several endemic challenges such as the constant need to create new jobs for its emerging young population entering the labor force along with the necessity to provide basic needs for its sizeable population which is increasingly dependent on foreign imports to meet them.

In a time when the Muslim world map is being reconstituted and political alliances are shifting, the future of the 1400-year-old Islamic-Coptic relations may play an integral part in shaping the long-term stability of Egypt. Will the Egyptian Coptic community side with its Muslim neighbors to reform the currently corrupt government as it did more than half a century ago or will external forces and short-sighted Egyptian individuals fuel hatred among the Copts and Muslim to disrupt the historically delicate harmony and peaceful coexistence? Will the Copts ask for an autonomous or independent state in Egypt like the Southern region of the Sudan or will the Muslim and Coptic leaderships carefully re-evaluate their often good but sometimes sour relationships to re-craft them for a longer lasting peace?

Author Sohirin Mohammad Solihin states in his book 'Copts and Muslims in Egypt: A study on Harmony and Hostility':

The term Copt is used to refer to the indigenous Christian of Egypt. After the Muslim conquest at the hands of Amr bin al-As, in 639 CE, under the command of the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Copts, by and large, having experienced the cruelty of the Roman Empire which opposed Christianity and massacred hundreds of thousands of the followers of St. Mark, founder of the Coptic faith, turned to Islam. Cyrus, the archbishop of Alexandria, following the fall of Babylon described Muslims in these words:

'We have witnessed a people to each and everyone of whom death is preferable to life, and humility to prominence, and to one of whom this world has the least attraction. They sit not except on the ground and eat not but on their knees. Their leader (Amir) is like unto one of them: the low cannot be distinguished from the high, nor the master from the slave. And when the time of prayer comes, none of them absents himself, all wash their extremities and humbly observe their prayers.'

In view of the position of Egypt, as the home of the Copts long before he reached Egypt, the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had clearly warned his Companions: 'If God bestows His grace on you to conquer the country (Egypt), take mutual advice from its inhabitants as I have marital kinship with them'. As Islam guarantees free choice of religion, a number of Egyptians retained their indigenous Coptic belief.

The long, peaceful co-existence between the two communities, particularly prior to (Egypt) independence, deserves special attention. They jointly struggled to Liberate Egypt from foreign domination. In taking the liberation campaign to the masses, priests and Muslims Shaikhs used both religious platforms - church and mosque - in an endeavor to bring to an end the British occupation. Surprisingly, the Copts resented the entry of Western Christian mission into Egypt. The efforts of Western Christian mission to bring the Copts, before an approach was made to the Muslims, into their faith was not successful. Relations between the two communities ebbed and flowed.'


  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Life & Society
  Topics: Muslims
Views: 8726

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Older Comments:
DAINA FROM AUSTRALIA said:
This is complete bollucks.. look it up.. there has been masscares
Janet Patel you are very *** to think otherwise. I am neither
muslim nor copt but I am educated. Open the news and look around you
!!! RIP all Coptics who have been murdered by Extremist Foul Muslim
and Rip to the good muslims who had their lives taken away for
interfering. I have family in Egypt and I know what is going on. Thank
you !
2013-04-08

JANET PATEL FROM CANADA said:
Please send information to Michael Coren @[email protected]. He feels that the Muslims in Egypt have had a long history of massacring the Copts in Egypt. He needs some history of the area to set him right.
2003-09-21

MOHAMMED FROM DUBAI said:
My opinion not make problem in the world
2003-08-20

C A ISMAIL FROM INDIA said:
finally I could read a model peacefully co-existing faiths in these times. It is indeed a lesson to Indian fanatics who massacred, raped and burnt the lives of innocent muslims just because they are muslims.
In Gujrat a thristy 6 month old baby was poured in his mouth gasolene and a devil put a burning match stick into his mouth !!!
In another event, a fully pregnant woman was stabbed and took her foetus out and put the foetus on a "trishul" and asked the foetus to utter their man-god "ram ram" who was indeed an ideal human being in his life time.
2003-08-09

ABDILLAH ALHABSHEE FROM MALAYSIA said:
Islam is the only other religion that makes belief in Jesus as compulsory article of faith.
If a Muslim does not believe that Jesus as a Prophet of God,heceases to be a Muslim.
2003-08-05

AREMU MUHAMMED FROM NIGERIA said:
Thanks for that incisive information.But,what exactly could have led to this seemingly sour relationship between the muslims in Egypt and their coptic counterparts.
2003-07-25

MANOU FROM THE NETHERLAND said:
I Love my brothers the copt, and as a moslem i will never and ever consider them different then any egyptian.
I met them in egypt and i was treated with kindness and brotherhood they made me feel like a special guest ...i have a very high consideration toward them and a special love for all the inhabitant of Egypt.
Manou.
2003-07-25

YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Assalamu alaikum. Through research inspired by this article, I encountered a marvelous article that exposes weaknesses of Trinitarian doctrine - masha'Allah. The author of that particular article is listed as Marmarinta Umar P Mababaya. It is titled The Oneness of God and can currently be found at a number of websites - Jazak Allahu khair!

After briefly reviewing one article at a Coptic Orthodox website I was left a bit distressed by the emphasis they appear to place on the (rather more extreme) Nicene Creed - which declares that the Messiah is true God from true God. (Astagh-firullah!) However, they also appear to be disinclined to propagate the Doctrine of Trinity - at least perhaps among their neighbors. May peace be upon them - as well as upon their neighbors.


Wassalam.
2003-07-24

OSAMA OSMAN FROM USA said:
Egypt is one of the most important contries in the middle east that their people live as a larg family Moslims and Christians.
2003-07-23

FAHAD FROM EGYPT said:
copts are the most mentally oppressed people i have ever met. they have truly been subdued as was perscribed for them in the koran. they even allow their daughters to marry muslim men, killing off their own cultural heritage. it is the duty of all christians to spread the word of god, even under pain of death. copts do not do that. i don't even think they can be considered christian anymore. what kind of man allows himself to be subdued like that?
2003-07-23

OYEDEJI NAJIM FROM NIGERIA said:
the position is good and the comment is good. I believe we whole non muslim the previlege of known wha islam is all about aside the ditortion and other miscoseption things they have known thro. the enemy of islam.
2003-07-23

AKBAR PATEL FROM DOHA QATAR said:
IT IS CORRECT
2003-07-23

IBNU ABBASSE FROM USA said:
Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah

As-Salaam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu


As-Salaam Alaikum

My comments pertains to the fist part of the opening statement on this article.

"Strategically located between Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea," ....

To put it correctly, Egypt is located in North Africa unless the Geography composition of the continent of Africa has been changed recently.

It would be ideal if we can abstain from distorting geographical facts as is the tendencies of the power brokers.


Wasalaam
Ibnu Abbasse
2003-07-22

FAHAD FROM ALL OF THEM said:
copts in egypt are the most mentally oppressed people i have ever met. they have really been subdued, as was perscribed for them in the koran. they don't even have the will anymore to fight for themselves. christians are supposed to spread the word of god, even if it means their death. copts do not do that. they have abandoned the burdensome parts of their faith. some of them allow their daughters to marry muslims, which means that their children will be muslim, killing off their christian heritage. i don't even think you can call them christian anymore
2003-07-22

AAMIR FROM PAKISTAN said:
If i am not given credit for enduring the world ostracizig leperisation ANd crucifixation more than CHRIST himself

as being MUSLIM ..

I much rathr call myself Parsi Hindu,Christiam ..for who wants to die for 7th sectury promises not full filled in 1500 yrs with declining hope or chances with Egyptian Syria Iraqi Guf, Saudie like 2nd citizen of the world to AMERICAN judeo christians !!!!
2003-07-22

MUHAMMAD JAMIU FROM NIGERIA said:
this is a pretty good articl ,muslims of today need to be briefed on the happenings of the past .this would enable us understand the sttus of al-islam before now,and judge whether it has fallem or rose .
2003-07-22