Sunday, 8 May 2011

Towards a multi-faith society in Egypt

This post was written by Girgis Kalzi after the clashes between Christians and Muslims in the Imbaba area of Cairo

Our hearts are with the people of Egypt

The events of last night, and the events that have re-occured so many times accross Egypt, and have been mirrored elsewhere around the Arab world relect a growing chasm between the two main faiths of the Middle East.

In Iraq - Christians, and other religions were directly targeted, killed, and their deaths were openly praised by extreme sections of Muslim society.

On the other hand Christians - on a lesser note - since they are the minority across the Arab world - have stuggled with accepting the presence of Muslims and Islam in countries they count as 'Christian'. The time for change MUST be nigh.

If both sides continue to show this level of disrespect and disregard for each other then it will only escalate to a divided society and a conflict shod this issue not be nipped in the bud.

If there has ever been a time for Muslims to re-asses their literal interpretation of some aspects of the Qur'an it's now, and if there has ever been a need for Christians to remove their ego from their faith then now is the time. I would like to see an Egypt, and an Arab world that respects both faiths and others, and that protects not only the interests of the faiths, but of the individuals caught in the crossfire.

What EVERY Muslim and Christian must ask themselves is: "Does the conversion of one of our own in any way affect the faith we have been brought up with and have grown to accept as a guide in our lives?"

For me the answer is an emphatic no - and so long as we live in a world where faith is based on numbers of followers, God's plans for either faith are being twisted and misconstrued.

What needs to happen now:

1.Muslims in Egypt must re-assess their position on conversion and interfaith marriage and likewise Christians - who must also re-assess their relationship with Muslims.

2.There must be a civil structure where Muslims and Christians can convert to and from, and be married to each other in. 

3. Religion MUST also be removed from passports and ID's and Egyptian society must come to terms with the existence of a faith that is not their own - otherwise we will only see incidents like this increase in Egypt and elsewhere.

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