Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Several people emailed me this story and asked for my comment. Well, it is a very disturbing story indeed.
I really do not want to jump into conclusions and say that the murder was religiously inspired. The investigations are still underway and I believe we have to wait and see the results.
However, New Jersey's large Coptic community are not willing to wait and they are already blaming radical Muslims. They claim that this might be a possibility given the fact that the father used to enter into very heated debates with Muslims over the Paltalk.com program and he got threats for that. In addition, they say the killers cut the wrist of his older daughter. She had the traditional tattoo of a Coptic cross on it.
A Christian friend told me that he heard the funeral mass live over PalTalk. It was in the murdered family's church in New Jersey. He told me that emotions were running high during the funeral procession. A local Muslim cleric tried to enter the church to pay tribute to the family but the congregation roared. I feel so sorry for him.
This incident proves the level of Muslim-Christian tensions in Egypt. It seems that the emotional high fever reached America's east coast as well. I am very worried about the future really. The Christians are getting very extremist because their fellow Muslims have their own share of extremism as well. I believe the Christians feel threatened from the rising level of Muslim extremism in Egypt and their inability to feel that they are equal citizens.
It wasn't like that 50 years ago, not during the monarchy nor even during the Nasser era. When Anwar Sadat came to power, he had to offset the power of his predecessor remnants and of the communist and so he unleashed another power that Nasser brutally suppressed: the political Islamists. As a result of the rise of political Islam and the lack of Coptic rights, Christians became very self-conscious and here we are today.