copts and the law for the construction of churches

The problems and controversies surrounding the proposed  law for the construction of churches have escalated. As mentioned in a previous post, the law consisted of 8 articles some of which were contested by many Coptic leaders. On August 18th, the Orthodox Church suddenly issued a vague statement saying that the law that was circulated had been changed and that it was not what they had agreed to during negotiations with the government. The statement also warned that the law as such would harm national unity – without further clarification. In attempts at putting pressure on the Church, Al Youm Al Sabeaa, the security-oriented newspaper, stated that the Church was ‘choosing to clash with the government.’ Continue reading

egypt at rio 2016: the games, the controversies, the players

It is indeed delightful that Egypt has won 3 bronze medals – two females and one male athlete in Taekwondo and weightlifting.  While this may be seen as a non-accomplishment when compared to the big winners, it really is an accomplishment for Egypt. What one should take into consideration is that Egypt has been in turmoil since 2011. In addition, it does not have the typical professional athletes who are trained and groomed by their countries. Both Egypt and Tunisia won 3 medals each.

As the Olympic flame reached Tokyo today, August 25, 2016 – home of the 2020 games, it is time to reflect on Rio, the Egyptian controversies and the players.   Continue reading

the real questions to ask re omran

Nothing has changed since I last wrote about the children of Syria and Iraq in a previous post, and also about baby Aylan. Perhaps the change is the addition of Yemeni children – not to mention the forever tormented Palestinian children. You see, the pictures are no longer sanitized because we have long been desensitized by images of blood, missing limbs and dead bodies. What’s one more child or one more baby? what’s one more human?

CqNys7uWIAE23BUThis week, Aleppo-based journalist Mustafa al-Sarout filmed five-year-old Omran Daqneesh after he emerged from the rubble of his home. The picture, and later the video – with his hollow, traumatized look, his heart-wrenching silence, his attempt at rubbing the dirt off his hands by wiping them on the ambulance seat.. all immediately captured the world’s attention and for many – their hearts.  He was carried from the rubble of his bombed building and placed in an ambulance alone – and his sister – not much older, was brought in a few minutes later. One can only wonder what was going on in his mind.. what the impact of that shock and trauma on him would be. The good news is that all his family survived the attack. Continue reading

the economy, falcons, fishing poles, pears and confessions .. week in review

The biggest issue over the past two weeks has been the economy which included the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, the IMF loan and the rise in prices of almost everything.

Last week, President Sisi gave yet another speech, and it was noted that this time he spoke primarily from notes in front of him as opposed to his usual random improvisation. He basically addressed the concerns of Egyptians regarding the economy, saying how difficult the situation was and how Egyptians must continue to bear that burden. He stated that the increase in electricity bill prices is ‘small’ and that that increase will save Egypt’s coffers approximately 20 billion pounds. While the economic situation is indeed dire, Egyptians were surprised to learn of 4 new airplanes that were bought from France [read more about them below].

Meanwhile, the Economist wrote a devastating series of articles about Egypt’s economy and on its cover was the headline The Ruining of Egypt: Repression and the incompetence of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi are stoking the next uprising. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaction was immediately defensive, issuing a statement entitled The Ruining of the Economist , a sad and emotional response, with repetitive mantras such as “President Sisi does not micro-manage Egypt’s institutions and does not create economic policy in a vacuum” and denying allegations that “Egypt’s economy is sustained only through cash injections from the Gulf and military aid from the US.”  The statement also defended the IMF loan. Continue reading

update on copts – III

According to The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), there have been 77 incidents of sectarian violence and tension in Minya governorate since January 25, 2011,  many of which were based on allegations that a Coptic home was being ‘turned into a church.’ Under immense Coptic pressure, a draft law for the construction of churches, agreed upon by all three denominations and the government, has been sent to parliament for approval. The articles of the law are viewed as discriminatory at best, and seem to treat Muslims and Christians differently when building places of worship, which essentially denies Copts their equal citizenship rights.

The law consists of 8 articles [see below in Arabic]: Continue reading

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