I just came across this article and really believe it hits the nail on the head in terms of why muslims and christians mistrust each other in Egypt. It is a very interesting read..
Why we mistrust/despise/hate each other?
Why Muslims mistrust/despise/hate Christians?
1.Majorities don’t like minorities to complain about persecution or discrimination. That’s typical in all countries. However, as the country get more civilized, the majority automatically finds it shameful that the minority is treated unequally and so work on remedying their problems.
2. Muslims became pathetically religious over the past 30 years. This phenomena is linked to the rise of political Islam, the failure of our “secular” government, and the ever deteriorating economic problem. This religiosity hasn’t done much to improve the “Egyptian person”. Generally speaking, it focuses more on outward appearances and not on bettering the person’s behavior. Girls are expected to cover their hair lest Allah hangs them from it on judgment day and boys are expected to show up at the mosque more often lest Allah gets angry and have a bad day. It’s all about outward stuff, about the outer shell, and very little on behavior or personality. And once you become religious, you are more inclined to look down upon the “other”, and the “other” here are the Copts. Religion can make you a better person, it can also make you horrible. How ironic.
3.The rise of religious fundamentalists in every aspect of our society. I don’t need to say anything more here right?
4. America! OK OK Americans, I can hear you wondering “what on earth do we have to do with your sectarian problems??” Let me explain. American Copts have managed to forge good relations with the US congress and they are using this to pressure the government or simply to make noise in Washington. And they are succeeding. When the government wanted to talk to a Coptic leader besides the Coptic pope, they didn’t chose an Egyptian politician, they invited Michael Mounir, president of the Washington-based US Copts Association.
Now, Muslims don’t like the American government that much….ok I don’t need to continue right.
5.Resentment that Muslims have over US foreign policy in the region. OK, what does that have to do with destroying churches, stabbing Christians, and looking with a suspicious eyes towards them? Well, aren’t the majority of Americans and Copts Christian? Voila!
6.Christians have recently discovered a new way of taking revenge and feeling that they are not powerless. Attacking Islam on the internet and satellite channels. Truth is, Muslims were the ones who started that war. Christians only joined when they found a way to do it without getting caught. Please note the above reasons are not equally important and they are in a general sense. The first 3 are the main ones for the simple fact that sectarian strife has been going on for over 30 years.
Why Christians mistrust/despise/hate Muslims?
1.Christians are facing mounting discrimination and persecution in Egypt. In the past, they directed their resentment towards President Sadat who had a troubled relationship with Copts and their clergy. Now, with the current wave of religiosity across the society, they are directing their anger towards their fellow countrymen whom they regard to be complacent in their problems.
2.Christians have responded to the religiosity of Muslims with their own religiosity and confinement within the church walls. Here too religion is only concerned with outwards appearances instead of the inner person. Both groups’ religiosity has divided the country into 2 camps or into 2 “others”. Christians too started to despise their own “other”.
3. I firmly believe that it is only a minority of Muslims who despise or at least have ill feelings towards Christians. This minority might be getting sizable, but the majority of both groups still want to live in peace and harmony with one another. Many Christians have failed to see this truth and are instead vilifying all Muslims. This has not helped at all.
Rabana maak wa christos anesty