By the Spirit, By the blood, we WILL rescue the Cross!!!

edited July 2004 in Faith Issues
Washington D.C. (07/08/2004) - On July 7, 2004, Coptic youth gathered to protest a newly released Egyptian film for its scornful and insulting depiction of Coptic faith and culture. The film, ‘I Love the Cinema,” portrays the trials of a modern Coptic family. However, the depiction is one of an angry extremist father, an adulterous wife, and a sacrilegious son. Other Copts in the movie include an unmarried couple whose illicit sexual relationship takes place inside a church. The film proceeds to ridicule church traditions, ceremonial rites, and doctrines.

The film is unique, as Copts are not usually depicted in such major roles in the Egyptian media. I Love the Cinema is, in fact, the only movie produced in the last several years about Copts, and its content degrades Coptic clergymen and depicts Christian women as prostitutes and men as close-minded religious fanatics. In light of the film’s uniquely Coptic nature, the defamatory slurs targeted at the Church and the overtly negative insinuations regarding Christian family relations have enraged the Coptic community. In response, a large number of young Copts assembled at St. Mark’s Cathedral in El Abaseeya, Egypt chanting slogans and distributing flyers targeted at the removal of the film. As the youth chanted, “Copts for peace, not surrender,” “Copts remain silent, but we don’t forget!” and “By the spirit, by the blood, we will rescue the Cross!”

While the furor of the demonstration increased, clergy within the church attempted to quiet the crowd. However, the young Copts would not be abated; moreover, several members of the clergy had accompanied the youth in support of their rally. Out of fear that the demonstration would spill into the streets of Cairo, security forces were called to surround the church. As the young Copts attempted to take the demonstration outside the church, clergy pleaded with them to remain inside, reminding them of prior protests in which Copts had been severely injured by police officials.

Similar fury had been exhibited two years ago, when scandalous pictures of a former Coptic monk engaged in sexual relations with a woman were published in the Egyptian newspaper, El Naba. The unusual publication of such explicit photos, alongside various slurs against Coptic faith and culture, infuriated the Coptic community. Thousands of Copts rose in protest against the defamation of their faith and community, but several were injured in clashes with police.

This unique depiction of a Coptic Egyptian family on Egypt’s broad screen and its destructive and atypical portrayal of the Coptic community only serves to fuel the growing culture of intolerance within the country. “The Egyptian government continues to play with fire by permitting this blatant attack on Christianity,” states Michael Meunier, president of the U.S. Copts Association. “While the government entrusts El-Azhar with the approval and censorship of all materials believed to be offensive to Islam, the objections of the Coptic church went unheeded and the movie was released,” he continues. In light of the courageous stance taken by the Coptic youth, Mr. Meunier goes on to state, “We are extremely proud of our Coptic youth who now understand that they must take actions to gain their lost rights and we fully support them in their peaceful protests against the endless onslaught of their rights and freedoms.”


  • >:( woa dats pretty bad where did u get it from
    Go Copts!!
  • I heard about this film a while ago but its news to me about the protests, from what i understand the film makes all copts look like they are from the slums and are religious fanatics, who rebel with sexual acts and 'disobeying' parental infulences. I tried to find a clip of it online because its only playing in egypt, so no dice... its a sad thing that this film is totally one sided and a complete generalization. i have a feeling nothing but badd is gonna come from this one film. :(

  • The fact that it was someone's idea to make a movie, a form of entertainment, to make the Coptics look bad really gets to me. I'm not suprised though, as most people . We are people of Egypt too and we're not treated like we are sometimes.

  • [quote author=FULLY RELY ON GOD link=board=1;threadid=442;start=0#msg6561 date=1089459266]
    >:( woa dats pretty bad where did u get it from
    Go Copts!!

    i think the site was thats were i saw it at least.

  • ya it is coptic. net here are the specific thread which is what mike posted up
  • We shouldn't stand and watch what's happening, in my opinion! If I was in Egypt right now I would have joined the protests and even contacted some of the people (political ppl) that my family knows, but then again, I don't think H.H. will stand by with no action either...

  • Movie About Egypt's Christian Coptic Minority Raises Eyebrows

    By Ursula Lindsey

    Monday, July 19, 2004

    Cairo: A movie focusing exclusively on Egypt's Christian Coptic minority and featuring Laila Elwi in a leading role, is sparking controversy, and may land the director in court.

    A coalition of Coptic community members and clergymen has filed a formal complaint with the office of the prosecutor general, demanding that the film, I Love the Cinema (Baheb Es-Sinema), be withdrawn because it demeans religion, the church, and the clergy.

    The movie chronicles the life of a Coptic family in Cairo's Shubra neighborhood in 1966. The father is particularly devout, and views his young son's obsession with the movies as sinful. It also includes an adulterous wife and kissing by an unmarried couple inside a church.

    Director Osama Fawzy believes the strong reaction to the movie is partly due to the fact that it is unusual for Christians to see themselves in leading roles.

    “In the first, I was thinking that [it was] because maybe they did not use to see Christian characters in Egyptian movies for a long time,” Fawzy said. “I mean, we have been doing films [for] more than 70 years; since the beginning of cinema, we are doing movies. It was rare to find a Christian character in any of these movies, and if you find one, it is not a main character or a main role.”

    Fawzy is a Copt who converted to Islam when he married. He said he planned on retiring from the movie business, but denied it was because of the potential lawsuit.

    Coptic cleric Father Morkos Aziz Khalil, who is leading the legal challenge, says the movie goes against the Coptic Church and its beliefs.

    Father Morkos says the movie denigrates the Coptic practice of fasting by implying that a husband's fasting and abstaining from sex leads to his wife's adultery. Father Morkos also complains about scenes in which a priest is hit with a shoe and a young boy urinates in church.
    Father Morkos said the Coptic clergy should be consulted about movies such as I Love Cinema, and should have the same rights as Al-Azhar, the Muslim institution that reviews and censors all books, films and works of art that deal with Islam.

    Coptic writer and intellectual Milad Hanna called Fawzy's movie courageous and deeply philosophical. He added that the debate it has stirred is a good thing, and should not be carried out in court.

    "It is a cultural issue, not a legal issue,” Hanna said. “Had the film touched the creed of the Copts, the Christian creed, the trinity, Jesus Christ or whatever, they would have been justified to make a legal action."

    Egyptian cinema has a long and distinguished history. In the 1950s, directors such as Youssef Chahine and Salah Abu-Seif produced classics that were watched across the Arab world.

    The Coptic screenwriter of I Love Cinema, Hany Fawzy Kozman, said that the current state of the Egyptian film industry has made audiences unprepared for a serious film.

    Kozman said Egyptian audiences are unused to films that address subjects openly. He said most movies these days are conservative and hypocritically devout, and tell people that they are living in the best of possible worlds. A movie that is frank, unusual or realistic causes people a painful shock.

    Coptic Christians represent five to 10 percent of Egypt's population.

    The prosecutor general will rule by the end of this month on whether the case against Fawzy and his movie will be allowed to proceed.

    This artice originally appeared on and is printed here with permission.

  • I cant believe Laila Elwi did that! and i used ot like her! humm! >:(

    sorry, i just like her. but i cant believe that there r some Christian people that r actually siding with this movie. What has the world come to?!
  • If anybody finds out what the ruling is.... please let us know
  • It seems that we have lost all power in the country that was ours before it was theirs, I mean we never complain why are they still picking on us?

    The Coptic multitudes will not stay quiet about this,

    Action must be done or the country will lit up on fire

  • Mike the sad part that the people who were doing that movie were mostly Christian so we can't really blame it on the muslims this time
  • I don't think it's sad at all. I haven't seen the movie yet, but want to. I don't trust because it exaggerates too much, so I need to see it for myself.

    Also, it is supposed to be a social commentary. The director wants to touch to say,"People, this is how it is in our Egyptian Christian society. This happens in our families." Yes, he has touched on very sensitive nerves. And I don't see the big issue about Layla 3elwee acting in the movie. A lot of our saint movies have always had Muslim actors and even Muslim crew members. It's just that Layla 3elwee has a reputation in Egypt of being a lesbian/nymphomaniac and has done a lot of sexual movies. So in that regard, I agree that the director made a mistep there.

    Overall, we need more movies of these. We need people to wake up to themselves. Art and Church can co-exist, and art can help Church identify the areas where people are suffering. In the Old Testament, God specifically chose artists to build and contribute to the building of the Tabernacle. Unfortunately, the social environment is always charged, as Orthodox Christians constantly feel they're on the defense. It's understandable that people got so moved and charged by the movie. But you'd be surprised how quick Orthodox Egyptians quickly adopt the attitude of commentary when they've lived outside for Egypt for a long time.

    My two cents.

Sign In or Register to comment.