Egyptian Chronicles: Notes on the Pro-Sisi rallies organized by the Coptic Church in NYC

Friday, September 23, 2016

Notes on the Pro-Sisi rallies organized by the Coptic Church in NYC

Egypt's current President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was in New York earlier this week to attend the UN General assembly meeting for the second year in a row.
Last year, his supporters in Egypt from businessmen and media moguls organized public diplomacy delegations that headed to New York to cheer for the President against the evil Muslim Brotherhood protests planned against him in the big apple.
This year the same businessmen/media moguls "Mohamed Al-Amin" and "Ahmed Abu Hashima" headed to New York to support El-Sisi with media figures in an unofficial delegation that was smaller in number and quieter than last year's big circus.
Abu Hashima and Sisi supporters
Ahmed Abu Hashima and members of American Coptic Association 
Yet,they were not alone this year.
The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church officially called Egyptian Copts in the United States to mobilize and join the Pro-Sisi rallies in New York.
Yes , officially the Coptic Orthodox Church in New York and New England called the Egyptian Copts in the States to head to New York to support El-Sisi in rallies.

The statement of the Churches
as it was published "Al-Watan" newspaper

Then the mother Church in Cairo sent Bishops from Egypt to organize that event and to convince the people to join those rallies
Video clips emerged online for Bishops and priests in Coptic Orthodox churches in the States calling the people to welcome the Egyptian President.
On 17 September, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II said that the dignity of Egypt was represented in the reception of President El-Sisi.
On 20 September , the photos came showing several buses from couple churches carrying Egyptian Christians "mostly over 40 years old " wearing T-shirts of something called "The American Coptic Association".
Comparing to the number of Egyptian-American Copts registered in the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Churches in North America , the number of Egyptian Christians who went to cheer for El-Sisi is small judging from the photos and the videos.
American Coptic Association members "Twitter" 
Since then the debate has not stopped about the role of the Church in politics in Egypt. Many people were angry and amazed at how those Egyptians went to cheer for that regime they fled.
Now there are some points I would like to clarify:
  • This is not the first time that the Egyptian Coptic Church tries to mobilize its followers to support the current regime publicly and explicitly despite the Pope Tawadros II that religion has nothing to do with politics.
Pope Tawadros II himself called the people to vote for the constitution in the Constitutional referendum in 2014 in his famous Op-ed in Al-Ahram newspaper "Yes will bring the blessing".
I also remember how he created a huge controversy in late 2014 when he slammed the Arab Spring and said that it was not wise to bring up Maspero clashes then.
Due to criticism , he said that the "horrifying incident" could not be denied but the Church was focusing on the legal issues to restore the victims' rights.
  • The Church in Egypt just like Al-Azhar ,connected to the regime.
  • People were and are still worried that this can put the Egyptian Christians in danger considering the polarization in the country.
There are also some important points people tend to forget in their analysis as I have noticed
Many Morsi supporters especially and mainly, from Islamists did not waste any time actually in attacking the Egyptian Christians in a sectarian way in Twitter hashtag #Church_Sheep in Arabic.

The "sheep" term is used to fire back at the Christians because Pro-Morsi supporters and Muslim Brotherhood and supporters are called "Sheep" in Egypt by Pro-Morsi supporters. It is very civilized as you can say.
They even launched a campaign to boycott businesses owned by Christians in Egypt !!

If you think about what happened , you will see an excellent divide conquer scenario as you increase the hate between Christians and Islamists more than ever.
Sisi posters along with Pope Tawadros II poster in the Big Apple
Pro-Morsi/Muslim Brotherhood/Islamists are blaming the Church and the Christians for Morsi ouster refusing to admit the amount of sectarianism in their talks towards the others.
Yes, many Christians welcomed and are still welcoming military rule over the rule of elected Morsi because of the incitement against them that took place during Morsi's rule in the Pro-MB/Islamist media.

This incitement continued after the ouster of Morsi and you can see that in his supporters' social media and accounts including the official Muslim Brotherhood website itself. "Regardless of which faction in the Brotherhood is having its passwords now"

On the other hand , with what has happened to the Christians in Iraq and Syria as well what happened from violence and attacks against Churches after Morsi's ouster , many Egyptian Christians especially from old generation welcome military rule over democracy because they believe it would bring stability, unfortunately.

By the way , old generations in Egypt whether Muslim or Christian ignore the fact that the military rule and police state in Syria and Iraq as well the discrimination between the different religious and ethnic sects led to that human tragedy we see in front of our eyes.

Despite sectarianism is still alive and strong as we have seen in the past few months , many Egyptian Christians think that regime with its deadly flaws would be better than a democracy that may bring Islamists.

It is like a closed circle especially as we do not have a true citizenship or partisan or political representation in Egypt , Egyptian Christians go back to the Church as their only sole political and social representative in front of the government.

One of the ways to separate church from the regime in Egypt is through true citizenship in Egypt so Christians won't have to listen to Bishops and priests telling them who is best to elect.

Unfortunately , the current regime does not want this happen and I believe that old generation controlling the Church does not want this to happen as well.

The regime or rather the 23 July state since 1952 loved to mix religion with politics to control the people in Egypt whether Muslims or Christians.
It is a scary game when you think about the future of Egypt.

To be honest , I feel that a good thing resulted from this whole affair in New York was the start to question the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church and its role in politics in Egypt.
It is not a taboo anymore.

1 comment :

  1. In the U.S. we too have the separation of the citizens into two distinct camps. Not the pro-Sisi and anti-sisi, but rather the Pro-Hillary, Pro Trump vs the Anti-Hillary, Anti-Trump. Its always about 50-50, so it will be much much closer a race on November 8th then you saw in your elections. '

    Abraham Lincoln in 1858 said , "a house divided against itself, cannot stand".

    Every country we see this in, eventually there is anarchy and division that seethes until something is done about it.


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