There are many people who post on Facebook such opinions as would raise the hackles of the majority of their readers, but none so like those who choose to antagonize one particular faction of society. A couple of days ago I read a post by someone who was quite tactless in his description of the Christian Orthodox Pope. Not only was he very ill-informed, his style was such, that it raised a sense of anger and disgust, not only among Christians, but more so among Muslims.
As a Christian I am used to such opinions and such tactless people. It is not something new. Quite a few years ago, when we were still living in town in an apartment building, there was a minute mosque – what is called a “zawya” – across the road from our apartment building, with a huge microphone directed at us. Every Friday, noon prayers would blare at the building. Not only would the Preacher, the Sheikh, hook it up to the radio, he would also turn it to the loudest volume possible. Then would come the time of the sermon. Never have I heard a more hate-filled sermon in my life. Every week was the same. “Oh God, orphan their children, kill off their offspring, widow their spouses”. Curses were heaped upon all those who were not of “the true faith of Islam”. Sometimes he would specify those as the Jews, others as the Nazarenes (from Nazareth – denoting Christians). So I learned at an early age that being wished ill and being cursed by some supposed men of a God was the norm and nothing to get riled about. So now I take it in my stride. The post on Facebook was not the first, and will not be the last. But what did give me pause and did cause me a great deal of concern was a video clip of a supposed Sheikh, a Salafi, preaching to schoolboys not more than ten years old.
His face was never shown on the film, and although the clip was identified as being filmed in Syria, the accent of the preacher is Egyptian, and he talks about part of the school curriculum called “National Upbringing”, which is definitely something that we have here in Egypt.
What scared me about this clip is the continuous harping and repetition of a doctrine of such hatred as to make my hair stand on end. Not only is he telling those impressionable young boys that what they are being taught about nationalism is all wrong, and that it is against Islam, but he took it further and specifically described Christians as infidels and that the only right thing to do with infidels is to kill them. He did speak about Bashar Assad and about the Syrians, but his main emphasis was on the school curriculum that should not be believed, the feeling of nationalism that is practically a sin, as only Islam is the right path to take. The link to that clip is http://www.coptstoday.com/Copts-News/Detail.php?Id=66151 .
It is the existence of such preachers, and their devastating effect on the young minds they are preaching to, that has me really worried. I understand that such preachers are found a great deal in Upper Egypt, where poverty and ignorance prevail. There they find fertile ground for their doctrine of hate. It is there that the worst atrocities against Christians have taken place.
If Egypt is to be saved from the fate that is bring planned for it, then every man, woman and youth must take up arms in eradicating such teachings. If we wait for the government to do something about it, we will lose our lovely country to the advocators of hate and violence. We have to get together with like-minded people, with like-minded NGO’s, and start identifying these Salafi Preachers, then ensuring that they are contained, and can no longer influence the youth, the future of this country. Like our late sarcastic poet Galal Amer said: “Try to douse the fire of ignorance before turning on the light of knowledge; this is the disease and the cure.”
Egypt has to be cleaned up of such people full of hatred and misconceptions before we could start building on the positive and the good.
God bless and protect my beautiful Egypt.