IN THE MORNING AFTER THE ADVENT OF THE ISLAMISTS TO POWER IN EGYPT, WE WOULD LIKE TO REMIND THEM WHO THE COPTIC NATIONALISTS ARE, OUR NATIONAL DEMANDS, AND THE TWO OPTIONS WE HAVE AND THEY MUST KNOW
In the morning after the advent of the Islamists to power in Egypt, the Copts feel apprehensive. We say to them, be of good cheer. It is a win-win situation for us. The Muslim Brotherhood winner in the Presidential Election 2012, Mohamed Morsi, has promised to work for all Egyptians. We shall watch and see if he delivers. Whether he delivers or not, we shall overcome. As the Muslim Brotherhood start their tenure of government, we would like to remind them of who we are, our demands, and the two options we have and they must know.
The Coptic nationalists work for a civilian, secular democratic Egypt for all Egyptians regardless of religion, sex, colour or nationality. But this is only about individual rights. We believe that Egypt is formed of three nations, Arabs, Copts and Nubians. We work also for the collective rights of the Copts within a multinational Egypt.
Within that context, the demands of the Coptic nationalists are:
- Establishment of a secular, civilian, democratic Egypt that is just for all. This means Egypt with no Islamists or military in power. It also means getting Islam out of politics in Egypt. Let that be clear.
- Guaranteeing of the individual (civil and political) rights of the Copts within Egypt.
- Guaranteeing of the collective rights of the Copts. This means a large degree of a non-territorial autonomy with a separately elected Coptic cultural council that possesses exclusive legislative power over religion,[i] education[ii] and cultural[iii] matters, and the right to represent the interests of the Copts to the state.
If the demands of the Coptic nationalists are not met, we shall fight for secession and the establishment of an independent Coptic State. When and how the second option becomes first option is frankly in the hands of our compatriots, the Muslims of Egypt. A special burden falls on the shoulders of the moderate Muslims – they must discard their lethargy, apathy and join us in an anti-Islamist front. There can be no more dangerous enemy to Egypt’s democracy and progress other than the Islamists – their harm touches moderate Muslims and Copts alike. The Islamists are not anti-Copts only but are, in addition, anti-women, anti-liberties, anti-human rights. Let us be honest and frank about one thing: not only Egypt’s democracy and progress are being endangered by the advent of the Islamists, but also its national and territorial unity. Let Egyptians learn the lesson of Sudan!
We count on the understanding and help of the moderate Muslims in Egypt, and its women and Nubians, and all those who love justice, equality and democracy in Egypt, the region and the world.
For more on our demands, read: THE THREE DEMANDS OF COPTIC NATIONALISTS مطالب القوميين الأقباط http://copticliterature.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/the-three-demands-of-coptic-nationalists/
[i] Such matter shall include the personal-law of the Copts.
[ii] Such matter shall include Coptic schools, university, curricula, language, etc.
[iii] Such matter shall include libraries, theatres, museums, media, sport, etc.