Amira Nowaira “The slow death of tolerance in Egypt” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/05/egypt-coptic-tolerance-alexandria


The past two or three decades have witnessed a marked escalation in Muslim-Coptic tensions, with violence erupting at increasingly shorter intervals. This was not the case in earlier decades.

As a child growing up in a traditional Muslim family in the 60s, I remember quite clearly after suffering a bout of illness that conventional medicine seemed unable to cure, my mother took me to an Orthodox church in the popular district of Moharrem Bek to light a candle in honour of the Virgin Mary. As we stood together in the beautifully decorated and darkly lit church, my mother, an ordinary, middle-class woman, whispered some heartfelt prayers. She didn't feel that she was on alien territory, nor that she was in any way betraying her faith in appealing to the Christian God to heal her daughter. This simple and spontaneous act of reverence seems sadly unthinkable in today's Egypt.


The rise of extremist religious views may be traced back to the 70s, when President Anwar El Sadat actively encouraged and sponsored the Islamist movement, hoping that it might devour the left, which he regarded as his most potent enemy. Although the small snake that Sadat reared in our backyard succeeded beyond his wildest dreams in virtually wiping out the left from the Egyptian political scene, it grew into a deadly cobra that eventually turned on its creator and bit off the hand that had fed it.

The Mubarak regime has inherited the cobra but has done little to seriously confront it, let alone to kill it. Instead, it often compromised, conceded and even connived, frequently using the Islamist threat to legitimise the extension of the state of emergency that has been in place for the past 30 years. The regime went out of its way to prove to its citizens that it was more Islamic than the Islamists themselves and silently watched the growing vehemence of religious intolerance.

Fanatical discourse inciting religious hatred is theoretically against the law of the land. However, hate speech has been tolerated and allowed to circulate freely. Some preachers have been making malicious statements against non-Muslims on various satellite channels, urging Muslims not to have any dealings with them. The messages of hate have been pouring as freely from their mouths as water leaking from a rain-drenched ceiling.

埃及におけるイスラーム原理主義に関しては、ここで言及されている1970年代以降の展開の前史がある。ナセル時代における徹底的な弾圧。これについては、Naomi Klein "Racism is the terrorists' greatest recruitment tool"*2Karen Armstrong The Battle For God*3(pp.218-226、pp.236-244)、また大塚和夫『イスラーム主義とは何か』(特に第3章、第4章)をマークしておく。
The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

イスラーム主義とは何か (岩波新書 新赤版 (885))

イスラーム主義とは何か (岩波新書 新赤版 (885))


The symbolic significance of choosing Alexandria as the site of the attack cannot be missed. Not only is the city the papal seat of the Coptic Orthodox church, but it also has a long and richly diverse history. It has been washed by the waves of various civilisations, cultures and languages: Greek, Roman, Coptic, Arab, Ottoman Turk, French, British and many others. It has been a seat of learning and a beacon of light in ancient times. In the modern age, its name has been synonymous with tolerance and multicultural living. The attack seems to be directed as much against the Coptic population as against Alexandria's long legacy of coexistence and tolerance.

For them*4, I say: you have been killed not by the explosion but by rampant hate, which is more potent and far deadlier than any weapon of mass destruction. I hope that your last screams of horror and pain will haunt the real perpetrators who have been diligently fostering fear and hate and bigotry, and nurturing the spirit of intolerance and self-righteousness. I hope that your fate, sad as it is, will serve as a reminder to everyone that any religious creed worthy of its name should help people live and not die.


Ian Black “Egypt arrests 7 over deadly Coptic church attack in Alexandria” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/02/egypt-arrest-17-coptic-attack-alexandria