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Italy : Copts the victims of Islamisation says prize-winning Egyptian author

ICC Note

In Egypt , the radicalization of Muslims is resulting in the marginalization and persecution of Christians. The intolerant and fanatic version of Islam called Wahabbism is spreading in Egypt and the rest of the Muslim world.

11/10/2008 Egypt (AKI) – Coptic Christians, women and other minorities are paying the price of increasing Islamisation in Egyptian society, leading author and intellectual, Tarek Heggy, has told Adnkronos International (AKI). The fundamentalist opposition Muslim Brotherhood was one of the groups responsible and was indoctrinating young people through its welfare work, Heggy said.

“I believe the major problem for the Copts in Egypt is related to the overall cultural environment. The more radical society becomes, the worse the situation gets. This is also true for Bahaiis,” Heggy said, referring to a smaller religious minority in Egypt which now numbers only a few hundred people.

Copts – who form some 10 percent of Egypt ‘s population and the largest Christian community in the Middle East – have been the target of periodic attacks by Muslim hardliners in recent years.

The Islamisation of education in recent decades is a major cause of an intolerant mindset that has developed in Egypt , which the Muslim Brotherhood has helped create under the guise of aid to local communities, Heggy argued.

“The Egyptian government is handling the Muslim Brotherhood as a security issue alone,” he said.

“But it is a cultural, social, political, educational, religious and economic problem.”

The fundamentalist Wahabi influence has penetrated education in Egypt , where Arab literature, poetry and plays have been replaced with sacred Islamic texts in schools, Heggy said.

Besides schools, mosques and the country’s media – radio and TV – have also been Islamised, he said.

Egypt ’s 1971 Constitution defines Islam as the state religion and Islam as the main source of law.

“The Coptic problem is that of pressure on a minority, intolerance towards others and a lack of acceptance of pluralism. The more Egypt is influenced by the Wahabi interpretation of Islam, the worse it is for the Copts,” said Heggy.

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