Sick of terrorism, Copts convert to Islam to experience its peace

In the wake of the latest terrorist attack on Egyptian Copts, where gunmen stopped their vehicle, ordered them out, and executed them on site, dozens of Copts have converted to Islam hoping to experience the Islamic peacefulness and tolerance they have always heard about but never witnessed.  

“It was time we got a taste of that sweet Islamic peace,” M.K.L. told our reporter minutes after performing his first Asr prayer, “it feels really good, Muslims are now accepting of my beliefs and I’m free to pray wherever and whenever I want, we can even build new mosques with great ease, as a Christian, I couldn’t do that,” he added with a look that either reflected satisfaction or faked it.

But being a Muslim does not mean full protection from Islamic terrorism. The Takfiri ideology justifies labeling Muslims who don’t practice Islam strictly, according to particular fundamentalist texts, as infidels and allows killing them. For now, however, these new Muslims are enjoying some peace of mind, and you can tell they needed it. 

The Voodoo of fighting terrorism while cradling Islamism 

Following every terror attack in Egypt, secularists, myself included, engage in long conversations on the necessity of combating Islamist ideologies [Islam as a religion and constitution] for the sake of our country’s national security. We also urge the state to allow Muslim reformers to speak freely without fear of getting thrown in jail and to prevent government senior officials, especially in the ministry of Islamic affairs and Al-Azhar, from promoting extremist, fundamentalist, and Islamist ideas. High on adrenaline, we tend to forget that most Muslims in Egypt actually put Islam high above the Egyptian state: they are Muslims living in Egypt not Egyptians who believe in Islam. It is one of the reasons why some Europeans are rightly concerned about the increasing numbers of Muslims in Europe alongside declining birth rates. Islam, unlike Christianity now, supersedes the state. Sharia courts and FGM in England come to mind.

Islamists in Egypt, including the ones in the government and Al-Azhar and Salafists, hold great sway over the minds of Muslims, particularly younger ones. Islamism gives these men of God the moral and executive authority to mobilize millions of youths towards a particular goal should the situation arise and the need for action is true enough. If Sisi challenges the core ideas that enables Islamists to control Egyptian Muslims without a meticulously calculated plan implemented incrementally, the outcome can be devastating for him and Egypt. Islamists will not watch helplessly as the rug is pulled from under their feet and the authority they worked years to achieve evaporates. Sisi is surely well aware of what happened when Saddam Hussein and his party tried secularizing Iraq in an economy much better than Egypt’s. Islamists have the know-how and texts to label him an enemy of Islam if they sense he is sincere about delegitimizing the authority they derive from the interpretation of Islam they promote, preach, and write literature for; they also have the capability to turn millions of youths against him and Christians, like some of them do now but on a mass scale. It is delusional, for example, to think that Salafists believe in anything but an Islamic State, they are just currently relaxed because the government allows them to freely, absolutely freely, propagate the ideas ISIS is putting into action and instill them in the minds of children.

Islam Beheiry, who had been jailed for criticizing extremist interpretations of the Quran and Hadith, says Al-Azhar University’s curricula must be updated to remove all hard-line stipulations derived from the Quran and Hadith such as the ones on fighting infidels and hating non-Muslims or discriminating against them. According to Beheiry, former head of Al-Azhar Mohamed Sayed Tantawi had actually taken this step before the current Grand Imam Ahmed Eltayeb rescinded it. Sisi, on more than one occasion, called on Al-Azhar scholars to actively combat extremist texts, not Islamism, but was met with deaf ears time and time again. And while it is true that Sisi’s authority is unchecked and he can pretty much get away with anything, when it comes to religion, if his vision of reforming and modernizing Islam, which neither denotes nor connotes rejecting the principle of Islam as a religion and state constitution, is not fully aligned with the Islamists and Salafists inside and outside his government he can find himself up against a volcano of terrorism and disobedience.

Taking small but real and effective steps, and cementing them, towards a secular Egypt is the only viable way. Sisi, however, still seems reluctant to take it. Sisi and many Egyptians seem to think terrorism can be fought without challenging Islamism, but if the statement Islam is a religion and state constitution is true, does it not follow that Men of God should rule or fight until power is in their hands?!!

Turning political tricks: Saudi Arabia does not represent Islamic sharia

I have argued before that no one exclusively represents Islam because religion is a set of ideas enacted by those who believe in them. Recently, I have been seeing Islamists in the United States and Europe making the point that Saudi Arabia is not necessarily the embodiment of Islamic sharia and that sharia can be interpreted to suit this day and age. While this is somehow true and kind of possible, it deceivingly and maliciously misses the greatest problem with Islamic sharia, which is Islamic sharia itself.

Once a moderate group who rules according to sharia is in power, it will be instantly challenged by another group with a harsher interpretation of god’s word, because guess what, extremists exist, and the more extreme they get the more intolerant of other views they become, remember how ISIS dethroned Al-Qaida and became the new kings of evil? The point is not whether sharia can be modern, the point is sharia is theocracy, plain and simple. It’s disturbing to see liberals acknowledging the rule of Islam as people’s culture that must be accepted and respected, because Islam does not rule, god’s men rule through exploiting Islam.

 

Apathy in Egypt’s Political Landscape

The prices are rising beyond the reach of an increasing number of Egyptians, jobs are a few and those who provide them exploit the crippling unemployment by paying less for more working hours, takfiri thoughts are spreading unchecked and the state is doing nothing to combat them, policemen are disrespectful towards citizens and the youth abhor them, the parliament and the government are both wrapped around the president’s finger, and critical voices are silenced. This boilerplate paragraph has been relevant for more than 15 years now. Everything is exactly the same. January 25 has achieved nothing and people know it, they don’t need a pundit telling them that, especially a pundit who earns six-figure payments for regurgitating boilerplates on T.V., they are weary, tired, and apathetic. We have been numbed by the same events played by different actors to be talked about by the same pundits using slightly different vocabulary. If you don’t work in politics and don’t make money out if it, politics becomes cigarettes: an instant fix but a massive waste of time and brainpower. Although Ibraheem Eissa had some dedicated viewers, I’m willing to bet that the talking heads making a fuss about the cancellation of his show are journalists and politicians: suits who make money or score points talking about him.

It’s unknown, however, what will the regime do with apathetic people disillusioned with a media apparatus -often used as PR for the state- who are beginning to show signs of willingness to change their moral guidelines due to rising poverty? I’m referring to Egyptians mulling eating donkeys and, but that’s a very tiny minority, even cats and dogs. We don’t know what the rulers think and we don’t care, and neither do they. But apathy is unpredictable if prone to shift towards anger. And political apathy is one thing Islamists amazingly exploit to enshrine their rancid ideology in glorious realms. The less people care about politics while living conditions are steadily deteriorating the more quickly they will forget about Morsi’s disastrous period and the rhetoric of “Islam is the answer” will be revived. Extreme communist ideas also gain popularity when the practice of democracy is on hold. When you can’t, or don’t know how to, do anything to better your life and you know your ceremonial participation in a cryptic pseudo-democratic process won’t yield anything, your mind begins entertaining and believing in romantic and dramatic solutions. And maybe ruling is not the strong suit of Islamists or communists, but fomenting dissent is. I have been observing Egyptians who would have never paid any attention to Muslim Brotherhood propaganda searching for their satellite channels, broadcasted from Turkey, and YouTube videos, because they can’t tolerate the lies spread by government and private but government-obedient media. Meaning that, in a sense, the regime is unknowingly creating the good conditions for its antithesis to grow, however, the entire synthesis is bad. We know, we have seen it before.

Islamosocialism in Egypt

The list of why leftists hated and revolted against Mubarak goes as follows:- systemized corruption, appalling education, terrible services, normalized favoritism and nepotism, and a vicious oligarchy. All of which Mubarak is guilty of, but he is also guilty of fostering the Islamosocialism ideology and lifestyle. Throughout his thirty years in power, socialists, read most Egyptians, kept circulating the rhetoric of victimhood; blaming the government for everything but never the people. On a parallel line, Islamists, with full power to preach freely, continued the work of fundamentalists to make an ideology out of Islam complete with overlords and marionettes; a mind prison.  

Can Mubarak be blamed for all of this? Yes, because when you wield absolute power you carry absolute responsibility.

Islamosocialism produces intolerant citizens who believe they have the right to organize every little thing in your life under the authority of Islam while being entitled to goodies from the government who should step into everything and regulate it. Islamosocialism puts up a great fight against human rights through true liberalism by creating an atmosphere of authoritarianism enacted by citizens on one another and by the police – who uses Islamism and the giant hand of the government to discipline people without any regard for any rights- on the people. Leftists cannot claim to be for progress as they have always worked with and supported Islamists’ right to be major political players and social influencers.  

When Sisi seized power from Morsi, he signaled what many thought was a battle cry against Islamism, and Islam Beheiry continued introducing new ways to contextualize the Quran and Hadith within modern understandings. Sadly, all hope was lost when AlAzhar’s word came louder and Beheiry was locked up.

I say we continue fighting though, not through dialogue and debate, neither will do anything with Islamists, but rather by living our lives and speaking our minds to the fullest, maybe while avoiding anything that could put us in jail.

We should let it be known that our conscience is a doctrine of god and music is one of his voices.


Army bad, Islamists cool

The Egyptian Army has a monopoly on our economy, and as a consumer I can say the economy is not doing well and services are relatively cheap but appalling. Yet, I find it impossible to understand leftists who repeat that rhetoric while deliberately ignoring or downplaying the threat of Islamists who make up a big portion of our government and administrative system. You often hear leftist activists saying “he wouldn’t have blown himself up had he been granted a well-paying job upon graduation or received unemployment aid”. So the rhetoric sounds reasonable, bad economy creates terrorists and the army is responsible for the stagnation of Egypt, completely disregarding the role of ideology; the people who suicide bomb us anticipate massive orgies in heavenly palaces. That’s why I despise the “against the army with Islamists” rhetoric and deem those who pronounce it vile enemies to me. And this enmity spreads to the army and government for not realizing the grave threat of political Islam radicalizing young minds beyond any reformation and not working full force to combat Islamists’ cultural influence.

Islamists as a counterbalance to the army is curing fever with cyanide. I have no plans or answers or solutions, I write out of spite for Islamists and leftists who see the army blocking the road to a better country but refuse to see Islamists pissing in the minds of future generations.










The Foreigner

In Nightcrawler, we sympathize with the protagonist because we cannot morally grandstand over his actions, we eat his work, we love gory news and seek horrific pictures and videos of accidents and murders, sometimes even without stories, see the subreddit WTF. Some do it to justify being extremely careful while adventurers do it to affirm that life here is extremely random and we’re vulnerable all the time. Gruesome murders are also used to quell sympathy for criminals with harsh sentences and explain the occasional violence against them. Living a foreigner in your own country among your own people makes it easy for you to understand the anti-hero. By foreigner I mean not liking popular movies and music, not enjoying what’s generally accepted as good entertainment, not being turned on by most women, not subscribing to common beliefs and accepted moral guidelines, an outsider looking for pleasures and joys while walking on eggshells around people he does not fully understand and does not know what random thing he will say or do that will offend them. The foreigner can wear the anti-hero’s shoes even if he doesn’t fully condone their actions or morals. Just like Jake, the foreigner cannot fit into society’s models, normal job, normal marriage, live die, either because they want something different or have the potential to undertake jobs good citizens will not near, including illegal ones, he sees society’s dark side and accepts it before hypocrisy mode is activated and society discovers and lynches him. You might even be a working part in one community and an alien in others, we all experience being the foreigner, that’s why movies and books with anti-heroes exist. And many get to play the anti-hero, at least comically, like the single dude making strong arguments against marriage in the form of jokes or a comedian taking religion apart, people love those guys because criticizing the ideas societies see as pillars of existence is so much fun, it breaks down borders and limits, at least in the mind, making us see a life full of possibilities, a life we may get to live one day, outside of the archetypes society chooses for us. Games like Fallout are popular for a reason.