Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Egypt's President El-Sisi

The American Conservative

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visited the main Coptic Christian cathedral Tuesday during its Christmas Eve mass (Coptic Christians celebrated Christmas yesterday), “the first such visit by an Egyptian president in history” according to First Things writer Mark Movsesian. “It’s important for the world to see this scene, which reflects true Egyptian unity, and to confirm that we’re all Egyptians, first and foremost. We truly love each other without discrimination, because this is the Egyptian truth,” Sisi told service attenders.

Coptic Pope al-Tawadri thanked Sisi for his visit, calling it “a pleasant surprise and a humanitarian gesture.”

It isn’t the first such gesture that Sisi has made—in a speech celebrating the birth of Mohammed on New Year’s Day, he called on Muslim religious leaders to help fight against extremism: ”I say and repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution,” he said, according to CNN. ”You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting on you. … We need a revolution of the self, a revolution of consciousness and ethics to rebuild the Egyptian person—a person that our country will need in the near future.” ...

There are 2 important points in this article.

The first and most obvious is the embrace of the Coptic population of Egypt. They are ancient, and it was their language Coptic which was the language used by those who deciphered the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, as the base of the Coptic language extends back to Ancient Egypt.

The second, and not quite as obvious, is the speech of el-Sisi celebrating the birth of the Prophet on New Year's Day.

That is a holiday strictly forbidden by Saudi Wahhabis and Islamic Fundamentalists. Celebrating the Birthday of the Prophet is waving a red flag in the face of the bull of religious intolerance.
It is a big deal to fundamentalist Islam.

So el-Sisi's speech said as much or more by the choice of the day upon which it was delivered as by the words of the speech themselves.

I admire the spirit of this ex-general.
Too bad there are no real generals left in Turkey's army.


photo:  Francisco Martins / Flickr

No comments: