Throughout their long history, Copts belong to God, then to Egypt.
First: A Great Religious History:
- Abraham has come to Egypt, and after him came Jacob to find Security and abundance.
- Joseph has lived in Egypt, was able to lead it, and with the help and grace of God, he made it the breadbasket of the whole world during the time of famines.
- Prophet Moses was born and has lived in Egypt; he also received the Godly call in Sinai – Egypt.
- The Holy Family has also resorted to Egypt fleeing from the king. The land of Egypt has been blessed for years in many places by Baby Jesus.
- Egypt has also received St. Mark the Apostle and writer of the second gospel as a missionary and preacher of Christianity.
- Monasticism has begun in Upper Egypt by the Great St. Anthony whose monastic system flourished all over Egypt in many monasteries in the 4th century, and in the whole world thereafter.
- Martyrdom has blessed Egypt through the holy blood of millions of Coptic martyrs defending Christianity.
- Egypt is the place where the Coptic Orthodox Church has lived; an ancient church that has always been keen on keeping Christian tradition delivered by the Apostles.
Second: Egypt and Civilization:
We are proud of our country and its ancient civilization; the pharaohs who introduced to the whole world science and industry.
Chemistry began in Egypt and papers were first made in Egypt from papyrus. The noun (paper) reveals this fact.
Mining was also Egyptian and ancient Egyptians were the first who extracted Gold from quartz from the Red Sea mountains.
Also in Egypt, architecture flourished and many Pharaonic temples and the pyramids are still beholding this greatness.
In addition, there have been many arts such as painting with colors that haven’t changed for centuries, and sculpturing great statues and obelisks that are spread all over the world.
Egyptian mummification is still one of the absolute secrets and many mummies of humans, animals, and birds are preserved until now in museums all around the world.
Third: Egypt now:
Coptic feeling of belonging has increased after June 30th revolution because of the unprecedented gains they regained after tens of years of usurping their rights. This revolution has also brought back real dignity for Copts who are now considered first class citizens as their co-citizens, the Muslims. This is clear in:
- A great constitution:
I have shared in writing the 2012 constitution during Muslim Brotherhood era. But because of the dangerous articles that would distort citizenship completely – article 219 in particular, and that they insisted on; we had to withdraw from the Constitution Committee, myself and the representatives of Christian sects as well.
Later, I was one of the Committee of the Fifty, who were able to produce a Constitution of Egypt for all Egyptians for the first time in the modern Egyptian history, 2014.
For the first time, Copts found themselves in the Constitution of Egypt. For the first time the words: Christ – Christianity – Church – Copts are mentioned in the Constitution. Let’s look at some details:
There is a reference to Egyptian history in which one finds: “On its land, Egyptians harbored in their bosoms Virgin Mary and her baby and offered thousands of martyrs in defense of the Church of Jesus, Peace Be Upon Him.”
Then it referred to the role of the church in the revolution of June 30th in the following: “it had the blessings of Al-Azhar and the Egyptian church.”
It refers to Christian principles as a source of legislation for Christians:
“The principles of Christian and Jewish Sharia of Egyptian Christians and Jews are the main source of legislations that regulate their respective personal status, religious affairs, and selection of spiritual leaders.”
It is about education and it confirms the principles of citizenship, tolerance, and equality through educational curricula and methods.
“Every citizen has the right to education. The goals of education are to build the Egyptiancharacter, preserve the national identity, root the scientific method of thinking, develop talents and promote innovation, establish cultural and spiritual values, and found the concepts of citizenship, tolerance and non-discrimination. The State shall observe the goals of education in the educational curricula and methods, and provide education in accordance with international quality standards.”
“The State shall maintain the Egyptian cultural identity with its diversified branches of civilization.”
A reference to the Coptic heritage for the first time:
“Egypt’s civilization and cultural heritage, whether physical or moral, including all diversities and principal milestones – namely Ancient Egyptian, Coptic, and Islamic – is a national and human wealth.The State shall preserve and maintain this heritage as well as . . . etc.”
This is one of the best articles in the Constitution.
“All citizens are equal before the Law. They are equal in rights, freedoms and general duties, without discrimination based on religion, belief, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political or geographic affiliation or any other reason.
Discrimination and incitement of hatred is a crime punished by Law.
The State shall take necessary measures for eliminating all forms of discrimination, and the Law shall regulate creating an independent commission for this purpose.”
This article has given Christians the absolute freedom of belief, practicing rituals, and establishing churches.
“Freedom of belief is absolute. The freedom of practicing religious rituals and establishing worship places for the followers of Abrahamic religions is a right regulated by Law.”
This article activates Article 64 and obliges the parliament to issue the law of constructing churches.
“In its first legislative term following the effective date of this Constitution, the House of Representatives shall issue a law to regulate constructing and renovating churches, in a manner that guarantees the freedom to practice religious rituals for Christians.”
Also for the first time the Constitution ensures a proper representation of Copts in the Parliament; in the first House of Representatives.
“The State shall endeavor that youth, Christians, persons with disability and Egyptians living abroad be appropriately represented in the first House of Representatives to be elected after this Constitution is approved, as regulated by law.”
- Parliamentary Elections:
According to Article 244, the law of electing members of the parliament was activated and both individual elections and elections by the list, in which all the names of the winning list join the House.
Election districts were re-divided so that the Copts can win and become representatives in the parliament.
Therefore, many Copts were able to win:
24 through the lists
12 through individual elections
2 appointed by the President
The President was no more recommended to appoint a big number of Copts, since they had a good opportunity to win the seats through elections.
This has resulted from a political will and a social atmosphere that only appeared after the revolution of June 30th. It is noteworthy that Copts supported this revolution that got rid of religious extremism and political domination of a faction which would not accept any other partners. By “faction” I mean Muslim Brotherhood.
- The First Law of Establishing Churches:
I have been part – with the State representatives – of activating article 235 by issuing a law of establishing churches; a law that we’ve been waiting for, for more than 160 years.
There are many good points to be mentioned in this law:
- It is the first law to regulate establishing churches.
- It includes what Christians need: Churches, extensions, retreat houses, and hostels for different services such as; students, people with special needs, and the elderly.
- It explains all the details so that there is no misunderstanding.
+ Church towers, the cross over the tower, and the bells.
+ Church chancel, nave, extensions . . . etc.
- It identifies who should issue license away from police interference.
- It limits the time in which the license should be issued.
- It gives the right of an appeal to the administrative court when needed.
- It includes both the new and old churches.
It is undoubtedly a perfect law and we’re waiting for a perfect application of the law by the government.
- A president whose relationship to Copts is great:
The president is a president of all Egyptians. He looks to them equally and humanely.
- He is the first Egyptian president who comes every year to the church during Christmas prayers to wish Copts a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
We’ve seen another president who took his tribe of extremists and held a meeting in the Stadium to show off his power and intimidate the other.
- When the extremists burned and destroyed the churches, the president decided to restore them all in the best way possible; even the Coptic icons were re-painted. He is following up all those works.
- Terrorism kills and destroys and the president heals. When Copts were killed in Libya, the president led an attack to eliminate those terrorists and after that, he went to the church for condolence.
- Also he did the same with Botrosia church terrorist attack, and we need to remember here that 6 years ago when a similar terrorist attack on Alexandria church took place, we never knew who the criminal was, nor what the results of the investigations are.
Yet with Botrosia, the criminals were discovered and seized in less than 24 hours. Also the injured are being taken care of by the State. The funeral of the martyrs was held by the army and their coffins were wrapped in the Egyptian flag. A symphony of love to God, our country, and Copts played by all the authorities on top of which is President Al-Sisi.
Long live Egypt for the sake of all Egyptians
Long live Egyptians united and developing a new Egypt, Egypt of the future under the presidency of Abdel Fattah Al- Sisi.