Thu, 01/07/2010 - 17:26
The 7th of January is normally Christmas for the predominantly Coptic Christians of Egypt, and more importantly an official holiday for the hard-working employees of the government. This time around, however, celebrations of the birth of baby Jesus have a special twist to them as the government has announced that the Christians of Egypt will be granted full citizenship, hence receiving a very close second degree treatment.
Christians in Egypt are not allowed to work in the Suez Canal Authority, hold high positions in the military or police force, or say expressions like “noshkor Yasoo3.” However, the situation is likely to improve as the authorities have replaced their current official label of ‘a group of crusaders conspiring to overtake the government,’ with, ‘an insignificant minority that can use some sympathy.’
“Let's call it a Christmas gift, and every year and they are all kind,” said Adel Shareef, an official spokesman for the ministry of interior, with a grin from ear-to-ear. “We promised we’d bring justice and equality when we came into power 29 years ago, and thanks to God first, and Hosny Mubarak second, we have swiftly acted and allowed the kafates to feel equal, at least until Ramadan.”
The announcement was welcomed by the minority’s communities throughout the republic. Mohamed Islam El Sheikh, a self-proclaimed representative of the Egyptian Christians, has shared his appreciation to government. “What can I say, thank you Mr. Gamal Mubarak and Mr. Habib el Adly,” he said as he failed to hide the tears of emotion and excitement, “the Christians of this great country already felt safe and equally as valuable as their Muslim counterparts, but this is yet another example of our government’s constant efforts to further improve our high standards of living.”
Christians in Egypt, mostly of Coptic denomination, had suffered hate crimes in the distant past, reported by the public newspapers to be carried-out by extremists of other Christian denominations. However, even such minor incidents will become of a bygone era, thanks to the revolutionary movement by the ever-progressing ministry of interior.
Looking forward, Mr. Shareef is very optimistic, “if we could make Christians feel in anyway equal to Muslims, then the sky is the limit us. We can let women leave the house, Gazans receive some medical aid, and political prisoners eat virtual bread.”
Asked about the next democratic elections, Mr. Shareef quickly responded, “I know I said the sky’s the limit, but let’s be realistic.”
Although Egypt might have some work to do in the human rights’ domain, a major task has been checked off the shrinking list. Such a bold move has inspired neighboring Saudi Arabia to allow Christians to visit the Kingdom, if they were to sign up for intensive Islamic lessons upon arrival.