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An Attempt to Assassinate Egypt.

Arabs received with fear and horror the news of the terrorist attack on the Coptic church in Alexandria. They saw in it what is more serious than a passing massacre and considered it to be part of the prelude of total darkness that threatens our societies and countries. It was hard for them to separate this new crime from previous ones that fall in the same context: a broad assassination program that targets the idea of coexistence itself. It targets Arabism, which is able to embrace all the constituents of Arab societies despite their religious or sectarian differences. It also targets the tolerance of Islam, which exhorts the provision of safety to those who live in its midst.

It is the right of Arabs to feel terrified. It suffices to follow the news and what they carry about Iraqi Christians fleeing their country, despite the fact that their roots there go a long way back in history. Unfortunately, the program of emptying Iraq from its Christians has undeniably succeeded. This success has extremely grave repercussions on Iraq and Arabs, as it offers tangible evidence on the impossibility of coexistence. This heralds new rounds in Iraq, particularly with the continued attempts of conflict-makers to revive its fire whenever it calms down. It is also certain that the enemy Israel is the primary beneficiary from the announcement of the impossibility of coexistence among Arabs themselves.

It is the right of Arabs to feel terrified. Before the assassination program moved to Alexandria, we witnessed the fragmentation of national unity in Yemen, and the awakening of sectarian demarcation lines in several countries in the region. We also witnessed an unprecedented relapse in Sunni-Shiite relations in Lebanon, which used to present itself as an Arab model of coexistence among religions and sects.

The Alexandria massacre came amidst this dark picture. It is different in its methods and messages from the quasi-ordinary problems of coexistence, which register from time to time tensions between Muslims and Copts in Egypt. What increases the gravity of the incident are the threats made by Al Qaeda in Iraq about the Copts in Egypt and their places of worship. Moreover, the massacre came a mere few days before the poll that will take place in the South of Sudan and that will probably result in the secession with the North. Announcing the divorce in Sudan will be a resounding acknowledgement of the failure of the coexistence experience there. There is no need to recall how special is the Egyptian-Sudanese relation, and the meaning of the establishment of an independent state in Southern Sudan, whether in relation to coexistence or to the Nile river.

What also increases the gravity of the incident is a statement issued by Al Qaeda in Gaza: "We address ourselves to Christians in general and to those who are in Gaza in particular, and tell them that they are no longer in a protection pact with Muslims". The statement denounced the ruling of a Gaza court to execute a Muslim citizen who killed a Christian citizen. The logic of dealing with part of the citizens as if they were hostages or an extension of the outside because of their religious belonging is dangerous if it is implemented in Palestine or any other Arab land.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the massacre that targeted the Copt worshippers in Alexandria also targeted every Muslim in Egypt. Indeed, the crime is no less than an attempt to assassinate Egypt through the assassination of its national unity and religious diversity. It would also be no exaggeration to say that any success of this assassination attempt breaks the back of the nation and rapidly pushes it to the tunnels of total darkness. Indeed, the nation would not improve for the better if it is ailing or drowning in a sea of hatred and divorce among its constituents.

The attempt to ignite the demarcation lines among the constituents of the Egyptian people is a continuation of the attempt to ignite the demarcation lines among religions and sects on all the Arab territory. Confronting this program needs more than a security confrontation; it needs boldness in intellectual and cultural confrontation as well as serious consideration of the conditions of protecting stability and the related development and politics. It needs a true and comprehensive cooperation among the Arab countries, as danger threatens everyone, and the black storm will not spare anyone if it succeeds in assassinating Egypt.

2009 Media Communications Group

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Publication:Dar Al Hayat, International ed. (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Jan 2, 2011
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