July 20, 2019 | Raymond Ibrahim
Coptic Solidarity (CS), an international human rights organization devoted to ameliorating the plight of Egypt’s indigenous inhabitants—the Christian Copts—recently published a comprehensive report on why the Egyptian government systematically discriminates against its Christian citizens: in a word, shari‘a, or Islamic law. According to CS:
The Egyptian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and criminalized discrimination based on religion. Yet, the second article of the Constitution states that “Islam is the religion of the state…and the principles of Islamic shari‘a are the main sources of legislation.” These statements are antithetical since shari‘a repudiates religious freedom. Since it is founded on the non-equality between a Believer (a Muslim) and a Non-believer (and also between men and women), it actually proscribes discrimination and persecution of minority faiths. The Egyptian government cannot implement contradictory principles. Since all the constitutional articles are to be interpreted in light of and in submission to Article 2, shari‘a always takes precedence and is the primary form of institutionalized discrimination by the Egyptian government (emphasis added).
The rest of CS’s report is devoted to substantiating these claims, beginning with the stark contrast between the government’s beneficent approach to mosques and its draconian approach to churches: “The Egyptian government does not apply a single law equally for the building and repair of mosques, churches, and synagogues.”
In late 2016, for example, the Egyptian government boasted about opening 10 new mosques every week and allotting several billion Egyptian pounds to opening thousands more. Similarly, Al Azhar “the main authority in theology and Islamic affairs,” is entirely subsidized by the government (13 billion Egyptian pounds, USD $726 million, in 2018).