الخميس، 22 مارس 2007

Egypt: More Sectarian Polarization..?!

In 1986, during the time of interior minister Ahmed Rushdi –arguably the best ever to hold this post, cars started to wear bumper/windshield stickers that display religious affiliations of the drivers! In what I perceive as a high level of patriotism, the government took a decision to activate a law that bans all sorts of bumper/windshield stickers in order to minimize what can lead to sectarian friction.

This phenomenon is coming back, and much stronger. The photo above shows one of the most common stickers on show in Egyptian streets these days. It has the Moslem Shihada "There is No God but Allah, Mohamed is his Messenger". Similar, though smaller stickers are also shown on Christian's cars identifying clearly the affiliation of the driver in the same way.

Something has to be done!

هناك 19 تعليقًا:

مختار العزيزي يقول...

باقترح نحدف إزاز العربيات دي بالطوب والظلط عشان يرجع لمصر عصرها التنويري الزاهي ونبعد بقي عن التعصب والتدخل في حريات الأفراد.

اللي ناقص بقي كمان أن المسلم يحط مصحف علي التابلوه والمسيحي يحط نسخة من الكتاب المقدس جنب الدليكسيون!!!!
ياااه امتي بقي الناس تتعلم تخفي هويتها الدينية عشان نرتاح

غير معرف يقول...

why should one hide his or her religious identity?
what prevents you to deal normally with someone who is displaying his religion?
It my right to wear hijjab or a christian cross.....no?
why do u feel obliged to judge me, based on my religious identity?when will be able to get rid from these pre-judgement?
yet, i agree that such cars stickers are a bit bizzare


BaBaNesmA يقول...

مختار العزيزى
انتا يتقول فيها ، ده فعلا بيحصل
المسلم هو الانسان اللى حاطط مصحف كبير فى التابلوه ، أو ورا ع الشنطة لو كانت سيدان
والمسيحى هو اللى بيحط علامة السمكة ع العربية

a simple remark for NORA
the point that Nahdet Masr talk about _ as i think _ that we are not ready at this time to talk to each others , without considering others' religion , as talking is some kind forbidden ...

we are not able to accept each other's opinions , not to be convinced , but at least to understand others' reaction ...

and these ways of expressing religion , can make in our time some kind of trouble ...


Egypeter يقول...

Nora - who is talking about "hiding" one's religion? I don't think Nahdet was talking about that. Besides, we're talking about Egypt here, right? One can't even take a breath of air in Egypt without considering religion these days...so I don't think you have to worry about Egyptians "hiding" thier religious beliefs. I myself proudly wear a cross. But I think the point is is Egypt is becoming more conservative and less tolerant every year and if we don't even acknowledge this then there's no hope of resolving these issues.

What I think our host was also saying is the continuing POLARIZATION of Egyptians along sectarian lines is a problem that we also have to face up to. Blame lies everywhere for this silly "us versus them" mentality or this "Christian versus Muslim" mentality. It's silly and counterproductive and is also one of the biggest obstacles that Egypt must overcome.

And neither was Nahdet "judging" anyone as I believe he's a practicing and good muslim. I agree that overt signs of religiosity is unneccesary and can lead to problems, especially in religious countries like Egypt.


غير معرف يقول...


Mokhtar was talking about hiding one’s religion, so I was asking him back why?

I do agree that overt signs of religiosity, such as car’s stickers are unnecessary.
I don’t think that sticking such things on my car would make of me a better Muslim; Personally, I find that not only odd but ugly too!!

Yet for those who choose that, it is their choice, you are talking abt tolerance? Aren’t you?
For me tolerance is accepting difference


omas يقول...

i noticed it (as the image in the topic)...!!

dunno y do ppl put such stickers ,..i guess some have the sense of superiority that makes them put such stickers to show up,...others feel it's a way to express how proud they r with their religion,...others just stick them as any sticker like Guevara ,..comics or anyth...!!

but as 4 my own opinion i guess it's useless & some times bad,..but i also believe that we don't need an action or a low against it,...coz after all ppl minds & attitude r the things to b changed ...!!!


Nah·det Masr يقول...


شكراً على التعليق،

زي ما قال أدهم، فعلاً معظم المسلمين بيحطوا مصحف على التابلوه، وكتير من المسيحيين دلوقتي بقوا بيحطوا الأنجيل على التابلوه هما كمان، أشمعنى!

انا طبعاً مش هأوصل لحكاية حدف العربيات بالطوب، ولكن في 1986، الحكومة طلعت من الدرج قانون موجود من زمان بيمنع وضع البادجات والستيكرات على العربيات, وكان اللي بيحط ستيكر على الأزار، بتتسحب رخصته، وفعلاً اختفت الستيكرات في ظرف شهر. مطلوب ان وزارة الداخلية تقوم بعمل نفس الشيء تاني دلوقتي.


It's not about anyone hiding their religious identity, but putting these stickers reminds me in a way of putting confederate flags in USA (I'm exaggerating). It's a form of bragging about your religious affiliation which isn't something a true Moslem/Christian would want to do.


Rightly put, I couldn't have said better, it is the danger of polarizing the society along religious lines that frightens me to death. I see what happens at the University. Mind you, we have group works, in our day, the groups were mixed, 10 years ago, I started to see that Christian and Moslem students are forming separate work groups. This is part of the new polarized mentality. I tried sometimes to force the mixture for different reasons that I invented, but it has to come from inside.


You're also right; again, the best analogy I can think of is the posting the confederate flag in the US. It's not really the sticker; it’s the message "I'm better than you" behind it.

Nora again,

I am for tolerance, but think of the following scenario, someday, an accident might happen between two cars, one with a big sign of Moslem Shihada, and the other with the picture of Jesus! People will gather around the two cars as usual, if a fight breaks out, it might spark a mini civil war if the crowd is ignorant.

I am not exaggerating in this scenario, it happened before many times in rural areas where Moslem neighbors sided with each other against the next door Christian who also sided with his fellow coreligionists. If we continue along this line, I think we should go back to tribal times...

I am a Moslem, the only sticker I have on my car is a small flag of Egypt!

Believe me, the threat is real!


Egypeter يقول...

It's so sad to hear about the segragation that is happening in Egypt. It actually angers me. Why? Aren't we ALL Egyptians?? This mentality will only lead to more and more problems. And your example of a car accident is a very good one, as I'm sure the smallest things can lead to the biggest problems. It's as if we're sitting on a ticking time bomb.

And I'm glad to hear of your efforts to mix groups in your classes at your university. You are a breath of fresh air good professor and that's why I LOVE this blog. I know you are swimming up river and working against the tide, but please keep fighting the good fight...I know you will!

Salaam and good luck.

Amenhotep®© يقول...

I hope that this stupid phenomenon disappears and not only from cars but from everywhere,you can easily know the religion of people who are working in an office,shop,etc with all the religious signs they have around it's so sick and disgusting a stupid society only have religion as a makeup or a way of discrimination.and if miss Nora wants people to deal with other normaly regarless of their religions why would they put it in the first place?Are stickers mandatory now like veil?maybe we will hear about that soon,with Muslims we will never know how far we can go!

Nah·det Masr يقول...


You're right, religion should be practiced between people and God, and not used as something to brag about or use as an advantage in any way.

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