THEY MUST GO Page 152
Chapter 7: One Worlds
 
 
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152 THEY MUST GO

b451, and in Egypt it claims no fewer than six million adherents, ba large minority that pales, however, in comparison to the other bthirty-four million Egyptians—almost all Muslims. The Copts bhave always lived in insecurity in Egypt, and the recent upsurge bin Muslim fundamentalism has caused serious friction.

bIn March and April of 1980 Muslim student riots in the buniversity city of Asyut, which is half Christian, led to the death bof at least one student and injuries to and arrests of many others. bThe Muslims demanded that no Copts be appointed to govern- bment posts and imposed other restrictions. Harassment was so bbad that the pope of the church, Shenudah III, canceled all non- breligious Easter celebrations and retired to a monastery in the bwestern desert to protest harassment by fanatic Muslim groups.

bTwo years earlier, Shenudah and forty-four bishops had bcloistered themselves in a Cairo church for a five-day fast. The bfocus of that protest was a proposed law approved by Sadat’s bCouncil of State, the highest judicial body of Egypt, stipulating bdeath for any Muslim who converted to another faith and for banyone who encouraged him to do so—clearly aimed against the bCopts and their efforts to proselytize. Churches in Asyut were bstoned, and the Coptic community in Houston, Texas, protested bto President Carter. According to the Associated Press (Septem- bber 11, 1977), there had been a rise in Egyptian “demands for a breturn to the strict traditions of the early days of Islam.”

bThe growing violence against the Copts led to planned anti- bEgyptian demonstrations by Copts in America and Australia. bThe government issued a veiled threat against the Copt protest bthat would endanger “national unity and social peace,” and bSadat, in a nationwide broadcast from Parliament, spent almost btwenty minutes condemning the Copts for disrupting the na- btional unity. The Copts are as Egyptian as their Muslim coun- bterparts. Why the tension and threats? They are a large minor- bity, they are educated—and they are very different.

Turkey: Muslims versus Muslims, Armenians, and Orthodox Syrians

bIn December 1978 mobs of thousands of Sunni Muslims in bthe Turkish city of Kahramanmaras charged through the bstreets, screaming: “A jihad [“holy war”] for Allah!” Two bdays later, more than 100 Alawites were dead, more than 1,000 b 

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THEY MUST GO Page 152
Chapter 7: One Worlds