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Chairman of the Religion Committee on Abdul Jalil controversy

Egyptian MP: We can not handle religious strife

Monday 15-05-2017 - 08:33 PM
Ghada Dajani
Egyptian MP: We can
Cairo - Member of Egyptian parliament (MP), Nadia Henry is quoted as saying:  "Anyone who utters these words (infidel, apostate) should be criminalized, in order to protect citizenship and curb sectarianism.

MP Usama El Abd, Chairman of the religion committee at the House of Representatives commented on the controversy stirred by the statements of Salem Abdul Jalil, the former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Endowments by saying, ‘Our country cannot handle religious strife.  We are not taking sides, we are only discussing a general principle." Abdul Jalil apologized later for his comments, in which he described Christianity as corrupted faith.
Dr. Usama El Abd
Dr. Usama El Abd
In a statement to El Sherouk Newspaper, El Abd, former dean of  the Al Azhar University said, "Our country cannot handle any form of religious strife and our mission is to unite people not divide them. We aim to create societal harmony to be able to fight terrorism."  

He continued, "We are asking everyone to unite and cooperate in fighting terrorism and work towards the development of the country.  This is the core issue."  He added, "We are seeking the advancement of our country and I ask everyone to stay away from any attempt to cause conflict between Muslims and Christians." 
Expressing her view, MP Nadia Henry called for criminalizing anyone who seeks to assassinate citizenship by using words such as apostates, disbelievers and others.  She added, "We cannot confront Abdul Jalil just by an apology, dismissal or setting a date for a trial. Rather, we must protect all citizens and enforce the rules of law and justice by the criminalizing those who utter words as 'infidel' and 'apostate' for these words are like a sword that kills citizenship and humanity.’ 
  
In a statement released today, she said, "The state must act swiftly to confront this controversy and most importantly, it must deter the spread of such thought by countering intellectual complacency or any participation in discrimination."  She added, ‘Everyone is guilty, we must all apologize and start on a serious path of safeguarding Egyptian Coptic citizens through the implementation of laws; for if justice is not realized, citizenship and nationality will become obsolete terms."
   
Nadia Henry asked, "What does the Egyptian state do to protect its citizens from falling into the trap of religious strife?  Where is the proper response of state officials? Why is there not a law to fight religious discrimination?  Any why does the state stay silent in the face of issues that threaten citizenship?"
She assured that Abdul Jalil’s crime should be considered disruption of national peace not contempt of religion adding, "it is not about sending someone to trial, but rather proving the state’s ability to implement justice and equality and to uphold the concept of citizenship."

She explained that there is a big difference between freedom of expression and the freedom to insult the religion of another.  In conclusion, she stated that it is natural for people who follow a certain faith to reject other faiths, the problem is that describing someone as an infidel is a call for war and an incitement to kill those who do not share the same belief. 

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