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Copt Out

The AP reports that Egypt’s Copts have pulled out of the drafting committee for the country’s new constitution:

Egypt’s Coptic Church withdrew Monday from an Islam­ist-dominated committee that will draft the nation’s new constitution, and a leading Christian figure said the minority was never really represented to begin with.

The move fed growing fears that Islamists and the military will control the most important governmental bodies in post-revolutionary Egypt and minorities, women and the liberal groups that drove last year’s uprising will be largely excluded. Out of 100 members of the committee originally selected, there were six Christians, six women and a handful of liberals.

The perpetually persecuted sect didn’t really have much of a choice. It was either stay in and be ignored, or leave and be ignored. Perhaps more effective bargaining for their rights can take place behind the scenes, rather than on the public record of a committee where politicians must demagogue for their constituencies.

But overall, the news from Egypt isn’t getting much better. Hanging over everything in the country is the looming specter of an economic crisis. Ultimately, the struggles of the Egyptian economy are what will either radicalize the government or drive it toward more moderate stances. We, along with the Copts, can only wait and see.

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  • Andrea Ostrov Letania

    Zionists crush Palestinians, Islamists crush Coptics.

  • Jim.

    “Only wait” is not appropriate.

    We have to make it clear that whatever government comes out of Egypt will be held to account for the way it treats the Copts. Persecution must be punished, by American military force if necessary.

  • Tim Fitzgerald

    The U.S. should allow unlimited immigration to Copts and other persecuted Middle Eastern minorities. They understand the meaning of freedom (and the lack thereof) and would make excellent citizens. Further, their knowledge of Arab language and culture would be beneficial to our intelligence efforts.

  • Opting out is almost never a good idea. Staying in at least leaves open the possibility of some favorable influence or restraint, even if not openly acknowledged. And of course there is no going back, or at least I would presume so.

  • Kris

    My long-term headline would tend to “Copt Down”.

    That’s right, Andrea@1, the Copts want Egypt as it exists destroyed, just like many Palestinian Arabs want Israel destroyed. [/sarc]

    Jim@2: I’d be pleasantly surprised by the US simply cutting off all aid.

    Tim@3: I fully sympathize with the sentiment, but let’s not fall in the trap of romanticizing the underdog. The Copts (speaking very generally) are in the right vis-a-vis the Islamists, and we should support them, but they are hardly Jefferson’s children.

  • Opting out, Luke, is probably appropriate in this situation though. The fate of Egypt’s Copts is sealed. Those with the power, support and numbers don’t care about the interests of the Copts. There is no place for the Copts in contemporary Egypt, which, of course, will increasingly have the look and feel of 7th Century Arabia rather than 20th Century Egypt.

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