Monday, June 30, 2008

A secular era dawns in Egypt

The Daily News of Egypt:

Tens of people spanning the social, ideological and religious spectrum gathered Sunday to discuss a new anti-discrimination and equal opportunity initiative proposed by lawyer and member of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) Mona Zulfakar... The meeting was held at the premises of the Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination (EARD) movement.

[Despite the optimistic discussion], the Sunday seminar participants questioned the possibility of passing or applying such a law. “The main problem in Egypt is that discrimination is the responsibility of the State,” argued Cairo Institute for Human Rights Director Bahie Eddin Hassan.

“It is not just about companies refusing to hire Christians, Muslims or women. The State will likely be one of the entities paying large fines if this law is applied,” said the Head of EARD movement Mounir Megahed. “For example, Christians are not allowed to join Al-Azhar University though it encompasses secular colleges having nothing to do with Islamic studies.”

Coptic secular intellectual Kamal Zakher pointed out another obstacle to applying such an initiative... “To top these challenges is Article 2 of the Egyptian constitution which dictates that the State’s source of legislation is Islam,” he said. “We have plenty of laws but the problem is how they can be put into force.”

Well, at least there actually is a movement inside Egypt pushing for secular government and an ongoing discussion. That's a tangible improvement.

I blame Bush's hegemonic policies.

Image: HOJ

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