Religion and Press Freedom in the Digital Age – Part Two: Al Jazeera on Trial

The second in a series of posts on issues at the intersection of press freedom, religion, digital media and politics by Natasja Sheriff . Continue Reading →

Liberalism Killing the Copts

Reuters reports that Egypt’s Coptic Christians are receiving an unprecedented amount of foreign support; subsequently they fear “a backlash from Muslims who could resent special attention to a minority at a time when all Egyptians are suffering economic hardship and political uncertainty.”  Which reminds us of a provocative article by Marc Michael that Al Jazeera posted in November.  Of the march by Coptic Christians on October 9th that led to 20 deaths– a march protesting not the Egyptian government but the burning of a building that was slated to become a church–Michael writes:

…this march inscribed itself in a liberal project of identity politics – a politics based around the notion that irreducible differences occur naturally in society, that the interest-groups coalescing around them have specific needs and rights, which the state ought to protect against the tyrannical rule of the selfish majority. To many Third-World ‘minorities’, this type of contemporary Anglo-Saxon liberal thought represents a certain temptation, a flirtation with a distant, spectacular and utopian modernity that happens in Europe or in the United States. Copts are in no way immune to that dangerous attraction, particularly so considering the very high proportion of the Coptic diaspora living in Canada, the US or Europe. It is in that sense that liberalism is killing the Copts: in cheering them to embrace their estrangement from Egyptian society, to value their alienation as an end in itself, and to seek the legal support of the state in establishing their difference as a social fact.

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