The Copts – Part IX

Explaining this phenomenon, in a July 9, 2006 article on, Egyptian Coptic intellectual Magdi Khalil discussed the attitude of Dr. Muhammad Salim al-Awa, a prominent figure in political Islam in the Arab world, towards Egypt's Copts. In his article, Khalil refers to al-Awa's recent book, Religion and Homeland - Chapters in Muslim Attitudes towards Non-Muslims, that was published in March 2006. (4)

Dr. Muhammad Salim al-Awa is secretary-general of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, which is headed by the Islamist sheikh Dr. Yousef al-Qaradhawi. Al-Awa is a member of the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue and belongs to many Islamic institutions, and is a founder of Egypt's Islamic al-Wasat party. Al-Awa frequently appears on Egyptian television and on al-Jazeera, and his articles are published by many Arab papers. He is also a regular columnist for the Egyptian opposition weekly al-Usbu.

In his article, Magdi Khalil attempted to expose the real views of al-Awa, who usually presents himself as a moderate Muslim, and to show that these views are essentially no different from extremist Islamist views. Under the title, The first thing that draws attention, Khalil wrote, "is the title of al-Awa's book: Chapters in Muslim Attitudes towards Non-Muslims inflammatory? According to al-Awa, the status of the Copts is connected to Islam: They are non-Muslims. Throughout the book, al-Awa sets out the status of the Copts in all areas of life as if they are adjuncts to the Islamic system and religion - and that they must adapt to Islam's laws, customs, rules, and culture. Al-Awa devotes his book to the unpretentious... who, when they hear the words of revelation of the Prophet Muhammad, their eyes fill with tears because of the truth that they know... and they say: Our Lord, we believe in Islam."

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