See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Egypt: An Open Letter to Egyptian Christians

After the that Egypt in , all Egyptians, from all religions, expressed sorrow and sympathy towards the victims.

Sherif, who is also known as Ibn AbdelAziz, is an Egyptian leading blogger who co-organized several campaigns to promote anti-sectarianism in Egypt, like Mosarha Wa Mosalha (Confessions and Reconciliation) and (Together in front of Allah). And after bombing, he expressed what he felt in a long post entitled: “May God give you His condolences.” He writes:

هذه التدوينة لاصحابي وزملائي وجيراني المسيحيين.حاولت الاتصال بكم بالهاتف وبعضكم تحدثت معه عن طريق الموبايل والبعض عن طريق الايميل والبعض ليس لدي هاتفه والبعض مغلق موبايله والبعض لا يرد علي الاتصالات

This post is for my Christian friends, colleagues and neighbors. I tried to call you, I talked with some of you on your mobiles, some on email, some of your numbers are not in my contact list, others had their phones switched, and the rest didn't answer.

أشعر بغصة شديدة،ورغبة شديدة في البكاء ، يغلبني الدمع احيانا واحيانا اكتمه ، تحدثت مع احدكم منذ قليل ، وتبارينا من منا اشد حزنا علي ماحدث ثم بدأت بالبكاء وكتمته حتي لا يظن من كان معي علي الهاتف اني ازايد او اتصنع ، وفي الحقيقة ..لا توجد سوى حقيقة واحدة الان …ان ما حدث هو مصيبة بكل ما تعنيه الكلمة من معنى ، مصيبة ذات ظلال ثقيلة وتبعات مرهقة …لم يعد يهم من صنع هذا الان ..لأني اؤمن ان كثيرين صنعوا هذا …الذين خلقوا البيئة الطائفية ووفروا مرتعا لها يجعل كل من له رغبة في فعل مثل الذي حدث ..يجعله قادرا علي تنفيذها …..سواء من الخارج او من الداخل

I feel choked with a big urge to cry, sometimes my tears fall and sometimes I supress them in my eyes. I talked to one of you, a few minutes ago, and we competed who is sadder than the other, and then I started crying. After a while I stopped so you don't think I'm overdoing or making it up. Actually, there is nothing but one fact now, that what had happened is a catastrophe, a tough one with the worst consequences. It is not important now who did it, because I believe that many share the responsibility. Those who were involved in creating the sectarian atmosphere with all the supporting catalysts to give anyone who had the intentions the moral ability to do it, whether the criminal is an insider or an outsider.

انا مسلم …تعرفونني جيدا …ربما منذ سنين وربما من شهور …ربما تعرفون كيف افكر وماذا افعل …انا لم اضعكم وحدكم في بوست خاص الا لاشارككم مشاعر الحزن والغضب واليأس والقهر والأسى ، لا يهمني الآن …ما ظن البعض بي وكيف يفكرون فيما افعل ..بل انا افعل الذي افعله لاكون من انا بغض النظر عن اي راي

I'm a Muslim, you know me well. Maybe for years, maybe for months. Maybe you know how I think and what I do, I share, for you (Christians) specifically, this post, because I want to share how sad, angry, desperate and subjugated I feel. I don't care now what others thought about me, and what they think about what I do. But I do what I do, regardless of what opinions others hold.

الذي يهمني ان كل واحد منكم يشعر بغصة والم وغضب وانا لا استطيع شيئا ..بيني وبينكم عشرة ومودة واخوة ووطن وقيم اقوي من النقد والسخرية والتشكيك في عقيدتي واولوياتي من قبل بعض المسلمين الذين يرون ما افعله مغازلة او طيبة او حتي خلل في فهمي لديني

What I care for now is that each one of you feels this rage and pain, and I (as a Muslim) can't do anything about it. We share feelings of friendship, brotherhood, and high values that are stronger than the mockery, religious criticism, and how some Muslims doubt my (Islamic) beliefs who see what I do as some kind of naivety or even a misunderstanding of Islam.

ان لم استطع ان اعيش في وطن تأمنون فيه علي اعراضكم ودمائكم وبيوتكم وكنائسكم كما آمن انا…وان لم استطع العيش في بلد تأمنون فيه من تمييز بسبب الدين …فلا معنى لوطني هذا ..ولا معنى لشئ

If I am not able to live in a home country where you find yourselves, your homes, and your churches safe like I'm anymore, if I weren't able to live in a country with no discrimination based on religion, then there is no meaning for this home, nothing will have a meaning then.

كثيرون هم من يصنعون الكراهية وهم لا يشعرون …تظهر منهم في كلامهم او افعالهم او ايماءاتهم …يستترون بالله احيانا ويتدثرون بالهوية احيانا اخرى ..ويتذرعون باحداث هنا وهناك مرات عديدة …ولكني اريد ان اعرفكم اني اليوم عرفت ان فقدان اي منكم بسبب كراهية او جهل هو امر مؤلم لا احتمل تخيله

A lot of people create hate, not knowing that hate appears in their words, their actions, and their gestures. They hide behind Allah sometimes, and behind their identity at other times. They find excuses in some sectarian incidents here and there a lot of times. But what I want you to know today, is that losing a loved one for a hate crime is so painful to an unimaginable extent.

كل ما اعدكم به هو ان استمر في العودة الي الله كما عرفته منه هو ، وان اكون نفسي بين الناس او بعيدا عن الاعين – لا اختلاف – وان اقول الذي افعل وافعل الذي اقول وان استمر فيما افعل وان اصبر عليه وان اموت دونه ان طلب الامر.

What I can promise you is that I will continue on my way back to God as I know it from Him. To be myself whether among people or alone. Nothing should be different. To do what I say and say what I do, continue what I'm doing, and to have patience in keeping doing so or die trying.

لست هنا لادافع عن الاسلام واقول انه دين سماجة وسلام وانه لا يامر بالعنف …ستسمعون هذا كثيرا …ولا يهمني حتى ان تضحكوا عندما تسمعون البعض يرددون هذا الكلام بل ولن اشعر بالضيق ان حدث هذا …فالحقيقة اني كمسلم اعرف ان هناك ازمة عند الكثيرين من المسلمين واني لا اعرف الحرج حينما اذكر هذا …فأنا لا اعبأ برضا الناس …ولا بسخطهم …ولا بموافقتهم او برفضهم …بل اعبأ بالذي بين جوانحي…وما بين جوانحي هو ان الله يأمر بالعدل ..وان الذي يحدث كل يوم ليس فيه من العدل شئ …ولو جمله الناس او زينوه او تواطئوا معه او تجاهلوه او اعتذروا له او برروه

I'm not here to defend Islam or say that Islam is the religion of tolerance and peace, and that it doesn't preach violence. You will hear that a lot. I don't care if you laugh when you hear this and I will not be offended. For I know that as a Muslim I know there is a major issue among a lot of fellow Muslims and I'm not embarrassed for mentioning this. I don't care if people were content or discontent by their acceptance or their refusal, I just care about what I feel inside me, and what is inside me is that God's order is Justice. And what happens everyday isn't slightly related to Justice, even if all the people beautified, ignored and apologized for had what happened.

انا لا اتحدث بالنيابة عن احد ..فقط اتكلم بالنيابة عن نفسي ونفسي فقط
سيقول الكثيرون من المتضامنين ..العزاء لكل المصريين …وانا ارى ان المصريين كلمة لا معنى لها الان ..نحن طائفيون ..حتي ونحن نشعر بالاسي جميعا بسبب هذا الحادث ..فاننا في صميم تكويننا ..طائفيين …والطبيعي في هذا الوضع ان يكون المسيحي المصاب اكثر الما من المسلم المتعاطف معه ..بل ان الم المسيحي لن يشعر بها مسلم ابدا حتي يمر هو ذاته بما يمر به اخوه المسيحي في وطن واحد

I'm not talking for anybody, just about myself, and myself only.
Many people who joined in solidarity will say: Condolences comes from all Egyptians (not Muslims or Christians) and I see the word Egyptian has no meaning here at the moment, we are sectarian, even when we are all sad for this incident, but in our formation we are sectarian. And naturally in this situation, the Christians’ pain will be much more than the sympathetic Muslims’ pain, and even the Muslim will never feel the Christians’ pain unless the Muslim experienced the same hurt under the same conditions.

ولذا انا اعزيكم جميعا – كما أعزي نفسي – انتم واهليكم وذويكم ..فبلغوهم تعازيا
سيقول البعض : ولماذا هذا ” الاغراق ” في التعبير عن الاسى…وساقول لهم وانا في منتهي ” الادب ” ..انا مصري في مصر…ولو الذي حدث لم يكن اهم شئ لدي في الكون لان هذه بلدي وهذا شعبي وهذه شوارعي وحواريا وطرقاتي ومدرستي وكليتي وعائلتي وعملي وسوقي ..فماذا يكون اهم ؟ لقد جعلنا كل شئ اخر اهم حتي نسينا هذه البلد تماما …لقد جعلنا اخ الشرق والغرب اهم ..فهان الجار والزميل والصاحب…لقد جعلنا هذا الوطن ..نحن ..وهم ..فانظروا ما ذا صنعت ايدينا …ان الذي اصنعه ليس اغراقا …بل هو اعادة الامور الي نصابها كما كان ينبغي ان تكون

So I pay my condolences to you, as to myself. To you, your family and your loved ones, please pass my condolences to them.
Some people will say, why this flood of sorrow. I will answer in all politeness, I'm an Egyptian living in Egypt, and if what had happened was not the most important thing I care for in the whole universe, because this is my country, these are my people, these are my streets, my school, my college, my family, my work, my market..then what's more important? We made every other thing more important that we forgot our country entirely. We considered brothers East and West more important that we degraded our neighbors, colleagues and friends. We made this country, Us and Them. So see what did our hands do. What I do now is not a flood of emotions, it is just an attempt o make things right as it should have been from the very beginning.

اليوم انتم فزعون وهلعون …تشعرون ان مصر ليست بلادكم …وطبيعي ان تشعروا بهذا ..ان مصر ليست بلاد احد الان ..وانتم بالذات لكم الحق ان تتركوها وترحلون …مسلمون ومسيحيون يشعرون بالغربة في مصر…لكن غربة المسيحي اشد من غربة المسلم من وجهة نظري ….من يساوي بين هذا وذاك فارقه الانصاف من وجهة نظري

You (Christians) are now frightened and panicking, you feel that Egypt is not your country anymore, and that's all natural. Egypt is no one's country now, and you specifically have all the right to leave this country. Muslims and Christians feel alienated in their own country, but the Christians feel more alienated, and those who equate the alienation of both are wrong in my opinion.

ناهيك عن تلك الحادثة الشنعاء …فان كثيرا من المسلمين لا يسمعون الذي تسمعون من كلمات السخرية والتمييز …يظنون ان بعض الاحداث الطائفية التي حدثت نتشارك فيها جميعا نفس القدر من المسئولية ونسوا ان ما نجنيه اليوم هو رد فعل لاربعين سنة او تزيد من افعال واقوال طائفية ..الغريب ان انتاج الخطاب الذي يصنع العنف يقوم به الجميع الان بلا وعي …وهذه هي المشكلة

However horrible this incident is, a lot of Muslims do not listen to those mocking and discriminating words you hear, those Muslims think that everybody equally shares the responsibility of some sectarian incidents, and they forget that this is the result of more than 40 years of sectarian words and actions. And what is strange is that the product of this sectarianism is violence coming from both sides, and this is a major problem.

كثيرون سيقفون موقفا رافضا للحادث ..ولكنهم يرتكبون افعالا ويقولون اقوالا هي ذاتها خلقت البيئة التي سمحت لحادث كهذا ان يحدث
يحب الناس ان ينظروا الي التصاعد الطائفي وكأنه بدأ من سنة او سنتين او يريدون ان ينظروا الي الامر بحادثة او حادثتين
ولكنه اقدم من هذا بكثير جدا …وانما نجني اليوم ثماره ..ويالها من ثمار

A lot will refuse what had happened, but they say and act things which result in creating the atmosphere leading to an action like that.
People like to think that these sectarian incidents arose in just a year or two, or just from an incident or two. But no, this is a long history, and now we are reaping the fruit, and what kind of fruit.

اعاهد الله اليوم وانا علي مشارف ان ارزق باول طفل لي في حياتي ان اقوم بما يمكن ان التزم به … ان اعلمه كل ما اعرف وان يكون افضل مني ومن امه ومن اجداده وجداته علي كل مستوى ممكن ، وان هذا هو الذي استطيع ان افعله واسأل الله ان اموت وقد تركت خلفي ذرية تعرف الله كما اراد الله وتامر بالعدل وتطبقه علي نفسها اولا وتكره الظلم وتنقد الذات وتصلح النفس وتبني الارض وتحارب الكراهية والوصم والتمييز وسائر ادواء البشر ما استطعت .
وكفرد من الاغلبية العددية ..اعرف مسئوليتي جيدا تجاه الاخرين من اقليات عددية بسبب الدين او المذهب او العرق ..وليت كل المسلمين يعرفون هذا
في النهاية
كلماتي عاجزة عن وصف ما اشعر به
هذه خواطري المبعثرة
وهذا بوح نفسي المثقلة
وهذا انا ..كما أنا
اسمحوا لي ان اقف في صفوفكم وان اخذ العزاء معكم .
وأن يقال لي : ربنا يعزيك

I swear to God today and I'm almost a father for the first time, that I will do what I should do, to teach my baby what I know to make him/her better than me, than his mother, his grandparents in every way possible, and this is what I can. I pray to God that when I die, I will leave behind a family who knows God as God wants. A family calling for Justice while applying it on themselves first. A family who hates injustice and fights hate and discrimination and the rest of human diseases however they can.
And as a person from the majority, I know well my responsibility towards the other religions, sects or ethnic minorities. I wish all Muslims know this responsibility.
Finally.
I run out of words to describe what I feel.
This is just a random thought.
This is my spoken burden.
This is me as I am.
And please allow me to stand on your side and take the condolences with you (Christians).
And to be told: May God give you His condolences

5 comments

  • This is so moving! Thank you for translating this.

  • Isis

    Religious discrimination and violence have been steadily growing in Egypt, and the Government’s failure to prosecute those who persecute Christians only adds fuel to the fire. Unless the Government takes firm actions to pass Anti-discriminatory laws (equality in the building of places of worship and swift punishment for those who incite hatred), the Alexandria church bombing will not be the last. On the contrary, it will be first step in Egypt’s spiral into social unrest. There is a glimmer of hope: the environment of “acceptable intolerance” is slowly changing. Calls for unity from the media and intellects that “we no longer are Muslim or Christian – we are all Egyptians” are spreading. However, these calls will continue to be undermined until the Government removes “religion” from off the personal Identification Cards. Furthermore, what each Egyptian must do is to stop intolerance around them. Sherif and others like you must respond to those who are “casually insulting the other”. It’s a long shot, but only then can we say we have taken steps out of the dangerous spiral that threatens to engulf all Egyptians.

  • So, Isis, you see the Egyptian government as a part of the solution, not a part of the problem?

  • Jennifer Mc Cleary

    Hats off to Sherif! All over the world and many different times in history, both Christians and Muslims have done horrific things to humankind in the name of God. It is neither the Christan nor the Muslim religion that causes these acts, but evil people who contort the word of God to fit their violent contentious intentions. What Sherif is doing is what a TRUE Muslim would do… the right thing.

  • […] الله والتي حضرت بعض حلقاتها، وربما يفهم تأثري به في ترجمة رسالته المعنونة: “ربنا يعزيك“، التي نشرها بعد […]

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site