I can’t imagine many Muslims in Egypt are wishing Christians a “Merry Christmas” to begin with. Note: Copts celebrate Christmas on January 7th.
Via Middle East Online:
Egypt’s minority Coptic Christians celebrate on Monday their first Christmas under Islamist rule and amid a climate of fear and uncertainty for their future.
“I do not really feel safe,” says Ayman Ramzi, who feels his community threatened by the rise of Islamists in the world’s biggest Sunni Arab nation.
He was summarising the growing feeling of insecurity in Egypt where Copts, the largest and one of the oldest Christian community in the Middle East, will attend midnight mass later Sunday ahead of Christmas.
President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, has pledged to be the “president of all Egyptians.”
Late last month he renewed the pledge saying that a controversial new constitution drawn up by an Islamist-dominated council guaranteed equal rights and freedom for all Egyptians “with no exceptions.”
But Ramzi, 38, says a growing number of “hostile” statements from several radical Islamist groups against Christians is cause for concern.
He pointed to a fatwa, religious edict, posted several days ago on the Internet warning Muslims that it was forbidden to wish Copts a Merry Christmas.
The fatwa was posted by the Committee for the Legitimate Rights and Reform, a group close to radical Salafist factions, which includes among its members the Brotherhood’s number two Khairat al-Shater.
And recently the independent newspaper Al-Watan quoted Salafist figure Hisham al-Ashri as saying he wanted to meet Copts outside their churches to convert them to Islam.
Ashri, who was identified as the founder of the ultra-conservative Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also demanded that Coptic women wear the Islamic veil.