Editorial, in Hinsustan Times, April 12, 2017
(Note: This tragedy is the pictorial proof that conflict of religions, called also of civilisations is not an instance of civilization but of barbarism trying to prove their idiotic idea that “my God is better and stronger than your God”. It forces sensible people to give up belief in such a God or any God at all and in all man-made religions.
Equally it reminds us of the famous verses of Vayalar Ramavarma: “Man created religions and religions created Gods and both Gods and religions together contrived and confabulated to divide human mind and this mother earth among themselves.” That gave birth to the rise of colonialisms and politics of power.
What is to be discouraged is proliferation of religions and god-men, what is to be encouraged is spirituality which manifests itself in the service of the needy and marginalised. In any case one cannot love and serve God no one has seen without serving one’s fellow humans, followers of all religions believe, are created in God’s image. jmes kottoor, editor.)
It was a bloody Palm Sunday in Egypt, and literally so. The prologue to the Holy Week, that culminates in Good Friday and Easter, could scarcely have been more catastrophic; the fact that it happened in churches and in the midst of Mass has heightened the enormity of Sunday's tragedy.
A few direly distressing facets are readily discernible. The first is that the ISIS has claimed responsibility for the explosions that killed 47 devotees in the minority Coptic churches at Tanta, near Cairo, and in the port city of Alexandria.
The other is that the administration of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, buoyed very recently with the release of Hosni Mubarak, has been jolted to its foundations. The three-month emergency that has been declared in Egypt is suggestive of the gravity of the crisis that is rooted in the outrage on the country's largest religious minority. Yet another factor must be the first major strike by the Caliphate in the country, though there is no evidence yet to link the ISIS to the pro-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood that had wielded power post-Mubarak till it was ousted in a coup spearheaded by Sisi, then a Field-Marshal.
Suffice it to register that Islamist extremists have of late been targeting the country's Christian minority, who represent 10 per cent of the population. The timeline is intriguing ~ a couple of days after the chemical gas attack in Syria, the hotbed of ISIS operations and weeks before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt.
The pontiff, who was conveyed the news when he was marking Palm Sunday in St Peter's Square, will be visiting a country where the government is struggling to protect Christians, and where the ISIS is seemingly intent on driving a wedge between the two religions.
Altogether, six years after the Arab Spring, Egypt is floundering in search of its moorings. The upheaval at Tahrir Square and the cry for democracy have been reduced to irrelevance. Rather, the quasi-military dispensation of a former Field-Marshal ~ a legacy of the ancien regime ~ now contends with religious strife and the fury of Islamist fundamentalists, as in many other parts of the world. For the Sisi regime, the challenge of the Caliphate is forbidding.
It has opened up yet another flank on Sunday, one that a jittery government that lacks the support of the people will have to countenance. Almost inevitably, the emergence of mortal fundamentalism might serve to buttress the morale of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, the ISIS poses a frontal threat to Sisi, generally perceived to be a strongman who has put security at the heart of his legitimacy in Egypt.
He has since assuming power used his antiIslamic credentials to win the support of Western allies. Sunday's butchery could change the dynamics of Egypt's foreign policy.