Muslims, Christians and Jews Can Coexist in Egypt

Islam Judaism Cross NO BOX(a)

The Egyptian culture is founded based on the religious values and beliefs of the majority of the population, whom happen to be muslims. However, there are eleven million egyptians who consider themselves coptic christians; they make up about 10 to 11 percent of the population. Furthermore, there are about 200 jews living in Egypt (this number could be higher or lower as it is fairly difficult to get a valid public estimate about the number of Egyptian Jews). The egyptian culture, as a result, is very conservative since each one of these Abrahamic religions support traditional values; such as the traditional family values and sanctity of marriage. However, the point of this article is not to talk about the Egyptian culture, but rather to discuss the discrimination that happens against the two religious minorities in Egypt, coptic christians and jews, and to provide a solution for this problem.

As a child, I attended a school called “Bader El-Islam” which is translated to “The Full Moon of Islam”; as a result, there were no coptic or jewish children in my school. Thus, I viewed coptic christians as literally, aliens. I remember going home in the school bus as a fourth grader and pointing at the cross to one of my older friends and asking them what this symbol means; their answer was “That’s a cross, you’ll find it placed on churches where coptic christians pray”. Furthermore, I viewed Jews as inherently evil, since the media does identify the differences between jews and Israelis and it only portrays the negative image of Israeli soldiers, who are mostly jewish, killing the Palestinian civilians. The fact that I never interacted with both minority groups, and the lack of education and awareness about these groups made me extremely closed-minded in the early days of my childhood. Fortunately, my family immigrated to Canada when I was ten years old; thus, I was given the opportunity to meet and interact with other children who come from christian and jewish backgrounds. As a result, I was able to learn how to accept others, regardless of their religious background. However, what about the other children in Egypt who are closed-minded due to their lack of interaction with children from minority groups?

The current situation in Egypt, regarding the level of acceptance of minority groups such as jews and coptic christians, is dissatisfying. The attacks on Egyptian churches did not stop after the revolution, nor did the hate towards jews from the media decrease. The lack of awareness and education in schools about the history, values and beliefs of coptic christians and jews is the main cause for creating a closed-minded, discriminative adults who violate the natural rights of jews and coptic christians. Furthermore, it will be hard to move an uneducated population to take a strong stand when violent events take place against these minority groups, such as the burning of a church.

Article 43 of the constitution in Egypt states “The State shall guarantee the freedom to practice religious rites and to establish places of worship for the divine religions, as regulated by law.” but realistically, if the majority of the population does not believe in the rights of coptic christians and jews, how can the law stop the discrimination and violence against these two minority groups? The answer to this problem is through education. Children in schools need to learn the history, values and beliefs of these two minority groups. All the Abrahamic religions call for similar values such as the love for one another; these values need to be stressed in schools through all grade levels. In addition, the three religious symbols should be placed on top of classroom boards; a star and crescent, which is the symbol for Islam; a cross, which is the symbol for christianity; and the star of David, which is the symbol for judaism. For children to grow up seeing these symbols every day will be the starting point for a more accepting culture and a better Egypt.


Staying Cool and Efficient

business race on a blue track Starting a business is not easy, especially if you are alone. Often times the process of getting a business off the ground is challenging but adventurous. I do believe that if one develops these two skills, they will have a good shot at moving from the idea phase to actually launching their business.

First, One has to be extremely cool. As an entrepreneur, you will face challenges as you try to move forward from the idea phase to launching your business. However, nothing will compare to the amount of negativity you will hear from the people you trust in your life, such as your friends and family, regarding the potential failure of the business. You have to learn to dismiss their thoughts, as their thoughts are often times based on speculations that have no evidential support. Thus, allowing these negative thoughts to get to you means that you choose to end your business before you even start it. Furthermore, you need to stay calm when challenges arrive at your door step. Starting a business is not a smooth process, and you have to stay cool in order to find solutions to the problems that will arise on the way.

Second, you have to be very efficient and productive with your time. Often times, entrepreneurs have to take the initial steps alone. This is because many people in the beginning do not have faith that your business will succeed; thus, they will not jump on board from the very early start. As a result, you will have to do many of the initial steps before attracting others to work with you. This is the point where each entrepreneur must sacrifice their sleep or social life to get a lot of work done. It’s okay though, once the business is off the ground and the millions are coming in, you will look back at this step and smile.

So staying cool and efficient are the two basic skills that an entrepreneur must
develop. One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is that each business brings an adventure and excitement to ones life regardless of whether the business succeeds or fails. Thus, enjoy every minute of the process and stay positive.

Having Problems Communicating Your Ideas?

There are times when millions of thoughts run through our mind about a particular idea, and every thought makes complete sense to us. However, once we try to share these thoughts with others, we begin to face difficulty communicating them. This difficulty often arises when we assume that the person, whom  we are communicating with, have a basic understanding of what we are talking about; thus, we skip explaining each thought in detail, leaving the person feeling confused. It is similar to telling someone a story by informing them about the beginning and the end while leaving the middle portion of the story out. The solution to this problem is to allow yourself to step back and observe the main idea and it’s details. You can begin by painting a picture of the main idea to your listener, then go into each detail while fighting the urge to skip some of your thoughts. The details are the main components of each idea; thus your listener will be able to understand the idea you are trying to communicate if you orally build the idea by putting the components together in front of your listener. The trick is to break down each idea to small components then build it once again in your mind before you try to communicate your thoughts with others.

I read this article in inc. magazine, Lessons in Learning How To Program, where the author connects programming to communicating. In order to program, one has to break down each thought and explain it in details to the computer, a machine that knows nothing. Thus, if one wants to communicate their ideas effectively to others, they have to break down each thought and explain it piece by piece without rushing or assuming that the listeners is capable of reading the speaker’s mind.