Those people

Posted on November 17, 2006


Today I was out to dinner at the house of some family friends. Pretty usual stuff. Just to give you a picture of what that is in my circles: it routinely involves bitching about Egypt’s increasing Islamism, how repulsive the hijab is, Egypt never used to be like this, it’s become like a national uniform…you get the idea. I of course dislike Egypt’s increasing Islamism too, but I have nothing against the hijab, so I pointed out that Egypt’s Christian community is quite as conservative, and the only real sartorial difference is the actual headscarf – so it’s hardly a symptom of how “backwards” Egypt’s Muslims have recently become. Then there was much talk about how generally repressive and superficial Islam is (what with the word “kufr” being so bandied about), and laments over the recent rise of Cool Youth Islam a la Amr Khaled. I was shown an article in Rose al Yousef – a publication I consider to be a filthy sensationalist tabloid – likening Amr Khaled to Sameh Maurice, who is a well-known evangelical pastor here. There was some pretty low journalistic bullshit in there, such as superimposing Amr Khaled’s head over a picture of Sameh Maurice at the podium, but otherwise the article was dead on (in my opinion). The man has completely lifted style and substance from Sameh Maurice’s sermons and listening to him I am irresistibly reminded of many evenings I spent at church. Correct me if I’m wrong, but “rabenna bey7ebak zay manta” is not one of the more orthodox Islamic understandings. Apparently they now also have little youth camps, and a praise group exactly like a popular Christian Evangelical one. They had comparable pictures of these phenomena in the magazine. Well, good for him, I say. I mean, protestant youth are and always have been fervently devout and it’s pretty smart of him to use their successful strategies, although I would really prefer if he cut out that ‘don’t shake hands with girls’ shit – it’s rude and only sexualizes the act. Interestingly, I was also informed that this same Sameh Maurice was also briefly kidnapped sometime in July and somehow managed to escape, and is now surrounded by Amn Dawla who are guarding him. I would normally be sceptical of news like this, but it seems to have come from the horse’s mouth. I guess it comes with the territory of being a popular evangelist in these parts.

And now I have an Amn Dawla file, don’t I.

Posted in: Copts, religion