It is really sad that the extremists are driving the actions in Egypt. They should never have done that. These barbaric acts are perpetrated by deranged individuals that do not worship God BUT USE GOD. Religion calls for peace and mercy among all people. Which God is that who promotes hate and maiming in his name? Out of over 65 million known species, humans (homo-sapiens) are one of the handful few species that espouses killing of its own kind. We have to stop these heinous acts that reflect ignorance, primitiveness and lack of understanding. Egypt has to return to its traditions of decency, togetherness and modernity. We should become again the trend setter for the whole region and its shining light.
I am a Copt (Christian Egyptian), and I have been “Chairman of Cardiology” in America since 1974. Never once did I consider religion in hiring or promotion. I am sure that Dr. Morsi and his prime Minister of Egypt Dr. Quandeel were never asked about their religions when they obtained their PhD degrees from prestigious American Universities. I am reminded that when Jesus was asked “who is your friend?” He chose one who does not belong to His religion. The Good Samaritan was the one who cared about his fellow man and did not expect any return; he just did the right thing out of the kindness of his heart. My best friends include Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists and you name it. Currently, there are 590 religions in the world and many others came and went. Muslims constitute one in seven and Christians one in five world inhabitants.
Many books and films claimed certain religions to be full of falsehoods or they mocked various religions. Consider the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber “Jesus Christ superstar”, or the best seller book which subsequently became a movie: “Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. Also the books written against Islam such as “the Satanic Verses” by Salman Rashdi, “the Islamic Threat” by John Esposito or “My Year Inside Radical Islam” by Gartenstein-Ross to quote a few. Furthermore, there are many books and Movies that mock all religious beliefs. The most famous of these is “The God Delusion” by Richard Hawkins (selected as the best book of the year in 2008), several articles and essays and his latest book “mortality” by Christopher Hitchens, the most recent book by the renowned physicist (Prof. at Cambridge University) Stephen Hawking In which he argues “Who Needs God” and the movie by the comedian Bill Maher.
Therefore to claim that the recent destructive demonstration in Egypt was the direct result of the obscure Sam Bacille’s movie endorsed by the deranged pastor (Fr. Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida) and the outlier Morris Sadek claiming that Islam is a cancer does not represent an official stance by America nor by the Copts outside Egypt. It represents the freedom of expression that ALL the citizens of the western countries enjoy and practice. To call it by a different name is misleading. Violence should never be condoned by anyone. There are courts that determine whether any form of expression has crossed the line. Taking the matter in our own hands should never be condoned and is beneath Egypt.
Let us always remember that ALL religions are designed to make us better people; caring about each other, understanding one another, helping the most vulnerable among us and building a better society for everyone. They are not intended for us to hate more, kill each other and commit unspeakable acts of violence against our fellow human being. The latter is USING GOD and NOT SERVING THE ALMIGHTY. No wonder that many young people elect not to adopt any religion at all. There are many forms of expression that propel progress in a modern society. Reasoned debate, peaceful assembly and other forms of thoughtful exchange of views are welcome. All forms of destruction and criminal acts impede progress and return us to the rules of the jungle. The last thing that the world needs is a religious war in which everyone becomes a loser. Violence diminishes one and never elevates the attacker.
Dr Lotfy Basta MD, FRCP, FRCPE, FACP, FACC, FCCP, FAHA
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