Tonight, I was extremely surprised at the attitude some of my friends adopting regarding specific issues. The main issue being discriminatory comments or jokes being made against people of other religions.
Several incidents have occured in this country before where Muslims have lashed out against Christians and Christians have lashed out against Muslims. Both have forgotten that they are all Egyptians and for years they have lived side by side, working together and sharing lives. Since when have our differences become so significant and so prominent that we regard them as attacks on our identities? Why do some Muslims resort to calling Christians specific terms to portray them in a derogatory manner? Why do some refuse to dine in the homes of the other? Why do some attack and vandalise places of worship belonging to the other's belief?
I could go on asking these questions, questions which our society is very much aware of, but I prefer not to. I am not hiding away from them, nor am i pretending that they do not exist. I am simply trying to cool down the burning fury that lies with me.
I used to think that such attitudes are adopted by those who are ignorant and lack education. However recently I have come to realize that this attitude is apparent amongst those who have received the best education and are most cultured. I can no longer find an excuse for such attitudes and beliefs. I have been shocked at the number of people around me who think this way, people who insist on focusing on the differences instead of the similarities, people who go on through life with a clear distinction between "us" and "them".
Thankfully, Egypt does not have much of a racial discriminatory problem, I am not claiming that it does not exist, I am simply stating that it is not of a huge rate. However, we have a bigger problem; religious discrimination. This problem is of a much bigger threat to society, in my opinion, than racial discrimination. Especially when is exists amongst a nation which is poorly educated, experiencing harsh economic states and where religious figures of authority (or claimed figures of authority) are of great influence to the people.
Believe me, life becomes scary when people no longer refer to an individual by their name, but by their religion, again using that same derogatory term. When people chose their friends according to what religion they belong to and not by their morals or characteristics.
After all, religion is a powerful tool, and many wars have been ignited based on religion. Whether to defend it, spread it or use it to ones advantage. In a country where most of its people are poorly educated, religion can be used to justify many things and to motivate people against one another to serve someone's benefit, although i'm not quite sure who!!