Rulings spark hope for Egyptian Copts fighting Islamic estate law

w1240-p16x9-41290351cf31f36006f4dcbb2d82df7e049b792fEgyptian Copt Amal Hanna says she is determined to fight the long-standing application of Islamic inheritance laws to Christians, as recent court victories embolden Coptic women.

For decades, Egyptian courts have largely applied Islamic inheritance laws — which mostly allocate a bigger share of inheritances to men than to women — to both Muslims and the country’s significant Coptic Christian minority.

But Coptic Orthodox customs call for gender equality in inheritance matters.

Hanna has twice been faced with the unbalanced division of family estates.

The first was more than 20 years ago, when a court granted her brother double her share of their parents’ property.

Then, after her aunt died last year, another court awarded the entire inheritance to Hanna’s brother.

“I was dumbstruck,” she said. “It really upset me, especially as my family raised us — me and my brother — as equals.”

Hanna has appealed against the ruling.

But Christian women’s hopes were rekindled late last year after Coptic lawyer Hoda Nasrallah and her brothers were granted an equal share of their father’s inheritance.

The November ruling by a Cairo family court took into account a constitutional article allowing Christian principles to be the basis of rulings on the minority’s personal status affairs.

Nasrallah’s rare victory generated a buzz across Egypt, but it was not the first of its kind.

In 2016, a Christian woman won a legal dispute with her brother, obtaining equal inheritance.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FRANCE 24

Islam Meets Ancient Egypt: The Mosque Located Inside Luxor’s Iconic Temple

WhatsApp-Image-2020-01-05-at-14.57.29-768x576When visiting Luxor, the average traveler is spoiled for choice. However, one attractive and evident site to visit is none other than Luxor temple.

The icon of the Upper Egyptian city, arguably one of Egypt’s oldest towns on which the modern-day Luxor is built on, is the temple.

An ancient structure

In truth, the ‘temple’ is the wrong title for the impressive archaeological giant as it comprises of several temples and archeological features built by different pharaohs in the New Kingdom (1550 – 1069 BC).

Two kings essentially build the temple, Ramses II and Amenhotep III (the grand-father of Tutankhamun) with the boy king himself having commissioned features of the Luxor site, including the fourteen colossal columns. There is also a small worshiping space – a chapel dedicated to the goddess Mut – inside the enclosure.

Karnak Temple Entrance 1920 (Luxor)

The art style of the temple can be difficult to date for the average tourist, but the New Kingdom influences of the human figures are clear: smooth, slender figures, fluid movement and flowing clothing are some of this period’s typical characteristics, distinguishing itself from the older, more ‘rigid’ form of Egypt’s Old Kingdom. Finally, deep in the shrine and in the back of the temple are the clear markings of the Ptolemaic period, as they are ‘fuller figures with softer facial features and alternative fashion.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EGYPTIAN STREETS

Egypt’s Christians and Muslims Show Devotion to Virgin Mary

Christian tradition says that after Jesus was born, his parents fled with him to Egypt to escape death. Eventually they returned to their home in what was then known as the kingdom of Judea, and one of their last stops in Egypt was said to be at a cave in the Dronka mountains. Thousands of devotees of the Virgin Mary travel to the Virgin Mary Monastery near Assiut, Egypt every August to show their devotion to the holy family. Christian children are baptized and adults hope for blessings.
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Every August, tens of thousands of Egypt’s Coptic Christians and Muslims head to the Virgin Mary Monastery in Assiut to memorize the visit of the holy family to Egypt. Sunday, August 18, 2019.
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Egypt: Al-Azhar struggles to balance politics and tradition

Caught in the crossfire of ambitious geopolitical players, Al-Azhar struggles to chart a course that will guarantee it a measure of independence while retaining its position as the guardian of Islamic tradition. So far, Al-Azhar has been able to fend off attempts by Mr. Al-Sisi to assert control but has been less successful in curtailing the influence of Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that increasingly are pursuing separate agendas.

When Pope Francis I visited Egypt in 2017 to stimulate inter-faith dialogue he walked into a religious and geopolitical minefield at the heart of which was Al-Azhar, one of the world’s oldest and foremost seats of Islamic learning. The pope’s visit took on added significance with Al-Azhar standing accused of promoting the kind of ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Islam that potentially creates an environment conducive to breeding extremism.

The pope’s visit came as Al-Azhar, long a preserve of Egyptian government and ultra-conservative Saudi religious influence, had become a battleground for broader regional struggles to harness Islam in support of autocracy.

At the same time, Al-Azhar was struggling to compete with institutions of Islamic learning in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan as well at prestigious Western universities.

The battleground’s lay of the land has changed in recent years with the United Arab Emirates as a new entrant, a sharper Saudi focus on the kind of ultra-conservatism it seeks to promote, and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts since 2015 to impose control and force Al-Azhar to revise its allegedly conservative and antiquated curriculum that critics charge informs extremism.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGIOSCOPE 

Ramadan unites Christians and Muslims in Egypt

A group of Muslims and Christians have come together in Egypt to give their time to help the needy of society.

In the Cairo district of Masr El-Qadima, they are putting together Ramadan boxes, filled with basic food items and provisions, which have been donated by volunteers.

Volunteers preparing Ramadan boxes

For the past three years, landlord Atef William has been hosting the activities of an organization called “Helm Establ Antar”, meaning the dream of Establ Antar, the area where it takes place.

“We are all equals, we are Egyptians,” he says. “I was brought up not to differentiate between people on the basis of religion.”

Atef William

Much like Masr El-Qadima, the middle-class district of Shobra is considered to have a high level of social coexistence with friendly residents.

Gamil Banayouty is a Christian. He organises an iftar tent that has been set every Ramadan for the last 40 years. He works alongside elderly men who were teenagers when the activity first started.

Gamil Banayouty

“Our Ramadan table is called the National Unity Media, and it’s open to everyone – Muslims, Christians, we don’t differentiate,” he explains. “As for me, I’ve been attached to the month of Ramadan since the October War [1973 Arab–Israeli War]. I was an officer, and we were fighting during Ramadan, and I could not not fast with my soldiers. ”

Banayouty and his neighbours are very proud to have kept the iftar activity going for such a long time and they continue to reap the reward of the unity it brings between their community.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EURONEWS

Christians worldwide urged to sign letter thanking family of Muslim man who died saving churchgoers

134417_w_700Christians around the world are being urged to sign a letter to the loved ones of a Muslim police officer who sacrificed his life to save hundreds of churchgoers in Egypt.

Persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern published the letter online Wednesday, addressed to the family of Major Mustafa Abid, who was killed on duty on Jan. 5.

Abid, along with other officers, was responding to a bomb discovered on the roof of the Virgin Mary and Father Seifin Church in Nasr City, near Cairo, when it detonated and killed him, injuring three others.

The incident took place a day before the Coptic Christian Christmas Eve, and as International Christian Concern noted, fears are that hundreds of Christians, including children, would have been killed if the expositions had gone off as planned.

“By signing onto this letter, I wish to express my highest praise, deepest gratitude, and heartfelt sympathy for your injuries and loss incurred while following your conscience and your duty on Jan. 5, 2019. Your actions ensured that hundreds of Egyptian men, women, and children were not unjustly murdered during a deadly attack on the Virgin Mary and Father Seifin Church,” begins the letter which is also addressed to members of the bomb squad.

“I wish to thank the members of the bomb squad and various police officers who put themselves in danger for the sake of others. I pray for complete healing for all who were injured. I also join in mourning with the family of Major Mustafa Abid and express my heartfelt sorrow for your tragic loss,” it continues.

“The Bible says, ‘Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ I believe that Major Abid’s actions demonstrated that kind of love, and I honor him for it.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN POST 

Egyptian cartoon urges Muslims to extend Christmas greetings

A video made by the Egyptian Fatwa Institute and uploaded to YouTube earlier this month encourages Muslims to extend holiday greetings to Christians and to maintain friendly relations with those around them, regardless of their religion.

“Congratulating non-Muslims during their holidays is encouraged by Islam, and is in keeping with the noble manners introduced by the Prophet Muhammad,” the narrator says, in a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

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FULL ARTICLE FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL