Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forced Marriages in Egypt

Unlike other Arab nations, Egypt when became independent in 1936, chose to be a democratic republican secularist form of government. Hosni Mubarak who assumed power in 1981 strengthened the secular principles in the country and never looked like calling itself an Islamic state although in 1967 they combined with few Arab states to wage a war against Israel and lost the same.  90% of Egypt’s population is Muslims and the rest 10% is Coptic Christians. Off late, probably due to increasing influence of radical Islam, there have been incidents of discrimination against the Coptic Christians. Forced marriages are becoming widespread. Christian girls are forcefully married to Muslim men and subsequently forced to convert their faith. This is happening even when the government has been very tough on the radicals. Islamic radicals like Muslim Brotherhood were banned from participating in the last elections and various measures were taken to curb the influence of Al-Qaeda among the people. However, there are deliberate attempts to convert Egypt to 100% Islam and the first and easy step seem to be forceful marriages. Recently a news that hit the international media headlines has raised many an eyebrow. A Christian girl named Monica was forced to marry  a Muslim which she bluntly refused; subsequently she was abducted and raped by few men in a secluded place. The police too, is unfortunately heeding to the radicals as most of the complaints on forced marriages are being ignored.

Hosni Mubarak has been in power for the last 30 years and he’s been doing whatever he could to uphold the country’s secularist outlook and democracy, but, his long autocratic kind of Governance has sent sparks of resentment among the people and that, as most of the observers fear, could lead to the strengthening of radical Islam in Egypt. Strong influence of radical Islam has destroyed countries like Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan in an irreversible way and hence the educated and levelheaded in Egypt will be in the forefront in the thwarting the country being hijacked by narrow-minded radicals.

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