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Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity (Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order) di [Tadros, Samuel]
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Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity (Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order) Formato Kindle

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In Motherland Lost, Samuel Tadros provides a clear understanding of the Copts—the native Egyptian Christians—and their crisis of modernity in conjunction with the overall developments in Egypt as it faced its own struggles with modernity. He argues against the dominating narratives that have up to now shaped our understanding of the Coptic predicament--their eternal persecution, from the Roman and Byzantine emperors to the rule of Islam, and the National Unity discourse--asserting rather that it is due to the crisis of modernity.

Linking the Egyptian and Coptic stories, the book argues that the plight of Copts today is inseparable from the crisis of modernity and the answers developed to address that crisis by the Egyptian state and intellectuals, as well as by the Coptic Church and laypeople. The author asserts that the answers developed by Egyptian intellectuals and state modernizers to the challenge modernity poses revolved around the problem of Islam. The Copts, then, although affected, like their fellow Egyptians, by the challenge of modernity, were faced with a separate crisis: a specific challenge to their ancient church and the need for a new orientation and revival to be able to deal with modernity and its discontents. Tadros concludes that the prospects for Copts in Egypt appear bleak and are leading to a massive Coptic exodus from Egypt.

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  • Editore: Hoover Institution Press; 1 edizione (22 luglio 2013)
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  • Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: #508.018 a pagamento nel Kindle Store (Visualizza i Top 100 a pagamento nella categoria Kindle Store)
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13 di 13 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
HASH(0x9c78f864) su 5 stelle Persecuted in their homeland. 21 agosto 2013
Di SInohey - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
The recent events in Egypt have brought some attention to the Copts, a Christian Orthodox minority that comprises almost 10% to 15% of Egypt's population of around 90+ million.
The Copts are ethnic natives of Egypt, direct descendants of its ancient Pharaonic civilization. Their Christian roots originate since the dawn of Christianity; began when St. Mark the Evangelist, an Apostle of Jesus, preached the gospel and founded the Church of Alexandria in A.D. 42, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. The Coptic Church has been a distinct rite, since the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451; it has its own liturgy and Pope, based in Egypt but has a worldwide following.
"Motherland Lost" is essentially two sections. The first is an overview, but not a detailed history, of the Copts for the last two millennia. It lays out the treatment and persecution of the Copts at the hands of successive conquerors of Egypt; the Romans, the Christian Byzantines, and the Muslims their multiple iterations from the Umayyad, the Abbasid, the Mameluks, the Ottomans until the present day. The Umayyad and their successors imposed heavy taxes (Jizyah) and and treated them as inferior "dhimmis" or a vassal people. It was not until the relatively enlightened rule of Mohamed Ali and his grandson, the Khedive Ismail (who received a European education) that the Jizya tax was abolished in 1863 and Copts were included in the military, judicial and executive branches of the government with full citizenship and political rights.
The British invasion of Egypt in1882, ostensibly to protect the newly built Suez Canal and the lives and interests of European colonialists, did little to improve the lot of the Copts. The British government decreed that only Muslims be appointed to the highest positions and refused to allow equal access to education, the abolition of anti-discrimination laws in the public sector, Sundays off work and the representation of Copts in government; a major set-back for the Copts in their homeland by their co-religionists.
"Coptic history has been an endless story of decline and despair," Tadros writes, "but it has also been a story of survival."
The status quo did not much improve for the Copts even after the 1952 Revolution by a bloodless military coup of the Free Officers. There continued to be an unofficial, covert, and often overt discrimination against all Christians in the public sector, universities and major private Egyptian enterprises. Copts were not represented in significant leadership positions in proportion to their percentage of the population.
The situation for Copts has become much worse and exponentially more dangerous with the rising tide of Islamists and the ascendency of the "Ikhwan al Muslimun" (Muslim Brotherhood). Since the fall of President Mubarak in 2011, it has been an open season on Christians in Egypt (the worst since the 1321 massacres); a pogrom of mob attacks, mass murders in major cities and countryside, the wholesale burning, desacration and sacking of churches (over 50), and the looting of holy relics, that often go unpunished. These events have caused more than 100,000 Christian Copts to flee their country with many more to follow.
About 30 years ago there were 2 Coptic churches in the USA, today there are 202, and more are being planned to harbor the recent exodus.
The Copts, who normally preferred to remain in their homeland, are joining other minorities in their exodus from the Middle East; the Jewish diaspora from Iran and Arab countries, and the mass migration from of Christians from Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.

The second section, the core subject of the book (chapters 3 to 6) deals with the history of Egypt as a whole and its struggle with modernity, trying to overcome the rigidity of traditional dogmatic conservatism of Islam and open its society to liberal ideology and progressive practices. The simple importation of modern Western ideas, practices and technology could not fill the wide gap between the stagnant, sclerosed culture of Egypt and the ultra modern societies of the West. Many thinkers and intellectuals viewed Islam as the obstacle but the Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood saw it as the solution (Al Islam Hoowa Al Hal / Islam is the solution). Tadros explains how the struggle of the Copts to modernize is intertwined with that of their countrymen, in spite of been segregated from public leadership and rewards.

Sadly, the fall of the dictatorship of sequential military governments from Nasser to Mubarak did not bring any improvement in the fortune of the Copts. But on the contrary, the Islamist dictatorship of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood unleashed a reign of terror on all Christians; this became even more virulent after the fall of the Islamists, who found the Copts easy scapegoats and blamed them for their ouster from power.
The new Egyptian Constitution, written, edited, redacted and passed in 2012, by the Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist allies (after their so-called legitimate election) confirmed Islam as the state religion, as well as, the seclusion and second-class status of Egyptian Christian Copts; leaving the latter no other alternative but to emigrate to more hospitable lands.
Chapter seven is mainly about the Coptic modernization movements in Egypt and abroad. The internal clash within the Coptic Church, between traditionalists and reformists, was overtaken by young intellectual progressive revivalists who eventually succeeded in reshaping the Coptic identity. The "Sunday School" movement has been a catalyst for the coalescing of different streams of political and (Christian) religious philosophies into a Coptic national identity with its historical roots firmly planted in Ancient Egypt's civilization. The Coptic language evolved etymologically from ancient Egyptian speech. For their effort, the Copts, in Egypt and foreign countries (Akbat al Mahgar), have been depicted by the Islamists, as separatists, conspirators and even traitors.

The book concludes with the poignant "The bitterness of leaving. The peril of staying", a Hobson's choice; to abandon their homeland or remain steadfast in the face of unrelenting persecution? I believe Egypt will be the poorer if Copts abandon it.

Samuel Tadros has written a timely book that is a valuable source of information, pertinent to the turmoil and tribulations of contemporary Egypt. It should be required reading for politicians, policy wonks, foreign service operatives, newsmen, as well as anyone interested in the Middle East and the existential threat to Jews and Christians in that part of the world.
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
HASH(0x9c78f8b8) su 5 stelle Copts Are Important In Egypt 9 novembre 2013
Di James Ellsworth - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
I have an abiding interest in the earliest Christian communities, preferring the time before the Apostle Paul radically changed the message of Jesus of Nazareth. I had hoped this book would contain more material about early Coptic Christianity. It doesn't address that concern. The focus of this book seems to be on the Coptic community as an important 'player' over almost 2000 years of Egyptian history. What comes through most tellingly is that the Copts didn't just come from somewhere else to 'land' in Egypt: they are descendants of the very same ancient Egyptians who have always been on the ground. At some point, some Egyptians became Coptic Christians and others chose to follow Mohammed's revelation. The book shows that this history has also been one of cultural challenge and marginalization and persecution. Samuel Tadros argues that Egypt can not find a way forward in its modern composition unless it accepts and even welcomes Coptic participation. His is an argument well worth listening to.

For me, this book is only 'okay' because I was looking for more on the Coptic faith. Tadros work comes close to seeming like a 'lament' by a marginalized group. Of course, he appears to be right in all of the concerns he explores. What seems to be lacking is any strategy for Copts to press their claims in modern Egyptian culture.
3 di 4 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
HASH(0x9cad1b58) su 5 stelle History of the Coptic Church 27 settembre 2013
Di S. Cranow - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
Mother Land lost gives the reader a broad yet very through history of both Egypt
and that of the Coptic Christians who dwell there . The histories appear to be
seperate yet intertwine at certain points.

Coptic history has been filled with sacrifice and martyrdom . Owing to
oppression from first the Catholic Church and then later Islamic fundamentalism
, the Copts have faced a long upward struggle for equality .

Christianity was brought to the city of Alexandria by the apostle Mark. he
stayed with a craftman named Athanius. Athanius and his family would later
become devoted Christian and set up an institution of higher learning. All this
happened during a period of intense turmoil between the Persians and the Romans.

Even when things were settled the Copts did not have an easy time of it. The
Arian schism and the Nestorian schism placed the Coptic church at odds with the
Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantines. This would lead to discrimination and
persecution by the Catholics when they had control over Egypt.

The advent of Islam saw the Arab conquest of Egypt. Some would say that the
Copts welcomed the Arab and others would say that at best they were ambivalent .
Under Islamic rule the Copts were granted a second class status if the Dhimmi.
This arrangement forced them to pay a special tax and limited the jobs
available. They also required permission to build a new Church or renovate and
old one.

Under Arab rule the Coptic church fossilized . They held administrative and
bureaghcratic positions as they were needed to run things . But as time
progressed there were more Muslims to take those positions. The Copts began
losing jobs .

As their material position began to decline so to did their culture . Many
forget Coptic and the church began having their services in Arabic.

The Copts were taxed excessively. The taxes were used to pay for military
adventures and enrich someone else's coffers. This would impoverish the Coptic
community and many would convert to Islam to escape the heavy taxes.

This would continue under Maneluke rule and Ottoman rule. The practice of Simony
developed where in the pope would take money or bribes for promoting bishops and

Under Muhammad Ali, a Turkish governor , Egypt would taste military defeat by
the French who would occupy the country for a certain length of time.

some Copts were favored by the French but to embrace the French to openly was to
court disaster. After the defeat Muhammad Ali began building factories in order
to make modern weapons . His drive for modernization would continue under Abbas
his Grandson and successors. They would also send Egyptian students to Europe to
study Euripean war technology . Copts were almost never selected.

As history progressed Egypt would have to deal with it's Coptic issue . The
Islamist wound say that the Copts were treated well and were part and parcel if
the Egyptian people. The Copts would have a different view of events.

With British intervention and the insertion of missionaries the Copts would face
even further challenges. The British did not favor the Copts in fact foreign
powers over looked then sometimes in favor of Armenians and Syrian Christians.

Protestant missionaries would pose another challenge of pulling people away from
the church through their modern education . Pope Kyrillos the fourth, Demetruous
and Kyrillos the fifth would deal with the Protestants . They would upgrade
Coptic infrastructure and education .

Along the way the clergy and the secular organization. Called the Milli would
vie for control over Church assets. It was a battle that involved not only lay
people but sometimes Egyptian authorities .

Another movement that would revitalize the Coptic Church was the Sunday school
movement. This was a movement sort of started by Bishop Samuel. This brought
about a renewal and return to the roots and an accompanying explosion of Coptic
scholarship. It also brought in new resources to help infrastructure.

king Farouk tried to use an Islamic approach to unify Egypt. Upon his overthrow
Nasser would engage in Sicialism and pan Arab unity. This helped the clergy and
the pope . With Sadat who courted the Muslim Britherhood things would get worse
for the Copts. Pope Shenouda and the Copts were more assertive against this.
Sadat would banish Shenouda to a monastery. After Sadat's assassination by the
Muslim Brotherhood, Mubarak would ascend and he tried to work with the Copts.
Following his ouster the Copts found themselves at the mercy of the mob . The
Copts are leaving Egypt and only the impoverished remain . The Muslim
brotherhood does not want to kill them they just want them to know their place.
Or so they say.
HASH(0x9cae7060) su 5 stelle excellent analysis, relevant history, enjoyable read 7 giugno 2014
Di Coptic Joe - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
I had hard time putting this book down. The books gives an excellent insight on the status of the Copts today and how it came to be shaped that way. It also gives a great insight on the modern history of Egypt and it's implication on the Egypt of today. The book could not be more relevant to the struggles and prospects of our generation. Few things could have deserved more analysis. The coverage of the era of the Sunday school movement and 20th century pioneers of the coptic church was very interesting and insightful but could have been more details. Habib Girgis is identified as a key person, but we hear little about him and his views. Fr. Bishoy Kamel is mentioned briefly, while he may have had a huge impact in Alexandria worth discussing more. The impact of mission work was mentioned, to the authors credit; it may be too early to speak of it as history, but it is conceivable that the mission movement of past 20 years could end up be the natural heir to the sunday school movement of the 1900s shaping the future of the Coptic Church in next decades. Of course the book was written during the rule of the muslim brotherhood and ended on a very dark note. It would be interesting to see how the author would have ended the book if it was written a year later and what lesson from the past could be relevant to the Copts of today.
HASH(0x9cc14180) su 5 stelle Compelling and powerful 24 settembre 2013
Di Sarah L. - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
Beautifully written, masterful use of imagery in the writing which resulted in a detailed yet structured painting of the interwoven aspects of Coptic and Egyptian history. The author always gives the broader Egyptian context before he delves deeper into the Coptic reaction to the challenges of the times in question. While giving all the necessary information to allow the reader to understand the significance of events and the link between both the Egyptian and the Coptic story, he also succeeds in mentioning details and anecdotes that attest to thorough research and help to bring the people mentioned in the book closer to the reader's mind. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about Egypt and its ancient Coptic community from someone who truly understands the country and the impact its history had on the Coptic church.
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