The Point Magazine interviews ACM’s Monica Mikhail

monica

Monica Mikhail, from the Australian Coptic Movement Association

In a Q & A with The Point Magazine’s Tasnuva Bindi, two young Egyptian Australians discuss the local impact of the ongoing conflict in Egypt.

In the most recent outbreak of violence, Egypt was plunged into a political crisis after the military took control of the country. At times parts of the country have resembled a war zone, with hundreds of people killed or injured in clashes and churches burned to the ground.

Sydney lawyer Monica Mikhail, 29, from the Australian Coptic Movement Association, says that Egypt has a strong history and strength of identity, whose people are resilient and fighting for a real chance at democracy.

She believes those who intimidate Egypt’s Christian minority should be condemned in the strongest of terms – by both Muslims and Christians.

“Those who value the rights we enjoy here in Australia should stand by Egyptians who are fighting for the same thing. This should be an opportunity to unite us, not divide us.”

‘In some ways, the current events in Egypt have been a catalyst in bringing the Egyptian people closer together in Australia. Christian and Muslim youth have reached out to each other, to stand against the recent waves of terrorism in Egypt.’

– Monica Mikhail, Australian Coptic Movement Association

Q: What impact is the ongoing unrest in Egypt having on the local Australian community?

A: The current situation in Egypt has polarised the Egyptian Community in Australia. In Egypt we saw an estimated 33 million Egyptians, both Muslim and Christian, take to the streets, calling for an end to the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime led by President Morsi.

I believe the majority of Australian Egyptians support the Egyptian people’s overwhelming calls for a true democracy and civil state in Egypt, echoing their demands for ‘Bread, Freedom and Justice’.

However, I understand that there are some Egyptian Australians who strongly oppose the ousting of former President Morsi and wish to see him re-instated as President.

This inevitably, has caused some division between Australian Egyptians.

Q: What are Egyptian Australians doing to support family, friends and others in Egypt?

A: As a representative of the Australian Coptic Movement Association (ACM), we have collected donations to assist Coptic Christian communities who have had their homes, businesses, churches and orphanages burnt down by pro-Morsi protestors. Other reputable organisations such as COPTS and Coptic Orphans have also initiated relief fund appeals.

We have also participated in prayer vigils, organised by the Coptic Church, praying for peace and stability in Egypt, and for the safety of all Egyptians.

Just recently, on 24 August 2013, the ACM in conjunction with 13 other Egyptian Australian organisations (both Christian and Muslim) led a peaceful march in the streets of Sydney in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Egypt. The march also condemned the burning of over 100 churches, ancient monasteries, schools and Coptic-owned properties, the killing of dozens of policemen and the damage to public hospitals, buildings and ancient Egyptian museums, where over 1000 ancient Egyptian artefacts have been looted and/or destroyed.

Q: How is the younger generation reaching out to other Egyptian Australians from different religious backgrounds?

A: In some ways, the current events in Egypt have been a catalyst in bringing the Egyptian people closer together in Australia. Christian and Muslim youth have reached out to each other, to stand against the recent waves of terrorism in Egypt. This reflects the solidarity shown by our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters in Egypt, where for example Christians and Muslims have stood side-by-side, creating human shields to protect Churches from being burned by pro-Muslim Brotherhood mobs.

Recent marches around Australia have also seen Christians and Muslims unite, marching for true democracy in their beloved Egypt and for the preservation of its true identity.

click below to read the Q & A with Adel Helal from the Islamic Egyptian Society of NSW.

http://www.thepointmagazine.com.au/post.php?s=2013-09-20-the-only-side-we-have-taken-is-to-support-humanity

 

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