Borio: Milk’s Favorite Cookie

Borio: Milk’s Favorite Cookie

Life can sometimes be much less expensive in Cairo than in other cities of the world, and what better test can demonstrate this than the Oreo cookie? Or rather, the Borio. I am not sure about any of the legalities in this locally produced knockoff of the popular Nabisco product, but it is ubiquitous in … Continue reading

Islam Greets Christianity in Oman

Islam Greets Christianity in Oman

Imagine David Cameron in Norfolk, about to speak on ‘British values’. He then invites forward a Muslim Brotherhood leader, and asks him to explain Islam. And in the Zippo’s Circus-like atmosphere, the audience leaves pleased. Transfer the scene to the Sultanate of Oman, and witness an American Christian pastor make clear the gospel in the … Continue reading

The Very Definition of Secular

The Very Definition of Secular

Do you remember what the Egyptian revolution was like? In an op-ed on Ahram Online, Hani Shukrallah gives these poignant paragraphs in a long essay considering if Egypt is now less ‘Islamic’. For background context, he considers the recent call to remove the veil, the emergence of television programs questioning traditional Islamic interpretation, and the … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Tribe

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Tribe

God, Solidarity of group is good. But there are many groups in the world. Who stands with whom? Give wisdom to the Tarabin of Sinai, who pledge to support the government in the fight against ISIS. Give wisdom to the government, to know if and how to accept. Give wisdom to the other tribes, to … Continue reading

Reporting on Kerdasa

Reporting on Kerdasa

Here is a recent report from Reuters, showing the difficulty in covering Egypt well. Kudos for going there, but we can only trust the journalist for his/her impressions. The pronoun is not specified, as he/she requested anonymity. The fear, likely, is of covering anti-regime sentiment. The question is if he/she covered it well. The brief … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Police Blotter

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Police Blotter

God, The police usually do not belong in the papers. The criminal should take the headlines, with the officer behind the scenes. In Egypt, sadly, this has not been true. The pendulum, hopefully, might yet reach balance. Police abuse and corruption was a prime catalyst of the revolution. Demonized, the papers scrutinized every fault. Later, … Continue reading

2500 Year Old Egyptian Scandal, Finally Revealed

2500 Year Old Egyptian Scandal, Finally Revealed

‘Be sure your sins will find you out,’ says the ancient wisdom. Perhaps this is the longest application on record. But it is still incomplete, as the culprit remains hidden by the obscurity of history. Surely he is mentioned in the hieroglyphic records somewhere, but as the all-thumbs sloppy apprentice to the famed embalmer of … Continue reading

The Peacemaking Palestinian Evangelicals of Israel

The Peacemaking Palestinian Evangelicals of Israel

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concludes cantankerous negotiations to finalise his right-wing cabinet, Palestinian-Israeli evangelicals are hoping for something better. Alienated by campaign rhetoric stigmatising Arab citizens as an electoral threat, they turned in response to the source they know best: the Gospel. In doing so, they seek to reverse a disturbing trend of isolation … Continue reading

There is no ‘Nation of the Cross’

There is no ‘Nation of the Cross’

‘To the nation of the cross, we are back again.’ So boasted the black-clad narrator of the latest ISIS video, this time chronicling their slaughter of 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya. Two months earlier, the victims were Coptic Christians, whose beheadings came entitled: A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross. … Continue reading

A Christian Taliban

A Christian Taliban

In case anyone needed reminding, the use of religion to further militant political goals is not exclusive to Islam. The Intercept reports from Ukraine, where middle aged Dmytro Korchynsky has formed a private battalion, the Jesus Christ Hundred, dedicated to St. Mary, to fight the Russians. In the 1990s he fought alongside Muslims in the … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Brotherhood Twisting

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Brotherhood Twisting

God, Former president Morsi received his first prison sentence this week: Twenty years for inciting violence against protestors while in office. Afterwards his supporters took to protesting, but far fewer than once before. Even so, again, there was violence. But by the end of the week the Brotherhood abroad reconstituted itself. And the first public … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Books, Hijabs

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Books, Hijabs

God, Too much should not be made of these markers, but they may reveal a mindset of some. Long on the defensive, Egypt’s non-Islamists feel empowered. Among the results are a book burning at a school, seized from the Brotherhood. And a call for women to remove their head coverings, at a summer rally in … Continue reading

Egypt Exports Interfaith ‘Bridge’

Egypt Exports Interfaith ‘Bridge’

IN IRAQ, ISIS zealots smash centuries-old artifacts and blow up churches. In Yemen, Shia militias plough through cities as Sunni neighbour Saudi Arabia rains down missiles. Egypt is not without its own religious tension, but a timely interfaith art exhibition in Cairo intersects with perhaps the only potentially good news coming out of the region. … Continue reading

Photos: Easter Greetings at the Coptic Cathedral

Photos: Easter Greetings at the Coptic Cathedral

The following pictures show a lot of handshakes, but the message should not be lost in the repetition. Government officials, most of them Muslim, congratulate Copts for their holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Similar pictures could be seen on Christmas, but Easter is a far bigger deal. In Egypt, Christmas is an official holiday, … Continue reading

Crucifixion and Liberation in Cairo

Crucifixion and Liberation in Cairo

Last summer the body of Hisham Rizk turned up in a Cairo morgue. The 19 year old graffiti activist had been missing for a week, and the official autopsy labeled him as having drowned in the Nile River. No further information was given on the English language Ahram Online. But withholding comment only fuels speculation … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Declaring Reform

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Declaring Reform

God, The public statements coming out of Egypt are positive. Help the public reform to follow. You know what is needed, God, but officials surely have an idea as well. The housing minister announced efforts to eliminate slums within a year. The interior minister called on citizens to report police abuse. And following visits by … Continue reading

Where Tolerance is at Home

Where Tolerance is at Home

A scant eighty feet from St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church in Port Said, two small bombs exploded last month. Despite the second detonation being delayed until after a crowd had gathered and police were summoned, no one was killed. Even so, it is one more mark of an insurgency aiming to destabilize Egypt. ‘It is … Continue reading