In an article published today February 15, 2011 in the New York Times entitled “Few Focus on Religion in One Cairo Neighborhood” the settlement is that there are more pressing economical, political and, social needs that will do more for helping the people of Egypt than that of any religious structure. I have highlighted below some of the comments from the Egyptians living in an area called Imbabah located north of Cairo along the Nile River.
I am not, in this small observation, wanting to discuss the rights or wrongs of the religious regimes and political parties that have been in power in this area. However, after reading this article it left me with questions and concerns about the view that is projected on religion. The following…
“Bread, social justice and freedom,” the 21-year-old college graduate said. “What’s religious about that?”
“The last thing youth are thinking about is religion,” said Mr. Mitwalli, who hides his cigarettes from a family where all the women wear the most conservative veil. “It’s the last thing that comes up. They need money, they need to get married, a car, and they don’t have anything to do with anything else. They’ll elect whoever can deliver that.”
It remains an oddity of the long struggle between the government and the Muslim Brotherhood that both an aging opposition and a corrupt state spoke the same language of moral conservatism. It has left Egypt more ostensibly religious over the years. Measured by sentiments here, it may have also provoked a backlash among youth recoiling at the prospect of yet more rules promised by an even more stringent application of Islamic law.
“In my view?” asked Osama Hassan, a high school student who joined the protests in their climactic days. “We need more freedom not less. The whole system has to change.”
Freedom, in the sense of no rules or a position of autonomy, (I am sure not partial to Egypt’s current dilemma but wherever the people feel their individual rights or popular sovereignty are denied them) takes a natural precedence and becomes common theme. A certain “begging of the question” still remains, do religious rules bring a negation of freedom?
I find the media and other entities infringing on a hasty
generalization fallacy here. This generalization places a stigma on all religions, as if their goal is the suppression and censorship of a nation by compulsion of a moral framework expressed through a dogmatic intolerance. This is a semantic error, as freedom should not be defined as an autonomous position, doing what one pleases. Rules provide a structure of conduct that allows people to freely participate in that nation. Rules are, in fact, freeing because they are a judiciary of people’s individual rights (life, liberty and property) therefore rules represent unity of civility and contradict coercion.
Revolting sentiments toward religion are understandable when “rules” are synonymous with oppression; but what if the responsibility of a religion where the individual rights, social and cultural civility and an objective of unity for people? Unfortunately, “moral coercion” even happens inside a religion and always because of a misplacement of responsibility.
This institution, religion, when understood properly and initiated correctly provides the kind of ruled platform that allows “bread, social justice and freedom” to become a possibility. For media or any other entities to ghettoize religion and its pure responsibility, withholds any possibility of renewal for Egypt and any other revolting country.