by AMBER KELLY Photographer
Egypt has been experiencing political turmoil and violent protests over the last couple of years, beginning in January 2011 when protests spread against President Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak and his corrupt regime. Due to these protests, Mubarak left and went to Cairo, effectively resigning from his leadership role.
The people of Egypt were happy with this resignation, and with the absence of a leader, the military took control, getting rid of parliament and suspending the constitution of the time. On November 28, 2011, an election was held for president, and Mohamed Morsi was victorious in the election.
In 2012, some of the happiness from electing a new president wore off, especially after Prime Minister Hisham Qandil added four members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that has recently been deemed a terrorist group, to the cabinet.
Extremely large and violent protests broke out due to this event, with Morsi supporters on one side, and those who were against Morsi on the other. This was not only a political fight, but a religious one as tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians increased.
In the summer of 2013, President Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian military, and Judge Adly Mansour was made acting president of Egypt. On January 18, 2014, a new constitution was put in place, one that received a very high percentage of support from Egyptian citizens.
“It’s crazy how this all started. I remember just watching the news when it first started; the protests were horrible. People died because of these protests. Their government was so messed up and I don’t really know what they’re doing now. Hopefully they’ll be able to clean up Egypt, although I think the religious tensions are going to be harder to overcome than the political ones,” says senior Kendall Marini.
Tensions are still very high in Egypt. Recently, in the village of Dalga, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood forced Dalga villagers who are Coptic Christians to pay a jizya tax. A jizya tax is a payment that historically is money paid by non-Muslims to the Islamic leaders that control them. Families who cannot pay this tax have reportedly been attacked.
“This is appalling. I can’t believe they’re forcing Coptic Christians to pay money. The Muslims do not have control over them; the two religions should just be able to live peacefully together, but I guess that’s not going to happen. I feel bad for these families. They don’t deserve this treatment. Hopefully something can be done about this,” says senior Jennifer Park.
Churches have been burnt down and there have been instances of violent funeral interruptions when the Coptic Christians tried to bury their dead. Many have died in this religious fight, and many will continue to die if something is not done.
The persecution of Coptic Christians is a serious problem, and in response there have been military raids on Muslim Brotherhood camps. These raids have incited even more violence in this battle of religion.
Egypt has been in trouble for years, and whether or not the people can put their country back together is still up in the air.
What do you think about the problems in Egypt?