38. The culture of social convergence and that of sectarian enmity

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In this article Fawzī calls for putting an end to the current state of isolation and passivity and starting a new phase of positive participation and interaction between all citizens regardless of their religion. This, according to him, is the best solution for facing any social, economic or religious problems that prevail in society.

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Sāmih Fawzī starts his article by saying that he was invited to attend a workshop about the role of religious scholars in supporting the project concerned with the right of being registered. The project has been launched by the Ministry of Housing and is implemented with the help of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Public Health it seeks to support families, especially poor ones, to maintain a copy of their official papers such as birth certificates and national ID cards. A large number of dā‘iyahs working in the Ministry of Religious Endowments and an equal number of priests from the Coptic Church participated in the workshop.
Fawzī says that he thought that participants might have been somewhat reserved especially as most of them come from Upper Egypt which is full of incidents of sectarian tension among Copts and Muslims. However, he emphasizes that in contrast to all his expectations there was a state of stability and the participants engaged in friendly talks all through the discussions. They agreed about the issues raised regarding poverty, marginalization, and giving individuals the chance to become part of their society socially, economically and morally.
Fawzī, afterwards, sheds light on a question raised by one of the participants "why do these meetings not take place regularly?" The state of sectarian tension and aggression in society, according to him, is due to the lack of interaction between citizens at the different levels socially, economically, politically, and humanly. To avoid all of these, it is very important that there should be a state of trust, interaction and understanding between citizens every now and then regardless of their religion so as to be capable of solving the different problems facing them be them either social or economic ones such as unemployment, illness, poverty, or marginalization.
Finally, Fawzī stresses that the problem is not only how to face the problems, but also how to revive the culture of convergence and unity to be able to face the culture of sectarian enmity and divergence. Extremism, aggression, sectarian fitnah can only be faced by getting away from the state of isolation toward a new state of interaction and positive participation.

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