This bad. Here is the closing paragraph of this article, which gives the key to understanding it: “Dear reader, this article contains a deliberate error. Please exchange the word ‘Britain’ with ‘Egypt,’ the word ‘Muslim’ with ‘Copt,’ and the word ‘mosque’ with ‘church,’ and then read the article over to discover what it means to be a Copt in Egypt today. Then I hope you will call all the Copts you know and wish them a merry Christmas.”
“Egyptian Author Alaa Al-Aswany On Situation Of Copts In Egypt,” from MEMRI, April 2 (thanks to Jonah):
In an ironic article, Egyptian author Alaa Al-Aswany describes what it is to be “a Muslim in Britain,” metaphorically referring in fact to the state of the Copts in Egypt, who suffer from severe persecution and discrimination. The following are excerpts.…
“Being a Muslim in Britain means that many people do not like your religion or recognize it. When you utter your name that reveals your religion, you generally get a negative reaction, from coldness to overt hatred. Being a Muslim in Britain means being superfluous, marginal and suspicious. Only rarely will someone consider your rights or your dignity. It means that you must study and work during your religious festivals, because the state throws sand in our eyes and recognizes only one festival as an official holiday, whereas your other religious festivals are ordinary days as far as the state is concerned, and have no [special] significance. Recall how many times you had to attend an important class or a meeting at work during a [Muslim] holiday, and how many times your children’s holiday fun was ruined by having to take a test on that day.
“Being a Muslim in Britain means putting every effort into your studies knowing that, in all likelihood, you will not get a diploma, even if you deserve one. During oral exams at the university, when the examiner reads out your Muslim name, he will scowl and give you a lower grade than your fellow students. Even if you get the highest grades [in the class], the administration will refuse to appoint you as a teaching assistant, because you are a Muslim. Those blocking your appointment will generally be religious folk observing the commandments of their faith, [people] who consider you an infidel not worthy of enjoying the rights they enjoy.
“Being a Muslim in Britain means being ready to emigrate at a moment’s notice. [It means] choosing the names of your children and their schooling based on the country to which you will have to emigrate should you be targeted by extremists. It means never attaining a high position in your country, no matter what your qualifications. You can never be president or prime minister, an army commander or a member of the security forces… [for], in the eyes of the state, you are a traitor who may form ties with the enemies that share your religion.
“Being a Muslim in Britain means going through hell [if you want] to build a mosque in which to worship. In many cases, the state and the extremists will prevent you from building one, for the laws of the state impose limitations that can turn the construction of a mosque into a difficult task. [In fact, these laws even] limit you in renovating or refurbishing any part of the mosque, even the water [pipes], unless you obtain several permits from the authorities. The extremists in Britain view the building of any mosque as a brutal attack on their faith and honor. The minute you start building [one], hundreds of extremists will appear and attack it and burn it, and [also] attack you, your family and your children, [while] cursing you for being infidels. All this, just because you want to build a house in which to worship Allah. The cops will let them do as they like, and will arrive on the scene to write a report only later, after the criminals have left.
“Being a Muslim in Britain means living in danger of being driven from your neighborhood at any moment. All it takes is for the extremists to send you some death threats giving you one or two days to leave. [Then] you will have to take your family and children and move someplace far away. If you ask the cops for help, they will say: ‘We advise you to leave for a while, because, to be honest, we cannot protect you.’
“Being a Muslim in Britain means living in constant danger of massacre. If you demonstrate in demand of your rights, the security forces will run you over with their armored vehicles. If you leave the mosque with your fellow [Muslims] on a holiday, extremists will surround you and kill you. If some trader quarrels with a Muslim customer from your neighborhood, the quarrel will quickly escalate from a business dispute into a religious war. Then the extremists will attack the homes of the Muslims, burn them and kill [those inside]. The police will arrive too late, as usual. They will apprehend some of the attackers, but, no matter how many Muslim are killed, the murderers will get off with light sentences, or be acquitted.
“Being a Muslim in Britain means that, if you happen to live in a poor neighborhood, all it takes is for a neighbor to stand under your window and shout ‘this infidel curses our religion on Facebook.’ Your extremist neighbors will take this as a signal to attack, and will surround your house and hurt you and your family while crying out religious slogans. This will happen even if you never did curse their religion on Facebook, and even if many of your attackers have no idea what Facebook is. After every attack, state officials will come forth to say some pretty words over the blood of the victims…
There is much more. Read it all.