Egyptian novelist and scholar Youssef Ziedan, a Muslim, has angered the Egyptian Coptic Church with his best-selling novel Azazeel, the story of a 5th-century Egyptian-born monk who witnesses early Christian disputes. "The Egyptian Coptic Church imagined for years that the centuries that preceded the arrival of Islam (in 640 AD) are a history private to the Coptic Church, and I cannot accept that, and I see no meaning or logic to it," he said. Sure, any Muslim should study all part of his country's history; it is not strange that Zeidan has an interest in pre-Islamic history.
In his novel the monk Hypa watches a Christian mob lynch the pagan Greek scholar Hypatia in Alexandria in 415 AD. He later plays a minor part in the conflict between St Cyril of Alexandria and the Syrian-born theologian Nestorius over whether the Virgin Mary gave birth to God or to Christ.The modern Coptic Church, followed by up to 10 percent of Egyptians, counts St Cyril one of its most illustrious fathers, and is extremely displeased by the violent character Zeidan ascribed to St Cyril.
Zeidan, who calls himself a religious liberal, said he did not deny the importance of St Cyril in Christian history, 'but he was violent and his thinking was violent. Now the fathers of the contemporary church say he was innocent of the blood of Hypatia. Okay, but look at his language in the Letter of Anathema with which he replied to Nestorius," he said.
He defended his interest in Christian theology on the grounds that it is part of a shared heritage."I believe that this heritage is connected. I will not understand the Islamic heritage unless I go back to the Christian period," he said. "So in this respect I should not be counted as Christian or Muslim, but as someone who thinks and tries to interpret the reality he is in."
Sure. Mr Zeidan, we now wait for your book in which you as a liberal Muslim describe that your prophet Muhammad was a violent man. Ah.... no, you do this to the history of the Church. You are clever enough to not do this to Islamic history. You would be unemployed and spit out. Cheap. Very cheap.