Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian-American writer Magdi Khalil, which aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV on May 22, 2011:
Interviewer: Last week, a conference was held, titled: "Egypt after the January 25 Revolution." It was attended by a very large group of Egyptians from abroad, including Copts.
Magdi Khalil: As far as I am concerned, this conference was of no importance. It did not contribute anything new. I don't know what they were talking about. Those who presided over it have no credibility – including Mr. Hani Aziz. If the government is serious about this, it must find genuine channels through which to deal with the Coptic issue, and to conduct dialogue with the real mainstream Coptic leaders, both in Egypt and abroad. The old methods of conducting a façade of a conference will not resolve the problems. In my view, this was merely for the sake of appearances, with no…
Interviewer: In the past, we would say that such conferences were organized by the security agencies. Who is organizing them now?
Magdi Khalil: The security agencies.
Interviewer: To this day?
Magdi Khalil: Yes. There are many security agencies. In Mubarak's regime, several large security agencies ruled Egypt – not just one. The people got rid of the state security agency, but they do not realize that many security and intelligence agencies are ruling Egypt.
Mu'in Mukhtar, member of the Alliance of Egyptian Americans: We must not forget that Israel has a significant interest in sectarian strife that will gnaw at Egypt, and that before the retirement of the Mossad director, he boasted that he had managed to generate sectarian strife in Egypt.
Magdi Khalil: Egypt cannot be partitioned. Egypt has been a pivotal country for thousands of years. No respectable Copt in the word would call for the partitioning of Egypt.
The only thing the Copts are demanding is full civil rights…
Interviewer: I believe that this is the demand of all Egyptians, whether Muslim or Copt…
Magdi Khalil: I have reservations about what my colleague said. There were many mistakes in what he said. I have met Amos Yadlin [former head of Israeli military intelligence], whom he was talking about. Dr. Hassan Nafea wrote fabricated things that were attributed to Yadlin. Is it conceivable that nay intelligence officer would admit that they had infiltrated a certain country?
Interviewer: We see the reality on the ground. Some clandestine elements are trying to instigate sectarian strife.
Magdi Khalil: Saudi Arabia is trying to do this, not Israel.
Interviewer: Is it conceivable that Saudi Arabia would want to instigate strife in Egypt, and Israel wouldn't?
Magdi Khalil: Yes, while Israeli interest is to have peace, the Saudi interest is to stop the Arab revolutions. Who finances the Salafis – Israel or Saudi Arabia?
We want a true civil state. Who wants to prevent this? The Gulf states.
There have been at least 60 attacks against Copts since the January 25 Revolution. Has any of the attackers been place on trial? Have we seen any fair investigation?
Interviewer: In other words, you truly believe that Copts are persecuted in Egypt?
Magdi Khalil: Yes, by any possible definition. I have examined more than twenty international definitions of persecution, and they all apply in the case of the Copts.