Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1143, 11 - 17 April 2013
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1143, 11 - 17 April 2013

Ahram Weekly

Clash at the Cathedral

Doaa El-Bey highlights the deadly sectarian turmoil in the country, and from Khartoum Gamal Nkrumah covers Sudan’s political impasse

Clash at the Cathedral
Clash at the Cathedral
Al-Ahram Weekly

Newspaper headlines reflected the tension following sectarian violence in Khosous, a town just north of Cairo, in which four Christians and a Muslim were killed. The death toll later rose to seven as the violence turned into an unprecedented mob attack on the main Cathedral of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church.

Al-Watan on Monday wrote ‘7 slaps directed at Morsi in one day’. The newspaper highlighted the mourners of Khosous funeral who chanted ‘People demand prosecution of the president’.

Al-Shorouk on Monday had ‘The General’, and the Al-Akhbar banner stated ‘Trains are paralysed and clashed around the Cathedral’.

Al-Youm Al-Sabei on Sunday described Khosous clashes as ‘The strife of blood and fire’. Al-Tahrir had ‘Sectarian strife ignited’, and Al-Gomhuriya wrote ‘Offensive drawings cause armed clashes between Muslims and Christians’.

In Al-Tahrir, Ibrahim Mansour pointed to what happened outside the Cathedral as a sign of the hooliganism of the regime.

Mansour described the violence of the Interior Ministry in clashing with the protesters as proof that the ministry under the present minister Mohamed Ibrahim has not changed and that they returned to seek revenge.

He pointed to the double standards in dealing with peaceful protests with tear gas and birdshot as police usually do in demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood. Meantime, the ministry considered the people who raided the Media Production City and stopped employees from entering as peaceful demonstrators and did not stop them.

Likewise, they regarded the groups that demonstrated in front of the house of the Iranian charge d’affaires as peaceful protests and left them to do whatever they like.

“The Interior Ministry returned to take revenge from the people who revolted against its oppressive practices under the previous corrupt regime. It is adopting the same practices for Morsi and the present regime this time.”

Mansour concluded his regular column by questioning where justice is under a prosecutor-general who was brought and immunised by Morsi. And when the court ruled that he should be sacked, Morsi and his group declined to implement the ruling.

Abdel-Fattah Abdel-Moneim wondered whether Egypt is in a state of labour or abortion. 

He wrote that both the rulers and the opposition see Egypt in labour. The opposition says the January Revolution was a revolution in the full sense of the word and that change is inevitably coming and that we would soon get rid of the Brotherhood as we got rid of Mubarak. But, Abdel-Moneim added, the opposition also believes the slogan of the revolution — bread, freedom and social justice — was aborted because post revolution Egyptians are poorer and have less freedom. President Morsi, for example, substituted Mubarak’s emergency law with the prosecutor-general being able to interrogate almost whoever he wants.

Meanwhile, the president said during his recent visit to Sudan that Egypt is “passing through a stage of labour after its glorious revolution”.

Abdel-Moneim said what happened in January 2011 was not a revolution. The MB and Salafist, Jihadi and terrorist currents made use of angry youth protests and their hatred of Mubarak to create havoc.

“The majority of Egypians now hate the MB more than they used to hate Mubarak’s regime in his final days because they were the only current that benefited from the January uprising,” Abdel-Moneim wrote in the independent daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei.

Abdel-Moneim concluded by stating “we need a glorious revolution like that of July 1952 in order to restore the greatness of Egypt.”

Nabil Zaki criticised the Shura Council’s decision to permit religious slogans in Egypt’s parliamentary election campaign. Religious slogans will be permitted in Egyptian election campaigns, according to an amendment made to the electoral law by the Shura Council.

“At a time when the enemies of the country are trying to incite ethnic and sectarian divisions — as is the case in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon — and at a time when we do not need more division to our national unity, the Shura Council decided to transform political and electoral battles into sectarian and religious clashes,” Zaki wrote in the official daily Al-Akhbar.

He described the decision as irresponsible and a way to use religion to gain parliamentary seats.

The law would allow using places of worship for election propaganda and to allow for slogans like ‘whoever votes for this or that person would go to heaven and whoever does not would go to hell.’

Competition in any election, Zaki concluded, should be based on the political, economic, social and cultural programmes of the candidates rather than on who is closer to God.

Hundreds of Egyptians rallied on Friday in Cairo in support of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, refusing criticism against him after a mass food poisoning incident among university students earlier this week.

Asmaa Al-Husseini wrote that Al-Tayeb received the support of all sectors of Egyptians who felt that there was premeditated intention to sack him after the mass poisoning incident. Politicians and religious powers accused the MB of trying to use the incident to sack Al-Tayeb and to take control of Al-Azhar. Some students demanded Al-Tayeb be held accountable for the food poisoning at a dormitory that left hundreds of students hospitalised.

“The recent events showed the sublime status that Al-Azhar grand imam enjoys in the hearts of all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, men and women, young and old because of the moderate Islamic thinking that he represents,” she wrote in the official daily Al-Ahram.

In an attempt to explain the current situation, Mahmoud Khalil wrote that any regime can be sacked if the people decide they do not want it and take to the streets. This is the moment when the revolution is in the making. That phase can take a short or long time until the revolution erupts. This is what happened with the Mubarak regime, Khalil wrote.

The making of the revolution against Mubarak started 24 years after he came to power, in 2005. However, it took less than six months for Egyptians to feel that there is no hope for a better future and to start preparing for a revolt against the present regime.

It seems, Khalil elaborated in Al-Watan, the move from the preparation stage to the actual revolution will not take more than a few weeks and the reason is that Morsi and his regime have managed to make Egyptians believe there is no hope whatsoever in a better future.

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