18. Tuesday Press Review: Egyptian Opinion Wrapup

Article summary: 

While some of the weekly Egyptian publications continue to offer extensive opinion pieces about the Alexandria church attack, instances of such opinions decreased noticeably in the daily papers...

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Wafā’ al-Shīshīnī, Deputy Chief Editor of 'Ākhir Sā'ah, writes an article entitled “Alexandria's victims...Egyptian brothers: Get United.” Similarly, Midhat Bishāy wonders in his article how to extinguish fitnah flames after Alexandria’s attack.


In al-Qāhirah, an authorless opinion article suggests potential causes of fitnah: inflammatory religious speeches, difficulty in acquiring licenses to build churches, and literature that critiques religious doctrines. The editorial claims that sectarian tension is powered by a a strong religious stream that goes without proper guidance. The main reason that led to the most recent incident in Alexandria is the absence of a regime that regulates the licenses of building and reconstructing churches, according to the article.


Mahdī Bunduq wonders if it is time to amend the second article in the Egyptian Constitution, which states that Sharī’ah is the principal source of legislation. Meanwhile, ‘Imād Tūmās writes a review of Laylá Taklā’s book, which talks about similarities between Islam and Christianity, as well as the alleged ignorance of other doctrines.


Al-Yawm al-Sābi‘ had a large series of reports dealing with the attack:


Muhammad al-Dusūqī Rushdī identifies several potential causes for tension, while another article argues that sectarian tensions would decrease if more people knew what the Qur’ān says about Jesus.


Akram al-Qassās writes claims that there is a secret war between Copts and the security apparatuses. Al-Qassās claims that the church essentially became a political institution after Christians began turning to Pope Shenouda when they felt that government ministries weren't concerned with their affairs. Al-Qassās also claims that ostracizing citizens from the political process will only push people to become bigots. He also blames the state of nepotism, which he says makes it difficult for the majority of Egyptians to gain employment without having a connection.


On a related note, ‘Ādil al-Sanhūrī suggests that poverty in Egypt helps cause sectarian battles, noting that fitnah incidents frequently occur in the poorer Egyptian governorates.


Jamāl Girgis, Mīrīt ‘Ibrahīm, and ‘Ingī Majdī wrote that after the Alexandria attack, Christian families began attempts at immigrating to America, Australia, and Canada. According to the report, the American Embassy does not have exact figures of how many people applied for immigration.


Although the Egyptian government denies that foreign hands were involved in the attack in Alexandria, ‘Abd al-Fattāh ‘Abd al-Mun‘im suggests that the majority of al-Qā’idah’s leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan are, in fact, Egyptians.


Rīm ‘Abd al-Hamīd writes that the foreign press is contributing to sectarian tension, while Wa’īl al-Samarī thinks that many Copts aren't helping the situation. However, another article in Al-Yawm al-Sābi‘ suggested that the existence of a mosque in front of every church may have also been the reason. 


Sa’īd al-Shahāt comments on what she says as common perceptions between the two groups: "Muslims think that Copts are wealthy, bigoted, stingy, and that their churches are filled with gold and that they are working to Christianize Egypt. While Copts think that Muslims are trying to humiliate them, make them poor, and deprive them of their jobs."


Jamāl al-‘Āsī wonders why many people were trying to vindicate Islam after the attack, as if it were a suspect in the first place. He remarks on the selfishness of some Copts, who instead of looking for solutions for fitnah, demanded retribution for the attack.


Muntasir al-Zayāt claims that the real problem is between the church and the country not, not between Christians and Muslims.


In al-Sharq al-Awsat, ‘Imīl ‘Amīn appeals to the etymological origins of the word "Copt," arguing that it not only has a Christian meaning, but also an Egyptian one.


In his piece in Rose al-Yūsuf, Muhammad Hamdī criticizes a Coptic activist in the U.S. who says that Coptic protests have turned into a revolution. Furthermore, he also speaks out against a declaration by Coptic activist Maurice Sādiq, who proposes that Egyptian Copts govern themselves, forming an independent Coptic Christian state.


Mahmūd al-Tuhāmī agrees with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who says that Islam has nothing to do with “insane killers” of Christians, Jews, Sunnī, or Shī’ah. However, he criticizes Sarkozy's allegation that  other statement that Egyptians Christians are suffering from attampts of religious cleansing.

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