recent issue of swine flu in Egypt reflected a state of sectarian ’congestion’ between the Muslims and the Copts. After the
governmental decisions regarding the slaughter of pigs, expatriate Coptic activists launched a campaign on the internet
asking the church to exert pressure on the government to pay compensation of up to two billion Egyptian pounds to those
negatively affected. Moreover, the activists launched a severe attack against the government, Muslims and the Muslim
Brotherhood considering such procedures to be mainly targeting oppressed poor Christians.
Consequently, Prof. Dr.
‘Ammār ‘Alī Hasan emphasized that the issue of swine flu is a universal issue rather than an
Egyptian one; it is a universal epidemic spreading all over the world and killing humans. As a result, it can not be
interpreted in any way as a case of sectarian or religious rift as claimed by some people, this for several reasons. Firstly,
it is not only Christians who keep pigs but Muslims as well, who sell them to make money. Secondly, the situation of these
pig keepers is neither healthy nor legal because the pig farms exist among houses. Thirdly, a large number of Christians do
not eat pork and, hence, large quantities of this meat are being exported or directed to hotels.
Diyā’ Rashwān stresses that it is purely a case of a spreading epidemic in the first place and, as a result, should
not be ascribed to religious reasons by either Muslims or Christians. Jamāl As‘ad elaborates that some groups
of people usually exaggerate when portraying or displaying problems and tend to explain them in a sectarian way.