By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

15 May 2011

Copts protest at US embassy, analysts say no to foreign intervention

FT105.jpgCAIRO: Around 30 Coptic protesters congregated at the US embassy Sunday, demanding the prosecution of those responsible for clashes in Imbaba the previous night, which left at least 12 dead.

Political analysts, however, said this is an issue that should be solved without foreign intervention.
"If the army and the police won't listen to our demands then maybe the United States will," Peter Mosaad, a medical student in Ain Shams University, shouted.
"The United States will give us back our rights," high school student Fady Mohsen told Daily News Egypt.
"The United States plays an important role in human rights," Atteyya Yousef, and accountant, said. "If the police and the army won't listen to us, we have to resort to them."
Protesters denied that they spent the night at the US embassy, saying they gathered Sunday morning, and also refuted reports that Copts fired live ammunition on Muslims during the clashes.
"We do not beat anyone, this is our weapon," protesters said referring to the cross.
Clashes erupted late Saturday in Imbaba after a rumor that a Christian woman who converted to Islam was being held inside Marimina Church, Bishop Thiiodcios of Giza said.
The fatal confrontation between Muslims and Christians left more than 230 injured and one church ablaze.
Protesters at the US embassy accused the army of being complicit in the attacks and not defending Copts.
"Salafis were slaughtering us while the army stood by and watched," Ibrahim Abdel Malek, 23, said.
Bishop Thiiodcios accused "hidden hands" of igniting the Imbaba clashes and causing sectarian strife.
"Egyptians don't approve of turning their white revolution into these current attacks on mosques and churches," Thiiodcios told DNE.
Arguments erupted between Coptic demonstrators and Muslim passersby attempting to calm protesters down.
"The Salafis are crazy and stupid and they are vandalizing our country," Hisham Ismail, a health ministry employee, told DNE.
Abdel-Moniem El-Shahhat, spokesperson for some Salafi groups, denied the involvement of any Salafis in the violence, saying they went out to protect the church. He said it was the residents of the neighborhood that initially protested outside the church.
“If the government applied the law justly, nothing like this would happen,” he said, referring to what he described as inaction to alleged kidnapping of women by the church and possession of unlicensed weapons.
He claimed that the interior minister had said shooting started from the direction of the church. While this official statement couldn’t be verified, El-Shahhat said that no Salafis were arrested. This too couldn’t be independently verified by press time.
Political powers condemned the US embassy protest, saying that Egypt's domestic issues should be solved without foreign intervention.
"The United Stated supported the former corrupt regime and supports the Arab regimes now against the people's revolutions," Karima Al-Hifnawy, member of the National Association for Change and the Kefaya movement, told DNE.
Rashad Bayoumi, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said, "America wants us to remain weak so it can force us to follow its agenda in the region like it did with the former regime."
Some attributed the violence to remnants of the former corrupt regime as well as the lack of security following the January 25 Revolution.
"Remnants of the former corrupt regime used the security vacuum to mobilize thugs, spread rumors and create chaos," Bayoumi said, because they want people to believe that the revolution caused chaos and sectarian strife.
Bayoumi called on people to ignore harmful rumors and focus on working toward the goals of the revolution.
"Members of the former regime remain in the local councils and remain as governors, which gives them the opportunity to ignite sectarian clashes," Al-Hifnawy said.
Political analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah from Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies disagreed, saying that Egypt has long suffered from sectarian tension.
However, he did say that members of the former regime may have assisted in igniting sectarian clashes, but that Salafis were the main reason the clashes took place.
Abdel Fattah said the Imbaba clashes highlighted the power Salafis have gained after president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11.
It also augmented the fear of Salafis having any political authority in Egypt.
Al-Hifnawy accused Salafis of exploiting the revolution to achieve their agenda, although they did not play a part in toppling the former regime.
Egypt is being portrayed as an unsafe environment, Abdel Fattah said, which will further affect the economy and tourism.
Former MP and prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed El-Beltagi,
said the army needs to use an iron fist with thugs. Political powers need to raise people's awareness in order to solve Egypt's sectarian issues, he added.
Al-Hifnawy, agreed saying that the police forces need to spread in the streets of Egypt and protect its people.
"The interior minister and the army are the ones responsible for the lack of security and safety the people are suffering from, which led to the Imbaba clashes," Al-Hifnawy said. –Additional reporting by Essam Fadl and Tamim Elyan.

01:58 Posted in Egypt | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

The comments are closed.