Politics & Society
March Mon 14, 2011
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Post-Mubarak Egypt is experiencing a time of great expectations, but also of great confusion, as shown by the recent clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians that caused 13 deaths and many dozens of injured, according to official sources.
The incidents erupted in the district of Moqattam, one of Cairo's poorest and with a large Christian majority, after the burning of a Christian church in Atfih, a small town about fifty kilometers from Cairo, last week. For days, Coptic Christians have occupied a plaza in front of the radio and television offices, making public demonstrations and calling for the immediate reconstruction of the church. A cause for the clashes seems to have also been the blockade of a major thoroughfare by the Copts which aroused the fierce anger of motorists. So much so that, as reported by the news agency France Press, a Muslim was killed while trying to protect Christians.
But then who is behind these outbursts of violence? Why did the Muslim who was killed want to defend the Christians? For Wael Farouq, the hypothesis is very clear: it is the infiltrators loyal to the deposed President Mubarak who seek to precipitate a civil war in Egypt. This hypothesis was confirmed in the statements of a Coptic Christian website which revealed that an informant of the State Security Services had incited the people of Atfih to burn the church. The same statement was made by the Muslim Brotherhood, who have accused the party of former President Mubarak and the Investigation Service of the Ministry of Interior of being the cause of the riots last night.
Ilsussidiario.net has asked Professor Wael Farouq about his opinion on these events.
Professor Farouq, what is behind this new outbreak of violence between Christians and Muslims in Egypt? In an earlier conversation, you told us that the coexistence of the two religions in Egypt is peaceful and that the violence was due to the Mubarak regime.
And indeed it is. What has happened in Egypt has to be understood in the context of the end of the Mubarak regime. Behind these incidents, behind the burning of the church, are hidden provocateurs in the service of the counter-revolution. Personally, even considering the confusing state of the available news, I do not think that Salafi Muslims are involved in these incidents as is reported in all the media, repeating the news from Al Jazeera. The fact to understand is that if Mubarak has fallen, his power base has not collapsed altogether, and many of his men are still active.
And what is their purpose in fueling these incidents?
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