- Middle East/North Africa
Shura Council efforts to address the country's economic and political troubles with its newly assumed legislative powers are the focus of Thursday’s papers.
State-owned newspaper Al-Ahram leads with a story that the upper house of Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee has come out against a Finance Ministry plan to issue Sharia-friendly Islamic bonds to spur investment. Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy advocated against the bonds yesterday, claiming it would endanger state sovereignty to offer shares in Egyptian ventures to foreign investors.
In addition to exclusively publishing the articles of the Islamic bonds bill, independent Al-Tahrir newspaper elaborates on Al-Azhar scholars' concerns regarding the draft law, saying it would allow foreign nationals to own public property in Egypt.
Though both representatives of the Nour and Freedom and Justice parties have supported the proposed bill on the grounds that it is “the essential savior of the Egyptian economy from the current deterioration,” the Shura Council Economic Affairs Committee has requested it be redrafted, Al-Tahrir reports.
Independent daily Youm7 reports on disagreement over another new bill. Non-Islamist political groups are reportedly rejecting the draft governing elections for the lower house of Parliament because they say it is tailored to benefit Islamist parties.
Privately-owned Al-Watan reports a similar story, writing that opposition coalition the National Salvation Front says the bill does not specifically ban election campaigning inside mosques and does not provide for sufficient international supervision.
The paper also quotes coalition member Abdel Ghafour Shakr as saying female candidates should be placed at the top of party candidate lists, presumably to ensure their representation in the vastly male-dominated Parliament.
Legislative wrangling aside, independent daily Al-Shorouk reports that violent clashes broke out between student football fans at the Port Said University dorms Wednesday.
According to the paper, fighting broke out between supporters of local Al-Masry club and Al-Ahly club fans when the latter tore down banners calling for the release of 26 defendants in the Port Said football massacre that took place in February. More than 12 people were reportedly wounded by stone-throwing and Molotov cocktails. Security forces used tear gas and fired shots into the air to disperse the two sides, the paper reports.
Liberal party paper Al-Wafd launches a fierce attack on the prominent figures of Egypt’s largest, most organized political force titled “Lies of the Brotherhood state.” The paper allocates five pages to shedding light on what it claims are the tactical maneuvers that protect the group’s interests and tighten its grip on the political sphere.
Included in the report are a list of similarities between Morsy and former President Hosni Mubarak and accusations that Freedom and Justice Party leader Essam al-Erian is a faithful ally to Israel after his recent comments inviting Egyptian Jews living in Israel to return home. The paper also blames Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie for driving the country to civil war, saying that he is encouraging the group’s youth to martyrdom during the upcoming second anniversary of the revolution.
Predictably, Freedom and Justice paper does not miss a chance to praise Islamist President Mohamed Morsy's government, shining a spotlight on diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Egyptians detained in the United Arab Emirates.
The partisan paper says that both Essam al-Haddad, the president’s assistant for foreign affairs and international cooperation, and intelligence chief Mohamed Raafat Shehata flew to the UAE Wednesday to secure the detainees’ release and discuss some mechanisms to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
Emirati authorities arrested 10 Egyptians last month on allegations they are part of a Muslim Brotherhood cell plotting against Emirati rulers. The Brotherhood has disputed the allegations.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party