- Middle East/North Africa
State-owned Al-Ahram leads on Tuesday with the news of Pope Shenouda III’s funeral and Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi declaring a state of mourning in Egypt.
The paper reports that the funeral will be led by Bishop Pachomius, the church’s second-oldest bishop who will serve as interim pope until papal elections take place. Only 4,000 mourners will be allowed inside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasseya.
After three days of lying in repose, the pope’s body will be flown to his final resting place at St. Bishoy Monastery, according to the pope’s will, reports Al-Shorouk. The pope was placed in his casket last night and the funeral was set to begin Tuesday at 10 am, lasting for two hours. Afterward, the casket is set to be flown by a military plane to the monaestary.
A source inside the church told Al-Shorouk the military has dispatched two helicopters for the occasion. One will transport the casket and the other will take church bishops to the burial place. In addition, a number of buses will take the mourners to the airport from the Abbasseya cathedral.
Monk Ephraim said the pope’s burial place will be open for visits starting tomorrow, according to Al-Ahram. Meanwhile, Assistant Bishop Jeremiah denied rumors that the church had accepted condolences from the Israeli ambassador. The pope’s casket arrived on a plane from Rome yesterday and was delivered to his nephew, said the report.
The Freedom and Justice newspaper, a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood’s political party of the same name, writes about the pope’s funeral, quoting a church source as saying more than 3 million people will attend. The newspaper reports that a special landing pad has been built outside the cathedral for helicopters to transport the casket.
Meanwhile, the newspaper denies what it says are rumors being spread by foreign newspapers aimed at scaring Copts of Islamists. The newspaper states that such rumors have no ground because all Egyptians are equal and have the same rights and duties.
Al-Shorouk meanwhile writes on its front page: “Muslim Brotherhood: We will force the government to resign.”
Hussein Ibrahim, the head of the Freedom and Justice Party’s parliamentary bloc, said his party, along with others, is ready to form a new cabinet after the Kamal al-Ganzouri cabinet resigns. He added that if the cabinet members refuse to resign, FJP will “use the interrogation card,” meaning it will exert pressure on the cabinet by holding an official investigation. On the other hand, the Nour Party — which holds the second-most parliamentary seats — said the cabinet’s resignation is not a pressing matter because there are more important issues to address at this stage.
The Freedom and Justice paper also reports that People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny is demanding that the parliamentary committee currently preparing a statement to enable Parliament to move a no-confidence vote against the Ganzouri cabinet speed up its work.
Al-Ahram states that the Supreme Constitutional Court overturned the conviction delivered against Showky al-Islambouli, Mohamed al-Zawahiri and six others in the infamous “Returnees from Albania” case, in which an Egyptian military court in 1999 tried various Egyptian jihadists returned to the country from various foreign locations.
The court had sentenced Zawahiri to death in absentia and Islambouli to death in absentia.
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-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: 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