Egypt Independent

Tuesday’s papers: UN visits, godless government and Israeli lasers

Sunday’s Al-Ahram leads with President Mohamed Morsy in New York preparing for his first General Assembly at the United Nations. The state-owned paper reports that Morsy has scheduled 15 separate meetings with various heads of state, including French president Francois Hollande as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. These meetings will, according to the paper, aim to “clarify the political vision produced by Egypt following the 25 January revolution.” Tuesday evening will see Morsy giving a speech at the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative, followed by his address to the General Assembly on Wednesday morning, during which the president plans on stressing the importance of “clearing all Middle Eastern nations, with no exception, of weapons of mass destruction,” Al-Ahram reports via Yasser Ali, official spokesman for the presidency.

Morsy’s trip to New York is also covered by the Freedom and Justice Party’s Freedom and Justice paper, in a particularly unfocused report titled “Economic issues top the president’s list of priorities in New York,” but which mainly describes a meeting held between Morsy and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces in order to discuss upcoming 6 October celebrations.

The paper does mention, however, that Morsy’s visit will end Egypt’s 23-year-long absence from the General Assembly.

Al-Shorouk’s take on the trip predicts the president will face protests outside the United Nations headquarters by “Egyptian Copts, and Muslims who reject the ‘Brotherhoodization’ of the country,” as well as various other groups on the “map of the Egyptian opposition within the United States,” which the independent paper is “attempting to illustrate.” 

A more detailed report on the paper’s fifth page claims that, in a further attempt to express opposition to the president, 16 Coptic organizations based in the United States have issued a statement “criticizing several churches for cooperating with the Egyptian Consulate in New York in ‘inviting some Copts’ to greet Morsy during his visit.” The statement also asserted the coalition’s “rejection of the Coptic Church being turned into a tool of the state, to be used for controlling Copts.” In closing, the statement urged “all honest Copts to boycott such directions, which only serve to divide Copts abroad, and present to the world a false image of Copts in support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime.”

Al-Shorouk also reports on the owner of Al-Umma television channel Sheikh Ahmed Abdallah, also known as “Abu Salam,” or the man who allegedly tore up copies of the Bible — “both the old and new testaments” — in front of the American Embassy during last week’s riots. In response to the “numerous complaints filed against him for inciting religious hate,” State Security called Abu Salam in for questioning, with a warrant to be issued for his arrest should he fail to comply within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Facilities Abdel Qawi Khalifa has announced that mosques and churches will no longer be exempt from paying their water bills, with Al-Shorouk reporting that the announcement comes following the minister’s inspection of a water station in Abnoub, where he was approached by three employees requesting they be exempt from the LE700 it would cost to install water in a local mosque, a request to which the minister reportedly replied, “the government has no God.”

In other news, Al-Akhbar reports on the Ismailia criminal court’s sentencing of 14 individuals to death for their involvement in last year’s deadly attacks on a police station in the North Sinai city of Arish, as well as the city’s Bank of Alexandria headquarters. Four other men were sentenced by the court to life in prison, while seven others were found innocent.

The state-owned paper also quotes Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekky who, discussing the recent ruling by the Higher Administrative Court allowing members of the dissolved National Democratic Party to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections, promises that a law prohibiting all “officials and ministers and deputies of the former regime from [exercising] any political rights, including the right to run for office, for the next five years,” will be put into effect with the start of the new judicial year, set to begin in early October. In the paper’s report, Mekky explains that such a law already exists, and was successfully passed, but never put into motion. “Laws are passed so that they can be enforced,” he adds, “not so that they can languish in drawers.”

Finally, Al-Shaab looks at the legacy of Egyptian Nobel-prize winning scientist Ahmed Zewail from a somewhat unusual perspective, with a series of articles led by one titled “The Zewail Legend must be brought to an end if we are to achieve any real progress in the field of scientific research.”

“We are not in the business of getting into personal battles with important public figures,” the article begins, before tearing into Zewail for a multitude of reasons, all clearly listed: from branding him as a “known American citizen, and consultant to the White House,” to his insistence on remaining a has-been who “hasn’t done anything in the past 10 years but talk” and occasionally “appear on television to flex his superior intellectual muscles.” Al-Shaab then devotes two articles to “exposing Zewail’s secret ties with Israel” (he helps them build weapons; mostly lasers), as well as his role as “an Egyptian resource manipulated into serving American interests.”

Egypt’s papers:

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

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