Egypt Independent

Tuesday’s papers: Sectarian strife and the blame game



The unprecedented attack on Cairo’s main cathedral following the deaths of five people in bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians on Saturday dominates the front pages of today’s newspapers.

Privately owned daily Youm7 claims in its main headline, “Interior (Ministry): I don’t see … I don’t hear … I don’t speak.”

It is reported that the interior ministry turned a blind eye to the sporadic violence erupted in the two consecutive clashes in Khosous, Qalyubiya Governorate and outside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbasseya neighborhood.

The paper condemns police for showing indifference towards the first spark of violence that took place on Friday in Khosous, which subsequently resulted in its escalation during Sunday’s funeral for Christian victims, the report says.

Privately owned daily Al-Watan, however, has a different point of view, running a bold headline screaming, “Morsy bears the main responsibility for the cathedral battle.”

The paper reports that opposition forces have pointed fingers at the president and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group over the deadly clashes. The National Salvation Front reportedly described the incidents as “a conspiracy to ignite sectarian strife in the country.”        

In the same vein, members of the Shura Council, Egypt’s upper house of Parliament, declared their intention to go on strike inside its building, calling for the dismissal of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, privately owned daily Al-Watan reports.

Al-Wafd, the liberal opposition Wafd Party’s paper, writes that the area around St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral witnessed a state of cautious calm on Monday afternoon.

Young Copts chanted anti-interior minister slogans during his visit to the scene of the incidents while Maspero Youth Union demanded Morsy to step down due to “his failure to address the deteriorating conditions that threaten the country’s security and stability,” the report adds.

On its fifth page, Al-Wafd gives readers a reality check by providing information about the deplorable circumstances the Khosous area went through over the last few days due to the security vacuum. The extensive report also comprises witness account from some of the residents.

Privately owned Al-Shorouk paper publishes the statements issued from both Pope Tawadros II and the Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood Mohamed Badie on the latest clashes.

Tawadros reportedly called for calm, in a bid to defuse sectarian tension and maintain national unity. Badie echoed the same sentiment, describing the latest crisis as “desperate attempt to drag Egyptians to a [level of] sectarian strife that all people should work on preventing,” Al-Shorouk says.

Another story making rounds in Tuesday’s papers is the nationwide train drivers’ strike demanding higher salaries.

While most independent papers write that train conductors have insisted on continuing their strike until their demands are met, Al-Shorouk comes with an exclusive feature announcing the strike’s end.

“A surprise end to the train strike,” reads a headline on Al-Shorouk’s front page.

The paper states that general assembly of trains conductors decided to call off its strike after holding negotiations with counselors from the Transportation Ministry and the National Railway Authority head. However, the paper fails to mention the agreement that both parties reached to change the conductors’ stance.

In a related context, Freedom and Justice, the mouthpiece of the Brotherhood’s political arm, praises the government’s efforts to contain the situation and calm the angry masses.

It is reported that the Transportation Ministry has come up with an emergency scheme to confront the nationwide strike by providing for retired drivers after examining their medical condition.

The partisan paper quotes Ragab Moussa, a counselor to the transportation minister, condemning the protest on the grounds that railway drivers enjoy good financial conditions and receive LE 1,500 in incentives per month.

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

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