Egypt’s Christians Blame Army after Sectarian Violence

Coptic anger turns on the army after bloody sectarian violence gripped Cairo.  The clashes between Muslims and Christians in Imbaba left at least 12 dead.  Two churches were torched.  It’s the latest in a string of sectarian incidents since Egypt’s revolution, which left the army in interim charge of the country.  Now the Coptic community at a sit-in protest outside the state television building are holding Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the most senior army leader, personally responsible for failing to protect them.  “We have lots of demands, the greatest of which is that the Marshal (Tantawi) goes.  Because the Marshal is like the leader of the Brotherhood.  Secondly, he is of the old regime.  In Sol, the army just stood there as they destroyed the church.  In Imbaba, the army were just standing there as the Salafists were attacking.  This morning, the army used electric shocks on the protesters, and right now, as you can see, they are attacking us here.  We have one demand: the removal of the Marshal.”

This video was released by AhramOnline on 9 May 2011.  The text above is an edited partial transcript of the video.  Cf. “The US plan for Egypt is very similar to the Pakistani model, a combination of ‘political Islam’ and army intelligence” (Samir Amin, “Movements in Egypt: The US Realigns,” MRZine, 3 February 2011); “The statement by tele-Islamist, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, on Bahrain is not surprising.  He seems to support protests in Arab countries — provided they are approved by the Qatari government.  He never deviates from Qatari policies.  So he came out in support of the repression in Bahrain” (As’ad AbuKhalil, “Qaradawi,” The Angry Arab News Service, 19 March 2011); “Bahraini Response to al-Qaradawi’s Sectarian Accusation” (Jadaliyya, 20 March 2011); Neil MacFarquhar, “Egyptian Voters Approve Constitutional Changes” (New York Times, 20 March 2011); Michael Slackman, “Islamist Group Is Rising Force in a New Egypt” (New York Times, 24 March 2011); “This demagogic tele-Islamist [Yusuf Al-Qaradawi] should receive a prize from the House of Saud for his sectarian mobilization and agitation during the crisis.  He has not offered one analysis or opinion that is not dripping with sectarianism.  He also proved to be utterly loyal to the Qatari royal family: and I noticed that Saudi media, which used to criticize him daily, has now taken a new appreciative view of him” (As’ad AbuKhalil, “Al-Qaradawi Again,” The Angry Arab News Service, 26 March 2011); Neil MacFarquhar, “Religious Radicals’ Turn to Democracy Alarms Egypt” (New York Times, 1 April 2011); “The poll [conducted by the Pew Research Center] . . . found that a majority of Egyptians, 54 percent, want to annul the 1979 peace treaty with Israel. . . .  Mr. [Sobhi] Saleh of the Muslim Brotherhood, however, said he supported maintaining the treaty” (David D. Kirkpatrick and Mona El-Naggar, “Poll Finds Egyptians Full of Hope about the Future,” New York Times, 25 April 2011); “I just watched a clip by the Imam of Dar’a on Aljazeera.  I can testify that he clearly seems to be a religious nut.  I can see why Saudi Arabia and Qaradawi would be in favor of this guy” (As’ad AbuKhalil, “Imam of Dar’a,” The Angry Arab News Service, 25 April 2011).

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