Egypt presidential aide blames
Christians for cathedral attack, sparks fury
[photo] A Coptic Christian sits on a desk near the gate
inside Cairo's main Coptic cathedral, following Sunday's clashes with Muslims,
April 8, 2013. (Reuters)
Al Arabiya -
A statement on Tuesday by an Egyptian presidential aide accusing Christian
Copts of being the cause of Monday’s clashes near Cairo’s Abbasiya Cathedral has
caused public outrage.
Issam al-Hadad, the president’s assistant on foreign affairs, published the
statement on Facebook, saying that during a funeral of Christians on Monday,
some angry mourners attacked passing cars.
This led some people near the cathedral to open fire and throw rocks, which
escalated into an exchange of gunfire, he added.
Clashes broke out on Monday between Muslims and Christians during a funeral
of four Christians killed in sectarian violence the day before in the town of
al-Khsoos. Monday’s clashes killed two and injured 89, security officials
Presidency repudiates statement
A meeting was held Tuesday between presidential and cathedral delegates
to discuss the recent clashes, during which the presidential delegation
repudiated Hadad’s statement, saying it only expressed his personal opinion.
“Issuing statements that are then denied by the presidency clearly shows
confusion in presidential performance,” said Egyptian journalist Abdullah
Hadad’s statement shows the sectarianism that Egypt is experiencing under
Muslim Brotherhood rule, Sinawi said, adding that the aide should have kept
silent until results of an investigation are announced.
Adding fuel to the fire?
Hadad’s statement is irresponsible, and the Brotherhood and government do not
consider the country’s interests in their calculations, said Margaret Azar,
secretary general of the Free Egyptians Party.
The Brotherhood is seeking to fuel sectarian strife, Azar said.
Hadad’s statement may push extremists to once again attack Copts and the
cathedral, so he must be punished, she added.
It is unacceptable for a prominent official such as Hadad to issue such a
statement, then have someone else tell the people that it only represents his
opinions, Azar said.
Hadad’s statement only adds fuel to the fire, former MP Mustafa Bakri wrote
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