A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, May 6, 2013

Easter in Cairo: Morsi Wasn't There, But the Army Was

Pope Tawadros II at Easter
Yesterday, of course, was Orthodox Easter. (And today is Sham al-Nassim in Egypt and Sudan, but that post is coming.)

As we already knew on Friday, President Morsi of Egypt did not attend Coptic Pope Tawadros II's first Easter service at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo. Instead, the senior civilian government official attending was Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.

But the country's senior military figure, Gen. ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, Defense Minister and head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, was there. I note this for those tea-leaf readers who are trying to discern the uneasy and sometimes obscure relations between the Armed Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In other Easter-related commentary from Egypt: Yasmine Fathi atAhram Online offers a summary of setarian tensions since the Revolution: "M is for Mosque: How Egypt's Copts were Sidelined". Ahram, of course, is state-owned; the independent liberal Al-Tahrir's take (in Arabic) is entitled الملف الأخطر فى تاريخ الصحافة المصرية.. الأقباط تحت حكم الإخوان ["The Most Dangerous File in the History of the Egyptian Press: The Copts Under the Rule of the Brotherhood."]

In the blogosphere, Issandr at The Arabist adds "Further Reading on Salafi Attitudes to Greetings on Non-Muslim Holidays."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems that the Easter mass was an occasion for political expression. As the Pope read off the names of those who sent telegrams of congratulations, were in attendence or sent a deputyexcessive nwnlope, such as President Morsi the worshipers were silent UNTIL he referred to el Sisi and the huge/huge uniformed military continent with him. Cheers and clapping. Sheikh al Azhar...cheers and clapping, likewise for the beleagued head of the Judges Club seen as fighting to keep the judiciary from Bro'ization. Adel Imam, also present got his recognition as well.