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Calls to get rid of Ottoman legacy emerge in Egypt

In conjunction with the anniversary of the Egyptian resistance’s defeat by the Ottoman invasion, many intellectuals called for the amendment of the names of some titles and streets that are inspired by or dating back to the Ottoman era.
The minaret of Sayyidna al-Husayn mosque looks down on Khan al-Khalili bazaar, Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 24, 2009.

CAIRO — The months of March and April carry sad memories for Egyptians who are keen to preserve Egyptian nationalism. March 30 marked the 504th anniversary of the arrest of Tuman Bay, the last sultan of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt and the last leader of the Egyptian resistance movements against the Ottoman invasion of Egypt (1517-1914). On April 15, 1517, he was executed by Ottoman Sultan Selim I.

Egyptians, particularly the cultural elite, would write articles in March and April of each year denouncing the Ottoman invasion and the actions of Selim I. This year, Helmy al-Namnam, a former Egyptian minister of culture, took an advanced stance and called for the need to review the manifestations of the Ottoman occupation of Egypt and get rid of some, namely the usage of the title Mufti al-Diyar al-Misriyya and only using the title of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, as well as changing some street names such as Selim I Street in Cairo governorate.

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