Tahrir Square Is Quiet on Anniversary of 1952 Revolution

Article Summary
Protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square declined to celebrate the anniversary of Egypt’s 1952 military coup, which eventually led to the presidency of Hosni Mubarak. In the square, supporters of a prominent Salafist sheikh instead attended a lecture analyzing the contributing factors to sectarian tension in the country.

On Sunday, the third day of Ramadan, Tahrir Square was calm. Traffic was able to flow in all directions in the square because of the small amount of protesters. Street vendors disappeared completely, and Sheikh Abu Yahya Muftah visited the square and gave a lecture on sectarian strife.

Dozens of supporters of Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail continued their protest in the square, refusing to leave until all their demands were satisfied: the revoking of the constitutional declaration and for President Mohammed Morsi to receive all of his powers.

Some traffic policemen, who were once again deployed in the square at the beginning of Ramadan, opened Qasr al-Aini Road and prevented cars from parking in front of the entrance to Tahrir Square in order to avoid blocking traffic.

Most of the protesters in the square took refuge inside tents to escape the rising temperature, and some street vendors gathered in front of the Mogamma building to sell their goods its staff on their way out from work.

Some protesters took advantage of different parts of the square, opening a parking lot for cars coming into the square from the side of the Omar Makram mosque.

Ahmed Anwar, one of the protesters, said that no events had been organized in the square to celebrate the July 1952 Revolution, adding that they would not participate in the festivities set for July 23.

“It was a military revolution and we revolted against it with another revolution — the January 25 revolution,” he said.

In the same context, Abu Ismail supporters organized a religious lecture, entitled "The Causes of Sectarian Strife and How to Treat Them." The lecture was delivered to the protesters by Salafist Sheikh Abu Yahya Muftah, champion of the issue of the Imbaba woman.

Abu Yahya told protesters that the media often fabricates the truth and continues to lie until it believes its own lies and acts upon them.

He added that there were many reasons behind the sectarian strife, including personal reasons which are being politicized, such as disputes over land, money or other personal issues. In addition, the sheikh said that Egypt’s Copts claiming their rights had prompted the Copts in exile to intervene. He added that the media supports these claims, portraying the Copts as persecuted.

Abu Yahya said that the sectarian strife could be soothed by resorting to the judiciary, provided the judiciary treated both sides on an equal footing.

Concerning the construction of churches, he said: "Muslims in Egypt are supposed to have 46 square centimeters to pray, but they can barely find 10 square centimeters. There is no street or lane in Egypt where worshippers do not lay down their carpets outside the mosque to pray. This indicates that the available mosques are not enough. Still, we do not see any Muslims causing trouble to build mosques despite the fact that the Wadi El-Natrun monastery area is 20 acres, whereas ​​the Al-Azhar mosque is 5.3 acres. Given the number of other monasteries, we find that each Christian is entitled to 700 meters to pray, whereas Muslims cannot even find 10 meters.”

Regarding the Islamization of girls, the Salafist sheikh called on Al-Azhar to nurture girls and women who convert to Islam.

"Why isn’t Al-Azhar attached to a boarding school in all provinces to nurture girls and women who convert to Islam?” he said. “This way, Al-Azhar can deal with the issue away from extremists, providing [these girls and women] with shelter, housing, care and freedom of religion.”

Abu Yahya indicated that "there are people who convert to Christianity, yet no demonstrations were held because of this. However, when Camellia Shehata, Teresa and other Christians converted to Islam, their hair was completely shaved and they were put in cars and God knows where they were taken.”

Abu Yahya said the Copts should demand the same rights that Muslim minorities in other countries across the world enjoy. Only then, without settling for less, will they receive a 50% increase in their rights, according to Abu Yahya.

Found in: tahrir square, tahrir, salafist, july 1952, january 25, imbaba, egypt, copts, church construction, abu ismail

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