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» 02/09/2011
EGYPT
Demonstrations without leadership favour Muslim extremists
Arabic language pamphlets issued by the Iranian government are being handed out. They hail the Islamic revolution. Recently released from prison, Muslim fundamentalists are now becoming more visible in the streets of Cairo. “The situation is unclear; we are waiting day by day to see how it will end,” a source tells AsiaNews.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – “In the absence of a leader who can talk to those in power, protesters in the street are too weak. This has helped Muslim fundamentalists find their way into talks with the government,” a source anonymous for security reasons told AsiaNews. “Foreign hands are pulling the strings in Egypt,” he said.

“You can see more and more fundamentalists in the streets. Many have in fact been recently released from prison,” the source said. At the same time, the Arabic translation of a recent speech by Ayatollah Khamenei praising the Egyptians for their courage has found its way in pamphlets handed out in the streets. In it, Iran’s spiritual leader urges Egyptians to carry out an Islamic revolution.

Site, a US-based intelligence monitoring service, reported that al-Qaeda released a message to the Egyptian people, calling for a jihad against Mubarak’s pro-Western regime. It also warned them against “pagan idols” like democracy and Westernisation.

Despite the danger of fundamentalism, young Christians and Muslims, continue to demonstrate. Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people crowded Tahrir Square for what was perhaps the largest protest since the start of the uprising. At present, tens of thousands of young people continue to occupy the square, waiting for the big demonstration on Friday. “Young people want the president to go before they can accept the government’s proposals,” the source said.

To appease the crowds, Vice President Omar Suleiman accepted to meet with opposition delegations. He pledged changes to the constitution and free elections very soon. He did not say the president would resign, for that would bring the country to the brink of chaos. Instead, Suleiman stressed that change can only come through dialogue. The alternative would be a military coup.

The crisis could have a positive outcome for Christians. Recently, Christian representatives have used the debate over constitutional change to demand greater protection. They wrote to the vice president calling for the removal of certain articles that harm the rights of Christians. So far, no answer has been come.

Still, pressures from Muslim fundamentalists could sink the demand for improved protection. “The situation is unclear; we are waiting day by day to see how it will end,” the source said.


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See also
04/12/2011 EGYPT
The rise of Islamic parties urges Christians to flee from Egypt
11/29/2012 EGYPT
Blitz of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists: Sharia is the main source of law
05/05/2012 EGYPT
Jihadists behind the attack against the Defence Ministry in Cairo
06/18/2012 ISRAEL - EGYPT
Sinai, firefight between Israeli forces and Egyptian Islamic terrorists; two dead
06/07/2011 EGYPT
Egypt, after 60 years Muslim Brotherhood party admitted to elections

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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