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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Abdel Tawab’s article in Al Ahram causes rift within the paper’s top brass

Furor at state-owned daily Al Ahram over chairman’s bid to censor article on Islamism and anti-Christian hate. Ahmed Abdel Tawab wrote about a seemingly obvious point profoundly and succinctly and got in trouble for it at Al Ahram in a flap that delayed the newspaper’s publication yesterday. Abdel Tawab believes the painful truth that should not be overlooked is that Coptic Christians were the exclusive targets of Sunday’s attacks — and that the bombings were inspired by criminal religious interpretations in the perpetrators’ heads. Abdel Tawab says that claiming the terrorists’ targets were unequivocally clear: Christians. This wasn’t a case of indiscriminate attacks regardless of whether the victims were Muslim or Christian.

This clear distinction is vital, he says, as acknowledging the fact will help us, as a nation, eliminate the root causes of terrorism. Leniency is no longer acceptable with a religious discourse that encourages hate, Abdel Tawab says. Acknowledging the targets of the attack, taking responsibility, and weeding out extremists is key to preventing future attacks. He also explicitly speaks against “religion-based political parties” and asks the state to take decisive action against them. He accuses those parties of promoting hate and cultivating a fertile ground for terrorism to grow by trying to censor freedom of expression, lobbying against appointing Christians to higher executive government positions, and also refusing to name streets and schools after the country’s Christian martyrs.

The article caused quite a stir at Al Ahram, with Chairman Ahmed El Naggar, for some reason, calling for it to be withdrawn, for Abdel Tawab to barred from writing in the future, and delayed the paper’s printing. Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Abdel Hady Alam refused El Naggar’s orders, accused him of violating the institution’s bylaws, and threatened legal action if the editorial content of the paper is tampered with, according to documents published by Al Masry Al Youm.

Al Bawaba isn’t safe either: On a related note, Authorities seized print editions of Al Bawaba newspaper yesterday for the second day in a row, Ahram Online reports. The paper had suggested that a security lapse led to Sunday’s church bombings.

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