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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Release of Aya Hijazi tops news on Egypt this morning

The release of Aya Hijazi was the story that topped coverage of Egypt thismorning in the foreign press, with most publications stressing her being held in pretrial detention for three years in violation of the Egyptian constitution. They also note the timing of the release, coming two weeks after President El Sisi met with President Trump in DC. The New York Times’ Declan Walsh also reminds us that Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa is still being held in pretrial detention. Heba Farouk Mahfouz and Louisa Loveluck emphasize for the Washington Post how the prosecution’s case fell apart at the trial, with some of their lead witnesses apparently defending Hijazi and her organization.

Journalists also spent the holiday long weekend covering muted Easter services at the nation’s Christian churches continued to churn out op-eds on the topic. The folks at the Washington Post, never ones to miss the opportunity presented by a tragedy to cast some shade on Trump, are recycling old material about how Coptic Christians do not share Trump’s confidence in El Sisi’s handling of the terror attacks, and noted the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s recommendation that Egypt should be classified as a Country of Particular Concern because of its failure to adequately uphold religious freedom and protect religious minorities. The Associated Press is running a piece on the how the heightened security around churches during Easter Sunday prayers reflect the environment of fear in which Christians find themselves.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times is taking a larger look at the situation of Christians in the region as a whole, declaring that the West needs to take a stand against the meddling of other actors including Turkey, Russia and Iran, all of whom it sees as fomenting religious strife in the region. The newspaper dismisses Coptic leaders standing behind El Sisi without providing context for why they gave that support in the first place.

Portraits of grief: Jonathan Rashad travelled to Tanta to capture the suffering of the families of people who were killed in the Palm Sunday bombings in a portrait series for Time Magazine. Rashad attended funerals and was introduced to families through a local priest. Among those portrayed is “Daniel Maher, a priest who was in the church at the time, lost his son, Beshoy. Mark Samir Iskander lost his brother, Michael. Emad Tadros lost his father, Medhat. Enayat Shenouda lost her husband, Saad Zaki Badawi.”

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