Sunday 28 April is known as Palm Sunday, a feast before Easter, commemorating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It also marks the last week of Lent, and so it is a cause for celebration. However, columnists pondered on this year’s Palm Sunday as a bittersweet event.
Morsi in the Church: Oh black day!
Al Masry Al Youm
Columnist Hamdi Rezk addressed the lack of official participation from the ruling party or the government in Coptic feasts. “If judgment day comes, the Grand Morshed of the Muslim Brotherhood will never step on the threshold of the church, and will not sully his shoes to offer his felicitations,” he writes. He then addresses the issue of Morsi going to church, criticising Morsi because “the most he can do is send the governor of Cairo on his behalf”. He then quotes Mohamed Hassanein Heikal’s when he suggested that Morsi would go to the Cathedral to congratulate the Pope on his inauguration. According to Rezk, a presidential aide responded with “Oh, black day (what a calamity)”.
He then mentions the statement issued by Islamic Legitimate Body of Rights and Reformation (ILBRR) on the subject: “Every religious group has their own feasts that have not been legislated for others, therefore participation or congratulation in these feasts is not allowed.” Rezk concludes that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood would never dare to defy the ILBRR’s statement, but in any case, they only care about their own parties and groups.
Copts…100 years of isolation
Columnist Sulaiman Shafik chose to address the issue of sectarian strife. “Calling it ‘sectarian strife’ means that the civilian elite have implicitly agreed on making the issue one of religion,” he says. He then expresses his disagreement with the solutions proposed. “If the civilian elite are going to depend on ‘The Family House’ concept, that means we are going back to the pre-modern state.” He notes that no one really “cares about national integration,” and says that the last 10 years of Mubarak’s rule saw to the death of this idea.
He then goes back in history, tracing the issue of sectarian strife back to 1910 and the Coptic Convention, concluding that the issue has been ignored for over 100 years. He mentions the burning of two churches in Suez and Zagazig in 1950 “for the first time after the 1919 revolution”. He comments on the lack of such incidents from then until the time of Abdel Nasser, but reminds readers that the “religion field was added to the personal identification,” and that Copts were denied high-ranking positions in state apparatuses.
He fast-forwards to Mubarak’s era and concludes that “the state was no longer civil or modern, but one of the Mamluks… contrary to popular belief, it was the golden age for the Muslim Brotherhood”.