COPTS ATTEND a mass funeral in Cairo R 311 .
(photo credit: Mohamed Abd El-Ghany/Reuters)
A top Egyptian minister tried to to resign Tuesday in protest against an army crackdown two days earlier in Cairo
that left at least 25 people dead, most of them Coptic
Sunday’s incident was Egypt’s bloodiest since president Hosni
Mubarak was forced out of office in February.
An aide said Hazem el-
Beblawi, who serves as both deputy prime minister and finance minister, had quit
after three months in office, but Beblawi later said the ruling military council
had prevented his request.
“I did not withdraw my resignation. The
higher [military] council rejected it... and I am now in a difficult
situation... I am confused,” he told Reuters.
Al Jazeera television
reported later Tuesday that Egypt’s entire cabinet had resigned, but authorities
quickly dismissed those claims as baseless.
Samuel Tadros, a research
fellow at the Hudson Institute, said Egypt’s Christians almost unanimously view
their security as having deteriorated since Mubarak’s resignation.
lesson Copts have learned is perhaps the same one Jewish communities learned in
the Middle Ages – it’s much better to have tyrants persecuting you than to deal
with the mob,” Tadros, a Coptic Egyptian, told The Jerusalem Post by phone from
“In the case of a tyrant or king persecuting you, there are
methods of dealing with him... with the mob there is not. That’s
the lesson minorities have known for some time.”
Tadros said many Copts
are thinking of emigrating from Egypt.
“Every Copt today is asking the
question, ‘Do we have a future in this country or not?’” he said.
exact circumstances of Sunday’s incident remain unclear. Authorities have
arrested 28 people on suspicion of attacking soldiers and burning military
vehicles, state media reported, but most Egyptians appear to believe the army
quelled a peaceful demonstration with disproportionate and inexplicable
“There was utter shock that the military took part in this
attack,” he said. “This made the Copts feel their worst nightmare has been
realized – that they’ve been left alone. This time, however, it wasn’t just the
mob attacking them, but their own army.”
Khairi Abaza, an Egyptian
analyst who is a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of
Democracies said the bloodshed should not
be seen merely as a sectarian incident, but a manifestation of Egypt’s
accumulated frustration with a popular revolution that has thus far failed to
produce representative government, security or an improved economy.
political factions in Egypt are frustrated. Liberals are frustrated, socialists
and communists are frustrated and even Islamists are frustrated – they’re afraid
secular [parties] will create a system in which they are oppressed. The way the
army has been ruling – with absolutely no power sharing with anyone else – has
made everyone nervous,” he said.