Sectarian tension & terror in Alexandria promoted in the Egyptian Media? PDF Print

Posted: 10 January 2011alexandriasmall

Country: Egypt

“...there have been many indications of the state supporting certain extremist Salafi groups that have spoken with hostility toward Copts on their television programmes and in mosque sermons.” – Common Ground News Service

The Media Diversity Institute (MDI) is monitoring recent escalation of religious tension in Alexandria (Egypt) and calls for mobilisation of all of those who wish to promote the right of religious freedom, especially via the media in Egypt. MDI has been working in Egypt for several years to promote respect for diversity through the media.

Unfortunately, the beginning of 2011 saw a resurgence of religious intolerance and violence with the bombing of St Mark’s and St Peter’s churches in Alexandria, which took 23 lives and injured many more people.

Committed against Coptic churches, the attack aimed to provoke sectarian tension between the different religious communities that have lived together in peace in Egypt for centuries.

“In Alexandria, for example, there have been many indications of the state supporting certain extremist Salafi groups that have spoken with hostility toward Copts on their television programmes and in mosque sermons.” – comments the Common Ground News Service.

Already these tragic deaths have moved thousands of Egyptians – regardless of faith – to change their Facebook profile pictures to an image of the crescent surrounding the cross, symbolic of the fraternity between the two religions.

In a statement, the Anne Lindh Foundation is announcing that “In response to this act of violence... [we] will intensify... efforts in favour of dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region by involving and engaging in this mission all those who share the need to eradicate the culture of hatred, and to build societies based on mutual respect between people of different origins, traditions and beliefs. “

The Anna Lindh Foundation has had the opportunity to consistently observe in Alexandria how the coexistence between Muslims and Christians, which is part of the daily life in Egypt, is a major asset for peaceful relations between the different religious communities that exist in Middle Eastern societies.

The Media Diversity Institute (MDI) has been working in Egypt for several years to promote respect for diversity through the media.  The major component has been provision of training for Egyptian journalists, one of whom won the prestigious Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press 2010, for an article produced during an MDI training course. Other work has included setting up courses in Reporting Diversity at universities through Egypt, among them Cairo University, and organising roundtable debates related to diversity and the media.

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