Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There is a worrying report that Egypt's ancient monasteries are under threat.  The report comes from the U.S. Copts Association so it is a one-sided report, but I think it is probably factually accurate all the same.

“Three monasteries have been attacked by outlaws and have asked for protection from the armed forces, but were told to defend themselves.” said activist Mark Ebeid. “When the terrified monks built fences to protect themselves, armed forces appeared only then with bulldozers to demolish the fences. It is worth noting that these monasteries are among the most ancient in Egypt, with valuable Coptic icons and manuscripts among others, which are of tremendous value to collectors.”
The full details are in the article. Separately, a Coptic priest has also been found murdered, although it is unclear whether religion was a motive.  There has also been religious tension in Cairo.

The newly sworn in cabinet does, however, include two Coptic Christians which gives some grounds for optimism.  I am not sure whether the Culture Ministry or the Ministry for Antiquities is responsible for the ancient monasteries.  In fact a new cabinet was sworn in today and I cannot find a list to confirm whether or not the Ministry for Antiquities survived as a separate ministry or whether it has been re-absorbed into the Ministry for Culture.


roger said...

If their websitwe is up to date, the Ministry has survived, but I see no mention of 'Culture'

Kate Phizackerley said...

When I looked earlier I think it was still showing Monday's cabinet. I'll scan it again over the next couple of days.

Kate Phizackerley said...

I think the site has now been updated and Antiquities remains an independent ministry.

kev said...

This is a list of Minsters that were sworn in on the 22nd Feb.

The new ministers were sworn in before the Head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, Hussein Tantawi as follows;

• Dr. Yehia El-Gamal, Vice Prime Minister for the National Dialogue

• Dr. Amr Ezzat Salama, Minister of Scientific Research and Technology

• Dr. Samir El-Sayiad, Minister of Trade and Industry

• Dr. Ahmed Gamal El-Din Moussa, Minister of Higher Education and Education

• Dr. Maged Othman, Minister of Communications

• Dr. Gouda Abdel Khalek, Minister of Social Solidarity and Justice

• Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Minister of Tourism

• Eng. Mohamed Abdel Moneim El-Sawy, Minister of Culture

• Dr. Ashraf Mahmoud Ibrahim Hatem, Minister of Health and Population

• Eng. Mahmoud Latif Mahmoud Amer, Minister of Petroleum

• Isamel Ibrahim Fahmy, Minister of Manpower and Migration


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