School starts without a tour by the minister of education
CAIRO: Independent and national newspapers focused heavily on Pope Benedict s comments on Islam and the Prophet Mohammed and the consequences of such comments. In a visit to Germany, Pope Benedict XVI quoted a criticism of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad by a 14th century Byzantine emperor, who wrote that all that the Prophet Mohammad had brought was evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread the faith he preached by the sword, saying that violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.
Newspapers focused on Muslim anger at the pope s comments and the protests that were held in Egypt and across the Muslim world linking Benedict s comments to what they consider an all out war on Islam, which they say has been launched by U.S. President George Bush, brought to the forefront during the Danish cartoon controversy.
Meanwhile, the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm has said that Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abul Gheit expressed his concern that the pope s comments would aggravate the clash of civilizations instead of encouraging dialogue and understanding between civilizations.
Commenting on the pope s remarks, the sheikh of Al-Azhar was quoted by Al-Ahram newspaper as saying, It [the comment] is the result of ignorance of the peaceful Islamic sharia. The papers also stated Muslim scholars demands for a personal apology from the pope himself for his comments.
Even though the pope has said that he was deeply sorry for the misunderstanding, Muslim scholars have had different reactions to his statement. Some said it was not enough, while Al-Masry Al-Youm said that the Muslim Brotherhood has announced that they have accepted the pope s apology. The sheikh of Al-Azhar has chosen not to comment until he reads the whole of the pope s statement.
The beginning of the school year also made the news. Al-Ahram national newspaper said that 3.8 million students received their books in government and private schools. Al-Wafd newspaper said that there was confusion and an increase in tuition on the first day of school, and that classes are overcrowded. The paper said that university students are complaining of overcrowding in classes, with some students having to sit on the stairs of the classes while others had to rent chairs to attend their lectures.
Al-Masry Al-Youm focused on the absence of Minister of Education Yousri El-Gamal on the first day of school for the customary tour of inspecting schools as they start. The paper stressed that this was one of the rituals that his predecessors had always carried out.