Protests were held around Cairo on Friday in response to the recent wave of unprecedented sectarian violence targeting Copts in Al-Khasous and St. Mark’s Cathedral. In Tahrir Square a podium was erected for the protest and Mazhar Shahin, the preacher who was recently suspended from preaching by the Minister of Endowments, lead the Friday Prayers.
According to the state-run news agency MENA the Friday protest was organised by a group known as Al-Azhar Preachers’ Front.
The 6 April Democratic Front meanwhile held a protest in Imbaba. According to Mohamed Youssef, a spokesperson for the Front, the group chose to hold prayers outside the Virgin Mary church because Tahrir Square and other such iconic locations across Egypt have become “a useless mechanism for change.”
“Our mission today is to transfer the soul of the revolution from Tahrir to the streets of Egypt, to transfer the idea of revolution from Tahrir Square into each home,” Youssef said.
“We are here protesting against the events in Abbaseya and Al-Khasous,” Youssef said referring to the recent violence between Copts and Muslims. “This protest is the message that we are all Egyptians, one hand and those who seek to divide us will fail.”
Youssef said the invitation to join in the protest and prayers were extended to all Egyptians in a civil capacity, excluding political groups. He added that the decision was made to exclude political groups from the invitation because the goal is to make it a revolutionary event, not a politicised one. “We want it to be from the heart of the revolution with no political ties,” he said.
Youssef said he expects 1,000 or more people will have attended the protest by the end of the day. The protest will end after evening prayers, Youssef said.