Writers in Sunday papers picked several political issues related to freedoms and democracy to comment on.
In the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, Salah Montaser criticised local TV hosts for attacking people who complained of difficult living conditions among waves of increased prices, saying only those who are protected by their richness did not get affected by the economic situation, since the flotation of the Egyptian pound. To Montaser, people bearing economic burdens are a priority for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and have the right to be properly addressed by the media.
Al-Ahram’s Makram Mohamed Ahmed wrote an op-ed titled “The National Capitalism” in which he tackled the state-led economy’s positive sides such as the power plant and gas reserves plans based on new and ongoing discoveries. However, Makram pointed out that Egypt still largely depends on goods’ imports and cannot be part of the global market without having its own produced goods to contribute with.
As for Al-Ahram’s Amr Abdel Samea, social justice and equal wealth distribution remain a problem in the country despite social welfare programmes. “A huge gap between the rich and the poor,” is how Abdel Samea described the situation, directing his criticism to wealthy businesspersons and their supportive media, which defend them even when lying about paying taxes and instead considers the poor “failed options” as an excuse not to fund them.
On Coptic affairs, Al-Shorouk’s editor-in-chief Emad El-Din Hussein asked the question of what was behind the shocking murder of a bishop and who was also an abbot last week, after initial reports suggested it was not a terrorist or sectarian attack. Hussein’s main argument was to counter unproved claims insisting that a Coptic man could not have killed his Coptic fellow or teacher, saying it was only human nature and has happened throughout Islamic history as well.
Meanwhile, in the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, pastor Refaat Fekry picked up Al-Sisi’s “cause” of renewing religious discourse that is shaping millions of minds or instead pushing away youth from religion because some insist that the basis of Islamic religion is war while the exception is peace. Fekry rationalized that a religious hate speech still exists and that it represents real threat to the country’s national security, which is also why the president keeps calling for change.
Lastly, former Minister of Culture Helmy El Namnam also wrote a piece on religious extremism in the same newspaper, in which he presented a series of Koranic verses to prove that Islam did not impose itself on everyone as the sole true religion, instead giving people the right to choose to believe or not to, and that this freedom should not be constrained by terrorist groups on grounds of following correct religious teachings.