Tuesday’s papers: Sawiris against Coptic president, additional assets frozen

Today’s front-page of the independent daily Al-Shorouk brings attention to the well-known telecommunications businessman Naguib Sawiris, who declared that he does not have any reservations about a Muslim Brotherhood candidate being appointed to the post of Egypt’s president, as long as justice and equality between Muslims and Christians are preserved.

Last Sunday, Sawiris launched a new liberal party called “Free Egyptians,” which aims to realize democracy, gender equality, freedom of religion, empowerment of youth and other principles touted during the 25 January revolution.

The paper quotes Sawiris as pledging to not vote for a Coptic candidate in the upcoming presidential elections because it would provoke sectarian strife in Egyptian society.

At the bottom of the privately-owned Al-Dostour’s front page, it is reported that in the Beheira governorate, security authorities arrested five men who abducted Zeina Efat al-Sadat, the 12-year-old daughter of a former MP and grandniece of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

The privately-owned paper describes details of the kidnapping and says that while the girl was on her way to school at 7:30 am, five gunmen blocked the road to stop the car she was in. They forced the girl into their own car and took her to the Alexandria desert road where they received a LE5 million ransom from the girl’s father.

The authorities were able to retrieve the money after tracing the kidnappers’ calls to the girl’s family, Al-Dostour reports.

In its lead story, the daily Al-Wafd reports that Essam al-Gawahri, who heads Egypt’s Illicit Gains Authority, decided to order the freezing of all assets belonging to Safwat al-Sherif, former secretary general of the National Democratic Party; Zakaria Azmy, former chief of presidential staff; Fathi Sorour, former People’s Assembly speaker; and Mohamed Ibrahim Suleiman, former Minister of Housing.

Last week, the three ex-officials were banned from traveling abroad until investigations into allegations of illegal profiteering were complete. 

The paper adds that the appeal court backed al-Gawahri’s decision to disclose secret accounts and transactions of al-Sherif, Azmy and Sorour and their wives.

Al-Wafd also features a report on Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb condemning the burning and destroying of shrines in mosques.

Al-Tayyeb said that praying in mosques containing shrines is not taboo. He also called on Al-Azhar scholars to take to the streets, mosques and coffee shops to advise Egyptians against following extremist trends.

Last Saturday, a group of Salafis burned the Sidi Ezz Eddin shrine in Monufiya, alleging that Islam forbids building shrines in mosques. Consequently, the Islamic Research Center recently issued a fatwa criminalizing the destruction of shrines.

Al-Shorouk posts a small piece about the reappointment of Zahi Hawass as Minister of Antiquities. The paper says that Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces, met with the renowned Egyptologist to discuss measures that should be adopted to guarantee the safety of antiquities and return stolen artifacts in collaboration with international organizations.

Hawass had resigned as Minister of Antiquities after facing sharp criticism for his ties to the old regime.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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