[These are my answers to questions by Javier MÃ©ndez of El Mercurio newspaper on the Attack on St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo.]
Q. Who could be the perpetrators of this attack against the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo and for what purpose they did?
A. Although ISIS supporters have celebrated the attack on social media, no group has yet taken credit for the attack. It is generally understood that the motive is anger by opponents of the military coup that overthrew elected President Mohamed Morsi over the Copts’ support for the Al Sissi regime, but the Muslim Brotherhood and the militant Hasm and Liwaa’ al-Thawra groups have all condemned the bombing.
Q. What could be the political effects in Egypt?
A. The Copts are already showing splits in their support of Al-Sissi as he has failed to protect them from increasing attacks against them. A witness to this attack was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Where was the security? There were five or six security cars stationed outside so where were they when 12 kg of TNT was carried inside? They keep telling us national unity, the crescent with the cross … This time we will not shut up.”
Q. Is the Islamic State (ISIS) a real danger for the regime of Al Sissi?
A. I don’t think ISIS can establish itself in Egypt in the same way it has in Syria and Iraq, but it can be an additional factor in the destabilization of the country.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute