The man went to open new market for Egypt in Iran , it is a great opportunity especially in those extreme bad economic and tourism times. We should be thankful but instead there are hysteria and fear from those future Iranian tourists.
The Islamists are extremely angry from Zaazou’s visit and believe the Iranian tourists will spread Shiism in Egypt and the Salafists are screaming to Morsi “The Shiites are coming , the Shiites are coming” ordering him literality to stop that Shiite touristic invasion in Egypt otherwise they will stand against him till death !!
The liberals too are hysterical about these Iranian tourists as well. They think that brining the Iranian tourists will enforce the religious state in Egypt and that these tourists will be members of the Iranian regime in disguise who came to teach their Egyptian counterparts who control the state.. etc.
I do not know what kind of liberals they are to be honest.I feel that we are dealing here not with liberals but rather with Nationalists. No wonder the Egyptian liberals have failed the test and are not defending the rights of those fellow Egyptian Shiites as they do with the Christians and even the Baha’is.
Already Turkey , the role model of the Muslim brotherhood and its biggest alley after Qatar receives not less than 2 million Iranian tourist annually. I do not see that Turkey has turned in to a Shiite state or even Iranian follower in the region !!
The Iranian tourists will not transfer the Iranian Islamic republic experience but they will bring money. You need money now. For God sake Israeli tourists come and go freely in South Sinai for decades and people are hysterical about future Iranian tourists.
If we are speaking about true Religious tourism in Egypt : Two main target segments should be reached and they are the Christians and the Muslim Shiites. The trip of the Holy family in Egypt and the Holy sites of Ahl El Bayt in Cairo are the main attractions. Of course this can be achieved if you are tolerant enough as a society which is not the case especially now with all that sick polarization and hate.
Needless to say to see this hysteria from those Iranian tourists who have not shown yet in Cairo , I can not stop thinking about Egyptian Shiites. Egypt’s forgotten and less popular Muslims who are destined to face hell whether in time of Mubarak or in time of Morsi.
It was one of the most ironic moments last month when Sheikh of Al Azhar Ahmed El Tayib actually stood besides Ahmadinejad demanding him to give the Iranian Sunnis and Ahvaz their rights where as he himself , an Egyptian official does not recognize any rights for Egyptian Shiites at all !!
Sheikh Ahmed El Tayib already forgot that the current Constitution approved actually does not recognize Egyptian Muslim Shiites at all. It clearly states in article 219 which was highlighted by human rights organizations that only the Sunni Islamic doctrines are recognized by the Egyptian State as sources of legalization.1
Yes we got Egyptian Shiite population in Egypt and they will not go any where or disappear as they are Egyptians like you and me. According to foreign estimations there are nearly 1% of Egyptian Muslim population and some think that it is more than that as some Sunni Egyptian Muslims do convert from time to time.
I have done some extensive research about Egyptian Shiites and I found out that like any other group you will find the liberal , the religious extremist and the nationalists among them.They are not monsters who are serving some hidden Iranian agenda. Some of them served in their country’s army including veterans who fought in 1973. They are everywhere from Alexandria to Aswan. Some of them if not most of them hide their true religious faith to avoid trouble. In the end they are Egyptians who are in desperate need to feel that they are not alien or dangerous clandestine society. They are Egyptians who are seeking the rights of full citizenship.
Unfortunately only in times of moderation and enlightenment you will find attempts to bridge that gap between Sunni and Shiite and unfortunately we live in times of radicalizations whether in Egypt or Iran or in general. People forget that for centuries Egypt had been ruled by Shiite dynasty that founded our Capital “Cairo” and our great mosque “Al Azhar” in some of history’s biggest ironies if you think about it.
The Egyptian Shiites file is extremely big and sad as it does not deal only with regional politics but with sad sectarian religious wrong ideas.
Anyhow I will end my short post with something I heard from one of the top and controversial Shiite figures in Egypt : We have faith in the Egyptians , the real Egyptians who are not radical but moderate non Sectarian Egyptians”
1. Explanatory article for the second in the Egyptian constitution.