Protests in Luxor and Cairo at the Morsi Government’s attempt to scapegoat and remove
the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque, Egypt’s most senior religious leader. This is felt particularly keenly here in Luxor as the Imam is a local man made good – he grew up in Qurna on Luxor’s west bank. He is by all accounts a moderate and enlightened cleric who studied all seven Islamic doctrines including Sunni, Shite, Sufi etc, and was told by his teachers they were all correct. He studied for his PHD at Paris Sorbonne.
Good natured protest is not something new to Luxor, most fridays there are political rallies of one kind of another. Perhaps this one is different in that smaller marches continue, even in Qurna itself, and more are planned if the Islamist government persists in its intentions to sack him – as the one ultimately responsible for schools (500 students recently suffered food poisoning at Cairo university).
There is definitely an ongoing political awakening in Egypt. Good natured and lawful protest is surely a good thing and in my opinion bodes well for the future as people learn to take control of their own destiny, coming together in new institutions and pressure groups to make their feelings known. As a sometime tourist, it certainly doesn’t put me off visiting Luxor. In fact I can’t wait until my next visit, my friend in Qurna promises we can make a courtesy call on the family home of the eminent Imam.
Pictures here from earlier protest in March and blockade of Valley of the Kings in a dispute (now resolved) over rents: