Let me begin my stressing that religious extremists were responsible for the attack on the worshippers at the Saints Church in Alexandria, from the suicide bomber who actually carried out this crime to those who planned, funded, aided, and incited this operation.
The story is not as many Egyptians and Arabs believe, namely that the Israeli Mossad was responsible for this operation. This is not because Israel’s hands are clean, for it is a state that specializes in killing others without restraint in order to serve its own purposes. The assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai serves as a fresh reminder of this fact. However, it is illogical and irresponsible on our part to blindly blame everything on Israel just because it is a county that is detested by the entire Muslim World.
Investigations are still in their early stages, and so we must be patient. These investigations may – and I cannot stress this enough – reveal that Israel, or parties within Israel, were behind the Alexandria crime, however they also could uncover that another foreign party was responsible, or that this operation was planned in Osama Bin Laden and [Ayman] al-Zawahiri’s hideout in the mountains of Waziristan, or even by a local extremist group.
Personally, I consider the latter hypothesis to be the most likely in view of the climate of religious extremism that is prevalent among some Egyptian groups today and in light of the religious clashes that have taken place between “some” Muslims and “some” Copts, and there have been a number of well-known previous incidents between the Muslim and Coptic communities in Egypt, particularly in Alexandria. However we must also not forget that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the “Our Lady of Salvation” Church in Baghdad, and had publicly announced that it intended to attack Coptic churches in Egypt, including the Saints Church in Alexandria, after Al Qaeda accused the Coptic Church of detaining two young Coptic women who had converted to Islam.
This hypothesis was also favoured by some of those interested in the phenomenon of religious terrorism, like political analyst Deyaa Rashwan. In his interview with the digital publication Elaph – and despite the fact that Rashwan is widely known for being politically opposed to the policies of the Egyptian regime – he refused to go along with the talk about Mossad infiltrating the Egyptian State [in order to carry out this operation]. Rashwan refused to instantly point the finger of accusation at Mossad merely to justify his rejection of the peace policy adopted by the Egyptian state toward Israel.
Whilst it is true the 1979 Camp David Accords is extremely unpopular with many Egyptians, as well as with the Muslim Brotherhood, of course, and the Nasserites. This is one thing, however wilfully ignoring the truth and trying to connect this unpopular policy with what happened in Alexandria and other cities across the Muslim world is something else.
Commenting on what happened in Alexandria, an Arab writer based in London who opposes Egypt’s policies [in this regard] wrote that what happened is due to Egypt’s position towards peace [with Israel]. He wrote that all of Egypt’s problems could be traced back to the Camp David Accords!
What does the attack on the church in Alexandria have to do with the Camp David Accords? Did religious terrorism in Egypt only come into existence after former President Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel? Can we attribute all religious terrorist incidents that have taken place from then till now to the unpopularity of this peace treaty?
This is nothing more than a crude political analysis of a pure terrorist act.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of thinking that dominates our discourse, and unfortunately this is the product of some of our own intellectuals and elite. This is the reason why we are never able to put our fingers on the source of the problem.