Posted October 15, 2020 07:00:34When the Islamic State group (IS) launched its attack on Cairo’s Grand mosque in August, it sent a clear message to Egypt’s rulers: it could be you or us.
The attack has triggered an outpouring of grief and anger among the country’s Muslim minority, and raised concerns over the safety of mosques and other sites of worship.
At the same time, there have been attacks elsewhere in Egypt, with dozens of attacks on mosques in the past year or so.
“This is not just an Egyptian problem,” said Dr Mohamed Ahmed, the head of the Cairo Institute for Political and International Studies (CIPES) and a former diplomat.
“We have a much larger problem here, and it is a global problem.
It is a question of who is going to control it.”
In the past week, three attacks have struck Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which is the countrys main Muslim academic institution, as well as the main Al-Masry Al-Youm television channel and a popular book store.
The first attack on Al-Asrar was carried out on October 3, a day before the funeral of the imam of the mosque who was killed by a police officer.
It targeted the building’s roof, killing two people and injuring a third.
It was a prelude to an attack on the same mosque a few days later.
The next attack came on October 14, when police stormed the Cairo Al-Zahraa mosque and killed four attackers, including a young man who was shot dead.
A total of six people were killed.
“The problem here is that these attacks are directed at the institutions of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters,” Ahmed said.
“The Egyptian state has been at the forefront of this conflict, and has tried to keep it that way.
But these attacks will not be stopped.”
Al-Azry University, a Sunni Muslim university, has been the target of a number of attacks, including at least two suicide attacks on its campus and an attempted bombing at the building.
Two other Sunni Muslim institutions in the country, the Cairo University of Islamic Studies and the Cairo College of Oriental Languages, have also been the subject of attack by ISIL.
The Al-Ahram Al-Sharqiya newspaper, which often criticises the Egyptian state for failing to keep the country safe, described the attack on Egypt’s most important mosque as a “premeditated attack”.
“The attack is a sign of the growing influence of ISIL in Egypt and its ambitions to create a caliphate and a caliphate of death,” it said.
Egypt’s authorities have denied the claim.