Worldview, NPR: Ahmed Rehab on the Rising Tensions in Egypt and the Upcoming Elections

In the post Arab spring era, Egypt’s fate hinges on whether its diverse factions can peacefully coexist. This Sunday, however, that peace seemed  unlikely. At least 25 people were killed when Coptic Christians clashed with Muslims and Egyptian armed forces in central Cairo.

Activists say armored vehicles sped into the crowd to disperse protesters. Citing testimony from a hospital doctor, that at least 14 of the victims were shot and three were crushed to death.

The attacks, the worst violence Egypt has seen since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February, have prompted a storm of criticism. Some Egyptians accuse the military, which has assumed control during the transition to democratic elections, of continuing the repressive tactics of the old regime.

We sit down with Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago. During the Arab Spring, we turned to Ahmed frequently while he was participating in the Tahrir Square demonstrations. He just got back from another trip to Egypt, his third since the fall of Mubarak. Ahmed tells us about the state of military rule and sectarian violence as Egypt inches closer to next year’s historic presidential election.


A man mourns the death of relative lost when the Egyptian army clashed with Coptic Christians.