Sunday, June 9, 2013

Egyptian minister of Culture continues series of dismissals

 Egyptian intellectuals occupy the ministry of Culture for the fifth day out of protest against minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz. (Photo Ayman Hafez Ahram Online).

As artists occupy his office for a 5th day, the Egyptian minister of Culture, Alaa Abdel-Aziz, on Sunday continued his campaign of sacking senior officials of his ministry and replacing them by people who are sympathetic towards the Islamic trend. On Sunday it was the turn of  the head of the  National Archives, Abdel-Wahed El-Nabawe, as well as three other high placed officials of the ministry to be sent away.
El Nabawe was told he was sacked by his brand new boss, Khaled Fahmy, a professor of Arabic literature and a known Islamist, who himself was only appointed on 4 June by the minister as a replacement of the head of the Egyptian National Library and Archives (NLA). 
Also on Sunday the head of the Scientific Institutions, Mohammed Sabry El-Daly, the head of the Historical Headquarters, Iman Ezzeddine, and the head of the Quality Control of the ministry, Nevine Mahmoud, were sacked.  
The list of people dismissed by minister Abdel-Aziz is growing fast. Earlier the minister sacked Ines Abdel-Dayem, head of the Egyptian Opera House; Ahmed Mujahid, head of the Egyptian General Book Authority and Salah El-Meligy, head of the Fine Arts Sector. Egypt's intellectuals and artists are outraged by this series of dismissals, which are seen as proof that the minister, with his known affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood,  is Islamizing the cultural sector. On Sunday a group of artists occupied the ministry for the fifth consecutive day. Earlier the Opera cancelled performances in protest, public demonstrations were held in front of the Opera and angry intellectuals blocked to ministry to impede the minister to go home. More actions are to follow. In the meantime also the head of the ministry's foreign relations sector, Professor Camillia Sobhy,  and the head of the Supreme Council for Culture (SCC), Said Tawfiq, resigned out of protest against the actions of the minister.

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