I skimmed the NYT article yesterday by Michael Slackman on rising sectarian tensions in Egypt and didn’t think much of it before I happened to read an Arabic summary of it in today’s Almasry Alyoum. Let’s compare the two. Here’s the lead from the NY Times:
As Tensions Rise for Egypt’s Christians, Officials Call Clashes Secular
CAIRO — A monastery was ransacked in January. In May, monks there were kidnapped, whipped and beaten and ordered to spit on the cross. Christian-owned jewelry stores were robbed over the summer. The rash of violence was so bad that one prominent Egyptian writer worried it had become “open season” on the nation’s Christians.
Does Egypt face a sectarian problem?
Not according to its security officials, who insist that each dispute represents a “singular incident” tied to something other than faith. In the case of the monastery and the monks, officials said the conflict was essentially a land dispute between the church and local residents.
And now here’s the Almasry Alyoum version (quoting from the English translation):
New York Times: Sectarian tensions in Egypt are complicated, being connected to inflation and unemployment
The American newspaper New York Times said that many Egyptians around Cairo and in the south said that sectarian conflicts often arose over everyday matters — a dispute between farmers, an argument between students — but that once sparked, they deteriorated into sectarian name-calling.
The newspaper indicated in a report yesterday by correspondent Michael Slackman that the sectarian tensions are complicated in Egypt because they are connected to many other challenges burdening the nation, including crushing inflation and high unemployment among the young.
Seems like a fairly big distortion in tone and emphasis if you ask me.