Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris accused by journalist of 'inciting hostility' against state for church fire tweet

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris accused by journalist of 'inciting hostility' against state for church fire tweet
A controversial Egyptian journalist accused high-profile business tycoon Naguib Sawiris of "inciting hostility against the state" after a tweet he had posted about the recent church fire.
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
16 August, 2022
The official narrative ruled out a foul play in the Giza church fire. [Getty]

Controversial Egyptian journalist Mostafa Bakry called on the prosecutor-general on Monday evening to open an investigation into a tweet posted by high-profile billionaire and Coptic orthodox Christian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris about the recent church fire, in which he allegedly “incited hostility against the state.”

In an interview with Bakry on Egyptian TEN satellite TV channel talk show host Nashaat El-Deehy, Bakry said that Sawiras "incited hostility against the state" and is "stirring up sedition and disseminating false news."

A major fire had erupted during Sunday mass at Abi Sefein Coptic Orthodox church in Egypt's Giza province, west of the capital Cairo, claiming the lives of 41, including over a dozen children and leaving 16 others injured, mainly from Asphyxiation.

Foul play has been ruled out so far.

"I did not wish to express condolence before knowing the details of the incident. In southern Egypt, we don't accept condolence before we know the details and the perpetrator. God is the avenger! He is the one who will get the victims their rights. My condolence to Egypt as a whole, its Muslims and Christians for whoever worships God is sad," Sawiris tweeted, even though the prosecution-general declared that the preliminary findings showed the fire was caused by a short circuit in a power generator.

Popular Egyptian talk show host Amr Adeeb also questioned the motivation behind Sawiras' tweet.

"I can't understand the tweet…there are sentences I can't grasp…the impression is that he’s sad. Does he know something we don't? We are still waiting for the crime scene investigation report…Does he have information other than the [official narrative]? We will know this in the coming days," Adeeb said in his show broadcast on the Saudi-funded MBC Masr TV channel. 

Christians make up approximately 10 per cent of the population of Muslim-majority Egypt and sectarian violence is not uncommon in Egypt.

Most of Egypt's Christians are Coptic Orthodox and they are among the world's oldest Christian communities.

Violence between communities occasionally erupts, mainly in rural communities in the south. Islamist extremists have also targeted Christians in the past.