Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government is taking an unorthodox public-relations approach in the aftermath of the New Year's Eve suicide bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria that killed 21 people. The semi-official media organ al-Ahram has featured heartwarming stories of how Egyptian Muslims have rallied to support the Copts, along with slanderous op-eds claiming Israel was behind the massacre.
On Friday, the paper ran a story explaining that "Muslims had offered their bodies as 'human shields'" for Thursday night mass at Coptic churches around Egypt. It said that Muslims made "a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife."
The story follows a series of op-eds in the in the media suggesting Israeli complicity in the Alexandria attack. Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes that those columns have appeared in the state-controlled media accusing Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, with al-Ahram saying that the Mossad had infiltrated al-Qaida and was using Muslims to carry out attacks.
Read about the efforts of Islamists to blame Jews for the church massacre here.