Heads of 2 Student Unions Decline Al-Sisi’s ‘Iftar’ Invitations

Two years have passed since al-Sisi took power after a military coup in 2013 against the first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi. He started his third year in the presidency by organizing a Ramadan iftar (fast-breaking) under the name of the “Egyptian Family”. The iftar was attended by al-Sisi’s ministers as well as a group of media figures and actors. Also, Students’ representatives were also invited to attend the iftar, but some of them declined the invitation.

In this context, the head of the student union at Helwan University- Mohammed Morsi Mohammed -has published a challenging post on the Facebook after he declined al-Sisi’s invitation to the “Egyptian Family” iftar event. The post reads: “I have received your invitation as the head of the student union of Helwan University, the title that has saved me from being a prisoner,” adding, “and I believe now that my words will not allow me to spend the rest of Ramadan with my family.” He addressed al-Sisi, saying, “The Egyptian family fast Ramadan in agony and sadness as their relatives are detained in your prisons.” He continued, “The Egyptian family fast and break their fasting in front of police stations and prosecutions to know more about the destiny of a son or a father who didn’t commit any crime except being against your vision, and you have confessed before that 90 million people aren’t satisfied with it.” “The Egyptian family is expecting a bullet from the ministry of interior or a severe verdict from the justice platform or to escape from autocracy, coercion, and high prices.”

In a similar stance, Mohammed Salah -the head of the student union of Assiut University- wrote on his Facebook account,” I have received a letter from the Ministry of Higher Education to attend an iftar in the presence of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,”  adding, “but what I really know is that there is no room for discussions, debates or dialogues with the students.” “If I know that there would be a space for debate, I would have attended despite my complete opposition to your entire regime, but the invitation won’t add a value to the students as it is actually representing the regime’s continuous silencing policy.”

This controversial iftar event of Sisi came while there are around 40,000 Egyptian families who have got either a son or a husband or a wife in the tyrant’s prisons. Many of the detainees are students, who were described more than once by Al-Sisi as the main source of the country’s renaissance.