A retired army general says he has filed a court case pushing for Egypt's historic Saint Catherine's Monastery to be demolished and its Greek monks deported on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.Read the rest here.
In May 2012, Ahmed Ragai Attiya obtained 71 administrative orders regarding the demolition of the monastery's multiple churches, monk cells, gardens and other places of interest on the grounds, which he claims were all built in 2006 and thus not historic, according to Ihab Ramzy, the monastery's lawyer.
However, in an interview with private channel ONTV on Thursday, Attiya said that he has now used the 71 orders to file an official demolition suit with Ismailiya's Administrative Court against the monastery and 10 of the Egyptian authorities concerned, including the president, ministers of tourism and antiquities and the governor of South Sinai, where Saint Catherine's is located.
In the same ONTV interview, Attiya levelled a host of accusations against the monastery's monks, alleging that they have changed the names of landmarks in the surrounding area and tried to hide an underground water source known as Moses' Well (Oyun Moussa).
He also took issue with them supposedly raising the Greek flag on Egyptian land and turning the site into an area occupied by foreigners, both which he says are a breach of national security and Egyptian sovereignty.
Most of the Saint Catherine's 37 monks are Greek.