Egypt’s minister of tourism has invited Father Boulos Aweida and the administration of the Grand Hyatt Hotel to a reconciliation dinner on 18 August, after the priest had a humiliating spat with hotel security.
Aweida went to the Grand Hyatt last week to attend a National Unity iftar dinner. When he was passing through security he was harassed by the hotel’s officers, who insisted on searching him and in a way that the priest deemed inappropriate. A frustrated Father Aweida then angrily stripped off his priest’s garb and stood in the hotel lobby for a few minutes wearing only his underwear.
According to Father Aweida, he tried to pass through the security metal detector, but was told repeatedly by hotel security that they will not let him in until he empties out his pockets. The security officer went so far as to accuse Father Aweida of wearing an explosive belt, to which the priest replied that he is not a terrorist, but one of the heroes of the revolution and a member of the Revolutionary Youth Coalition.
After a few angry words, the disgruntled priest sarcastically informed the security officer that his pockets are empty and there is nothing more that he can do other than take his clothes off.
The security officer replied he should take off his clothes if he wants, and Aweida promptly stripped to his white underwear.
The hotel has since denied that they forced Aweida to take his clothes off. Father Aweida insists that his account of the story is accurate.
“They treated me like a foreigner in my own land,” Father Aweida later fumed to the host of the Hayat El Youm TV programme on the El Hayat channel.