Making no reference to developments in Tunisia and insisting that the attack on the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve was an act of terror, President Hosni Mubarak today delivered a speech marking Police Day.
Speaking at the Mubarak Police Academy before an almost exclusively police audience, along with top state officials, Mubarak dedicated the best part of his speech to "the war on terror".
"We have in our hearts and our minds so many hopes and dreams for our nation and our people and we shall not allow the forces of extremism and terror to hamper our march [towards development]," Mubarak said.
The president acknowledged the possible reoccurrence of terror attacks but adamantly committed to "firmly apply the rule of law and to harness all our capacities to win the war on terror".
In line with his developing style of referring to "Copts and Muslims", the president expressed confidence in the commitment of Egyptians of both religions to work with the state to beat terror.
"It is with full confidence in our police forces and with confidence in our institutions and in our people, Copts and Muslims, that we will succeed in our confrontation against terror," Mubarak said.
Meanwhile, President Mubarak made an untypical reference to the role of misguided "religious discourse" and misleading clergymen, writers and intellectuals in promoting sectarian strife in Egypt. He insisted, however — in obvious reference to Coptic communities in the West, especially in the US — that foreign pressure will have no bearing on the style and choices of the Egyptian state in addressing domestic issues. "This is something that would be rejected by the pride of any Egyptian, Copt or Muslim," he stated.
Mubarak committed himself to further measures to boost equal citizenship among all Egyptians. He made no reference, however, to a possible new law to standardise regulations on the building of houses of worship. This law is expected to address huge discrepancies between regulations on the building of mosques and those governing the building of churches.
Meanwhile, the president, who spoke 10 days after the ousting of Tunisian President Zein Al-Abidine Ben Ali, made no reference to developments in Tunis. He did, however, reiterate his commitments to work for more investment, more job opportunities and social justice.
Also absent from the speech was any hint as to his future political plans — specifically whether or not he would run on behalf of the ruling National Democratic Party in the presidential elections scheduled for autumn this year.