A week after Egypt’s elected president was ousted by the military, excitement among those calling for his downfall is turning to distrust. Some are now blaming fellow Arabs from other countries for the violence that has followed.
Deadly clashes between ousted leader Mohamed Mursi’s supporters and the army have stoked paranoia that trouble is being stirred up by outsiders, especially from Syria and Gaza, home to Islamist groups seen as close to Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
“Syrians, Palestinians, Israelis, you can find them on every street corner. They’re here to exploit the chaos,” said Yusuf Al-Desouki, waiter at a busy coffee shop in downtown Cairo.
“Yeah!” chimed in 21-year-old customer Mohammed al-Nahsi. “I heard two Palestinians on the metro – they were hatching a plan against the military.”
A flurry of media reports and government assertions that foreigners have infiltrated Egypt and are taking part in violence have helped sow widespread distrust.