A sense of optimism reigned in Cairo for the start of Ramadan.
Despite economic hardship, Egyptians poured out into streets and cafés on the eve of the holy month to enjoy an atmosphere absent during the recent years of political turmoil.
There is hope that President al-Sisi’s recent election will herald a period of stability.
“We hope that Egypt will be the best country in the world, I think we’re going to start a new life with this Ramadan now the elections are over. We hope it’ll be the beginning of a great new era,” said a young woman in a Cairo café.
“Throughout this month, you feel this is an Egypt without political parties, differences and restrictions, you feel that this is the Egypt you want to see throughout the whole year,” a man added.
Many Egyptians are enjoying a renewed sense of security. A police presence was noticeable in public places, unlike last year.
In the neighbourhood of Al-Hussein in old Cairo a large number of people turned out in squares to pray and buy special food for the month.
In cafés, people listened to Ramadan songs. In shops and markets, they bought lanterns to put in the entrances to their houses. The lantern in Egypt is considered as one of the most important aspects of Ramadan.
Politics is put to one side, although human rights campaigners point out that freedom is not universal – not least for three jailed Al Jazeera TV journalists whose convictions last week for spreading false news sparked international outrage.
Euronews correspondent in Cairo, Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, said:
“Egyptians are considering Ramadan as the beginning of a new phase, to put aside their differences and promote the values of tolerance and love on a social level, hoping that a better tomorrow takes them out of the economic and political crises.”
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