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148 items tagged "Muslim Brotherhood"

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Open letter to the Egyptian president: If you can’t fulfil your promises step down!

Category: Press Releases
Created on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 11:56
Open letter to the Egyptian president:
 
If you can’t fulfil your promises step down!
 
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi -Reuters
 
President Al-Sisi
For the first time since your installation as president, Copts in the United States protested the persecution of Copts in Egypt. The protest in Washington, DC on August 2 against your regime was symbolic; no one really expects a response from the Obama administration. If the past is an indication, the American president is deaf to the cries of suffering Christians.  
 
After Egypt’s 2013 mass uprising where more than 30 million men and women fighting for freedom stood up against the fascist regime of the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammad Morsi, you appeared as a “savior” -- promising democracy, freedom of religion and law and order. 
 
Egyptians trusted you and your words, not the least so, because of the military uniform you were wearing. In spite of Egypt’s adverse experience with past military rulers, you were seen as a hope not only for Copts but for a new Egypt!
 
Now, after two years in office, the actions of your government are the same as past regimes; we see rampant attacks on Copts, journalists silenced, “aurora” police visits for speaking out, increased poverty, and the Al-Noor Salafi religious political party intact (operating illegally) influencing policy. Your government abhors law and order; citizens cry out for justice. You have not taken any action to clean either the corrupted courts or the schools. 
 
Mr. President 
The homeless victims speaking to you from the video linked here never received a response from authorities, “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4joe-SQdyE”, and going to the gates of your palace seeking justice has brought them no satisfaction. Promises made to them by your office have not been fulfilled, and this Christian family continues to live in fear. Jihadists firebombed their home and 25 family members were displaced, forced to find shelter in a barn stall. They escaped without belongings or food. 
 
One year ago you stood inside Al Azhar Institute facing its leaders; with courage you asked for a renewal of Islamic discourse. However, we only see evidence of the opposite as scholars are arrested for adhering to the precepts of your lofty speech. In fact, we see change for the worse. 
 
What follows is a list of violent crimes against Coptic Christians – a few chosen from a much longer list of occurrences – which were reported for last month alone in just three regions. Print media, blogs, word-of-mouth and YouTube videos are their sources which also blame mosque-instigated hate circulating throughout the country.  
 
- July 17, 2016: Islamic attack against two Coptic priests in Al Minya County resulted in the murder of a priest’s brother and serious injury to three others.
- July 14, 2016: A gang of three hundred men attacked Copts’ homes in the town of Abu Yacub (Al Minya) due to false rumors of converting home to a church resulting in the destruction of five houses leaving five families homeless.
 
- July 11, 2016: Egyptian police arbitrarily closed down the building of the “Andalus Center for Religious Tolerance” alleged to have published false information concerning discrimination against Copts in Egypt. 
 
- July 9, 2016: A man stabbed two Coptic women leaving a church in Zakazeek while shouting Allahu Akber.
 
- July 7, 2016: A Kindergarten building in Samalut was set on fire due to false rumors that Copts are planning to convert it into a church.
 
- July 5, 2016: The murder of a nun and injury of two others when open gunfire targeted their car in Cairo.
 
- July 4, 2016: Coptic pharmacist in Tanta murdered by throat slitting.     
 
- July 2, 2016: A 15 year old daughter of a Coptic priest in Suhag was assaulted by a knife attacker who was scared off by witnesses. 
 
- July 2, 2016: A16 year old girl was kidnapped by Muslim men (incident reported to local police 2553/2016)   
 
There remains a sense now that you are not in control of the country, and many are disillusioned enough to believe you never were. Whichever is true, the same dismal conditions remain for the country. Service to the deep state due to your ineptitude or worse yet, your intentions, denounces the people’s call to freedom on which you rose to power. 
 
If you can’t fulfil your promises to the people please step down. 
 
Regards,
Dr. Ashraf Ramelah
Founder and President
Voice of the Copts

Former Egyptian President Morsi Appeals His Death Sentence

Category: News
Created on Monday, 17 August 2015 10:23
Morsi Death SentenceDeposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has filed an appeal against his two sentences of death and life in prison.
 
According to Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsud, one of Morsi's defense lawyers, told Egyptian media that the court ruling was based on flawed evidence.
 
Morsi, who represented the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected in 2012 and overthrown in the 2013 military coup. This past June he was sentenced to death for allegedly participating in violence against the police during the 2011 uprising against dictator Hosni Mubarak. Morsi was also sentenced to life in prison for espionage.
 
Amnesty International called Morsi's trial "grossly unfair."
 
Current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has acted strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood. Under his rule the group, including its Palestinian branch Hamas, has been outlawed and hundreds of its members and supports have been imprisoned. Seven have been executed.

Please help save the next generation of Egypt's Christians

Category: Press Releases
Created on Thursday, 18 June 2015 07:42
Dear friends of VOICE OF THE COPTS,
 
If you read our pages each day and listen to the news, you will learn quickly about the relentless campaign of terror against the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East -- the pillaging, burning, raping, the selling of young Christian girls into slavery, the murdering of souls simply because they are Christian souls.
 
The crimes are unspeakable. Along with many martyred individuals we are seeing the extermination of Christian communities that have stood for centuries.
 
Arab SpringWho Are The Copts
 
Egypt's Coptic community is one of the largest of Middle Eastern Christians. Their quiet suffering has endured for millennia, but survived they have. However, with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and other militant Islamic groups, we have seen their churches destroyed and their faithful undergo mass persecution. The news media blunts the swords and the West appears helpless or just ignorant as a multitude of Christian lives perish.
 
Copts are by far the largest Christian community in the Middle East.
Ninety-five percent of Copts in Egypt are Orthodox and the remaining population is divided between Catholic and Protestant denominations. Copts living in Egypt represent between 15-20% of the total population of Egypt today.
 
 
Please help educate the West and DONATE TODAY!
 
Many Copts are leaving Egypt just to survive. Even as I write this, they are fleeing anywhere they can to find refuge. Many who have been victims of this persecution and forced to flee are young. Their entire futures are at risk because families have been torn apart or killed and their homes decimated. Some of these young people are children of neighbors or friends from my childhood in Egypt.
 
As you know, my name is Ashraf Ramelah and my organization is VOICE OF THE COPTS. I was born in Egypt and grew up in Cairo. I remember a time when life for Christians there was difficult and full of challenges, but was still free from the reign of terror that has been so recently unleashed on my brothers and sisters and their children, young or unborn. Those days of relative peace are long gone.
 
It is my mission through VOTC, to provide a place of safety and security for fellow Copts, especially the young. We all need to raise awareness, to write and speak out against the persecution of Christians around the globe. There is a growing concern.
 
Please help save the next generation of Egypt's Christians and DONATE NOW!
 
You can help us now to do more than speak. You can help us develop a solution called CASA FUTURA, supported in part by the European Union. CASA FUTURA is a planned live-in facility in Rome, Italy.
 
Donate here to help CASA FUTURA become a reality
 
Casa Futura will be a refuge, a safe haven for some of those who have suffered this terror and whose families have perished. We will help them start a new life in Italy and other European locations and support them as these young people adjust to a safe life in strange countries, but  where they can be free to worship Christ in the way their parents would have wished for them. In a safe environment their Coptic heritage can thrive!
 
We need your help today. I appeal to you to join this life-saving effort.
 
Please DONATE TODAY!
 
Faithfully,
 
Ashraf Ramelah
Voice of the Copts
President and founder

Egyptian Court Upholds Mohammed Morsi Death Sentence

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 10:28
court upheld the death sentenceAn Egyptian court upheld the death sentence handed down to former President Mohammed Morsi on Tuesday.
 
The sentence was originally given last month, but a final ruling on it had been postponed until June 16 pending consultations with Egypt's Grand Mufti, the country's highest religious authority.
 
Five other leading Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood - including Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie - also had their death sentences upheld by the court.
 
In addition to the death sentence ruling, the court also confirmed a lifetime prison sentence for Morsi over charges of espionage on behalf of Hamas and other foreign terrorist groups.
 
Morsi's was sentenced to death along with dozens of others over a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising against the rule of his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. 
 
In 2012, Morsi was elected president, but was deposed just one year later by yet another popular uprising, backed by the Egyptian military.
 
Egypt's current leadership, headed by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, has cracked down hard on Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch - Hamas - accusing them of fomenting armed rebellions against the government, particularly in the restive Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel.

Will the Sharia save Morsi?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 11:32
death-sentenceJust three weeks ago the Egyptian court sentenced Egypt’s former Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi, to the death penalty after evidence presented from Egyptian intelligence documents proved him guilty of spying for Qatar, Iran and Turkey.  
 
There are more than one hundred names on the list with him who are all convicted of the same crimes: murdering protesters, transferring top secret military documents to foreign countries, and burning the museum library which destroyed rare manuscripts and ancient artifacts.  
 
Included on the death-penalty list is Mohamed Badie, the former Muslim Brotherhood spiritual head and his two deputies, Khairat El-Shater and Mahmud Ezzat, as well as Yousef Al Qaradawy, Hamas’ spiritual leader now living in Qatar.  
As required by Egyptian law, the Egyptian court directly transmitted the list of the sentenced to the Grand Mufti of Cairo for his pronouncement of the Sharia opinion (approval) on the court’s verdict and sentencing. This past week, a few hours before the court resumed on June 2, a sealed envelope was passed to the court containing the Grand Mufti’s decision.  
 
The court postponed the June 2 proceedings until June 16, and the envelope remains sealed at this moment.  Some say the court did so to protect the country and President Al-Sisi who was in Germany on June 2
 
 -- waiting for his return in case violence erupts as a result of the announcement.   
 
What are the chances that the Mufti has approved the death penalty? After all, the hundred or so Morsi aides and accomplices condemned to death along with the former president are guilty of nothing more than consistency with the cleric’s ideological and religious views.  
 
If the death penalty is not approved and the civil court ignores the disapproval and goes forward to implement the death penalty, this could mean that the court is secured by the backing and protection of the President in order to serve justice. This in turn reveals that Al-Sisi is truly willing and able to go forward with cleaning corruption and rolling back religious extremism in an effort to reform the country.  
 
But Al-Sisi is a mystery. He recently gave a statement to the German press indicating his agreement with the official story of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood wherein Morsi was elected fairly and democratically and won with 55 percent of the vote. This is very odd since Al-Sisi’s own legitimacy as the people’s president rests on the opposite view -- the well-known truth that Morsi became president through corrupt elections, violence, fraud, and outside interference.  
 
The second alternative would be for the civil court to comply with the Grand Mufti’s disapproval of the death sentences, subjecting itself to the authority of the religious clerics which is current practice. In an unreformed Egypt this can be expected from the court. 
 
If we find that the Mufti has approved the death sentences, we are experiencing Al- Sisi’s power for the first time within his term of office and know as well that he is genuine.  If so, the promise of modern reform has real potential, and Al-Sisi will have succeeded in spite of outside pressures (Merkel, Obama, and the CIA), Egypt’s political legacy (Mubarak, Sadat, and Nasser) and religious ultra-conservatives threatening secular initiatives (Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Ahzar Institute).  
 
The Coptic minority remains under the same pressures today as during previous administrations ruling Egypt. Muslim supremacies prevail, often with violence, against the sub-class within Egypt’s population. Al-Sisi, the man and the president, is yet a sign of hope for the country – Muslim and Christian watch Al-Sisi teetering between positions usually by omissions but not defaulting to the comfortable pattern of his predecessors.

Former Morsi Aide Jailed for Three Years

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 12:17
behind barsA Cairo criminal court on Wednesday jailed deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi's former chief of staff for three years, after he was convicted of abusing his powers, AFP reported.
 
The man, Refaa al-Tahtawi had been charged with hiring someone banned from public service, a court official said.
 
Tahtawi had given a job to a man convicted of belonging to a terrorist group and of setting fire to several video clubs in the capital.
 
The man, who had been sentenced in the 1990s to 15 years in prison, was himself jailed for a year on Wednesday for having accepted the appointment.
 
Since the Egyptian army ousted Morsi, there has been a crackdown on Brotherhood supporters in the country.
 
Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of alleged Brotherhood supporters to death in recent months, many in mass trials condemned by foreign governments and rights groups as violating international law.
 
Morsi is on several trials in Egypt and is charged with, among other things, endangering national security, inciting the killings of opposition protesters and working with Lebanese and Palestinian Arab groups to carry out terror attacks in Egypt.

Egypt Names 18 Muslim Brotherhood Members as Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 12:49
Brotherhood behind barsEgypt's top prosecutor on Sunday named 18 Muslim Brotherhood members, including the group's leader and his deputy, as terrorists, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
 
In a statement, chief prosecutor Hisham Barakat said the decision follows a February court ruling that convicted Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, his deputy Khairat el-Shater, the head of the group's political party Saad el-Katatni and others of orchestrating violence in 2013 that killed 11 people and wounded over 90 outside their office.
 
The clashes were at the start of mass protests against President Mohammed Morsi, also a member of the group, and days before the military ousted him.
 
Badie, el-Shater and el-Katatni along with senior leaders Mohammed el-Beltagy, Essam el-Erian and nine others were sentenced to life in prison. Another four were sentenced to death. The sentences can be appealed, noted AP.
 
But the new law, passed in February, allows prosecutors to freeze assets of the designated terrorists, barring them from public life or travel for renewable three-year periods based on the preliminary verdict and with the approval of a panel of judges.
 
The law also broadens the state's definition of terrorism to include anyone who threatens public order "by any means."
 
Since the Egyptian army ousted Morsi in July 2013, there has been a crackdown on Brotherhood supporters in the country.
 
Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of alleged Brotherhood supporters to death in recent months, many in mass trials condemned by foreign governments and rights groups as violating international law.
 
The law passed in February drew criticism from rights groups who charged that it expands the state arsenal of legislation empowering authorities to go after political opponents with few, if any, options to redress miscarriages of justice.
 
The government says it needs the law in its campaign against an expanding insurgency by terrorist groups, including one that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group fighting in Iraq and Syria.
 
The government blames the Brotherhood for the violence, saying the group is seeking to destabilize the government after Morsi's ouster. The group denies the charges.
 
Brotherhood leader Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A video of him released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.

Egypt Executes Muslim Brotherhood Supporter - Update with video

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 08 March 2015 20:04
islamists-roofEgypt on Saturday executed a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood for a murder committed during riots in mid-2013, Al Jazeera reported.
 
The execution marked the first death sentence carried out against a supporter of the banned Muslim Brotherhood under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
 
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Interior Ministry said that Mahmoud Hassan Ramadan Abdel-Nabi had been hanged for an incident where children were thrown from a building during protests in 2013 against the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi.
 
Security sources have described Ramadan as a "radical Islamist" who is not officially a Brotherhood member, according to Al Jazeera.
 
Since the Egyptian army ousted the Brotherhood's Morsi in July 2013, there has been a crackdown on Brotherhood supporters in the country.
 
Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of alleged Brotherhood supporters to death in recent months, many in mass trials condemned by foreign governments and rights groups as violating international law.
 
Saturday's execution came a month after Egypt's high court upheld the death sentence against Ramadan. Most of the other death sentences are still under review in a complex system of legal appeals.
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In one of the most dramatic scenes of the upheaval following Morsi's fall captured on video, Ramadan threw someone off a rooftop during clashes in Alexandria's Sidi Gaber district. An Al-Qaeda flag was seen tucked into the back of Ramadan's trousers.
 
57 others were sentenced to 15-25 years in the case, according to Al Jazeera.
 
Last week, an Egyptian court sentenced top Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including the group's spiritual leader Mohammed Badie, to life in prison, for the killings of police officers and civilians during an attack on the group's Cairo headquarters in June 2013.

'I'm Still Egypt's President', Insists Morsi as New Trial Begins

Category: News
Created on Monday, 16 February 2015 13:28
Mohammed Morsi in courtFormer Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi was on Sunday placed on trial on charges of endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar, but he once again declared that he does not recognize the court’s authority.
 
Morsi, who was toppled by the army in 2013 after mass protests against his rule, insisted that he was still Egypt’s legitimate president, Reuters reported from Cairo.
 
“This court does not represent anything to me,” declared Morsi, who was on trial with 10 other people. The maximum penalty if he is convicted is death.
 
The former Islamist president is facing several trials in Egypt.  In one trial he is being accused of inciting the killings of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
 
Another of Morsi’s trials cites his role in a 2011 jailbreak which saw the deaths of several police officers. A fourth trial will be held over charges of insulting the judiciary. 
 
In yet another one he is accused, along with 35 others, of working with Lebanese and Palestinian Arab groups to carry out terror attacks in Egypt.
 
The trial which began Sunday revolves around allegations that Morsi leaked secret documents to Qatar and its satellite news channel Al Jazeera.
 
Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar, has been called "the Muslim Brotherhood channel" and has been blamed for stirring up much of the violence that has rocked the Middle East in recent years and is often referred to as the “Arab Spring.” 
 
Relations between Qatar and Egypt have been icy since July 2013 when the army overthrew Morsi and launched a security crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Lately, however, Qatar and Egypt have been trying to restore their ties. In December, Qatar declared its support for Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, despite his crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Sisi later met with an envoy from the Gulf emirate, and Al-Jazeera also shut down its Egypt channel, quieting a major source of tension between the two countries.

Egypt Court Orders Retrial for 36 Brotherhood Supporters

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:33
Muslim Brotherhood An Egyptian court on Wednesday ordered the retrial of 36 supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, who were sentenced to death in a mass trial last year that included the group’s leader, judicial sources said, according to Reuters.
 
The 36 were among 183 sentenced to death by a criminal court in the southern Minya province last June. The other defendants, including the Brotherhood’s General Guide Mohammed Badie, were tried in absentia. The court gave no reason for the retrial.
 
Badie and the other defendants were charged in connection with violence near Minya in August 2013 following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi a month earlier. One police officer was killed in the violence.
 
The Brotherhood leader was under arrest in Cairo during the trial and was not transferred to the Minya court for security reasons. He is serving a life sentence in a Cairo jail in a separate case, noted Reuters.
 
Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A video of him released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.
 
The Brotherhood has faced the toughest crackdown in its history since Morsi’s removal, with thousands of Brotherhood supporters having been jailed. By contrast, Figures from the Hosni Mubarak era have been released and new laws curtailing political freedoms have raised fears among activists that the old leadership is back.
 
The rise of mass convictions in Egypt has been described by the United Nations as "unprecedented".
 
The United States and the European Union have decried the mass convictions as well, but Egypt rejected the criticism, terming it “unacceptable interference in the judiciary affairs”.

Egypt Releases One of Three Detained Al-Jazeera Reporters

Category: News
Created on Monday, 02 February 2015 09:13
behind barsA reporter for Al-Jazeera English was released Sunday from an Egyptian prison and deported, after more than a year behind bars, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
 
His two Egyptian colleagues remain jailed in a case widely condemned as a sham by human-rights groups, the report noted.
 
Australian Peter Greste was whisked away on a flight to Cyprus. His release came as a welcome surprise to fellow reporters and activists who spent months pressing for his freedom.
 
At the same time, rights groups and Greste's Qatar-based broadcaster called on Egypt to release the other two defendants in the case.
 
Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohammed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed were arrested in December 2013 over their coverage of the violent crackdown on Islamist protests following the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi.
 
Egyptian authorities accused the three of providing a platform for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, now declared a terrorist organization. Authorities provided no concrete evidence, noted AP, and the journalists and their supporters insist they were doing their jobs during a time of violent upheaval.
 
The three were seen as having been caught up in a regional power struggle between Egypt and Qatar, which funds Al-Jazeera and had been a strong backer of Morsi. Greste's release follows a thawing of ties between Cairo and Doha.
 
A Qatari envoy recently met with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the first such meeting since he was elected in June.
 
Al-Sisi’s office said Egypt hoped the meeting, which was attended by a Saudi royal envoy, was the beginning of a "new era" that puts the past disagreements between the two countries behind.
 
Egypt has accused Al-Jazeera in general, and its Egypt affiliate, Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, in particular, of doing Doha's bidding by serving as Islamists' mouthpiece at a time of a ferocious crackdown on their ranks.
 
The station denies any bias, saying it is simply covering Islamist protests, but recently shut down its Egypt channel as Qatar and Egypt grow closer.
 
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who had been negotiating for Greste's release, said that journalist had told her by telephone from Egypt that he was desperate to return to his family in the Australian city of Brisbane after spending 400 days in custody.
 
"He was immensely relieved and he was desperate to come home to Australia and reunite with his family," Bishop told reporters in Sydney, according to AP.
 
"From my discussion with him, he was very keen to be back on a beach and lying in the sun in Australia," she said.
 
Greste had been given short notice that he was being released "unconditionally," Bishop said.
 
Canada welcomed the "positive developments" and said it was hopeful that Fahmy's case would be "resolved shortly," according to a statement from the office of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular.

Qatar Expels Hamas Chief Khaled Mashaal

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 10:29
Khaled Meshaal0As Qatar continues its shift away from the Muslim Brotherhood and its Gaza-offshoot Hamas in favor of stronger ties with Egypt, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal was expelled from the country on Tuesday along with Muslim Brotherhood members.
 
Mashaal and the Muslim Brotherhood members are likely on their way to Turkey according to the report, which appeared in a Hamas-run news agency and was cited by CNN.
 
It was rumored last September that Mashaal was to be expelled from Qatar, rumors which Hamas at the time denied, but which came after Qatar expelled seven senior Muslim Brotherhood members in an effort to close ever growing gaps with Egypt.
 
For its part Turkey, also a leading sponsor of Hamas like Qatar, said it would welcome the seven leaders.
 
Qatar has likewise in the past threatened Mashaal with expulsion; last August during Operation Protective Edge, a senior member of the Palestinian Authority (PA) said Hamas chose to breach one of the many ceasefires with Israel due to a Qatari threat to expel Mashaal.
 
The source reported that Qatar had pushed Hamas to demand it play an active role in Cairo truce talks, a proposal which Egypt refused, stipulating that Qatar apologize for its policies as the leading sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar specifically stated it would force Mashaal to leave if Hamas agreed to the Egyptian truce proposal in its structure at the time.
 
Likewise last month it was reported that Qatar had informed Hamas it would temporarily cut its funding for the terror group to cultivate ties with Egypt, reports that Hamas denied.
 
Cutting funding would be part of active steps Qatar has been taking to solidify improved relations with Egypt, after years of tension due to Qatar's support of Muslim Brotherhood.
 
As part of those steps of rapprochement, Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera news network last month shut down its Egypt channel, easing a source of tension as Egypt has accused the news source of being a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Just two days earlier, a Qatari envoy met with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the first such meeting since he was elected in June.
 
Qatar's support for Hamas has led to calls to stop Qatar from hosting the World Cup in 2022 unless it ceases its funding of terrorism.

Egyptian Court Orders Retrial for Al-Jazeera Reporters

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 03 January 2015 06:03
Three Al Jazeera JournalistsEgypt's top court on Thursday ordered a retrial of three Al-Jazeera reporters whose imprisonment on charges of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood triggered global outrage, but kept them in custody pending a new hearing, reported AFP.
 
Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed of the broadcaster's English service were detained in December 2013 for spreading false information.
 
Greste and Fahmy each got seven years, and Mohamed was jailed for ten.
 
"The Court of Cassation has accepted their appeal and ordered a retrial," Greste's lawyer Amr al-Deeb said Thursday, according to AFP.
 
The defendants were not at the hearing, which lasted just 30 minutes.
 
Hopes for their release have grown since a thaw in diplomatic relations between Egypt and Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based.
 
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Qatar has been taking active steps to solidify improved relations with Egypt, after years of tension due to Qatar's support of Muslim Brotherhood.
 
A Qatari envoy recently met with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the first such meeting since he was elected in June.
 
Al-Sisi’s office said Egypt hoped the meeting, which was attended by a Saudi royal envoy, was the beginning of a "new era" that puts the past disagreements between the two countries behind.
 
"I hope the reconciliation efforts between Egypt and Qatar continue for the sake of my brother and his colleagues... who are paying the price of a political crisis," Adel Fahmy told reporters.
 
The reporters, who authorities say lacked proper accreditation, were sentenced in June for aiding the Brotherhood after the army ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
 
The Brotherhood, which saw electoral success after the overthrow of longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011, has since been declared a "terrorist organization" in Egypt.
 
Egypt has accused Al-Jazeera in general, and its Egypt affiliate, Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, in particular, of doing Doha's bidding by serving as Islamists' mouthpiece at a time of a ferocious crackdown on their ranks.
 
The station denies any bias, saying it is simply covering Islamist protests, but recently shut down its Egypt channel as Qatar and Egypt grow closer.

Egypt's Sisi Meets Qatari Envoy

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 24 December 2014 17:54
Sisi Meets Qatari EnvoyEgypt said Saturday it aims to end differences with Qatar, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with an envoy from the Gulf emirate, reports AFP.
 
Ties between Cairo and Doha deteriorated after Sisi, who was then the army chief, ousted Mohammed Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood movement is backed by Qatar.
 
Since Morsi's ouster in July last year, a crackdown overseen by Sisi against the Brotherhood has left hundreds dead.
 
Qatar repeatedly denounced Sisi's ouster of Morsi and it still provides shelter for some Brotherhood leaders who fled Egypt.
 
The crackdown led to a months-long diplomatic spat pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, which all supported the ouster of Morsi.
 
In an unprecedented development, the three nations had recalled their ambassadors from Doha back in March, in protest against Qatar's support for the Islamist movement, then returned their diplomatic staff to Qatar in November.
 
Earlier this month, at a reconciliation summit hosted by Riyadh, Qatar joined its Gulf neighbors in supporting Egypt under Sisi.
 
"Egypt looks forward to a new era that ends past disagreements," Sisi's office said after he met with Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdel Rahman Al-Thani, a special envoy of Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Qatar Supports Sisi's Egypt Despite Crackdown on Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 09:13
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi -ReutersQatar on Tuesday joined its neighbors in supporting Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, despite his crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Qatar has been a longtime supporter.
 
According to AFP, leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, in their final statement, announced their "full support to Egypt" and the "political program of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi".
 
"We believe that a strong Egypt is in the interest of all Arabs and especially for GCC states," Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah told a press conference at the end of the summit.
 
Convening the Doha summit, which had been shortened to one day, was made possible only by last-minute Kuwaiti mediation that succeeded in resolving a dispute between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain with Qatar over the Brotherhood.
 
In an unprecedented development, the three nations had recalled their ambassadors from Doha back in March, in protest against Qatar's support for the Islamist movement, branded as a terrorist organization by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, and outlawed in Egypt.
 
Qatar had repeatedly denounced Sisi's ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, and still provides shelter for many Brotherhood leaders, especially those who have been forced to flee a crackdown in Egypt, though it did expel some members of the Muslim Brotherhood from its territory in September.
 
Diplomatic staff returned to Qatar last month, paving the way for Tuesday's summit.
 
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said he hoped the summit would "signal a new beginning for Gulf relations".
 
The GCC leaders reiterated their resolve to combat terrorism and welcomed a UN Security Council resolution condemning human rights abuses in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State (ISIS) group and Al-Qaeda's Al-Nusra Front.
 
"The leaders have reaffirmed the GCC positions of deploring terrorism and extremism in all forms, regardless of its reasons and justifications or source," the final statement said, according to AFP.
 
In his opening remarks, Sheikh Tamim called for a joint regional effort to confront "terrorism".

Egypt: Court Suggests Death Penalty for 4 Brotherhood Leaders

Category: News
Created on Monday, 08 December 2014 15:40
Members of Egypts Muslim BrotherhoodA Cairo court on Sunday referred four Muslim Brotherhood leaders, who are on trial for the killing of nine and injuring more than 90 in 2013, to Egypt's grand mufti to consider the death penalty.
 
The defendants in the case include 17 Brotherhood leaders, among which are former Parliament Speaker Saad El-Katatni, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, and his deputy Khairat El-Shater, according to the Al-Ahram newspaper.
 
The top Brotherhood leaders involved in the case are not among those referred to the grand mufti, however, the report stressed.
 
The court has set February 28 2015 for a final verdict on the remaining defendants.
 
The defendants are accused of murder, inciting violence, and possession of live ammunition.
 
The sentences are the latest in an ongoing crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood which began in 2013 when the army ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
 
Last week, a court sentenced 188 defendants to death for a violent attack on a police station after Morsi’s ouster that left 11 police personnel and two civilians dead.
 
More than 500 people were sentenced to death in March for a separate attack on a police station in Minya on the same day.
 
In April, another 683 supporters of Morsi, including leading members of his Muslim Brotherhood, were sentenced to death as well.
 
The rise of mass convictions in Egypt has been described by the United Nations as "unprecedented".
 
The United States and the European Union have decried the mass convictions as well, but Egypt rejected the criticism, terming it “unacceptable interference in the judiciary affairs”.

Egypt Hands Down Death Sentences to 188 Brotherhood Supporters

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 03 December 2014 04:19
Muslim protestsMore than 180 supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood were on Tuesday sentenced to death in Egypt over a 2013 attack on a police station near Cairo, the BBC reported.
 
The attack took place on the same day as Egyptian security forces broke up protest camps set up by Brotherhood supporters, leaving hundreds dead.
 
The latest sentences are subject to the opinion of Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti.
 
A final verdict is due on 24 January, after which defendants may appeal.
 
More than 140 of the 188 defendants are already in custody, while the rest have been sentenced in absentia, noted the BBC.
 
The sentences were passed for an attack on a police station in the village of Kerdasa on August 14, 2013, in which at least 11 officers were killed.
 
More than 500 people were sentenced to death in March for a separate attack on a police station in Minya on the same day.
 
In April, another 683 supporters of Morsi, including leading members of his Muslim Brotherhood, were sentenced to death as well.
 
The prosecution of a further 919 suspected Islamists was ordered by the authorities in two separate trials in the same month. Just last week, a court in Egypt sentenced 78 youth to up to five years in prison for protesting with the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
The rise of mass convictions in Egypt has been described by the United Nations as "unprecedented".
 
The United States and the European Union have decried the mass convictions as well, but Egypt rejected the criticism, terming it “unacceptable interference in the judiciary affairs”.

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Convicted of 'Insulting the Court'

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 09:46
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Badie File -AFPAn Egyptian judge sentenced the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, and 25 others on Sunday to three years in jail for insulting the court, Reuters reports.
 
Badie, who is the Brotherhood's general guide, is among hundreds of the group's members who have already received death sentences and lengthy jail terms in mass trials criticized by Western governments and human rights groups.
 
Coming on top of those verdicts, Sunday's ruling was made during the trial of more than 100 Brotherhood supporters on charges related to the storming of prisons during the popular uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
 
The judge, Shaaban al-Shamy, decided to punish the defendants after a number of them began chanting "void, void" in response to some of his remarks.
 
The unusually harsh penalty for courtroom rowdiness was handed out shortly after another Egyptian court dropped its case against Mubarak over the killing of protesters in the Tahrir Square revolt that ended his 30-year rule and raised hopes of a new era of political openness.
 
His overthrow led to Egypt's first free election, but the winner, Brotherhood official Mohammed Morsi, was ousted last year, after protests against his rule.
 
Egyptian authorities have since jailed Morsi and thousands of Brotherhood supporters. By contrast, Mubarak-era figures have been released and new laws curtailing political freedoms have raised fears among activists that the old leadership is back.
 
Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A video of him released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.

Egyptian Prosecutors Ask for Death Sentence for Morsi

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 23 November 2014 10:22
Mohamed Mursi - ReutersEgypt's state news agency reported on Wednesday that prosecutors have asked for the death sentence for ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders on trial on espionage charges.
 
According to The Associated Press (AP), prosecutor Emad el-Sharawy said in closing remarks that Morsi and his aides leaked state security documents to foreign intelligence agencies, namely Iran, while in office for one year.
 
The military removed Morsi from office in July 2013 following mass protests against him accusing him and the Brotherhood of monopolizing power.
 
El-Sharawy said the defendants, who include Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and 34 others, cooperated with terrorist groups, including Gaza's Hamas, to destabilize Egypt.
 
Morsi told the court he refused its jurisdiction. He asked to defend himself in upcoming sessions, according to AP. The case resumes on November 26 for closing defense remarks.
 
The trial in question is one of several against the Islamist former president. In one trial he is being accused of inciting the killings of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
 
Another of Morsi’s trials, which began in January, cites his role in a 2011 jailbreak which saw the deaths of several police officers. A fourth trial will be held over charges of insulting the judiciary. 
 
More recently, Egypt charged the ousted president and several other people with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar.

UAE Names Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 22 November 2014 13:57
Muslim BrotherhoodThe United Arab Emirates (UAE) has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood and local affiliates as terrorist groups, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing state news agency WAM.
 
The Gulf Arab state has also designated the Syrian based Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State (ISIS), 
 
whose fighters are battling Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, as terrorist organizations, along with other Shi'ite groups such as the Houthi movement in Yemen.
 
Saturday's move echoes a similar move by Saudi Arabia in March and could increase pressure on Qatar, whose backing for the group has sparked a row with fellow Gulf monarchies.
 
The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have already withdrawn their ambassadors from Qatar, in protest over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in Egypt.
 
The UAE’s move also underscores concern in the U.S.-allied oil producer about political Islam and the influence of the Brotherhood, whose Sunni Islamist doctrines challenge the principle of dynastic rule.
 
The UAE has designated al-Islah group, which is a local Islamist group banned in the UAE for its alleged link to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, as a terrorist group.
 
UAE authorities have cracked down on members of al-Islah and jailed scores of Islamists convicted of forming an illegal branch of the Brotherhood. Al-Islah denies any such link, but says it shares some of the Brotherhood's Islamist ideology.

Egypt Sentences 68 Brotherhood Supporters to Jail

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:26
Muslim protestsAn Egyptian court sentenced 68 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to jail terms on Tuesday, judicial sources said, according to Reuters.
 
They were convicted in a case related to deadly violence a year ago after the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
 
All were found guilty of killing 30 people and intending to kill others in Cairo on October 6, 2013, when more than 50 people died in clashes across the country between Morsi opponents and supporters.
 
Judge Mohamed Ali Al-Faqi gave 63 of the defendants 15 years in jail and five others 10 years, according to Reuters.
 
Since Morsi’s ouster, the Muslim Brotherhood has been the subject of a broad crackdown, which has seen thousands of Brotherhood supporters jailed.
 
Morsi himself is currently on trial in several cases. In one trial he is being accused of inciting the killings of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
 
In another trial, Morsi and 35 others, including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, are accused of conspiring with foreign powers, the Hamas terror group and Iran to destabilize Egypt.
 
Another of Morsi’s trials, which began in January, cites his role in a 2011 jailbreak which saw the deaths of several police officers. A fourth trial will be held over charges of insulting the judiciary. 
 
In addition to these trials, Egypt recently charged the ousted president, along with several other people, with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar

Why Qatar is Abandoning the Muslim Brotherhood - And Hamas

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 25 September 2014 19:30
emir-of-qatar-sheik-hamad-bin-khalifa-al-thaniHamas this morning denied claims that its Political Bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal, was being expelled from longtime ally Qatar. The initial report came just days after seven leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were expelled from the country, having sought refuge from an Egyptian government crackdown.
 
That move naturally lead to speculation that Qatar might take a similar move against Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, but a Hamas spokesman dismissed reports of Mashaal's impending departure as mere attempts to "sow tension and confusion". For the time being at least, Mashaal looks set to remain in Doha.
 
Yet according to Professor Hillel Frisch of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) - an expert on political Islam and particularly the Muslim Brotherhood - he may not be there for much longer. 
 
Qatar's decision to give the Muslim Brotherhood the boot "does not bode well at all" for Hamas, he says, and adds that it's only a matter of time before Mashaal follows suit - whether he is expelled outright or simply pressured into moving. Worse still for Hamas, when that break in relations does occur the terrorist group can expect to see its pool of funding shrink considerably.
 
On the surface, Doha's sudden rejection of the Brotherhood is surprising, given that the Qatari government has long been the Islamist movement's top financial sponsor and political supporter. Even Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV is widely seen in the Arab world as a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood - an association which led it to be banned in Sisi's Egypt. 
 
So what lies behind this apparent about-turn?
 
Arab Spring 'counter-revolution'
 
Frisch describes the current crackdown on the Brotherhood across the Middle East as part of a "counter-revolution" by regional powers in reaction to the series of Arab uprisings once optimistically termed the "Arab Spring", likening it to the way in which European powers reacted to the 19th Century French Revolution. Combating the Muslim Brotherhood - "a popular movement which won elections in Egypt, the major Arab state" - is the main test for counter-revolutionary Arab governments, as it is a prime example of the way in which political Islam has ridden the waves of revolutionary fervor in the region to challenge existing regimes.
 
As such, recent years have seen the formation of an anti-Brotherhood alliance including nearly all of the major Arab states in the region, from secular Egypt to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. Such counter-revolutionary efforts throughout history have seen various levels of success, but "in this case it's been very successful so far," he notes, citing the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt and the general decline of the Islamist movement's fortunes since then.
 
Until now only one "recalcitrant actor" refused to join that counter-revolutionary coalition: Qatar.
 
It is crucial to understand why Qatar's ruling family - hardly a band of revolutionary religious zealots - chose to back the Brotherhood in the first place. Small in size and population, the gulf peninsula state has sought to project power and punch well above its weight internationally by utilizing its seemingly endless oil revenue to buy friends and influence. The Brotherhood, which until recently was clearly on the ascent and had (and still has) a presence in most Arab countries, seemed like the perfect proxy for power-projection. Indeed, apart from backing the Egyptian branch, Qatari money helped fund Muslim Brotherhood-linked rebel groups in Syria - although those groups too have recently seen their fortunes wane - and of course Hamas.
 
And then there is Doha's longstanding rivalry with the Saudis in particular. Qatar's attempts to assert itself in the face of its much larger and militarily superior neighbor was already evident in its decision to pursue warm relations with Iran, in defiance of Riyadh and other Arab states. So it came as no surprise that "when the Saudis decided to suppress the Brotherhood, Qatar decided to support them," Frisch says.
 
Nevertheless, growing pressure on Qatar appears to have finally encouraged its relatively new leader, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to jettison the Brotherhood. 
 
While threats of financial sanctions would hardly have ruffled the oil-rich state, Frisch suggests a number of other ways in which Arab states might have applied pressure. Apart from cutting diplomatic relations and starving Qatar of the international influence it craves - as has already begun after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors to Doha - the Saudis and others could have threatened to expose Qatari connections to global terrorism, endangering relations with the west, he speculates.
 
In the face of such pressure, it is not difficult to imagine why al-Thani - who has already previously indicated his desire to scale back from his father's aggressive foreign policy anyway - finally yielded.
 
"Qatar couldn't care less about the Muslim Brotherhood, it means nothing to them... there is nothing sentimental in this," just cold, hard realpolitik, Frisch insists.
 
"They are reassessing the strategic landscape... They realize that, particularly since the recent (ISIS) beheadings, there is a growing international sentiment against Islamism, political Islam, and they don't want to find themselves on the wrong side," he adds.
 
Moreover, the Qataris may themselves be alarmed at the rapid gains made by Islamism in the region. Perhaps noting the Saudi experience of the early 2000's, when the jihadis they themselves nurtured turned on them, al-Thani could understandably fear becoming the next victim of a Frankenstein's monster of his own creation.
 
Down but not out
 
It is clear then that the growing public outcry over Qatar's support for terrorism is having an impact, "but whether this is permanent remains to be seen," Frisch cautions. The regime's "divorce" from the Brotherhood may be genuine, but equally could just be a temporary ruse to allay pressure.
 
What's more, even if its rejection by Qatar is final, "the Muslim Brotherhood is hardly finished."
 
"It has a permanent constituency in the Arab world. You can't simply wipe them out and I don't think anyone believes that."
 
But what about Hamas? While closely linked to the Brotherhood, could Mashaal's group be spared due to its status as champions of the fight against Israel and the "Palestinian cause"?
 
That's not likely, according to Frisch.
 
"I think it's all part of the same thing. If Qatar moves away from supporting the Muslim Brotherhood it's also going to move away from Hamas, for the simple reason that all the Arabs states will say: 'If you want to be pro-Palestinian you can support the Palestinian Authority.' There is an alternative."
 
For both Hamas and the Brotherhood the most likely place to relocate to would be Turkey, he posits. "Turkey is basically the state that is closest to reflecting the Muslim Brotherhood values and ideology."
 
Indeed, Turkey's Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared he would welcome the exiled Muslim Brotherhood leadership with open arms. For Hamas, the move would be perhaps even likelier given that much of its leadership is already based in Turkey - including the notorious Salah Al-Aruri, who Israeli authorities say was involved in the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens back in June.
 
It would of course be a blow to the prestige of the Brotherhood and Hamas in the eyes of their mostly Arab constituency to seek refuge in a non-Arab country such as Turkey - but far more significant would be the financial cost of relocation.
 
"Don't forget that there's one thing Turkey can't do: Turkey can't and won't give big money. They don't have the kind of money the Qataris have," Frisch notes.
 
Moreover, Turkey's banking system and status as a NATO member would make it harder to directly fund Hamas, a proscribed terrorist group in Europe, the US and much of the rest of the western world.
 
That would only add to the financial pressure on Hamas, which is already starved for funds after falling out with its former Iranian sponsors over the Syrian civil war.
 
There has of course been a partial rapprochement with Tehran, but there is no doubt that Hamas, and Mashaal, are looking increasingly isolated - and precisely at a time when funds are desperately needed to recover from an exhausting conflict with Israel.
 
In conclusion, says Frisch, while no killer blow, "this is all very bad news for Hamas, and good news for Israel."

Jordan Arrests Senior Muslim Brotherhood Member

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 18:04
Mohamed Said BakrJordan arrested a senior member of the country's Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday on charges of "incitement" against the authorities, AFP reported.
 
Mohamed Said Bakr, a member of the Brotherhood's consultative council, was detained for 15 days by prosecutors after criticizing the government at an event marking the end of the conflict in Gaza, a judicial source was quoted as having said.
 
The Jordanian Brotherhood's political wing, the Islamic Action Front, condemned the arrest.
 
"It is unacceptable that clerics and activists should be arrested on the basis of positions they expressed," said IAF Secretary General Mohamed al-Zayoud on the party's website, according to AFP.
 
Zayoud called for the "immediate release" of Bakr, saying that "stable regimes would not be threatened by a speech given at a festival or expressing an opinion".
 
At the event in Amman on Friday, Bakr used insulting terms to describe Jordan's leaders, and accused the government of being "subject to the United States".
 
He also congratulated Gazans for their "victory" against Israel and said he was "waiting for and hoping to celebrate the victory of Jordan and the victory of Jordanian men and the victory of the Jordanian army, while we are on the longest frontlines" with Israel".
 
The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is generally tolerated by the authorities and has wide grassroots support, but has often protested against the Jordanian government.
 
The group also objects to Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel and has often organized protests calling for its cancellation.
 
In 2012, Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood  sharply criticized the naming of a new ambassador to Israel, saying the move was “an act of provocation towards Jordanians.”
 
In 2011, Israel temporarily evacuated its embassy in Amman after calls by Jordanian activists for a ‘million man march’ near the embassy building.

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Sentenced to Life in Jail

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 10:50
Mohammad Badie File-ReutersMohammed Badie, top leader of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was sentenced to life in jail along with 14 others Monday on charges of murder and inciting violence during clashes near Cairo last year, Reuters reported.
 
The session had been summoned for witness statements but the judge surprised journalists and others present by issuing a verdict, according to the report.
 
Badie, 71, is among hundreds of Brotherhood members already sentenced to death in mass trials that have drawn criticism from Western governments and human rights groups.
 
The death sentences are subject to appeal.
 
In what is known as the Bahr al-Azam case, Badie and the other defendants were convicted of the murder of five people and the attempted murder of 100 others during violence that broke out in Giza on July 15, 2013.
 
Badie and 182 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were sentenced to death in a mass trial last June over violence that erupted in Minya governorate which led to the killing of a police officer.
 
A court sentenced Badie to life in prison in a separate case in July for inciting violence and blocking a major road north of Cairo during protests that followed Morsi's ouster.
 
He received another life sentence last month, on separate counts of inciting violence in clashes near a mosque in Giza.
 
Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A video of him released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.

Egypt to 'Hunt Down' Exiled Brotherhood Leaders

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 08:57
Egypt to Hunt Down Brotherhood LeadersAn Egyptian official said on Sunday that Cairo will hunt down exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders and seek their arrest, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
The declaration came a day after Qatar ordered leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and allied clerics to leave country.
 
The tiny Gulf nation's expulsion of the Brotherhood, branded a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, signals it is moving to mend a diplomatic rift triggered by its support of the group. Analysts described the move as a political victory for Egypt's current leadership.
 
Egypt’s Minister of Interior Mohammed Ibrahim said that Qatari authorities gave Brotherhood leaders one month to leave the country, and reporters for the Doha-based Al-Jazeera Egypt channel two months to leave.
 
A Brotherhood member in Qatar, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his safety, said the Qataris conveyed to them that they were under constant pressure led by Egypt to serve Egyptian arrest warrants for the Islamists. He said he will travel to Malaysia while other members will be travelling to Britain or Turkey, according to AP.
 
Egyptian security and military officials say Qatar agreed to "gradually" expel the group's members and allies. They said that up to 120 people could leave as part of the agreement, including some facing charges of inciting violence in Egypt.
 
The presence of Muslim Brotherhood officials in Qatar had severely strained Doha's relations with Egypt as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which view the more than 85-year-old Islamist movement as a threat.
 
The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar in June, in protest over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
There have been several high-profile calls to stop Qatar from hosting the World Cup in 2022 until it ceases its funding of terrorism, including by Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.
 
Qatar also backs Hamas, the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar Expels Senior Muslim Brotherhood Leaders

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 20 September 2014 17:26
Senior Muslim Brotherhood LeadersQatar, which has been blamed for stirring up much of the violence in the Middle East and is a well-known backer of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, reportedly expelled some members of the Muslim Brotherhood from its territory.
 
The Associated Press (AP) reported on Saturday that leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and allied clerics said they are departing Qatar, where they had sought refuge following the ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the crackdown on his supporters.
 
Their presence in Qatar had severely strained Doha's relations with Egypt as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which view the more than 85-year-old Islamist movement as a threat.
 
The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar in June, in protest over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood. 
 
The expulsion of the Brotherhood’s senior officials, threatens to further isolate the group, which rose to power in Egypt through a string of post-Arab Spring elections but suffered a dramatic fall from grace during Morsi's divisive year in office.
 
Former minister Amr Darrag, who was also the top foreign affairs official in the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, and cleric Wagdi Ghoneim said they are leaving Qatar following a request to do so by the Gulf monarchy, according to AP.
 
"I decided to move outside of the beloved Qatar ... so as not to cause any annoyance, embarrassment or problems for our brothers in Qatar," Ghoneim said in a video message posted on his official Facebook page.
 
Darrag, in a statement posted on his page, said, "We value the role of Qatar in supporting the Egyptian people in its revolution against the coup. We understand well the conditions it is facing in the region."
 
The highest ranking member of the group residing in Qatar is Mahmoud Hussein, the secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Rassd, a news agency affiliated with the group, Hussein is among those who will be leaving the country. The agency said they will be searching for another base in exile, possibly Turkey.
 
There have been several high-profile calls to stop Qatar from hosting the World Cup in 2022 until it ceases its funding of terrorism, including by Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.
 
Qatar's change of heart was predicted  in early August by Arutz Sheva columnist and expert, Dr. Mordecai Kedar.
 
Last week, Egypt charged Morsi and several other people with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar.
 
The Cairo public prosecutor's office said its secret investigation had unearthed enough evidence of espionage to charge Morsi in a criminal court.

Egypt Charges Morsi With Endangering National Security

Category: News
Created on Friday, 12 September 2014 11:30
Egypts President-elect Mohammed MursiEgypt on Saturday charged ousted president Mohammed Morsi and several other people with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar, Reuters reported.
 
Security sources had said last month that Egypt was investigating the ousted Muslim Brotherhood president in connection with documents they said were leaked to Qatar and its satellite news channel Al Jazeera.
 
The Cairo public prosecutor's office said on Saturday its secret investigation had unearthed enough evidence of espionage to charge Morsi in a criminal court.
 
"The inquiries... exposed humiliating facts and the extent of the largest conspiracy and treason carried out by the terrorist Brotherhood organization against the nation through a network of spies," it said in a lengthy statement quoted by Reuters.
 
The statement said Morsi and two of his top secretaries abused their positions to slip documents from Egypt's security agencies to Qatari intelligence and Al Jazeera.
 
It said some of those documents exposed the location of and weapons held by the Egyptian armed forces and detailed the country's foreign and domestic policies.
 
Morsi is currently on trial in several cases. In one trial he is being accused of inciting the killings of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
 
In another trial, Morsi and 35 others, including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, are accused of conspiring with foreign powers, the Hamas terror group and Iran to destabilize Egypt.
 
Another of Morsi’s trials, which began in January, cites his role in a 2011 jailbreak which saw the deaths of several police officers. A fourth trial will be held over charges of insulting the judiciary. 
 
Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar, has been called "the Muslim Brotherhood channel" and has been blamed for stirring up much of the violence that has rocked the Middle East in recent years and is often referred to as the “Arab Spring.” 
 
The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, in protest over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in Egypt.

Brotherhood Leader's 2nd Death Sentence Commuted

Category: News
Created on Monday, 01 September 2014 09:56
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Badie File -AFPEgypt's Grand Mufti has commuted the death sentence handed to the Muslim Brotherhood's leader, Mohamed Badie, to a life sentence, reported Al Jazeera Saturday evening. A previously issued death sentence against Badie still stands.
 
The death sentences for five others were also reduced to life on Saturday by Shawki Allam, the country's highest religious authority. Six others were sentenced to death in absentia.
 
Badie and the other defendants were sentenced to death on June 19 for the killing of police officers during a protest, but the verdict was rejected by the Mufti on August 7.
 
In an unusual move, prosecutors had asked the religious leader to reconsider his decision.
 
Referring to the Grand Mufti's earlier ruling, one of the three judges in the case said the "Mufti said that, in his opinion, the court relied solely in the case on investigations that were not alone enough to condemn the defendants".
 
Egyptian law requires any capital sentence to be referred to the Grand Mufti for an opinion before any execution can take place.
 
Badie had already received a confirmed death sentence in a separate case along with 182 supporters. An elected Muslim Brotherhood-led government was ousted from power by the army last year. The Brotherhood has since been listed as a "terrorist movement", with much of its leadership imprisoned, including former president Mohamed Morsi. Its supporters have held protests against the government which replaced Morsi, often resulting in violence.
 
Morsi has been in jail since he was overthrown and is on trial for inciting the killing of opposition protesters in December 2012, outside the presidential palace.

Egypt Investigating Morsi for Handing Over Documents to Qatar

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 28 August 2014 15:24
First day in trialEgypt has opened an investigation into deposed president Mohammed Morsi for allegedly handing over to Qatar "documents relevant to national security," AFP reported on Wednesday, citing Egypt’s state news agency MENA.
 
Morsi is already facing the death penalty in several trials and his supporters have been the target of a bloody crackdown by the authorities that has left more than 1,400 dead since he was ousted by the military in July last year.
 
The former leader is suspected of providing "documents relevant to national security to Qatar via the Qatari Al-Jazeera chain when he was president of the republic (...), damaging the country's national security", said MENA.
 
Morsi is currently on trial in several cases. In one trial he is being accused of inciting the killings of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
 
In another trial, Morsi and 35 others, including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, are accused of conspiring with foreign powers, the Hamas terror group and Iran to destabilize Egypt.
 
Another of Morsi’s trials, which began in January, cites his role in a 2011 jailbreak which saw the deaths of several police officers. A fourth trial will be held over charges of insulting the judiciary. 
 
In March, Egypt's interior minister accused Morsi's secretary Amin El-Serafi of having delivered documents regarding the army, its armaments and the deployment of its troops to a chief editor of Al-Jazeera and member of the Islamist president's Muslim Brotherhood. The movement was listed as a terrorist group after Morsi's overthrow.
 
Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar, has been called "the Muslim Brotherhood channel" and has been blamed for stirring up much of the violence that has rocked the Middle East in recent years and is often referred to as the “Arab Spring.” 
 
The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, in protest over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in Egypt.
 
There have been several high-profile calls to stop Qatar from hosting the World Cup in 2022 until it ceases its funding of terrorism, including by Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

Clashes in Cairo as Morsi Supporters Riot

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 05:41
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood shout slogans during a protest in CairoThree people were killed in Cairo on Friday as supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi held scattered protests for a second straight day, according to AFP.
 
Clashes erupted at one protest between Morsi supporters and local residents. Two people were killed in the fighting and four police were wounded as they tried to disperse the crowd in the Giza district, according to security officials.
 
At another protest in Giza, demonstrators fired birdshot, set off fireworks and tried to block a road. One protester was killed when police moved in to disperse the group, a statement from the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police said, adding that the man was armed.
 
In a third incident, protesters torched a public bus in a Cairo suburb after forcing the driver and passengers out. Police arrested at least 14 protesters at the events, the security officials told AFP.
 
The violence came one day after the anniversary of the forceful dispersal of pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed. Clashes at small, scattered demonstrations on Thursday left four people dead, the Health Ministry said.
 
Morsi supporters have held regular demonstrations since the military overthrew him last summer amid massive protests against his year in power. Their numbers, however, have dwindled in the face of a massive crackdown that has seen hundreds of protesters killed in street clashes and tens of thousands detained.
 
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement was listed as a terrorist group after his overthrow last July 3 and many of its leaders, including Morsi himself, have been jailed.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, was sentenced to death on June 19 but the country’s top religious authority rejected the death sentence. He has been asked by a court to reconsider.

PLO: US Backs Hamas in Ceasefire Talks

Category: News
Created on Monday, 04 August 2014 07:37
John-Kerry-a Muslim Brotherhood in EgyptSenior Palestinian Authority officials have accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of favoring Hamas, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), insisting that Kerry had presented his own proposal to cater to Hamas-backed Qatar and Turkey. 
 
Speaking anonymously, a senior Palestinian official told the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat last week that Kerry had tried "to destroy the Egyptian initiative and the Palestinian comments on it (the 'Abbas Plan) and present a substitute for our initiative... Kerry wanted to create an framework that would be an alternative to the Egyptian initiative and to our concept regarding it, in order to please Qatar and Turkey."
 
Kerry's involvement was not simply the product of US naivete, according to the official, but a calculated attempt to strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood's influence in Egypt. 
 
"Kerry proposed his initiative after we were very close to a comprehensive agreement guaranteeing the lifting of the siege on Gaza and obtaining all the Palestinian demands," the official insisted. "If the issue was lifting the siege, abolishing the buffer zones, opening the crossings, and expanding the fishing zones, we could have obtained this on Wednesday [July 23]. An announcement of [this achievement] was ready for publication – but (Hamas political bureau head Khaled) Mash'al called a press conference and destroyed the ['Abbas] initiative."
 
"Then [Kerry] presented a new initiative," he continued. "Kerry wanted to take advantage of the war in order to again strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood's regional influence, because the Americans think – and will be proven wrong – that that moderate political Islam represented by the Muslim Brotherhood can combat radical Islam." 
 
The official added that Mahmoud Abbas was "very angry" about Kerry's proposed Paris talks over a Gaza ceasefire, noting that Turkey and Qatar were invited - but Egypt was not. Abbas allegedly expressed his views on the conference to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. 
 
Fatah and PLO representatives later stated that Turkey, Qatar, and Hamas "do not represent the Palestinian people," and that the only "valid" representative for international talks is the PLO itself.
 
Furthermore, several former ministers and politicians in the PA government, including Hassan 'Asfour and 'Omar Al-Ghoul, proposed in Op/Ed articles in Arabic language magazines that Kerry's initiative served not only to re-institute the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, but also to "get rid of the PLO." 
 
The accusations surface despite the formation of a Hamas-Fatah unity government in June, which is slowly crumbling after differences of opinion have surfaced over several issues, including the war in Gaza, reactions to the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, and the delayed payment of wages for government workers in Gaza in the weeks leading up to the current conflict. 

Egyptian Army Destroys 13 Hamas Terror Tunnels

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 22:05
tunnels-being-destroyedEgypt's army said Sunday it has destroyed 13 more tunnels connecting the Sinai Peninsula to Gaza, taking to 1,639 the overall number it has laid waste to, according to AFP.
 
In April, an Egyptian court outlawed Hamas, much like it banned the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this year, and ordered all of its assets seized.
 
As part of these operations, the army has also been shutting down the smuggling tunnels, which are used to transfer goods, weapons and even terrorists between the Sinai and Gaza.
 
The UN announced last year that Egypt had destroyed as much as 80% of terror tunnels leading from Egyptian soil to Hamas in Gaza, as part of its crackdown on Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism. 
 
Egypt, meanwhile, has been surprisingly vocal during Israel's own operation to destroy Hamas terror tunnels. 
 
Since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8, Cairo has condemned Israel's ground offensive but it also lashed out at Hamas, saying the Islamist movement could have saved dozens of lives had it accepted Cairo's proposal for a cease-fire early on in the operation.

A blow to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as Israel crushes Hamas

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 09:39
IDFA few weeks ago shocking news arrived from Israel regarding the kidnapping of three young men. As news first circulated around the world, Israelis braced for the worst and prayed prayers for the safe delivery of the Israeli captives. How would this menacing action unfold for the victims and the country? Finally, we learned of their murders and the arrest of two Arab-Muslim suspects with links to Hamas. This horrific act of aggression against three Jews was committed in the first days of the Islamic month known as “blessed” Ramadan when fighting is forbidden. 
 
The ninth month of the Islamic Hegira calendar is set aside for believers to honor the revelation received by the 7th century prophet. Muslims must be dedicated to fasting, prayer, and charity to the poor. Most importantly, aggression by and against Muslims must cease. Disturbances by outsiders during this calendar month trigger Muslim sensitivities and heighten intolerance. Making this calculation, Hamas attacked Israel in this timeframe knowing it would enhance sentiment. Israel’s retaliation would always be viewed as sacrilegious securing world opinion in favor of Gaza terrorists where empathy is already heavily weighted. Hamas and Gazans remain in the more positive light despite their instigating acts provoking war in the month of Ramadan. 
 
About a week after the kidnappings, Kalid Mashaal, head of Hamas’ political bureau, boasted and blessed the kidnappers publicly with a bold announcement on Al Jazeera TV denying the involvement of Hamas.  Another Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, already anticipating Israel’s counter-attack for the murders that had not yet been discovered (and Hamas rocket fire) appealed to the sympathy of the Egyptian people regarding Hamas’ “victimization,” stressing the importance of the remaining open tunnels between Egypt’s Sinai and the Gaza Strip -- ones that Al-Sisi has yet to dynamite shut in his commitment to destroy all illegal passages. Food and weaponry was now in demand by Gazans who needed Egypt to smuggle such provisions through the tunnels, indicated Haniyeh.   
 
Experts in Middle East conflict expected to see a demand on Israel to liberate particular terrorists as a ransom for the kidnapped boys. Such exchanges have been typical of the past. But why not this time? The answer: Hamas wanted to entice Egypt into warfare with Israel in order to help the Muslim Brotherhood regain power in Egypt. Hamas had a broader agenda for the kidnappings, murders, and rocket fire into Israel. Its aggression stirred up pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas opinion by Egypt’s politicians, journalists and media in order to put pressure on Al-Sisi’s new government to help the “oppressed” Gazans. But Al-Sisi ignored the call to militarily aid Hamas deciding not to break Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. 
Hamas intended Egypt to comply with its request. It was meant to be a distraction for Al-Sisi to interrupt his strenuous battle against the Muslim Brotherhood – the beginning of the long-awaited reversal of the damage being done to organized terror inside Egypt. Hamas’ ploy aimed to release Egypt’s MB of Al-Sisi’s grip availing it the time and space necessary to reenergize and regain power. But not only have the hopes of Hamas been dashed regarding its capacity to bait the religious issue and persuade Egypt’s Islamic leaders, but it wrongly predicted Egyptian sentiment mounting negative toward the existence of Hamas’ and its motives. The majority of the Egyptian public is attentive to Israel’s counter-attacks on Gaza with an unprecedented enthusiasm to see Hamas and its terror obliterated. 
 
Meanwhile, the Egyptian military will likely provide humanitarian assistance directly to Gazan civilians. This will bypass the finger pointing and embarrassment certain to come Al-Sisi’s way from the Egyptian Arab-Muslim community and the broader Islamic spectrum if Egypt were to take no action at all. Hamas presents a dilemma for Al-Sisi. Hamas’ terrorism against Israel carries with it the obligation for Muslim entities anywhere in the world to reach out on behalf of Hamas for the sake of Islamic doctrinal hate against Jews, a bond often underestimated by the West.  
 
Another motive of Hamas regards the U.S. and its allies. The White House will discern from Hamas violence and war on Israel, embarrassing as it is to the “peace process” conducted by the U.S. administration, that it is a direct consequence of Egypt’s MB collapse. No setback for the MB will be tolerated. After all, when Morsi was top dog, there was even talk of giving Hamas the northern third of Sinai to call its own. Back in the day, not that long ago, Hamas was of the ruling power and benefits were accruing -- some even say with the blessing of the White House. The game has changed in Egypt, and Hamas attacks Israel driving home this point.       
 
Across the Middle East, a dethroned MB struggles to recapture its glory in places like Iraq, Syria, and Libya. The people of these lands are fed-up with the results of the Arab Spring revolts that delivered MB rule to replace horrible dictatorships. Proxies for the MB (Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Ansar el Islam, et al), militant anti-occupation factions in Gaza forging “victimhood” stories for the world through their aggression towards Israel, fashion and enflame a crisis to bargain for a toppled MB. 
 
When all other direct means to rescue the Egyptian MB to date has been unsuccessful, their message is as if to say, “We will keep the heat turned up for Israel until the road is paved in Egypt to secure the return of power to the MB.” But Egypt, the birthplace of world terror, is steeled in battle to restrain and dissolve the MB -- Hamas’ latest aggression a test of Egypt’s resolve. Meanwhile, Israel demonstrates that Hamas will no longer play their game of extortion with the world at Israel’s expense.

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Given Life Sentence

Category: News
Created on Monday, 07 July 2014 17:07
Mohammed Badie0Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and 36 other supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi got life sentences Saturday in Cairo, CNN reported.
 
The defendants are accused of inciting violence.
 
An additional 10 defendants sentenced to death in June have had their sentences upheld by Egypt's Grand Mufti, who, by law, must review capital punishment decisions.
 
This is the second sentence handed down to Badie, who was found guilty and sentenced to death in April. He was also given a second death sentence in late June over violence that killed 10 people in Cairo last summer.
 
Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July of 2013, hundreds of his supporters and Badie himself have been sentenced to death in speedy mass trials that have sparked international outrage.
 
Since Morsi's ouster, his supporters have staged regular protests calling for his reinstatement, rallies that have often degenerated into street clashes with security forces and civilian opponents.
 
A crackdown on Morsi supporters has left more than 1,400 people dead in street clashes and at least 15,000 jailed.
 
Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A recently released video of him shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Given Another Death Sentence

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 17:49
Egypt Muslim Brotherhood headAn Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and 13 others to death over violence that killed 10 people in Cairo last summer, AFP reports.
 
Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July of 2013, hundreds of his supporters and Badie himself have been sentenced to death in speedy mass trials that have sparked international outrage.
 
The court is due to meet again on August 3 to give a final ruling, according to AFP.
 
Death sentences in Egypt are referred to the country's top Islamic scholar for an advisory opinion before being ratified and courts may commute sentences, which can later be challenged in an appeals court.
 
Other defendants include Mohamed al-Beltagui and Essam al-Erian, top leaders from Morsi's Brotherhood, as well as Gamaa Islamiya chief Assem Abdel Maged and well-known preacher Safwat Hegazy.
 
They were convicted of inciting violence that killed 10 people near Al-Istiqama's mosque in the Giza neighborhood, days after Morsi's July 3 ouster.
 
Since Morsi's ouster, his supporters have staged regular protests calling for his reinstatement, rallies that have often degenerated into street clashes with security forces and civilian opponents.
 
A crackdown on Morsi supporters has left more than 1,400 people dead in street clashes and at least 15,000 jailed.
 
Thursday’s verdict marks the second time that Badie has been given a death sentence. In April, a court in the central city of Minya sentenced Badie, who is being tried in some 40 cases, and around 700 others to death over the murder and attempted murder of policemen. A final ruling is expected on June 21.
 
The same court in March handed down the same sentence for 529 alleged Morsi supporters on similar charges. The judge subsequently upheld only 37 of those sentenced and commuted the rest to life in prison.
 
Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A recently released video of him shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.
 
“We have fought only against the Jews, and Kamel Al-Sharif may testify about the conduct of the Muslim Brotherhood in the [1948] war in Palestine. We fought against the Jews. The Israeli strategic research institute wrote in a report: ‘Our greatest enemies in the world are the Muslim Brotherhood.’ This is an honor for us, yet now we are being accused of conspiring with Hamas against the Egyptian people. This is an absolute lie,” he said.

Egypt Seizes Brotherhood-Owned Retail Stores

Category: News
Created on Monday, 16 June 2014 12:01
Khairat al-Shater Muslim Brotherhoods leader ReutersEgyptian authorities on Sunday seized two retail outlets owned by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, part of the ongoing crackdown against the group since its president Mohammed Morsi was ousted last year.
 
According to the AFP news agency, the businesses targeted were the Seoudi supermarket chain and Zad department store, respectively owned by Abdel Rahman Seoudi and Khairat al-Shater -- both leaders of the Brotherhood.
 
"Security forces are implementing the law," Cairo's police chief, Brigadier General Ali al-Demerdash, said in relation to the moves.
 
"A committee formed in accordance with a court ruling decided to seize Zad, which is owned by Khairat al-Shater, and Seoudi, which is owned by Abdel Rahman Seoudi, because the two leaders are financing the Muslim Brotherhood," he told reporters, according to AFP.
 
A court in September banned the Muslim Brotherhood from operating and ordered its assets seized. It also prohibited any institution branching out from or belonging to the Islamist movement.
 
The group has also been blacklisted as a "terrorist organization" in Egypt, after the country’s temporary authorities linked it with a series of terrorist attacks that occurred after Morsi’s ouster.
 
Shater, the Brotherhood's number two who headed its financial affairs, is behind bars and on trial for a range of charges, some of them punishable by death.
 
He was arrested along with Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie following the ouster of Morsi in July 2013.
 
Seoudi is a wealthy businessman but little is known about his role in the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Since Morsi's ouster the Brotherhood it has faced a brutal police crackdown, with more than 1,400 of its supporters killed in street clashes, and its top leaders including Morsi have been put on trail.
 
The two medium-sized supermarket chains had operations in Cairo, selling food and beverages, noted AFP.
 
Dozens of masked policemen were seen stopping customers from entering a Seoudi outlet in central Cairo on Sunday.
 
"They came and ordered us (employees) all out... yes, the chain is owned by a Muslim Brotherhood member, but we sell food and beverages, not politics," said a manager of the store.
 
Demerdash said the two retail outlets would be handed over to the government once all legal formalities were completed.

Saudi Arabia Bans Books by Pro-Brotherhood Authors

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 09:18
BooksSaudi authorities have banned the sale of books by two Islamist authors known to be sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Arabiya reports, citing the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat.
 
The Saudi-owned paper said it has confirmed information that books authored by Saudi cleric Salman al-Odah and his Kuwaiti counterpart Tariq al-Suwaidan were ordered to be removed from the bookstores.
 
Hussein al-Ghamdi, manager of a bookstore in Jeddah, told Al-Hayat that he received orders from the Saudi religious police to remove the books of Odah and Suwaidan from the shelves “immediately.”
 
Ghamdi said he complied with the order, which he said could be reversed in the future.
 
He described Odah and Suwaidan’s books as “popular.”
 
Both Odah and Suwaidan are popular especially in the Gulf region. On Twitter, Odah has more than 4.7 million followers while Suwaidan has almost 3 million, according to Al Arabiya.
 
The move is the latest in a campaign by the Saudi authorities to fight terrorism and prevent Saudi nationals from going to Syria to take part in the fighting there.
 
In early March, Saudi Arabia blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood and two Syrian jihadist groups as terrorist organizations, ordering citizens fighting abroad to return home within 15 days or face imprisonment.
 
The move came two days after Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, which supports Islamists groups in the region and was a backer of the Brotherhood.

Brotherhood Leader: We Fight the Jews, Not the Egyptians

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 22 May 2014 18:02
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Badie File -AFPMohammed Badie, the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, claimed during his trial that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.
 
Footage from the trial was posted to the internet and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
Badie faces charges that include inciting violence during a Brotherhood sit-in at Cairo University in mid-July. He is one of 683 members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were recently sentenced to death in a mass trial.
 
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“Never have we responded to violent attacks against us with violence. We are commanded to spread Allah's mercy through peaceful means,” Badie claimed during the trial.
 
“We have fought only against the Jews, and Kamel Al-Sharif may testify about the conduct of the Muslim Brotherhood in the [1948] war in Palestine. We fought against the Jews. The Israeli strategic research institute wrote in a report: ‘Our greatest enemies in the world are the Muslim Brotherhood.’ This is an honor for us, yet now we are being accused of conspiring with Hamas against the Egyptian people. This is an absolute lie,” he said.
 
“Beware of being used in this political conflict, the likes of which we have not seen in the entire history of Egypt. Such crimes, killings, and bloodshed have not occurred in the history of Egypt,” said Badie.
 
“Let me tell you, Allah knows that we are innocent of all these accusations. Our evidence will be decisive, because Allah defends those who believe,” he declared.

Egypt Jails More than 160 Brotherhood Members

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 08:39
behind barsEgypt is continuing its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, and on Sunday a local court jailed more than 160 supporters of the Islamist movement to up to 15 years in prison.
 
According to a Reuters report, the defendants chanted "Down with military rule" as Judge Hassan Fareed handed down 10-year jail terms to 126 Brotherhood supporters accused of violence and membership of a terrorist group in one of the cases.
 
A further 37 people received 15-year sentences in a second case related to an alleged attempt to blow up a Cairo metro station.
 
The security forces have detained thousands of Brotherhood supporters since the military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last July following mass protests against his rule.
 
Hundreds of Brotherhood supporters have been sentenced in mass trials since Morsi was ousted, including 79 who last week were given jail terms of between five and 10 years over their involvement in deadly clashes.
 
Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, who was among 683 people sentenced to death last month, made a rare address in court, rejecting the accusations leveled against his group.
 
"We have never responded to any attack against us with violence," said Badie, according to Reuters, addressing the judge in footage uploaded to YouTube. The judiciary was being used in a political conflict the likes of which Egypt had never seen before, he claimed.
 
The government declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group after an upsurge in attacks on the police and army following Morsi’s removal from power.
 
Most of the attacks have been claimed by the Al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, but Egypt’s interim government says there is a direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
 
Last week, Egypt charged 200 suspected members of Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis with carrying out over 50 terrorist attacks, killing 40 policemen and 15 civilians and conspiring with Hamas.
 
Among the attacks claimed by the group is the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 
 
Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.

Sisi: Muslim Brotherhood is 'Finished'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 16:59
General Sedki Sobhi - Al SisiEgypt's ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has declared that the Muslim Brotherhood movement of ousted president Mohammed Morsi was "finished" in Egypt and would not return if he was elected, AFP reported.
 
Sisi’s comments were made in the same interview in which he revealed that there had been two attempts to kill him. It was Sisi’s first television interview since announcing his candidacy.
 
"I did not finish it, you Egyptians finished it," Sisi replied when asked if the Brotherhood was "finished."
 
Asked if he were saying it would not exist under his presidency, he responded, "Yes."
 
Sisi's remarks ruled out any chances of reconciliation with the blacklisted Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
 
The movement, which swept all elections since the 2011 fall of former Hosni Mubarak, has already been blacklisted as a "terrorist organization" by the military-installed authorities.
 
Sisi said Egyptians had rejected the group's ideology and would not allow it to return.
 
The retired field marshal also said in what was the first part of the interview that if he was elected the army would "not have a role in ruling Egypt," adding that he was not a candidate of the army, according to AFP.
 
Sisi's only rival in the upcoming election is leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, who has often raised concerns that Egypt was returning to the autocratic era witnessed under Mubarak.
 
These concerns grew after some leading symbols of the anti-Mubarak revolt were jailed by the interim authorities for organizing unlicensed protests.
 
The unrest has continued in Egypt long after Morsi’s ouster, as hundreds of Islamists have been placed on trial and some have been sentenced in masse to death.
 
The mass trials have been condemned by the world. Responding last week to the sentencing of 683 Islamists, the White House said it was “deeply troubled” by the death sentences and called on Egyptian leaders “to take a stand against this illogical action and dangerous precedent, recognizing that the repression of peaceful dissent will fuel the instability and radicalization that Egypt says it wishes to prevent.”
 
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, also denounced the mass death sentence, saying it breached international law and urged Cairo authorities to ensure defendants' rights to a fair and timely trial.
 
Egypt has rejected the criticism and termed it "unacceptable interference in the judiciary affairs."
 
 

Canada 'Tremendously Concerned' About the Muslim Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 24 April 2014 13:15
CAIR- CANCanada is "tremendously concerned" about the Muslim Brotherhood, according to an announcement made shortly after the UK announced a probe into the terror organization. 
 
“Canada has taken an aggressive stand when it comes to listings [of terror groups] ... but there is a certain process,” John Baird, Canada’s foreign minister, said at a news conference in Cairo.
 
“We are tremendously concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood ... but the listings are made on the basis of facts and intel.”
 
Since the 2012 ouster of Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the army-led government in Egypt.
 
Since then, the Brotherhood has been linked with a number of terrorist organizations, including Hamas. In light of the revelations, Britain announced earlier this month that it was considering blacklisting the group; the Brotherhood responded to the UK probe by subtly threatening more terrorism in the event of a ban
 
Shortly after the threat was made, Canada announced that it was also considering a ban on the Brotherhood. The debate over blacklisting the group could have large-scale political consequences in Canada, due to the high prominence of at least one Brotherhood-associated group.
 
According to The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, a watchdog intelligence site on the terrorist group, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) has ties to several prominent Muslim organizations in Canada - and has publicly announced its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Muslim Brotherhood moves headquarters from London to Austria

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 13 April 2014 08:19
behind barsAfter Cameron announces terror investigation
PM announces joint MI5 and MI6 investigation into group
David Cameron wants to find out how 'extreme' group's views are
Organisation moves to Graz, Austria's second city
 
Controversial Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood is moving its headquarters from London to Austria in an apparent attempt to avoid an inquiry into its activities set up by the Prime Minister.
The alleged terrorist outfit was expelled from Egypt following last year’s coup there.
It recently opened a new international office above a disused kebab shop in Cricklewood, northwest London.

Cameron Orders Investigation into Muslim Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 April 2014 09:03
CameronBritish Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood over concerns the group is planning radical activities from a base in London, his Downing Street office said Tuesday, according to the AFP news agency.
 
The intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 have been tasked to gather information on the "philosophy and activities" of the group after several leaders fled to London following the toppling of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi last year, according to the report.
 
The probe would include an assessment of claims that the group was behind a suicide bus bombing that killed three South Korean tourists in Egypt's south Sinai in February and several other attacks.
 
The probe could reportedly lead to a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain.
 
"The Muslim Brotherhood has risen in prominence in recent years but our understanding of the organization -- its philosophy and values -- has not kept pace with this," a Downing Street spokesman said in a statement to AFP.
 
"Given the concerns now being expressed about the group and its alleged links to violent extremism, it's absolutely right and prudent that we get a better handle of what the Brotherhood stands for, how they intend to achieve their aims and what that means for Britain," according to the statement.
 
The review is being led by Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Jenkins.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood did not immediately respond to a request for comment by AFP, but a spokesman quoted by The British Times said it was a "religious obligation for any Muslim Brotherhood member" to cooperate with the review and to respect British laws.
 
Morsi, the group's former leader, became Egypt's first elected civilian president following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, but he was ousted by the army last July after a single year in power. He now faces trial for treason.
 
Egypt's military-installed government in December declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Saudi Arabia followed suit last month.
 
In Egypt more than 1,400 people have been killed in street clashes and thousands imprisoned, including the Brotherhood's top leadership. A judge triggered a global outcry last month for sentencing 529 convicted Brotherhood leaders to death for rioting.
 
The British government acted following reports that Brotherhood leaders had met in London last year to decide their response to the Egypt crisis, The Times said.
 
They gathered in a flat above an Islamic charity office in the drab northwest London suburb of Cricklewood, the report said.
 
The Times quoted officials as saying it was "possible but unlikely" that the investigation would lead to a ban, with some in the Foreign Office reportedly believing it would only serve to radicalize and drive members underground.
 
Islamic radicalism has been a cause for concern in Britain. Just last week it was reported that England's Department of Education is beginning to take "special measures," in the wake of a systemic campaign of an organized takeover of public school by Islamists in the city of Birmingham.
 
One major issue causing concern is the number of British citizens who have travelled to Syria to fight alongside the rebels trying to oust Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
Britain’s Information Minister recently said that the "security concern" for the UK posed by individuals who have trained and fought in Syria is "a big problem" for MI5 and the police.

Muslim Brotherhood Launches Own U.S. Political Party

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Saturday, 05 April 2014 09:11
u-s-council-of-muslim-organizations-uscmoIslamofascism: With an eye toward the 2016 election, the radical Muslim Brotherhood has built the framework for a political party in America that seeks to turn Muslims into an Islamist voting bloc.
 
'Muslim voters have the potential to be swing voters in 2016," said Nihad Awad in launching the benign-sounding U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, whose membership reads like a Who's Who of Brotherhood front groups.
 
"We are aiming to bring more participation from the Muslim community."
USCMO also aims to elect Islamists in Washington, with the ultimate objective of "institutionalizing policies" favorable to Islamists — that is, Shariah law.
 
This development bears careful monitoring in light of the U.S. Brotherhood's recently exposed goal to wage a "civilization jihad" against America that explicitly calls for infiltrating the U.S. political system and "destroying (it) from within."
 
The subversive plan was spelled out in hundreds of pages of founding archives that the FBI confiscated from a Brotherhood leader's home in the Washington suburbs after 9/11.
 
Translated from Arabic, the secret documents listed a number of Brotherhood front organizations — some of which just happen to make up the newly formed USCMO.
 
Front and center is the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, the catalyst behind this Trojan horse jihadist political party.
 
CAIR is linked in federal criminal court documents to the terrorist group Hamas, the Brotherhood's Palestinian branch. CAIR's chief Awad, who announced the USCMO at the National Press Club, is so radioactive, the FBI refuses to do outreach with him and his so-called Muslim-rights group until it can "resolve whether there continues to be a connection between its executives and Hamas."
 
Equally troubling is the Muslim American Society, another founding member of the USCMO. MAS was formed as "the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States," a 2007 Justice Department court filing states. A 2011 MAS press release praised Osama bin Laden as "a visionary who believed in an Islamic state in Afghanistan."
The list of bad actors doesn't end there. The chairman of America's new Islamist party is none other than Oussama Jammal, who once headed the notorious Bridgeview Mosque in Chicago.
One of that mosque's leaders was arrested and jailed for funneling millions to Hamas. And one of its most honored guests was bin Laden's spiritual mentor, the late Palestinian cleric Abdullah Azzam. Some of Azzam's relatives are Bridgeview members.
 
"The walls were covered with Hamas posters and recruiting literature showing masked gunmen brandishing automatic weapons. . . . You could see daggers plunged into Jewish hearts wrapped up in American flags," said Steve Emerson, describing the mosque in his book "American Jihad." "They even had a library filled with terrorist videos."

U.S. Warns Egypt Against Executing Brotherhood Supporters

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 29 March 2014 09:41
Message to Hussein ObamaThe United States warned Egypt on Tuesday that executing supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood may affect the aid that Washington provides to Cairo.
 
Speaking one day after an Egyptian court sentenced 529 supporters of the movement to death, Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf called the sentencing "shocking."
 
"The imposition of the death penalty for 529 defendants after a two-day summary proceeding cannot be reconciled with Egypt's obligations under international human rights law, and its implementation of these sentences, as I said, would be unconscionable," she stressed, according to AFP.
 
"If Egypt's leaders want to ensure a political transition to democracy that ultimately improves the stability and economic prospects of their country and their people, and that's respected by the Egyptian people, they must unequivocally ensure an environment that is free of intimidation or retribution," Harf added.
 
"This includes ensuring due process and fair trials for all Egyptians accused of crimes."
 
Harf made clear that the way Egypt proceeds regarding the trials and death sentences will have consequences for future American aid.
 
The United States has already announced it would cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt over its displeasure with the military's pace of restoring democracy following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.
 
U.S. law forbids sending aid to countries where a democratic government was deposed by a military coup, though Washington has never qualified Morsi’s ouster as a "coup" and has been cautious about doing so, choosing only to condemn the violence in the country.
 
"We are determining if this assistance will stay suspended, if more will be suspended, if some will be brought back on line. And suffice to say, things like (these) outrageous, shocking, unconscionable actions that the Egyptian government is taking will, of course, have an impact on that decision," Harf said on Tuesday, according to the Reuters news agency.
 
"We are making clear to the Egyptian government that these verdicts cannot be allowed to stand," she added. "The government of Egypt should be taking action to increase the freedoms of the Egyptian people, not to suppress them, thereby feeding into the exact extremism that undermines peace and security."
 
Harf’s remarks come one day after the U.S. said it is "deeply concerned" about the death sentences handed down to the 529 Muslim Brotherhood Islamists.
 
"While appeals are possible, it simply does not seem possible that a fair review of evidence and testimony consistent with international standards could be accomplished with over 529 defendants after a two-day trial," a State Department official said.
 
"We continue to call on the Egyptian government to ensure that all those detained in Egypt are afforded fair proceedings that respect civil liberties and due process and are consistent with international standards. The law must be applied equitably and free of political bias."
 
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the trial of a further 682 Islamists began, among them the Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, who was arrested last August after a brief spell in hiding.

Brotherhood Says Sisi 'Not Suitable' to be President

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 27 March 2014 09:37
al-SisiThe Muslim Brotherhood has voiced its opposition to Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s bid for the presidency.
 
Speaking to AFP shortly after Sisi officially announced his plan to run, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood said that Sisi was not a suitable candidate.
 
"He led a coup to become president. He is a man who has killed daily since the coup," Brotherhood's political bureau member Ibrahim Munir told the news agency by telephone from London.
 
The Brotherhood further warned there could be no stability in Egypt under the "shadow" of his leadership.
 
Earlier, Sisi said he had quit the military to run for president and vowed to rid the country of "terrorism."
 
"Today, I stand before you for the last time in a military uniform, after deciding to end my service as defense minister and commander of the armed forces," he said, dressed in his field marshal's uniform and sitting behind a desk.
 
"With all modesty, I nominate myself for the presidency of Egypt,” said Sisi.
 
Just hours before Sisi's address, clashes between ouster President Mohammed Morsi's student supporters and police killed one protester at a Cairo campus, reported AFP.
 
In southern Egypt, prosecutors referred more than 900 suspected Islamists to trial, two days after a court sentenced 529 to death for deadly rioting.
 
Morsi himself, detained on his ouster on July 3, faces several trials along with much of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.
 
Since Morsi was ousted, more than 1,400 people have died in street clashes, and thousands have been imprisoned. The Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the army-led government.

West rejects justice in Egypt

Category: Reports
Created on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:48
behind barsEgypt’s El-Minya criminal court recommends death penalty for Muslim Brotherhood operatives; EU’s Ashton disapproves, State Dept. Marie Harff riled  
 
On Monday, March 24, Egypt’s criminal court sentenced to death 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In less than 48 hours, Judge Saeed Yosef of the court of El-Minya, south of Cairo, weighed the evidence in accusation documents presented to the court and recommended the death penalty for 529 individuals. 
 
The total number of 1,229 defendants (all Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members involved in Muhammed Morsi’s rise to power and administration) will be tried. So far, only 147 of the defendants appeared in court and have been in custody. Many of the sentenced (398 persons) are in hiding and therefore absent from the court. Seventeen individuals were found not guilty.   
 
According to Egyptian law, procedure calls for the court’s recommendation to depend on final approval by the Grand Mufti of Egypt -- an identity separate from Egypt’s government and the highest religious Islamic position to issue legal edits (fatwas) by interpreting the Quran who must seal any death sentence by the burning Christian storecivil courts with a fatwa. 
 
Once the Grand Mufti approves or denies the court’s verdict, a final verdict will be issued by Judge Yosef in another court hearing set for April 28. The remaining 683 defendants are scheduled for trial on April 28 as well. Among those to appear for the next trial date are such notables as MB spiritual leader, Mohammed Badee, and former president of the Egyptian Parliament, Mohammed El Katatani. 
 
Evidence documents presented to court showed defendants responsible for serious crimes threatening to destabilize the state 
 
Those tried and awaiting trial were arrested for violence and riots in the streets of El Minya upon Muhammed Morsi’s removal last July. These riots were related to the Al-Adawia and Al-Nahda sit-ins once presented to the world through pictures falsified by Al-Jazeera showing a victimized MB touting its peaceful protests. Some of the charges include assault by rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire on the Matay police station in El Minya, the death of a colonel deputy police sheriff, the attempted murder of a second police officer, setting fire to the police station and police vehicles {youtube}sqKoVe6U-uw{/youtube} after seizing police weapons, and invading the public health center to kidnap and mutilate the Colonel’s body.  
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Courts around the country are busy with trials concerning similar incidents
 
In addition to the convictions of the El Minya trial, Egyptian courts in many other locales have MB members on trial for terrorizing public squares and seizing neighborhoods as follows: 
 
In Cairo, Judge Mustafa Al Feeky who heads the court inside the Cairo Police Academy continued a case against 104 members of the MB charged with Al Zaher (area in Cairo) clashes resulting in the killing and injury of citizens, damaging public and private buildings and acts of intimidation against citizens opposed to Islamist control of the streets.   
 
The Misdemeanor Court of  Alexandria in Al Dekhela sentenced four MB members to five years in jail with forced labor for February 2014 crimes involving violence during one or more unauthorized gatherings or demonstrations in that neighborhood.     
 
In the city called Tenth of Ramadan in El Sharkia province, nine MB members were arrested and held in prison for 15 days pending an investigation requested by the public prosecutor. A 14 year-old student under arrest was placed in custody in a juvenile home. They are charged with belonging to a terrorist group, participating in unauthorized marches, attacking people, and chanting slogans against the army and police while being in possession of large stashes of illegal firearms at the time of their arrests. 
 
Reaction to Egypt’s guilty verdicts 
 
A statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan condemns the El Minya court verdict. The statement considers the verdict a political one and the MB victims of military repression because all found guilty and sentenced are fighters for Allah and “democracy.” Meanwhile, in various Egyptian universities, supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood are protesting the verdicts. 
 
Catherine Ashton, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the European Union, normally silent on human rights violations against Christians in Egypt, voiced concern over the death sentences as incommensurate with international human rights standards. She noted as well that Washington viewed the evidence and the testimony with skepticism regarding fairness.
 
Egypt fed up with long history of MB lies, rhetoric and terror
 
Working for decades to overturn the state and undermining a wave of secularism and human rights advocacy with criminal activity after failing to rule Egypt, a humiliated Muslim Brotherhood now faces the severest penalty allowed by law as a reaction to its ruthless attempt to crush the Egyptian soul and subvert the country to its radicalized whims.  
 
Expressing outrage over the plight of the MB while demonstrating overall tolerance for atrocities committed against Christians 
 
According to U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harff, justice is illogical in Egypt.
Shocking as it is to finally witness a guilty verdict regarding the MB somewhere in the world, Ms. Harff, now worried about international standards never raised earlier to counter Egypt’s suffering non-Muslim population forced to live under human rights violations, “is sure to raise this issue with the Egyptian government” on behalf of the MB. 
 
A statement issued by Egypt’s Foreign Minister commented on the verdict as “issued by an independent court, and after careful consideration of the issue;” adding also that, “the defendants can appeal the ruling to the Court of Cessation.” 

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Faces Trial

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 14:01
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Badie File -AFPOne day after an Egyptian court sentenced 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, a further 682 Islamists are facing trial Tuesday.
 
Among them is the Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, who was arrested last August after a brief spell in hiding, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
 
Badie himself was not in court "for security reasons", according to officials.
 
Today's trial relates to an attack on a police station in the central Egyptian city of Minya last August, during weeks of protests over Morsi's ouster by the military. No police were reported killed in the attack.
 
As in Monday's trial - which related to an attack on another Minya police station - many of those facing charges were being tried in absentia.
 
Several defense lawyers reportedly boycotted the proceedings, while others demanded that the presiding judge, Saed Youssef, recuse himself, since he had also presided over yesterday's controversial case, according to the BBC.
 
Egyptian authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Morsi was removed in July. Thousands have been arrested in the clashes and hundreds killed.
 
The court in Minya, south of the capital, Cairo, issued Monday's ruling after only two sessions in which the defendants' lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case. The ruling drew criticism from the US, where officials voiced concerns that the defendants did not receive a fair trial.
 
The alleged attacks are said to have taken place in southern Egypt in August after security forces broke up two Cairo protest camps of Morsi supporters demanding his reinstatement.
 
In the backlash that followed, hundreds of people were killed.
 
The Egyptian government has since declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist" group. 

Egypt Promises 'Decisive Action' After Gunmen Kill 6 Soldiers

Category: News
Created on Monday, 17 March 2014 16:25
Egypt  Decisive Action against terroristsEgypt has declared "decisive action" against Islamists on Sunday, 24 hours after six soldiers were killed by unidentified gunmen at a checkpoint in a Cairo suburb, according to Al-Jazeera. Two bombs were also left at the checkpoint and defused by explosives experts, 
 
In response, the Egyptian cabinet decided to "decisively confront whoever attacks citizens and civilian and government installations," it said in a statement. It added that attacks on military personnel would be dealt with in the military court system, in accordance with the constitution approved via a January referendum. 
 
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No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet, according to Xinhua, but analysts at several agencies have named likely candidates as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Al Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terror organization. 
 
Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.
 
Egypt’s interim government says there is a direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and on this basis blacklisted the Brotherhood as a terror organization.
 
The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has already claimed a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood.
 
The army has also already been cracking down on Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s offshoot which controls Gaza and is seen by Egypt as a threat to its security. Egypt has been shutting down Hamas tunnels which lead from the Sinai into Gaza. Hamas uses these tunnels to transfer goods, weapons and even terrorists.
 
Egypt has also blamed Hamas of being involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations.

Saudi Arabia Blacklists Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian Jihadists

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:12
Muslim Brotherhood during a protest in Cairo -ReutersSaudi Arabia on Friday blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood and two Syrian jihadist groups as terrorist organizations, ordering citizens fighting abroad to return home within 15 days or face imprisonment, AFP reports.
 
The move represents a major escalation against the Brotherhood of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and indicates rising concern in Riyadh over the potential risks to domestic security of Saudi extremists fighting in Syria.
 
Riyadh staunchly supports Sunni-led rebels battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad but has long feared blowback from radical jihadist groups, particularly after a spate of attacks by a local Al-Qaeda franchise from 2003 to 2006.
 
Friday's move came two days after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, which supports Islamists groups in the region and was a backer of the Brotherhood.
 
A list published by the interior ministry designates as terrorist organizations the Brotherhood, Al-Nusra Front, is Al-Qaeda's official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a jihadist group fighting in both Syria and Iraq.
 
Also blacklisted are Shiite Muslim rebels known as Huthis in northern Yemen and "Hezbollah inside the kingdom," a reference to a little-known Shiite group in` overwhelmingly Sunni Saudi Arabia.
 
The interior ministry, in a statement carried by state media, said it will prosecute anyone backing these groups "financially or morally", or who express sympathies for them or seek to promote them through media and social networks.
 
It also forbids "participation in, calling for, or incitement to fighting in conflict zones in other countries."
 
A month ago, Saudi King Abdullah decreed jail terms of up to 20 years for belonging to "terrorist groups" and fighting abroad.
 
Saudis fighting abroad were given a 15-day ultimatum Friday to return home or face imprisonment.
 
Prison also awaits anyone calling for demonstrations or taking part in them, the ministry said.
 
A video released this week featured a testimony from a Saudi who fought in Syria, and who shed light on the inter-rebel civil war that has been raging in the country.
 
In recent months, three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
Former Saudi Internet celebrity Suleiman Al-Subaie, known as “Sambateek,” revealed in a television interview that “all the (rebel) factions have begun to accuse one another of heresy. Each faction would accuse the other of heresy in order to fight it.”
 
The regime used to be the only target, but now there is no fighting against it. All the factions are fighting one another. I advise the young people there to leave if they can,” he added.

Saudi Arabia Blacklists Muslim Brotherhood, Syrian Jihadists

Category: News
Created on Friday, 07 March 2014 15:24
Saudi Arabia Blacklists Muslim BrotherhoodSaudi Arabia on Friday blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood and two Syrian jihadist groups as terrorist organizations, ordering citizens fighting abroad to return home within 15 days or face imprisonment, AFP reports.
 
The move represents a major escalation against the Brotherhood of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and indicates rising concern in Riyadh over the potential risks to domestic security of Saudi extremists fighting in Syria.
 
Riyadh staunchly supports Sunni-led rebels battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad but has long feared blowback from radical jihadist groups, particularly after a spate of attacks by a local Al-Qaeda franchise from 2003 to 2006.
 
Friday's move came two days after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, which supports Islamists groups in the region and was a backer of the Brotherhood.
 
A list published by the interior ministry designates as terrorist organizations the Brotherhood, Al-Nusra Front, is Al-Qaeda's official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a jihadist group fighting in both Syria and Iraq.
 
Also blacklisted are Shiite Muslim rebels known as Huthis in northern Yemen and "Hezbollah inside the kingdom," a reference to a little-known Shiite group in` overwhelmingly Sunni Saudi Arabia.
 
The interior ministry, in a statement carried by state media, said it will prosecute anyone backing these groups "financially or morally", or who express sympathies for them or seek to promote them through media and social networks.
 
It also forbids "participation in, calling for, or incitement to fighting in conflict zones in other countries."
 
A month ago, Saudi King Abdullah decreed jail terms of up to 20 years for belonging to "terrorist groups" and fighting abroad.
 
Saudis fighting abroad were given a 15-day ultimatum Friday to return home or face imprisonment.
 
Prison also awaits anyone calling for demonstrations or taking part in them, the ministry said.
 
A video released this week featured a testimony from a Saudi who fought in Syria, and who shed light on the inter-rebel civil war that has been raging in the country.
 
In recent months, three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
Former Saudi Internet celebrity Suleiman Al-Subaie, known as “Sambateek,” revealed in a television interview that “all the (rebel) factions have begun to accuse one another of heresy. Each faction would accuse the other of heresy in order to fight it.”
 
The regime used to be the only target, but now there is no fighting against it. All the factions are fighting one another. I advise the young people there to leave if they can,” he added.

Egypt: Gunmen Murder Police Guard of Morsi Judge

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 08:54
Supporters and opponents of Morsi clash in Alexandria - AFPGunmen on Friday killed an Egyptian policeman who was on a security team guarding the home of a judge in the jailbreak trial of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, security officials told AFP.
 
Attacks on Egypt’s security forces have surged since the army ousted the Islamist Morsi last July, and as the military-installed authorities press a deadly crackdown on his supporters.
 
Sergeant Abdallah Metwally was shot dead as he rode his motorbike across a bridge over the Nile in the city of Mansoura north of Cairo, according to AFP.
 
The attack on Metwally, who was wearing plain clothes, was carried out by assailants who were also on a motorbike, at about 7:30 a.m. local time, Brigadier General El-Saeed Omara of Mansoura police told the news agency.
 
His killing comes with an appeal court on Saturday set to examine a defense request to appoint a new panel of judges in Morsi's jailbreak trial.
 
Morsi and 130 other defendants, including Palestinian Arab and Lebanese militants, are charged with organizing jailbreaks and attacking police stations during the 2011 revolt against former President Hosni Mubarak.
 
The case, one of three already opened against Morsi, is part of a relentless government crackdown targeting him and his Muslim Brotherhood movement since his ouster.
 
Earlier this week, prosecutors in one of Morsi’s trials accused the deposed president of leaking state secrets to Iran's Revolutionary Guards as part of a plot to destabilize Egypt.
 
The accusations came at the second hearing of the former Islamist president’s trial for espionage.
 
Prosecutors accuse Morsi and 35 others, including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, of conspiring with foreign powers, the Hamas terror group and Iran to destabilize Egypt.
 
Mansoura, in the Nile Delta, where Friday’s killing took place, was the site of a deadly car bombing in December when the city's police headquarters was attacked, killing 15 people, mostly policemen.
 
That bombing resulted in the Brotherhood being  designated as a terrorist organization by the army-led government.
 
The Mansoura bombing was the deadliest since Morsi's overthrow outside the Sinai Peninsula, where terrorists have killed scores of police and soldiers. While most of the attacks have been claimed by the Al-Qaeda inspire Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, interim Egyptian authorities have long claimed a link between the Brotherhood and the string of bloody attacks that followed Morsi’s ouster.
 
The Brotherhood, for its part, has denied any connection to terrorism in Egypt. 

Egyptian Court Bans Hamas

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 08:43
Hamas militantsAn Egyptian court outlawed the terror group Hamas on Tuesday, much like it banned the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this year, and ordered all of its assets seized. 
 
The judge explained that the decision stems from the risks Hamas poses to Egyptian security. He accused the organization of terrorist activities in cooperation with the Islamist group called Al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.
 
The court ruling is a blow to the economic power of Hamas rulership in Gaza, which had previously cooperated with Egypt in facilitating trade and smuggling activities; in addition, Hamas offices will be shuttered all over Egypt. 
 
Hamas officials slammed the decision as a political tactic. "Any decision such as this is an attempt to besiege the Resistance, and serves the Israeli occupation," Bassem Naim, a senior official in Hamas, told AFP Tuesday. 
 
While the government of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on the group, which it accuses of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
 
Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an “attempt to demonize Hamas”.
 
Egypt has been clamping down on the smuggling tunnels which are used to smuggle goods, but also arms and terrorists, between Gaza and the Sinai.
 
Sources in Egypt recently hinted that now that the Egyptian military has taken care of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, its offshoot Hamas was next to face the music. 
 
"We cannot be liberated from the terrorism of the Brotherhood in Egypt without ending it in Gaza, which lies on our borders," an Egyptian security official told Reuters in January.  

Christian Family Murdered in Alexandria

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 08:51
Christian Family MurderedFour members of a Christian family of Syrian origin living in Alexandria, Egypt, were stabbed to death Monday. A man was seen walking out of their apartment holding a black plastic bag.
 
The father of the family, 44, who was employed in one of Sharm el-Sheikh's hotels, was found stabbed in the stomach, the chest and the shoulder. His 35-year-old wife was stabbed in the neck, and so was the husband's 43-year-old sister. Their six-year-old daughter was also found murdered.
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The attackers started a fire in the kitchen, in an apparent attempt to set the entire apartment aflame and destroy evidence.
 
The large Christian community in Egypt, which numbers about 10 million people, has increasingly been coming under attack from Muslims in the last few years. Many Christians have been murdered and wounded, and over 100 churches, homes and businesses owned by Christians have been attacked, with some being burned down.
 
The Egyptian regime has blamed the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist forces for these attacks.

Mohammed Morsi Stands Trial in Egypt for Conspiracy

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 16 February 2014 18:49
U.S. urges Mursi to repudiate anti-Semitic remarksFormer Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi stood trial in Cairo for the third time since he was toppled Sunday - this time, on terror and spying charges, according to BBC News. 
 
Morsi is on trial with 35 others accused of working with Lebanese and Palestinian Arab groups to carry out terror attacks in Egypt. The trial is yet another step in the country's crackdown on activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's party, which Egypt declared a terror group in December. 
 
Security around the courtroom was tightened as the court session loomed, according to Al-Ahram, with dozens of police vehicles and security checkpoints surrounding the building. 
 
But the main hindrance to the trial proved to be not Muslim Brotherhood supporters, but the defense itself - which walked out of the courtroom in protest just after the trial began after Morsi and the other defendants were placed in a soundproof glass partition some compared to a cage.
 
The defendants claimed that they could not hear the proceedings during the trial, according to BBC News, due to the arrangement; the prosecution insisted that headphones placed inside the glass area allowed them to follow the trial.
 
However, that was not enough for the defense, who stormed out of the courtroom anyway, citing other civil rights violations, including the claim that Morsi was not allowed to see his family nor his lawyer before the trial, according to CNN.
 
It is unclear why the defense has decided to walk out now over the partition, which was also present at a different trial against Morsi in January.  
 
Egypt: Cracking Down on Terrorism - at Home and Abroad
 
According to Al-Ahram, the trial not only accused Morsi of working with the Muslim Brotherhood, but expanded into an international fight on terrorism. The defendants included Lebanese men, who were accused of working with Hezbollah, and Palestinian Arabs, who were accused of working with Hamas to attack targets in the Sinai desert.
 
Of the 35, 19 are reportedly already behind bars; the remaining 17 have arrest warrants issued against them. Some of the defendants implicated in terror include Morsi's presidential aides, including former national security advisor Essam El-Hadad. 
 
For all, the charges are severe; the prosecution accused each of them of acting "with the purpose of terrorizing the Egyptian people, stirring chaos, infringing upon the independence of the country and its territorial integrity as well as the unity of the people, and foaming sectarian sedition with the aim of igniting civil war in Egypt," according to CNN. 
 
This is only the tip of the iceberg for Morsi, who face a total of four legal trials against him, BBC News notes. Besides for Sunday's conspiracy trial, two other trials have begun: the first, which began in November, holds him responsible for killing protestors outside the Presidential Palace in 2012; the second, which began in January, cites his role in a 2011 jailbreak which saw the deaths of several police officers. A fourth trial will be held over charges of insulting the judiciary. 
 
Sunday's trial signifies yet another step by Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's homegrown terrorism - and against external terror, particularly in the Sinai Desert. The targets there include Hamas, with which Morsi's government was friendly, and which the current government accuses of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
 
Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an “attempt to demonize Hamas”.
 
In addition, Egypt has been clamping down on the smuggling tunnels which are used to smuggle goods, arms and terrorists between Gaza and the Sinai. A report Saturday surfaced claiming that the government is creating a "buffer zone" between Egypt and Gaza to prevent more Hamas-led terror from infiltrating Egypt through Rafah. 

Egypt Gives Death Sentences to Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Monday, 10 February 2014 18:56
Muslim protestsThe Egyptian government continued its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood Monday, sentencing 14 Muslim Brotherhood terrorists to death and four more to life imprisonment for an attack committed during the 2011 uprising. 
 
The men were sentenced for attacks on police, soldiers, and a bank near El-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai. One of the defendants was also sentenced to death for stopping a train and shooting 5 Coptic Christians inside, killing one of them. 
 
Earlier Monday, the Egyptian government announced that it had uncovered a terror cell organized by a Brotherhood leader that killed five policemen in an attack on a checkpoint south of Cairo last month.
 
If the accusation is true, it would confirm suspicions some Brotherhood members are joining a growing militant campaign amid a massive crackdown on the Islamists.
 
Since the ouster of Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the army-led government.
 
The Egyptian army has been busy with a military offensive against Sinai-based terrorists. On Saturday, the army said that it killed 16 Islamist terrorists in the Sinai, near the border with Gaza, the day before.

Egypt Kills 16 Terrorists Near Gaza

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 09 February 2014 13:44
Egyptian helicopter over the SinaiEgypt's army reported on Saturday that it killed 16 Islamist terrorists in Sinai near the border with Gaza the day before. The liquidation of the 16 terrorists was conducted by an Egyptian airstrike in an area south of Sheikh Zuweid on Friday evening, according to the army's statement.
 
The region has seen heightened violence; Hamas has been accused of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
 
Egyptian reports have indicated Hamas will become an increasing danger in 2014, and analysts comment that the Nile state will have to take out Hamas if it hopes to secure itself.
 
The country has been in an incredibly violent and unstable period since the 'Arab spring' led to the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The anniversary of Mubarak's ousting on January 25 this year sparked clashes that left over 29 dead.
 
Former President Mohammed Morsi replaced Mubarak, and was similarly ousted by the military last July. His Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed and has repeatedly clashed with the army since then.
 
Egypt's military leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has indicated that he will run for president, an election bid which is widely expected to be a sure success.
 
Last November, Egypt signed a $4 billion arms deal with Russia that is designed to specifically enable Egypt to at least achieve parity with the IDF.

Egyptian Court Upholds Ban on Muslim Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 11:56
deadly attack in Mansoura01An appeals court for urgent matters in Egypt turned down Saturday a legal challenge by members of the Muslim Brotherhood against a verdict ordering the seizure of the group's funds by the interim government.
 
According to the Al Ahram newspaper, the court upheld the verdict, declaring that the Brotherhood's funds, assets and NGO would remain seized.
 
The appeal was filed against both Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi and Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed El-Borai, the report said.
 
The initial verdict, issued on September 23, banned the Muslim Brotherhood and its NGO, leaving the Islamist group with no legal status.
 
The Brotherhood existed outside Egyptian law for decades and was only officially registered as an NGO in March 2013. The registration came after a panel of judges recommended the movement’s dissolution.
 
The group has criticized the verdict, saying it was issued by “an incompetent court,” and should have been dealt with by the administrative court.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood has been the subject of a wide-ranging crackdown since the army ousted its president, Mohammed Morsi, last July.
 
Last month, Egypt froze the assets of more than 500 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood has also been blacklisted as a "terrorist organization". That designation came a day after a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
 
The Mansoura attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group which has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, but Egypt’s government has said that there is a link between the Muslim Brotherhood and the ongoing terrorism in the country.
 
The Brotherhood has denied any connection to terrorism in Egypt.

New Egyptian Constitution Holds Promise for Copts

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Saturday, 01 February 2014 18:57
The Holy Bible friends Society  FayoumA new day is dawning for Coptic Christians in Egypt, now that the country has voted to approve a new constitution that replaces the Islamist one crafted under the auspices of the former ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
 
However, the promise of a new Egypt with full inclusion and civil rights for Christians, women and all minorities now faces the challenge of electing new leaders and drafting new laws amid the threat of terror and violence from militants allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
“It is good — not very good — but it is good,” Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for Egypt’s Catholic Conference, said about the constitution, speaking with the Register from Cairo. “It could not have been better, given the context we are living now.”
 
More than 21 million Egyptians turned out on Jan. 14 and 15 to vote on the draft constitution. The constitution had been developed in the months following the July 3, 2013, mass protests assisted by Egypt’s military that toppled the former government of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Landslide approval had been expected, as the new constitution enjoyed the vocal support of Coptic Christian, secular and Salafist leaders of the ultra-conservative Al-Nour party. The constitution was ultimately passed with 98.1% of the vote. The Muslim Brotherhood, which opposed the new constitution, told its members to boycott the referendum.
 
The New York Times reported incidents of several anti-constitution campaigners being arrested, violent clashes between Muslim Brotherhood and police that left eight dead and a terrorist bombing in Giza.
Under the 2012 constitution and the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, Coptic Christians faced some of the worst persecution since the seventh-century invasion of Egypt by Islamic Arab armies. Copts had boycotted the referendum on the previous Islamist constitution, which had passed with 63.8% of the vote when 17 million voted.
 
That constitution was scrapped and replaced by a draft developed by 50 technocrats representing various parts of Egyptian society.
 
Father Greiche, however, said that the new constitution’s vision of a pluralistic and inclusive civil state now depends on both translating it into laws and translating it into Egyptian hearts and minds.
“A text is a text,” he said. “First of all, you have to change the mentality of the people — their way of thinking and doing — and then the laws as well. Even sometimes when you have laws, if the mentality doesn’t change, the law is not [applied]."
 
Constitution Reflects Compromise
The text of the constitution is the product of compromises forged by its liberal, Christian and Salafist drafters. The preamble invokes the name of “God the Merciful” to bless Egypt and Muslims, Christians and Jews who worship him, and it makes a prominent reference to all of Egypt’s 7,000-year history. For Christians, it mentions how Egypt gave shelter to “the fledging Virgin and her newborn” and also “gave thousands of martyrs in defense of the Church of Christ.”
 
The new constitution recognizes that Islam is the state religion and that the “principles of Islamic law” are the “primary source of legislation.” However, the independent Constitutional Court has the power of judicial review over Egyptian laws and determines how those Islamic principles are applied.
 
The constitution states that Christians and Jews have the right to follow their religious laws “regulating their personal and religious affairs” and the right to select their own religious leaders. It states freedom of religion is “absolute,” but limits the public practice of religion and building houses of worship only to Christians, Jews and Muslims. 
 
On paper, the new constitution paves a way for Copts to finally achieve employment opportunities, including in the government and military, which they had been systematically denied since the 1952 revolution that overthrew Egypt’s king. Article 53, in particular, states, “Citizens are equal before the law; they are equal in rights and freedoms and duties, without discrimination” for any reason. It also calls for the law to criminalize all forms of discrimination and “incitement to hatred” and tasks the legislature to establish a special commission to implement this provision.
 
The constitution also calls for education to play a role in creating a new pluralistic society, calling for it to instill “equal citizenship, tolerance and nondiscrimination,” as well as “national identity.” It also prioritizes efforts to ensure that women do not suffer economic or political discrimination.
 
One controversial provision, which was insisted upon by the military, states that civilians who commit crimes against the military are subject to military trials. Egypt’s military also has the right to veto the choice of defense minister over the next two presidential terms.
 
An Unspoken Civil War
Meanwhile, the violence in Egypt continues to simmer and sometimes boil over, as Muslim Brotherhood members continue to fight Egypt’s military and police, often targeting Copts for revenge attacks.
“Technically, it is a civil war, but an undeclared civil war,” said Ashraf Ramelah, president of the Voice of the Copts. He explained that the military and police are fighting Islamist militants on three fronts: the border with Sinai and Libya, two main gateways for foreign fighters and within Egypt itself.
 
Father Greiche noted that, on Jan. 28, a policeman had been killed guarding the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in a suburb of Cairo and that Gen. Mohamed Said, a senior official of the Ministry of the Interior of Egypt, also had been assassinated.
 
“It is not only against Christians, but also the Muslims,” he said. “We’re living with much violence and sometimes terror caused by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies.”
Father Greiche said that the Muslim Brotherhood has incited violence against the Copts, accusing them of working behind the scenes to change Egyptian society.
 
“But this is not true, because all of the Egyptians were fed up,” he said.
Ramelah explained that Copts also pose a particular target for the Muslim Brotherhood for two reasons: First, the Copts are effective at getting things done in Egypt; and, second, Copts may actually form a larger segment of Egyptian society than what is officially on the books. Currently, Copts are figured to be 10% of Egypt’s population of 85 million, or about 8.5 million people. But Ramelah believes the number is closer to 18-20 million, which would mean that Copts are a sizeable plurality on par with the membership of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
The Next Step
The constitution takes immediate effect, and interim president Adly Mansour is expected to set a date for presidential elections within 30-90 days and then elections for parliament within the next six months.
Field Marshall Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who announced the military’s backing of the mass protests which removed President Morsi from power on July 3, is a popular candidate who is expected to step down from the military and run for office.
 
Ramelah suspected that al-Sisi would probably be the front-runner for Copts and most Egyptians.
“They don’t have any other leader,” he said. “At least this man, so far, is trying to do something good.”
The challenge of electing a new parliament will follow the presidential election. The new constitution bans religious, sectarian and geographic-based parties, those which discriminate on the basis of gender or origin and those that engage in activities that are anti-democratic, secret, military or paramilitary in nature — effectively excluding groups similar to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned since December and labeled a terrorist organization.
 
Father Greiche said the challenge for Egypt will be to elect a sizeable parliamentary majority of candidates committed to enacting laws implementing the vision of the constitution over the Salafists, who would prefer to align Egypt along Islamist rules and values.
 
 “We have to use this positive energy as best as we can,” he said.
 
Appeal for Help
Meanwhile, the Church in Egypt continues to depend on the help of the universal Church in easing the suffering of Christians in the country and financing its social services and educational mission.
 
Michael LaCivita, spokesman for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) said the papal agency works closely with the local Church, particularly the Coptic Catholic Church, which provides a “disproportionate” amount of social services in Egypt.
 
“The primary difficulty is lack of resources,” LaCivita said, explaining that CNEWA has been engaged in providing the local Churches humanitarian assistance in the form of added manpower, professional advice and financial resources to carry out the programs.
 
 “You’re talking about a country that largely depended on tourism, and, let’s face it, the number of tourists has been cut dramatically, and that’s hurt everybody.”
 
“The price for everything from seed to fertilizer has gone through the roof,” he added. “You have subsistence farmers who can no longer farm their plots to feed their families, let alone sell the extra to make a bit of profit.”
Father Greiche said that Christians who want to help the Church in Egypt should “help the Christians of the Middle East to stay in the Middle East and not to immigrate.”
 
“They can help, besides praying for them and with them, in financing the building of schools — not churches — but schools that can help people get educated and change their mindset,” he said. “It will take time, but what Egypt needs today is to educate the people and open their minds, so they can accept new things that the Egyptians are in need of now, like the ideas in the constitution.”
 
Peter Jesserer Smith is a Register staff writer.

Massive Explosions Rock Cairo's Police HQ

Category: News
Created on Friday, 24 January 2014 10:29
Cairo NDP headquarters burnsThe Egyptian capital of Cairo has been shaken by a massive explosion. The blast, originating from a car bomb detonated right next to the city's police headquarters, was powerful enough to destroy much of the structure of the building.
 
Egypt's health ministry reports at least 4 killed and 51 injured. The blast also damaged the nearby Islamic Museum and National Library.
 
The bombing, which took place at 6:30 a.m., left the center of Cairo enveloped in smoke, reports Al Arabiya. Gunshots were also reported to have been heard in nearby buildings following the explosion.
 
A second explosion was later reported in Cairo's Dokki district, targeting a subway station.
 
The bombings come a day before the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. On Thursday, 5 policemen were shot dead by masked gunmen on motorcycles.
 
The attacks also come on the heels of a constitutional referendum that passed overwhelmingly last Thursday, which promised a "democratic transition" by the interim military government, and which was boycotted by ousted President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
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The vote stirred up the conflict anew between the military and the Brotherhood, as terrorists in Sinai blew up a gas pipeline immediately afterwards.
 
Army Chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took the referendum as a vote of confidence for his presidential bid, that was recently backed by Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.

Ashraf Ramelah’s Report for Voice of the Copts 01/22/2014

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 22:21
Egypt’s military plans to protect January 25 street celebrations under threat of attackAn armoured personnel carrier positioned outside Ramses Square near al-Fath mosque in Cairo Reuters
 
Egyptians brace for more Muslim Brotherhood attacks. These strikes are anticipated to occur during the scheduled January 25 pro-democracy celebrations on the three-year anniversary of the uprising of Egypt’s freedom fighters. 
 
Muslim Brotherhood documents show more attacks planned for Egypt
 
Egyptian newspapers report that Egypt’s military have recently discovered three documents in the city of Beni Suef, just south of Cairo, produced by the Muslim Brotherhood containing plans to provoke chaos during Egypt’s upcoming street festivities. 
 
The Muslim Brotherhood documents include the preparations for four unauthorized and unpermitted gatherings and protests by Brotherhood supporters in separate locations aiming to distract law enforcement and clash with the army. A second document describes a Muslim Brotherhood plan to spread panic through the country with rumors of polluted drinking water. The third document found is a plan for all members and sympathizers of the terrorist organization to avoid the work day -- remain absent from jobs as a show of civil disobedience. In turn, they are to dedicate the day to physical attacks on public buildings. 
 
More evidence of Muslim Brotherhood preparations against Egypt
 
International leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood organization have met in London this week, according to Cairo’s Veto newspaper, to coordinate and “to prepare for action to be taken during the celebration of the 3rd anniversary of the uprising of January 25, 2011.” The article quoted their sources as saying that such actions as “creating chaos throughout the country, attacking jails to free terrorists, using the Ultras – groups of extreme soccer fans prone to violence – to clash with Egypt’s law enforcement in squares and streets across the country (especially in Tahrir Square of Cairo, Rabaah Square, and Elenaadah Square) are in order to destroy celebrations.” 
 
Muslim Brotherhood international leaders in London stress New Valley training for life and death battle against Egypt’s pro-democracy, anti-Morsi celebrants 
 
The article goes on to say that “the same source stated that at least three hundred members from the Muslim Brotherhood have been intensively trained during the past days in an area of Egypt known as New Valley. The purpose of key task training is to lead various groups in a number of provinces stressing the consideration that January 25 becomes a battle of life and death.”
 
The article went on to say, “the source added that in the London meeting discussion occurred concerning the need to support and finance the plan of attack, its violence, and its riots during the celebrations -- including identification of who will provide funding and donations to the organization [the Muslim Brotherhood] for this purpose.” 
 
Two Brotherhood spiritual leaders, fugitives from Egypt, are behind this effort
 
In addition, the Veto article says, “Egyptian security sources stated that Gomhea Amen, a fugitive member of the Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Guide’s office [after escaping from Egypt] is leading and managing the meeting and offices in London in conjunction with other international members and affiliated groups.
Veto further states, “the sources confirm that Amen is in contact with the current deputy of the Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual leader, Mahmoud Ezzat, who has escaped to Yemen through the Egyptian border with Gaza as per Egyptian security sources.”

Egypt: over 98% voted for new constitution

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 18 January 2014 15:01
2014 refrendomMore than 98 percent of Egyptians voted “yes” for a new constitution in a referendum, authorities said on Saturday.
 
 The turnout was lower than some officials had predicted, with just over a third of the electorate taking part.
 
Voters supported the constitution by 98.1 percent, said the head of the supreme election committee, Nabil Salib.
 
A total of 38.6 percent of eligible voters took part, he told reporters.
 
On Thursday, an Interior Ministry official said the turnout appeared to be more than 55 percent in what was the first vote since the toppling of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in July.
 
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood had called for anti-government protests and a boycott of last week’s vote, seeing it as part of a coup against the country‘s freely-elected leader.
 
The referendum is a key step in the political transition plan the interim government has billed as a path to democracy, even as it presses a fierce crackdown on the Brotherhood.
 
An Egyptian newspaper on Saturday reported that Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour will announce that presidential elections will be held in March.
 
Al Tahrir newspaper quoted Essam Eddine Abdel Aziz, first deputy to the head of the State Council, as saying that President Mansour will call on Egyptians to take part in presidential elections.
 
Clashes on Friday
 
On Friday, at least four people were killed in clashes between Brotherhood supporters and police across the country.
 
One man was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck in the city of Fayoum, south of Cairo, a local health ministry official told Reuters.
 
Three people were killed in clashes in the Cairo area, the security sources said. Two were shot and the circumstances of the other death were unclear.
 
Supporters of the Brotherhood also clashed with security forces in the city of Suez, MENA reported, as well as in Ismailia and a number of locations in the capital, security sources said.

Egypt's Only Option: Eradicate Hamas

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:47
Hamas terrorists in GazaTo the West, and most particularly to President Obama, the newly elected smiling and turbaned Dr. Hassan Rouhani has been on a "smile" offensive.  But to his Muslim brothers, specifically to his Sunni Moslem brothers, with whom Dr. Rouhani "shares" the special affinity of belief in “Allah”, Iranian president Rouhani has been on a different type of offensive.  With his Egyptian Muslim co-religionists, he's been on a murderous genocidal war-crimes offensive. 
 
In Syria, Rouhani's puppet Assad has invented a new form of urban warfare: indiscriminately dropping barrel-bombs which blow up schools with dozens of innocent Muslim children at a time.  But for Egypt, Iran has been busy training Muslim brotherhood terrorists in Gaza-proper to blow up the country. In the recent Muslim Brotherhood explosion of the Egyptian police headquarters in Mansoura, 14 Egyptians were murdered and over 200 were injured by Iranian-trained Muslim brotherhood terrorists.
 
 Egypt's Al Ahram, just reported that:
 
"Egypt's Interior Ministry said on Sunday police have detained a Muslim Brotherhood member accused of attacking an opponent of the group in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, adding that the suspect confessed to being part of a terrorist cell.
 
The ministry said in a statement that the suspect, Amer Mosaad Abdel-Hamid, confessed to having received – along with other Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members – military training in Gaza as well as instructions on how to ‘target state facilities, wreak chaos across the country and disturb public peace and security.’"
 
And let's listen to what a Gazan tunnel worker has to say to a TIME reporter about Egypt's closure of the Hamas smuggling tunnels into Egypt (world.time.com/2013/11/21/hamas-is-in-trouble-in-gaza-and-looking-to-iran-for-help/#ixzz2oMb8ioi5):
 
“‘They [the Egyptians] are entitled to do this,’ says tunnel worker Ahmed Salem, 25, referring to the Egyptians. ‘They are entitled to defend their country [Egypt].  Hamas is the one who is responsible for this.’
 
"'For what?' [the reporter asked] 'Weapons,' Salem says. 'And the people who go through the tunnels to Egypt and kill their soldiers. Yes, it happens'.”
 
A late September 2013 report in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, said that in light of the Muslim Brotherhood's ouster from Egypt - Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian leadership agreed to form a stronger pact and to fortify the "axis of resistance."  Then, the Iranian-loving Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar declared that his movement had formed a joint command with Islamic Jihad, a more radical Islamist movement in Gaza and a close ally of the Iranian regime.  All were blessed by the newly installed Iranian president Dr. Rouhani on his Inauguration Day.
 
The bottom line is that nothing moves in the Gaza Strip without Iran's say-so and hence Iran clearly directly sanctioned the Mansoura bombing.  In fact, that's why it happened.
 
Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan was also in favor of the training of Egyptian Muslim Brothers to massacre Egyptians.  But it all leads back to Gaza.  And as Detective Anthony Vincenzo "Tony" Baretta used to say, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, don't do it."  But Gaza's Hamas did do the crime and the Egyptians know Gaza's Hamas did the crime.  So Egypt had better dispense "the time."
 
After Mansoura, the Egyptians have only one immediate course of action: Obliterate Hamas.  Iran and Turkey are too far away to hurt.  Anyway, the best spot to harm the chain is at its weakest link and at present, Assad and Hamas are the weakest links.  Egypt can save the payback due Iran and Erdogan's Turkey for another day.  Today, Egypt should strike what it can, especially since Egypt can strike Hamas without the international law constraints Israel had to endure and can wipe Hamas off the planet.
 
If Egypt allows Mansoura to go un-revenged and unanswered, then the Egyptian Generals will be correctly seen as feckless by the Muslim brotherhood and Iran. Egypt will be seen as incapable of defending themselves against a clear external and weak enemy.  Such weakness by Egypt's generals against an easy target will inspire Egypt's internal, more difficult enemies to believe Egypt's generals are dead men walking who will ultimately fail to defend themselves.
 
When Egyptian bombs start razing the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood seaside hotels and Hamas headquarters, the Iranians will feel the earth shake under their feet in Tehran.  When the Egyptian Arab Sunni bombs wipe out Iran's Hamas puppet Assad, the Iranians will truly have something very real to fear:  an "Arab Awakening" to their Persian Hegemonic games.
 
 For more information, please visit www.marklangfan.com
 
mark langfanMark Langfan
The writer, who writes on security issues, has created an original educational 3d Topographic Map System of Israel to facilitate clear understanding of the dangers facing Israel and its water supply. It has been studied by US lawmakers and can be seen at www.marklangfan.com

Egypt: Prison Sentences for 63 Brotherhood Supporters

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:37
Muslim protests63 Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt were sentenced Thursday to three years in jail on charges including rioting, thuggery and weapons possession, Al Arabiya reports.
 
It was the largest number of Brotherhood supporters sentenced in one case since the army-backed authorities began cracking down on the movement after former President Mohammed Morsi was deposed in July.
 
The judge set a bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($720) which allows those sentenced to avoid prison while they appeal the verdict. The ruling also includes a fine of 50,000 pounds per person, according to the report.
 
In a different part of Cairo, another 24 Brotherhood supporters were also sentenced to three years in prison, with labor, over clashes.
 
The charges against them included rioting, illegal gathering, attacking the police and belonging to an armed terrorist gang.
 
The government accuses the Brotherhood of turning to violence since the army deposed Morsi after mass protests against his rule. The group says it is committed to peaceful protest.
 
Tensions in Egypt have increased in recent weeks, especially after the interim government blacklisted Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and re-launched its wide-ranging crackdown on the group. 
 
In response to the blacklist, the Muslim Brotherhood has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the military-ruled government.
 
Meanwhile, Morsi’s trial on charges of inciting murder of protesters was postponed on Wednesday until February 1 after officials said that bad weather had prevented him being flown to court, according to Al Arabiya.
 
Morsi is to face three different trials: Prosecutors have announced he will also stand trial for espionage involving Hamas as well as for organizing prison breaks with the help of foreign groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

Today Egyptians heading to the polls

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:00
Egyptians poll - courtesy Copts UintedToday and tomorrow millions of Egyptians will be heading to the polls. It is likely that the majority of registered voters turning out to vote in Egypt’s constitutional draft referendum have never even read the new draft much less compared it to previous ones or analyzed it in any real way. But the mood of the country strongly indicates the draft will be approved. 
 
Ordinary Egyptians associate the new draft with hope and a bright future. The backdrop for this moment of decision is a no-holds-barred battle against the Muslim Brotherhood by Adly Monsour and Egypt’s interim government, which recently designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization. Another signal of likely acceptance is that Egyptians in the 40 days since the new constitution was issued by the assembly have never discussed variations or re-writes or scrapping it to begin again – although there has been much controversy over critical articles.   
 
The notion of expedience in getting past the difficult and lengthy procedure of constitution drafting notwithstanding its fundamental significance and the popular belief that General Al Sisi (the decisive figure for the secular pro-democracy fight ousting Morsi) will seriously consider running for president could be motivation for a “yes” vote. There is enough middle ground in Egypt’s new draft constitution that Egypt’s next president, if elected by secular liberals, will use his position to ignore the Shariah and ideally begin measures to progress the country toward a grasp of human rights and religious freedom. 
 
If the country votes “yes” to this current Shariah-leaning document it will be because the cleansing of Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood) and terrorists (Hamas) is seen as genuine and successful enough to produce the political will needed for further initiatives to roll back a religious state. This would not be easy or quick, but without efforts to do so Egypt will continue to spin in the same vicious cycle. The wind is at Egypt’s back with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait aiding economically and happy to see the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood. 
 
Banning political parties with religious platforms would be a start to bring Egypt into an age of equality and religious freedom, as well as removing current public school textbooks which contain Koranic verses and doctrine, regulating the workplace to rid discrimination, and eliminating Islamist-dominated courtroom double-standards. This would have to occur by executive order to ultimately free a nation mired in barbaric backward precepts. 
 
Realistically, Egypt’s three-year upheaval with its fight for liberal concepts and Western freedoms must begin with a courageous leader who will not only purge terrorism but root out penetrated corruption, address mosque teachings through the Al Ahzar Institute to dissolve hate doctrine, and encourage democratic ideals incrementally. 
 
The existing conflict in Egypt between the forward thinking pro-secular populace and Islamic religionists must be won in the momentum of the current battle which includes accepting this draft constitution and assuring that all terrorists and terror mentality are eliminated from the country before this opportune moment has vanished unlikely to be recaptured without more bloodshed. The risk with a “no” vote and non-approval of this draft constitution is that it may potentially constitute a motive for world pressure over Egypt to re-instate Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to their previous status and power.  

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah with special guests calling in from Cairo

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 12 January 2014 13:31
www.lisabensonradioshow.comLIVE FROM ANYWHERE! CLICK TO www.lisabensonradioshow.com to click via computer or use radio and/or SMARTPHONE app. KKNT 960 the Patriot.
 
Special Guest: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah with special guests calling in from Cairo toDr. Ashraf Ramelah discuss the daily rioting by Muslim Brotherhood and potential for civil war in Egypt. 
 
Also Sarah Stern, President and Founder, Endowment for Middle East Truth. The Summary of demands by Secretary of State John Kerry and Obama Administration setting the stage for April "Peace Talks." These preliminary discussions have key demands: 
1) Palestinian refugees have the right to return. But how many? 
 
2) Jews to give up all that was acquired in 1967 - all of Judea Samaria - including the Western Wall - Kerry suggests that Jews/Israelis will be "allowed" to the Wall at certain times; 
 
stern sarah3) Foreign Troops to be placed in the Jordan Valley. Sarah knows this stuff backwards and forwards and will explain TOMORROW LIVE

Egypt: 3 killed in clashes ahead of referendum

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 11 January 2014 09:19
police vehicle on fire during clashes with terrorists at Nasr City district in Cairo ReutersThree people were killed in in Egypt on Friday in clashes between Islamist protesters and security forces four days before a planned referendum a controversial draft constitution.
 
A police officer said a street vendor was shot dead in clashes between Mursi’s Islamist supporters and civilian opponents in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
 
Police arrested the shooter and identified him as a member of Mursi’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, the officer said, adding that 25 demonstrators were also rounded up.
 
Two people were also killed in the canal city of Suez where clashes broke out between Brotherhood supporters, police and residents opposed to the Islamists, medics and security officials said.
 
The Islamists held rallies in several cities demanding the reinstatement of Mursi, who the military ousted in July following mass protests demanding his resignation.
 
The interior ministry said police arrested 169 suspected protesters countrywide.
 
The Islamists have organised near daily protests since Morsi’s overthrow, often clashing with police and civilian opponents.
 
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has called for a boycott of the Jan. 14 and 15 referendum, which is also seen by some as a vote on army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s popularity.
 
Sisi overthrew Mursi in July following mass protests against his rule and could yet run for president of the Arab world’s biggest country.
 
The Brotherhood says Sisi’s overthrow of Mursi constituted a coup which undermined democratic gains made since a 2011 popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
 
The referendum is the first milestone in a political transformation that Sisi has said would lead to presidential and parliamentary elections and bring stability to Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel and controls the Suez Canal.
 
But Islamist militants have stepped up attacks on security forces since Mursi’s ouster, and street violence has continued, conditions which have decimated investment and tourism.

Muslim Brotherhood Complains to International Criminal Court

Category: News
Created on Friday, 10 January 2014 06:13
Attempted assassination of Egypts Internal MinisterAfter months of protests and bloodshed, the Muslim Brotherhood has taken yet another step against the Egyptian military, which ousted its president, Mohammed Morsi, last July: it has filed a complaint against it with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
 
AFP reported Monday that lawyers for the terrorist group submitted a request by Morsi to make the ICC the ruling power in Egypt - even though Egypt is not a signatory and Morsi is no longer in power. 
 
They also submitted complaints detailing the military's "crimes" against the Brotherhood, in its wide-ranging crackdown on the group. 
 
"The message must be sent out clearly to the Egyptian military regime that it runs the risk of prosecution. This is what the declaration accepting the jurisdiction aims to achieve," attorney John Dugard stated to AFP.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood is already the subject of a court ban by an Egyptian court, following the ouster of the Islamist Morsi. The ban on the group accompanied a campaign by security forces to crush the Islamist movement in which hundreds of its members have been killed and thousands arrested.
 
Egypt has also frozen the assets of senior leaders of the movement and has arrested dozens of its members since Morsi’s removal, including most of its leadership.
 
The Brotherhood, despite being blacklisted as a terrorist group by the Egyptian government, has denied again and again that it has anything to do with terror in Egypt and the Sinai desert.  The news comes just hours after reports surfaced that the Brotherhood had planned to recruit a "Revolutionary Guard" capable of enforcing the Brotherhood's rule by force - modeled after the powerful Guard in Iran. 

Today Copts celebrate Christmas

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 12:27
Adley and PopeJust one week after the Orthodox Church celebrates Eastern Christmas on January 7, Coptic Egyptians will turn out at the polls to ratify or strike down Egypt’s new constitution draft. If voters approve it Egypt will have a constitution slightly more liberal than Morsi’s but stricter (more religious) than Mubarak’s. As bomb-sniffing dogs prepare the safety of voting polls housed inside thousands of schools across Egypt, Copts must get ready to endorse or reject Islamic Shariah law as the source of Egypt’s laws. 
 
Twenty-plus million Copts of which about 20 percent are eligible to vote next week on January 14 and 15, make up a part of the larger constituency of more than 30 million pro-democracy freedom fighters that, along with the military’s backing, brought Morsi’s Brotherhood-backed government to its knees last summer. It is only natural now that Egyptian freedom fighters face supremacist doctrine embodied in the new constitution drafted by an assembly not representative of the people.   
 
As bad as the draft looks for the possibility of equality and freedom to materialize in Egypt, there is hope in the resolve and tenacity of Egyptians who may now feel protected enough by the actions of a military leader seen as sincere to vote according to the values represented by their fight. Furthermore, there are promising signs of a hardcore purge of the Muslim Brotherhood organization recently designated as a terror group by Egypt’s interim government, along with other interesting and positive signs for the country. For instance, Interim President, Adly Monsour, paid a visit to the Coptic Pope’s official residence two days ago to extend his personal Christmas greeting to the head of the Orthodox Church – a first in Egypt’s history. How do Egyptians view this unprecedented event? 
 
The visit is seen in optimistic terms as a genuine act of respect conducted by the President of Egypt on behalf of the country toward Coptic citizens – a true turning point for Copts (who to this point have been completely ignored by Egypt’s presidents on Christian holidays) to connect with Muslim leaders across the board who finally recognize the significance of Coptic fidelity, passion and participation. The Imam of Al Azhar’s representative visited the Pope a few days ago, Army General Al Sisi sent his greeting to the Pope, various ministers sent greetings, and the last Egyptian king, King Fuaad, (who was dethroned at age two in 1952) sent the Pope a message of goodwill. 
 
All this appears to be a move toward openness, respect and a new diplomacy. Meanwhile, the stern voices of Islam (Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi) forbid such acknowledgments. But as their fanatical resistance is ignored, it is not to say that empowering Islam and maintaining its dominance have been forsaken. A new draft constitution disregarding equality and religious rights in favor of Islamic religious law now awaits approval.     
 
From the Coptic point of view these overtures feel right and are a far cry from past Christmases marred by bloodshed committed by Muslim thugs motivated by jihad with the blind eye of law enforcement and the courts. This is a major step toward basic decency, if not equality. However, in spite of this pleasantry, Copts have a legitimate fear of attending churches regarded as potential targets on the most sacred of days. Law enforcement is utilizing bomb-sniffing dogs at churches across Egypt to prevent terror attacks.  

Brotherhood Leader Planned an Egyptian 'Revolutionary Guard'

Category: News
Created on Monday, 06 January 2014 23:24
Khairat al-Shater Muslim Brotherhoods leader ReutersOne of the leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood planned to establish a “Revolutionary Guard” modeled after Iran’s elite military unit, Al Arabiya reported on Monday.
 
The report cited a former member of Al-Qaeda who spoke to an Egyptian TV channel.
 
The man, Mohammad Tawfic, said that Khairat al-Shater, the one-time deputy Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, planned to recruit Islamist youths who would be trained as a separate military unit rivaling Egypt’s existing army, to resemble a force similar to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards.
 
“Shater was planning to establish a national defense college and recruit 50 thousand youths, including 30 thousand from the Islamic movements, and 20 thousand from Al-Qaeda through [al-Qaeda chief] al-Zawahiri,” said Tawfic in an interview with Al-Mehwar, a private satellite channel.
 
“This college would have fresh graduates every six months and become like the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guard, pledging full loyalty to the president,” he added.
 
Shater was the Brotherhood’s original candidate for the presidential elections in Egypt, but was disqualified by the election commission, and the Brotherhood named Mohammed Morsi as its candidate instead.
 
Shortly after Morsi was toppled by the Egyptian army in July, Shater, along with most other senior Brotherhood figures were detained by the interim government’s security forces.
 
The already tense situation in Egypt has deteriorated in the past week, since the Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization, sparking new tensions between the military and the Brotherhood's supporters.
 
The government has renewed its wide-ranging crackdown on Brotherhood members and supporters since the group was designated as a terrorist organization.

Egypt Summons Qatari Ambassador Amid Row Over Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 05 January 2014 08:36
Morsi supporters clash with riot police in Cairo - ReutersEgypt summoned the Qatari ambassador in Cairo on Saturday, following concerns expressed by the Gulf state over the crackdown on Islamist demonstrators, reported Al Arabiya.
 
“The Qatari ambassador was summoned over a statement by the Qatari foreign ministry,” Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty was quoted as having said.
 
In a statement earlier on Saturday, Qatar had said the recent decision to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group was “a prelude to a shoot-to-kill policy” against demonstrators.
 
“The decision to designate popular political movements as terrorist organizations, and labeling peaceful demonstrations as terrorism, did not succeed in stopping the peaceful protests,” the statement said, according to Al Arabiya.
 
“It was only a prelude to a shoot-to-kill policy on demonstrators,” the statement published by state news agency QNA said, adding that “inclusive dialogue” between all sides was the only solution to Egypt’s crisis.
 
The already tense situation in Egypt has deteriorated in the past week, since the Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization, sparking new tensions between the military and the Brotherhood's supporters. The government has been engaging in a wide-ranging crackdown on Brotherhood members and supporters.
 
Tensions have mounted between Qatar and Egypt since the July 2013 ouster of Egypt’s former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, whom Qatar firmly supported.
 
Egypt accuses Qatar and its Doha-based Al Jazeera television channel of backing the Muslim Brotherhood. Last week, Egypt’s general prosecutor detained several journalists for 15 days for broadcasting graphics on Al Jazeera, alleging that they damaged Egypt’s reputation.
 
In the latest violence, 17 people were shot dead as supporters of the Brotherhood clashed with police across Egypt on Friday. The protesters had been defying a widening state crackdown on the movement that ruled the country until six months ago.

Egypt: 14 Killed in Deadliest Day in Months

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 04 January 2014 18:33
flare-upsFriday was a day of violent clashes in Egypt, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the police at a level unparalleled in more than two months.
 
Al Ahram cited the ministry of health as saying on Saturday that 14 people were killed and 62 injured in clashes across the country on Friday.
 
Earlier on Saturday, a medical source had told Al-Ahram 17 people were killed during the clashes.
 
17 police officers were also injured, according to a senior security source.
 
Protesters died in Cairo, Alexandria, the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, Fayoum and Minya in Upper Egypt, according to the Egyptian health ministry.
 
The police said it arrested more than 258 Brotherhood supporters including some possessing explosives and weapons.
 
Clashes continued into the night east of the capital at Gisr El-Suez Street and at the other end of the city's outskirts at Al-Talbiya area near the pyramids.
 
In Nasr City – which had calmed down amid a heavy police presence, a public bus was smashed and several cars were shattered in the violence.
 
Police fired teargas at a student march at the nearby Al-Azhar University, a major scene of Islamist protests in recent weeks, state news agency MENA said.
 
Brotherhood supporters set the Faculty of Agriculture building at Al-Azhar University on fire and damaged five administrative offices inside, Al-Ahram reported.
 
More than 1,000 people, mainly Morsi supporters, have been killed since July 3 when he was ousted, and authorities have rounded up some 2,000 Islamists, including most of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
The tensions deepened last week when the interim Egyptian government blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization".
 
The terror designation came a day after a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.

The End of the Muslim Brotherhood Syrian Scam

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 21:39
Muslim Brotherhood -Syrian ScamThe Middle East neatly laid out in the pages of the New York Times has little relationship to the messy realities of a region with few clean borders, only messy collections of tribes, families, ethnic groups and quarreling variations of Islam.
 
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) had one purpose. To fool America. Now the con is over.
 
In the deserts of the Middle East, political mirages appear easily and disappear just as easily. There are countries and armies that exist only on paper. And there are invisible tribal nations that have no flag and never appear on a map, but that have their own militias and govern themselves.
 
The Middle East as it exists neatly laid out in the pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post has little relationship to the messy realities of a region with few clean borders, only messy collections of tribes, families, ethnic groups and quarreling variations of Islam clinging to a few miles of dusty land, a handful of olive groves, some oil wells and their children and machine guns.
Out in Syria, the mirage of the Free Syrian Army, its camps full of soldiers defecting from the military to form a secular liberation force, has dissipated, vanishing into the sand. And all it took to knock down the Potemkin villages of the FSA that never existed was an attack on the only part of the Free Syrian Army that did exist—its warehouses full of American and European military aid.
 
The Free Syrian Army never existed. What did exist was neither free, nor Syrian, nor an army. The FSA was sold as an army of Syrian soldiers who had banded together under defecting officers to fight against the Assad government. The real FSA mostly consisted of Islamic brigades, indistinguishable for the most part from the other Salafist brigades in the war.  Some of these brigades were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood whose local allies, Turkey and Qatar, were the war’s biggest backers.
 
Perhaps even the war’s inventors.
 
And yet even this FSA, the one that was later being described as a collection of “moderate” Islamic militias, was just as much of an illusion. Like the attempt to draw lines around tribal encampments and call the whole thing a country, the Free Syrian Army was really a collection of militias with little in the way of an organizing structure except a willingness to identify casually with the FSA in the hopes of scoring some loot from those warehouses of American aid … and the promised American air support.
 
The units in the Free Syrian Army were not monogamous. They operated with the Al Nusra Front, one of the Al Qaeda groups in Syria, and any of the wannabe Caliphs and Emirs of the other Islamist militias. Their commanders and their men were out for themselves, switching team alliances as easily as reality show contestants, but with much bloodier results.
 
The FSA’s real purpose was to fool America by propping up a fake military for the real governments that were assembled by the Muslim Brotherhood’s activists in places like Doha and Istanbul. These interim “governments” won official recognition and received money and weapons that they could distribute to the Islamist militias in exchange for their support. Once Assad was defeated, their internationally recognized ”government” representing the patchwork of militia-controlled territories would be able to stage phony elections and control the billions in foreign aid which would be donated to rebuild Syria.
 
The FSA con existed for and depended on American support. Without American weapons and American military intervention, the Free Syrian Army no longer had a reason to exist.And the air support and weapons weren’t coming.
 
Benghazi had made the United States nervous and the secret negotiations with Iran were overriding the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda in Syria. When Russia pressured Obama and Kerry into the Syrian chemical weapons deal, any hope of American military intervention in Syria ended.
 
And so did the Free Syrian Army.
 
Some of the militias that had been pretending to be the FSA joined other Islamist alliances. And those Islamist alliances went after the only real asset that the FSA had; its trucks and warehouses of foreign aid. The FSA’s warehouses full of foreign aid fell to the Islamic Front with only five casualties. Its leader, General Salim Idriss, fled to his masters in Turkey and Qatar.
 
Shortly thereafter a correction was issued.
 
General Idriss had never fled Syria because he hadn’t been in Syria. Idriss, who commands nothing except the attention of gullible Westerners, sets foot in Syria when he needs to accompany a VIP like Senator McCain for some photo ops. Idriss’s Islamist “deputies,” who command actual militias, have power. Their job is to fight the actual war. Idriss’s job is to tell American senators that if the imaginary moderate legions of the Free Syrian Army don’t receive more American aid, then Al Qaeda will win.
 
Unfortunately quite a few of his men actually are Al Qaeda. The rest make very poor warehouse guards.
 
In the wake of the warehouse debacle, the media is echoing the same warnings that if we don’t throw our weight behind the FSA, then Al Qaeda will win. But Al Qaeda has already won. And lost.
 
Al Qaeda dominates the Sunni opposition. Its foreign fighters have the best weapons and gear. The media tells us this all the time … but never bothers explaining where the weapons and gear come from.
 
They come from the same countries that are warning us that we must support the Free Syrian Army.
 
Al Qaeda’s arms dealers are warning us to arm the Free Syrian Army or Al Qaeda will win. But if they really didn’t want Al Qaeda to win, they wouldn’t be arming it. Al Qaeda in Pakistan or Mali isn’t nearly as well equipped as it is in Syria. They were arming Al Qaeda while setting up the Free Syrian Army as the moderate opposition so that we would be dragged into the war and overthrow Assad for them.
 
They had every reason to expect the plan to work. It worked in Libya.
 
But now the plan is shot to hell. The United States isn’t joining the war. The Shiite axis has thrown enough resources into Syria that it’s likely to win. Qatar and Turkey are facing a backlash in Sunni countries like Egypt where their Arab Spring plots failed to hand over rule to the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
As long as the United States keeps sending some foreign aid, the FSA scam will be kept alive. But the scam will consist of warehouses with a handful of men paid with proceeds from the sale of that foreign aid. And those warehouses will fall the moment that ISIS or the Al Nusra Front or the Islamic Front or anyone with enough fighters and guns rolls up in their dusty Japanese pickup trucks and takes it all.
 
The scam is over. So is the Free Syrian Army.
 
Daniel GreenfieldDaniel Greenfield
The writer is a popular New York City based freelance commentator and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He blogs at sultanknish.blogspot.com

Bloody Friday Kills 11 Across Egypt

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 18:18
Morsi supporters clash with riot police in Cairo - ReutersA bloody Friday in Egypt has claimed the lives of at least 11 protesters in Cairo and several other cities, Al Arabiya reported.
 
Clashes broke out between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Egyptian security forces throughout Egypt, said the report.
 
One demonstrator was shot dead by police in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia after a march set off from a mosque after midday prayers.
 
In the rural province of Fayoum, southwest of Cairo, a protester died from a bullet wound to the head.
 
Fighting spread through heavily populated residential areas in several cities and provinces including Cairo, Giza, Ismailia, and Alexandria, as dozens of Muslim Brotherhood members and their supporters threw rocks at security forces who responded with water cannons and tear gas.
 
Brotherhood supporters have been holding daily protests since Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Brotherhood, was ousted by the military in July.
 
More than 1,000 people, mainly Morsi supporters, have been killed since July 3 when he was ousted and authorities have rounded up some 2,000 Islamists, including most of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
The tensions deepened last week when the interim Egyptian government blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization".
 
The terror designation came a day after a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
 
The government has been engaging in a wide-ranging crackdown on Brotherhood members and supporters, which began even before the terror group designation.
 
On Tuesday, Egyptian officials seized the assets of at least 500 Brotherhood leaders. On Monday, three Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested on charges of meeting with Brotherhood officials. 

Egypt Probes Telecoms Company Over Alleged 'Terror Ad'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 15:44
VodafoneEgyptian prosecutors are probing Telecoms giant Vodafone over claims a company advertisement featuring a popular Muppet-like character contains coded messages calling for terrorist attacks, company executives said Thursday, according to AFP.
 
Vodafone Egypt says the advert, featuring the puppet Abla (Aunt) Fahita, is merely a marketing tool and has no hidden message or meaning.
 
The case stems from claims by a political activist who calls himself Ahmed Spider, who said, according to AFP, that next week's Coptic "Christmas day will be a bitter day because of explosions (planned) by anarchists with the help of (ousted president Mohammed) Morsi's supporters."
 
Copts, who make up the majority of Christians in Egypt, celebrate Christmas on January 7.
 
In his remarks to private television channel Tahrir, Spider said the four branches of a cactus used as a Christmas tree in the advert symbolize the four-finger Islamist salute used by Morsi's supporters.
 
Spider, an avid supporter of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, also said an ornamental ball dangling from the tree represents a bomb, while stuffed turkey breasts spoken of in the commercial symbolize "car bombs."
 
On Wednesday, prosecutors summoned Vodafone executives for questioning following the complaint, reported AFP.
 
"Our marketing director went with our lawyer to the prosecution," Noha Saad, head of Vodafone's public relations told the news agency on Thursday.
 
"The prosecution heard their statements in response to the complaint filed by Ahmed Spider. There were no accusations by the prosecution. They are in the phase of gathering information."
 
Speaking on another show broadcast by private television channel CBC, Spider also accused "British intelligence services" of being behind it all.
 
The advert is for an offer under which Vodafone customers can re-activate their old SIM cards.
 
A company statement said "any other explanations are pure fiction and personal opinions of some viewers and Vodafone is not liable for the personal attitudes and interpretations that are far from reality."
 
The latest controversy highlights the tense atmosphere prevailing in Egypt since the military ousted Morsi in July, following mass protests calling him to step down.
 
It also comes amid a volatile security situation, with Egypt shaken by nearly daily terrorist attacks on security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula and an ongoing crackdown on Morsi's supporters.
 
The already tense situation in Egypt has deteriorated in the past week, since the Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization, sparking new tensions between the military and the Brotherhood's supporters.
 
On Tuesday, Egyptian officials seized the assets of at least 500 Brotherhood leaders. On Monday, three Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested on charges of meeting with Brotherhood officials. 
 
Egypt has also brought Hamas, the terror group which controls Gaza and is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, into the mix, and has accused it of being involved in the bombing of police headquarters in Mansoura last Monday that killed 16.

Egypt Accuses Hamas of Attack that Killed 16

Category: News
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 15:28
Hamas terroristsMohamed Ibrahim, Egypt's Interior Minister, on Thursday accused Hamas of being involved in the bombing of police headquarters in Mansoura last Monday that killed 16.
 
Ibrahim announced that seven suspects have been apprehended, including Muslim Brotherhood members. The minister further said the bombers received logistical support from Hamas, detailing Muslim Brotherhood connections with the Gazan terror group, reports Al-Ahram.
 
Several of the arrested Muslim Brotherhood members entered Gaza through tunnels, according to Ibrahim, and there received training.
 
On Wednesday, analyst Mark Langfan noted Hamas's involvement in the Mansoura attack, arguing that Egypt needs to fight against Hamas in order to secure itself.
 
Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi previously declared the Mansoura attack an act of terrorism, pledging that "the state will do its utmost to pursue the criminals who executed, planned and supported that attack."
 
Ousted President Mohammed Morsi has been charged with involvement in Hamas terror attacks. Ibrahim asserted that the "Brotherhood allied with the extremist groups during Morsi's one-year-rule."
 
For its part, Hamas has denied involvement in any attacks in Egypt, with spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri saying "the accusations of involvement in the Mansoura bombing are an attempt to export the internal Egyptian crisis."
 
However, reports recently revealed that Hamas planned attacks on Egyptian Christians in Sinai, timed to occur on Christmas.
 
A referendum on Egypt's constitution is set to be held in mid January, as tension is mounting along the divide between the military and Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt: Tear Gas, Water Cannons Fired at Pro-Brotherhood Protest

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 16:59
Egypt-clashesEgyptian officials continued their crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday, firing tear gas and water cannons at a student demonstration in Cairo. 
 
Egyptian state media reported that about 300 pro-Brotherhood students blocked a road near the Defense Ministry, chanting anti-police and anti-government slogans. When the protesters refused to move, anti-rioting tactics were used, officials say - including tear gas and water cannons. 
 
Police also fired tear gas on student protesters from the state's main university in the Nile Delta city of Zakazik, the hometown of ousted President and Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi, according to Reuters. Hundreds of protesters have been killed since Morsi's ouster in July - many of them students. 
 
Last week, the Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization, sparking new tensions between the military and the Brotherhood's supporters. The government has been engaging in a wide-ranging crackdown on Brotherhood members and supporters.
 
This week has been particularly tumultuous. Earlier Wednesday, Egyptian officials seized the assets of at least 500 Brotherhood leaders. On Monday, 3 Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested on charges of meeting with Brotherhood officials. 

Hamas PM: No One Can Call Us a Terror Organization

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 08:41
Hamas Haniyeh l Islamic Jihads Al-HindiHamas’s Gaza Prime Minister condemned on Tuesday Egypt's designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group last week.
 
Ismail Haniyeh also said that no one could label Hamas as a terrorist organization and snubbed calls by some rival factions for Hamas to sever connections with the Brotherhood.
 
"We reject such a classification for the Muslim Brotherhood group. No one, regardless of its influence, can push Hamas or any of the Palestinian resistance factions to abandon their ideology, abandon their history," Haniyeh was quoted by Reuters as having told reporters.
 
Hamas, founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been seen as a major loser from the July 3 ouster Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who belonged to the Brotherhood.
 
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has been clamping down on the smuggling tunnels which are used to smuggle goods but also arms and terrorists between Gaza and the Sinai.
 
Egypt has also accused Hamas of being involved in terror attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and of teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations, and Haniyeh repeated that denial on Tuesday.
 
"We seek to reaffirm that we do not intervene in Egyptian internal affairs. Egypt cannot do without us and we cannot do with Egypt. These historical, geographic and security links can never be severed," Haniyeh said, according to Reuters.
 
“Hamas rejects any attempt by Egypt or any other Arab country to declare Hamas a terrorist organization," he was quoted by NRG/Maariv as saying.

Arab MK: Egypt's Gen. Sisi is a 'Gang Leader'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 08:14
MK Sarsour leftMK Ibrahim Sarsur (Raam-Taal) distributed an official press release this week in which he expresses his full identification with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Sarsur was the head of the southern section of the Islamic Movement in Israel in the past.
 
"It is a great honor for me, greater than any other, to belong to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he wrote, “even if we are not a part of the organization because of the special situation in which we live as an Arab Muslim society inside the Green Line (i.e., the state of Israel – DH), which is part of the Palestinian nation and the Arab and Islamic ummah.”
 
The fact that he is not officially a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, he added, “does not prevent us from being a solid component in the emotional unity and the general spiritual and ideological plane, which the Muslim Brotherhood was the first to solidify in a way that has turned it into a leader in Islamic activity throughout the world, in the realm of ideas, in giving, in struggle, in organizational activity, in its vitality, in its being groundbreaking and revolutionary in all areas of civilian, cultural and political life.”
 
MK derided the military ouster of president Muhammad Morsi, who represented the Muslim Brotherhood, by Defense Minister Abd el-Fatah Sisi. He called Sisi a “leader of a gang” that strives “to bury the revolution and kill the hope in the nation's heart, and its members show no compunctions about the spilling of blood, the body parts and the skulls that they step on as they make their way to power.”
 
The Egyptian military, he charged, “has turned from a protector of Egypt's borders and national security, to a killer of the nation, a protector of corruption, a means for killing the democracy that had just been born, and to leading military coups while taking care to tighten relations with the enemies of the nation and the homeland, and the loyal coordination with them on all fronts, including the Palestine front.”
 
MK Sarsur did not clarify if he included the state of Israel among the “enemies of the nation” he accused Egypt of cooperating with.

Egypt Calls on Arab Countries to Blacklist the Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:58
Muslim protestsEgypt, which has blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, on Monday urged other members of the Arab League to follow suit.
 
AFP reported that Egypt called on Arab League members to enforce a counterterrorism treaty that would block funding and support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Cairo also wants the League’s members to hand over wanted Islamists linked to the Brotherhood, to which deposed president Mohammed Morsi belongs, the report said.
 
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that Arab League members that signed the 1998 counterterrorism treaty should enforce it against the Brotherhood.
 
The treaty coordinates anti-terrorism measures between signatories.
 
“The signatories are responsible for implementing the treaty,” Abdelatty told AFP, adding that members would have to stop financing the group and hand over Brotherhood fugitives to Egypt.
 
An Arab League official told the news agency that 18 of the Arab League’s 22 members had ratified the treaty.
 
Egypt’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group came a day after a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
 
The Mansoura attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group which has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, but Egypt’s government has said that there is a link between the Muslim Brotherhood and the ongoing terrorism in the country.
 
A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has blasted the decision to declare the organization a “terrorist group” and said the Islamists in Egypt would continue with their near-daily demonstrations despite the blacklist.
 
Morsi and dozens of Brotherhood leaders face trials on various charges, including plotting terror attacks in Egypt.
 
Some of the group’s leaders have fled the country, and its media operation is now based in the United Kingdom.
 
Egypt has launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since the terror designation and has arrested dozens of its members.
 
Also arrested were three Al-Jazeera journalists who are accused of having met with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ashraf Ramelah’s Report for Voice of the Copts 12/31/13

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 12:17
MB MembersEgypt and the Muslim Brotherhood 
The story of modern-day Egypt is the chronicle of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood from its inception as a religious charity through its development as a political organization and its use of terror to progress to power. Egypt’s narrative entails the use of both the limelight and the dungeons by a Muslim Brotherhood that manipulated and was manipulated by three successive dictators and a prior King to shape political and personal gains. 
 
Decisions by Egyptian rulers and their regimes worked to suppress the Brotherhood while favoring their dogma for separate power, projecting false realities -- the intricacies of which delivered assassinations. A nation angered and exhausted by entanglements and lies rose up into the streets on January 2011 yielding within months to the artifice and power of the Brotherhood which capitulated in the hijacking of the Arab Spring movement and the Morsi presidency.   
 
December 25, 2013 announcement by Egypt’s interim government follows on the heels of Egypt’s new protest regulation to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood organization altogether 
Last week, on December 25, Egypt’s interim government outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt by designating it a terror organization. Article 86 of Egypt’s criminal law will now be applied to the Muslim Brotherhood organization prohibiting its members from gathering or protesting. The law stops members and sympathizers from organizing, promoting group activities, issuing statements and accepting donations. Anyone trying to join the Muslim Brotherhood will be criminally prosecuted. Egypt is now requesting identical action by all Arab countries acceding to the Terrorism Suppression Act agreed upon at the 1998 convention held on April 22 in Cairo. 
The new protest regulation issued earlier last month by Egypt’s interim government mandating government permits to protest was thought to target the Brotherhood and serve to eliminate rallies and town invasions by Brotherhood gangs. Now this government act of designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization confirms these earlier speculations and goes beyond basic controls to transact what could be a final blow to the organization’s existence in Egypt. Another measure of accountability by Egypt’s leaders to the Egyptian freedom-fighters and an important contribution to the international community, Egypt’s bold decision not only preserves its current path to freedom, equality and human rights but offers the world a possible curtailment of exported terrorism and a model to emulate. 
 
Is this just business as usual in Egypt or has the time finally arrived for a Muslim Brotherhood-free Egypt? 
The Muslim Brotherhood’s long history in Egypt proves that the Brotherhood can withstand damage and setbacks to the organization as long as counter actions prosper it. In 1942, the Egyptian court for the first time found guilty two members of the Muslim Brotherhood for attempting to overthrow the government. In 1948, after the assassination of the Egyptian Prime Minister Al Nekrashi by the Muslim Brotherhood, King Farouk issued a decree to dissolve the organization. This was then overturned by the courts in 1951 when the Egyptian State Council (the courts) issued a verdict annulling the King’s decree declaring it an illegal action to disband the group and confiscate its properties. 
 
After the Brotherhood’s attempted assassination of President Nasser in Alexandria in early 1954, Nasser dissolved the organization. President Sadat then turned a blind eye to the law allowing Muslim Brotherhood activity to flourish for the sake of his personal political gains. Sadat was then assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood in October of 1981. 
 
President Mubarak prolonged his presidency by keeping the Brotherhood happy with seats in parliament, university positions, and government posts. Alas, Mubarak survived an assassination attempt by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood while he was visiting Ethiopia in 1996. In turn, Mubarak arrested and jailed Brotherhood leaders for the next four years or more but increased the number of Brotherhood seats in parliament to a total of 88. 
 
After the removal of Mubarak in 2011 the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces became Egypt’s interim government which immediately handed over their power to the Muslim Brotherhood. After two years of the worst hardship modern-day Egyptians had ever known, the Egyptian army led by General Al-Sisi removed by force the Muslim Brotherhood from Rabaah and Al Nahada Squares on August 14, 2013 marking a turn once again against the Muslim Brotherhood organization. 
 
With its penetration of the grassroots for the first time in Egypt (with its bombings, chaos, and havoc) has the Muslim Brotherhood’s power reached a climax triggering its mortality?   
 
The Muslim Brotherhood has now lost its image as “warriors for a better life,” and Egyptians know better that the organization abides in its self-aggrandizement and sheer destruction of the state. This has led to a completely different scenario from the past. Inside Egypt now, power resides in hands of genuine interests to rid Egypt entirely of the Muslim Brotherhood with the ability to do so. Now, more than ever, forces from outside of Egypt could play a prominent opposition role inside Egypt to alter this delicate momentum in favor of terrorism. 

Washington: Egypt Going 'Way Too Far' with Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 29 December 2013 06:59
Obama and Chairman AbbasWashington believes that Egypt’s latest crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood is a bit too much but won’t take action against the interim government in Cairo, a United States official said Thursday.
 
The official, who was quoted by the Reuters news agency, said the administration believed the Egyptian government was going "way too far" in its current crackdown on the Brotherhood and its supporters.
 
The comments came as Egyptian authorities arrested dozens of members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The latest crackdown on the movement started a day after the Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist group by Egypt’s interim government.
 
The official who spoke to Reuters said that the administration of President Barack Obama was not considering, or even discussing, the possibility of the U.S. government designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization as Egypt had done.
 
The official also said that despite its reservations about the Egyptian government's actions, the Obama administration also was not planning to take any action against Egypt or its authorities in response to the crackdown.
 
In October, the United States announced it would cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt to register displeasure over the military's pace of restoring democracy following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.
 
U.S. law forbids sending aid to countries where a democratic government was deposed by a military coup, but until now, Washington has never qualified Morsi’s ouster as a "coup" and has been cautious about doing so, choosing only to condemn the violence in the country.

Egypt’s Defense Minister Vows to Fight Terrorism

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 28 December 2013 06:05
1General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi will keep his post as defence minister AFPEgypt’s Defense Minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, vowed on Thursday to fight terrorism and stabilize the deeply divided country, Al Arabiya reported.
 
The remarks came hours after an explosion hit a public bus in Cairo, killing one person and wounding at least five others.
 
“Do not worry or fear, the army will sacrifice for Egypt. We will eliminate” terrorism, Sisi was quoted as having said at a military ceremony, in his first comments after Egypt was rocked by two bomb attacks this week.
 
“Do not allow these terrorist actions to affect you. If you want freedom and stability, which is not achieved easily, then you have to trust God and your army and your police,” said Sisi in a statement released by the army.
 
Sisi, whose popularity has soared since he ousted former President Mohammed Morsi, said the defense forces had the capability to make Egypt “stable, secure and progressive,” AFP reported.
 
Terrorist attacks have been on the increase in Egypt since Morsi’s ouster on July 3. On Tuesday, a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
 
Tuesday's attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group which has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, including the unsuccessful September 5 car bomb against interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo.
 
Following the Mansoura attack, Egypt’s interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist group”, banning all its activities, including protests.
 
The Brotherhood has denied any connection to terrorism in Egypt, saying the Mansoura attack was “a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people” and saying it “demands an inquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be  brought to justice".
 
A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood blasted the decision to declare the organization a “terrorist group” and said the Islamists in Egypt would continue with their near-daily demonstrations despite the blacklist.

Muslim Brotherhood Blasts Terror Group Designation

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 26 December 2013 08:21
Islamists rally in support of Morsi 5th July - ReutersA senior leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood blasted on Wednesday night the decision by Egypt’s interim government to declare the organization a “terrorist group”.
 
Speaking to AFP, Brotherhood member Ibrahim Munir made clear that the Islamists in Egypt would continue with their near-daily demonstrations despite the blacklist.
 
"The protests will continue, certainly," said Munir, a member of the group's executive council who is in exile in London, denouncing the government's latest move as "illegitimate."
 
"This is an attempt to frame the Brotherhood," he claimed.
 
Wednesday’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization came one day after a deadly attack on a security building in the city of Mansoura killed 14 people and wounded more than 100 others.
 
"The government has decided to declare the Muslim Brotherhood movement a terrorist organization," read a statement by Egypt’s government quoted by AFP.
 
"Members who continue to belong to this group or organization following the release of this statement will be punished according to the law," warned the statement.
 
Social solidarity minister Ahmed al-Borei was quoted as having said the government would ban all the Brotherhood's activities, including "protests."
 
Tuesday's attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group which has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, including the unsuccessful September 5 car bomb against interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo.
 
The Brotherhood has denied any connection to terrorism in Egypt. In an email to Al Jazeera, the group stated that "The Muslim Brotherhood considers this act as a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an inquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be  brought to justice".
 
Nevertheless, interim Egyptian authorities have long claimed a link between the Brotherhood and the string of bloody attacks which followed the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood is already the subject of a court ban by an Egyptian court. Egypt has also frozen the assets of senior leaders of the movement and has arrested dozens of its members since Morsi’s ouster, including most of its leadership.

Egypt: We Thwarted a Hamas Attack

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 26 December 2013 08:04
Mohammed BrayhaThe Egyptian Army announced Wednesday that it had apprehended a Hamas terrorist in the northern Sinai Desert, Al-Arabiya reports. 
 
The terrorist was named as Jumaa Khamis Mohammed Brayha, who claimed to stem from a powerful family in Hamas's ranks. 
 
During interrogation, according to the Egyptian army, the young man admitted that he was intending to blow up a Mercedes parked near a crucial security target.
 
Hamas has denied that the detainee was among its ranks and says his name is not even included in the register of residents of the Gaza Strip.
 
Relations between Egypt and Hamas have deteriorated, after the ouster of terrorist faction Muslim Brotherhood from power via a military coup in July 2013. 
 
The Egyptian government officially designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization earlier Wednesday, after Tuesday's deadly attack on a security building in the city of Mansoura killed 14 people and wounded more than 100 others.
 
The decision is bound to enrage Hamas officials, as reports indicate close ties between the two groups.
 
Recently, Egypt accused the terror organization of being involved in inciting terror on their soil via the Brotherhood; Hamas has denied the allegations. 
 
Hamas has also been reeling from a months-long siege on Gaza - not from Israel, as it has insisted to the media, but from Egypt. Egypt has been cracking down on terror tunnels and supply lines to the territory, according to reports. The siege has led to shortages in electricity, food, and other resources. 

Egyptian Gov't Blacklists Muslim Brotherhood as Terrorist Group

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 25 December 2013 18:19
Muslim Brotherhood 00The Egyptian government has designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, one day after a deadly attack on a security building in the city of Mansoura killed 14 people and wounded more than 100 others.
 
"The Cabinet has declared the Muslim Brotherhood group and its organisation as a terrorist organisation," Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa announced on behalf of the Egyptian cabinet Wednesday.
 
Tuesday's attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, including the unsuccessful September 5 car bomb against interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo.
 
The Salafi group has also claimed responsibility for firing rockets from the Sinai Peninsula at the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
 
Nevertheless, interim Egyptian authorities have long claimed a link between the Brotherhood and the string of bloody attacks which followed the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi. The former president is currently facing trial along with several other prominent Islamists over an alleged "terrorist plot" which involved Iranian-backed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood is already the subject of a court ban by an Egyptian court, following the military-led ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July. 
 
The ban on the group accompanied a campaign by security forces to crush the Islamist movement in which hundreds of its members have been killed and thousands arrested.
 
Egypt has also frozen the assets of senior leaders of the movement and has arrested dozens of its members since Morsi’s ouster, including most of its leadership.
 
The terrorist designation will enable Egyptian authorities to crack down even harder on the Brotherhood and its supporters.
 
The Brotherhood, for its part, has denied any connection to terrorism in Egypt. In an email to Al Jazeera, the group stated that "The Muslim Brotherhood considers this act as a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an enquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be  brought to justice".

Salafist Organization Claims Deadly Egypt Attack

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 25 December 2013 14:50
deadly attack in Mansoura01A Salafist organization in Egypt on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a security building in the city of Mansoura that killed 14 people and wounded more than 100 others, Al-Arabiya reported.
 
“Dakahlia Security Directorate was attacked and the operation was carried out successfully thanks be to God and to our Jihadist brothers,” the report quoted the Twitter account of the group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, as having said.
 
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, including the unsuccessful September 5 car bomb against interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo.
 
The terror group has in the past also claimed responsibility for firing rockets from the Sinai Peninsula at the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
 
Monday night’s attack in Mansoura was one of the deadliest attacks in Egypt since the army deposed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July.
 
Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has declared three days of mourning.
 
The army-backed government vowed to fight “black terrorism,” saying the blast would not derail a political transition plan whose next step is a January referendum on a new constitution, according to Reuters.
 
“We face an enemy that has no religion or nation,” Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, the survivor of an assassination attempt in Cairo in September also claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, said at the scene of the blast.
 
The army said a car bomb had been used in what it called a “vile terrorist attack”, while the presidency said such attacks “only increase the state’s determination to uproot terrorism.”
 
There were conflicting reports following the attack over whether the government had designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
 
A spokesman for Egypt’s Prime Minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, said that the interim leader had fingered the Muslim Brotherhood movement as being behind the attack and has declared it a "terrorist" organization.
 
Beblawi himself, however, branded the Mansoura attack an “act of terrorism”, but refused to confirm that Egypt has decided to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
 
“Whoever is behind this act is a terrorist and will be brought to justice and punished according to the law. But I don’t want to anticipate the incidents,” he said.
 
But the Brotherhood denied any involvement in the blast and condemned it in an emailed statement to Al Jazeera.
 
"The Muslim Brotherhood considers this act as a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an enquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be  brought to justice," the statement said.

Muslim Brotherhood "Rabaa" channel launches in Turkey

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 22 December 2013 14:58
The station logo is the four-fingered Rabaa signA Muslim Brotherhood-backed new channel called “Rabaa” launched on Friday from Turkey, promising to be a “platform for freedom” focused on the Muslim world’s affairs, according to Egyptian daily al-Ahram.
 
The channel is named after the Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo, where as many as 2,000 supporters of former Islamist President Mohammad Mursi were killed in August after security forces dispersed a protest against the new interim government.
 
The station, whose logo is the four-fingered Rabaa sign, a symbol now associated with Brotherhood and Mursi supporters, is hosted by Egyptian cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi, an outspoken opponent of Mursi's ouster.
 
Qaradawi appeared on the channel saying that the military-backed ouster of Mursi was a “coup that raped the office of the Egyptian president.”
 
A newspaper published by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said the station’s goal is to become a “platform for freedom” that will be “focused on political issues in the Muslim world.”
 
The Brotherhood’s former channel, which aired from Egypt, was shut down after Mursi’s ouster, on charges that the station was inciting violence.
 
Vocal support
 
Turkey, which welcomed the Brotherhood station's presence in the country, has been vocal of its support of Egypt's former Islamist president, who was ousted in July following mass protests after just one year in office.
 
Relations between Egypt and Turkey deteriorated shortly after Mursi's ouster, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the Rabaa sign and voiced his disapproval at the new military-backed government.
 
Opponents of the Brotherhood said that they expected the station to fail.
 
Former Brotherhood member Kamal al-Helbawy told Al Arabiya News that the channel's launch will only add to the group’s failures, and that it is fighting a losing battle.
 
Abdallah Kamal, an Egyptian journalist and political analyst, said the station would not succeed due to the demise of other Islamist channels, as well as the lack of well-known and professional media personalities in the religious media segment.
 
“The Brotherhood’s rhetoric is provocative, and has nothing to do with the professionalism required for TV. It isn’t offering any political solution to gain back public support or to help rethink its failure in politics,” Kamal told Al Arabiya News.

Morsi Supporters to Boycott Referendum on Constitution

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 13:53
Bihand barsThe Islamist supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi will boycott a referendum on a new constitution next month and organize a campaign against the vote, a spokesman said Monday, according to AFP.
 
The Anti-Coup Alliance led by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement had initially considered calling on its supporters to vote against the constitution, according to the news agency.
 
However, an extensive police crackdown on the Islamists has decimated their grassroots network, weakening their chances of defeating the new constitution at polls.
 
“We reject any vote under military rule,” declared Hamza al-Farawy, a spokesman for the Anti-Coup Alliance, which demands Morsi’s reinstatement.
 
The referendum on January 14 and 15 is expected to ratify the new constitution, which replaces the one suspended by the military when it ousted Morsi in July.
 
Farawy told AFP the coalition of Islamist groups, which conducts almost daily protests, would launch a boycott campaign.
 
He did not elaborate on how the campaign would unfold, as thousands of Islamists, including the Brotherhood's top leadership, have been arrested. Morsi himself is behind bars, accused of inciting violence against protesters last year.
 
More than 1,000 people, mainly Morsi supporters, have been killed in street clashes since the president was overthrown by the military amid massive protests against his turbulent year-long rule.
 
The new constitution will be the first step in the army's political transition plan that should conclude with parliamentary and presidential elections next year.
 
The revised charter, approved several weeks ago, preserves the military’s wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases. This has angered secular groups that backed the military in ousting Morsi.
 
Other articles include one stipulating that Islamic sharia law will be the main source of legislation, as was also the case during the regime of toppled ruler Hosni Mubarak.
 
Another main article of the new charter forbids the formation of religious parties or parties based on religious grounds.
 
One article says that “no civilian can be tried by military judges, except for crimes of direct attacks on armed forces, military installations and military personnel.” Secular artists have demonstrated against this provision, saying it could be applied to protesters, journalists and dissidents.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood was quick to reject the new constitution due to the fact that it preserves the military’s wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases.

Coptic Christians fear continued turmoil, new Constitution in Egypt

Category: Interviews
Created on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 12:32
Coptic Christians fear continued turmoil, new Constitution in Egypt
 
An interview with Coptic activist Ashraf Ramelah
 
Dr. Ashraf Ramelah100Dr. Ashraf Ramelah is the founder and president of Voice of the Copts, a human rights nonprofit organization 501 (c) (3). The organization has offices in Italy and the United  States.  Dr. Ramelah is a Coptic Christian activist dedicated to the Coptic cause and believes that his life’s mission is to speak up for the oppressed Copts who cannot speak up for themselves. His web site is www.voiceofthecopts.org. This is a Q&A with Dr. Ramelah.
 
1 — What is your view of the newly proposed constitution
 
Any constitution containing religious references is antiquated. The writers of Egypt’s new constitution tried to please both Islamists and secularists, an impossibility, and in doing so left an open door to another uprising and another constitution.
 
2 — How does it address the rights of Coptic Christians?
 
Copts are citizens of Egypt. They do not need to have special rights. In a democratic country all citizens are equal under the law. However, this constitution is not democratic and falls short of establishing principles of individual freedom and human rights; therefore, it undermines the rights of all Egyptians especially Christians who remain second-class citizens.
 
3 — Are Coptic Christians better off today than they were under Mubarak and Sadat, or has their situation worsened?
 
The situation for Copts is worse than ever. The Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi experiment made life more difficult and oppressive than under Mubarak but reverting to the Mubarak era is not what Copts have risked their lives to obtain. Thus, I believe that if things are to get better in Egypt (real freedom in Egypt), things will first get worse.
 
Egypts president Nasser with a delegation of Egyptian Coptic bishops from Daqahlia Qena Qous and Suhag Photo credit- WikipediaDuring Nasser’s era, Copts paid a high economic price when their businesses were nationalized. Nasser confiscated the agricultural lands owned by Copts and sold divided parcels to Muslims. Both Copts and Jews were stripped of their economic power through Nasser’s government seizure of private businesses. Sadat furthered Nasser’s Islamization of Egypt which worsened the plight of Copts. By the time of Mubarak’s presidency, Islamic supremacy had saturated the country. The  Mubarak era protected Muslim thugs and mob attack of Christians, their churches and homes, by allowing police and thugs to take the law into their own hands with the court backing. In short, the corrupted justice system, stacked against Christians, led to further degradation.
 
Worse now: Decades of adverse conditions for Copts weakened the body of Christians into passivity even before Morsi’s Sharia-leaning, anti-Christian and anti-democracy government came to power. During Morsi’s term, Copts were daily victims of mob violence with no guilty party ever paying the price. Then Morsi’s downfall resulted in a Muslim Brotherhood backlash against Christians faulted for Morsi’s overthrow. Egypt’s new constitutional draft just written proves to be a replica of the Sadat-Mubarak constitution without any promise of equal rights for all citizens.
 
4 — Has the Arab Spring treated Christians fairly or has the Arab Spring focused more on Islamic concerns and needs, ignoring Christians
 
Arab Spring is a deceptive label created by western leftists as a misnomer for the Islamic revival in Arab countries. Arab Spring was a massive project instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood in a series of countries with the Islamic Caliphate as its ultimate goal. Christians, like the Jews before them, are meant to be purged from each country. In the Middle East — Egypt, Iraq and Syria – Christians suffered the most losses (property damage, injury, and death). Central Africa – Nigeria and Kenya – on the whole had less impact on the Christian populations, although much suffering.
 
5 — What is the current state of Coptic Christians? How bad is the discrimination they face?
 
Church in fireIt is very bad. Christians live in fear. Kidnapping of girls and women and firebombing of churches and towns and more take place without reliable police protection. Law enforcement – police and army – are infiltrated by Islamists many of whom are criminals recently released from jails by Morsi. Hamas is prevalent and Christians are soft targets.
 
6 — What needs to be done?
 
By some miracle this past July, the sea parted for the Egyptian people. Now freedom fighters must be led through this time period by true representatives acting boldly to achieve their ends. First, the police and the army must be cleansed of terrorist and Islamist infiltration, both in ranks and in leadership, in order that the people have real protection. Also, all terrorists and criminals roaming the streets must be rounded up and jailed or deported from Egypt. Already, all Islamic teachings on satellite TV can no longer be seen because TV stations spewing Islamic propaganda have been shut down – a hopeful sign.
 
As well, this interim time between governments should be used by true liberal leaders to begin to de-Islamize the country. Egypt’s entire school system teaches every subject using Islamic religious doctrine in textbooks responsible for brainwashing students into believing Islam’s supremacy ideology. Authorities must begin to replace all school textbooks in order that Egypt’s future generation of leaders learn well that religion must be separate from the state and that all religions must have equality under the law.
 
Leaders pursuing a modern state must put in place a plan to reverse the course of adult illiteracy and teach the principles of freedom and democracy. The voting process must be taught as election polls must be lawful and regulated and overseers prepared.
 
Actually, there are no leaders in Egypt at this moment with any real commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, much less a democratic constitution. But pro-democracy freedom fighters still have power as long as they continue to have General Al Sisi’s support.
 

Original article

Massive Explosion Rocks Egyptian Police Camp

Category: News
Created on Friday, 13 December 2013 16:15
Explosion Rocks Egyptian Police CampOn Thursday an Egyptian security forces camp in Ismailiya, near the Sinai Peninsula, was targeted by a massive explosion, leaving at least 35 policemen injured. Officials told Al Jazeera the bombing was followed by gunshots.
 
Ismailiya and the surrounding Sinai areas have witnessed regular attacks on police and military. In October, another security headquarters was attacked in Ismailiya, leaving 5 soldiers dead.
 
Egypt has seen massive protests and general unrest since President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was deposed on July 3. The military has cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood since, arresting top leaders of the movement. 
 
In particular, the military has been active in the Sinai, conducting operations to stem the wave of attacks in the region.
 
Earlier on Thursday, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters protested near the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Cairo. Police responded by firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.
 
Since Morsi's deposal, over 1,000 people have been killed, most of them Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The military has arrested roughly 2,000 Islamists over that time period.

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Appears in Court

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 13:00
Egypt Muslim Brotherhood headThe Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide turned on his accusers on Monday, when he appeared in court for the first time since he was arrested following the army's overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, reports Reuters.
 
"Why aren't you investigating the killing of my son, and the burning of my house and the group's offices?" Mohammed Badie asked of the judge, referring to his 38-year-old son who was killed in August in the midst of a crackdown on the group.
 
Badie claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood had perpetrated no violence, as his trial began at a police academy where Morsi went on trial last month. They were his first public remarks since his arrest on August 20.
 
The supreme guide faces charges that include inciting violence during a Brotherhood sit-in at Cairo University in mid-July.
 
The court ordered the trial to reconvene on February 11, Al Arabiya reported. Badie, 70, appeared with other prominent Islamists including Mohammed el-Beltagi and Essam el-Erian, who was arrested in late October.
 
On July 25, days after Morsi’s overthrow, Badie described the military’s actions as an act worse than destroying Islam’s holiest shrine, the Kaaba.
 
“I swear by God that what [Gen. Abdel-Fattah] al-Sissi did in Egypt is more criminal than if he had carried an ax and demolished the holy Kaaba, stone by stone,” Badie said, according to Al Arabiya.
 
Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule.
 
Following Badie’s arrest, his lawyer claimed that he had beaten by police. Subsequent reports indicated that Badie had suffered a heart attack in prison, but Egypt’s Interior Ministry denied those repors.
 
More than 1,000 people, mainly Morsi supporters, have been killed since July 3 when he was ousted and authorities have rounded up some 2,000 Islamists, including most of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Opposes New Constitution

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 08:44
Brotherhood Challenges  Seizing Group FundsEgypt's Muslim Brotherhood has rejected the country's new constitution, nearly half a year since the ouster of Brotherhood-backed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
 
138 of the 247 articles of the draft new constitution, which has been deemed controversial even by secular opponents of the Brotherhood, was approved by a panel of 50 yesterday. The panel included groups who were left out of deliberations over the previous charter tabled by Morsi, including the Coptic Church and other secular representatives of civil society and political groups.
 
It includes just two Islamists, neither of whom is from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Part of the resistance it has met is due to the fact that it preserves the military’s wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases.
 
Article 204 stipulates that "no civilian can be tried by military judges, except for crimes of direct attacks on armed forces, military installations and military personnel." However, opponents say that even under such terms the constitution provides a very wide scope for the military to try civilians - including activists - in military courts.
 
Another main article approved was one forbidding the formation of religious parties or parties based on religious grounds - although yet another aticle stipulates that Islamic sharia law will be the main source of legislation, as was also the case during the regime of toppled ruler Hosni Mubarak.
 
It will be put to a national referendum early next year as the first step in a "democratic transition" promised by the interim government headed by military strongman General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
 
The referendum is set be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections in mid-2014.
 
But pro-Brotherhood demonstrators protested angrily in Cairo's Tahrir Square, shouting "the people want the fall of the regime" - the slogan of popular protest movements which sprung up during 2011 at the start of the so-called "Arab Spring".
 
Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, following which the army sealed off the square, according to local sources.
 
Tahrir has been at the center of the various mass-protests which brought down two successive Egyptian presidents - Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and Mohammed Morsi two years later.

Will General Sisi Be the Next President of Egypt?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 02 December 2013 18:13
1General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi will keep his post as defence minister AFPSisi's reaction to the crisis with the Obama Administration has helped build up his credentials as a daring Egyptian nationalist who does not retreat before a superpower - among other things.
 
Since the ousting of President Morsi on July 3, 2013, the issue of who will be the next elected President of Egypt has been at the center of attention in Egypt and abroad. Morsi’s presidency has proven the extent to which an Egyptian president can influence the course of the country and shape its domestic and foreign policy. Because of this, one can easily understand the amount of energy devoted by analysts of the Egyptian scene in order to try and decipher the intentions of General Abd el Fattah el-Sisi, the actual strongman of Egypt.
 
Sisi holds the combined titles of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, first Deputy of the Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense and Military Production. He is the man who led the overthrow of President Morsi. Since August 14, he has conducted a ferocious crackdown (only parallel to the crackdown performed by Gamal Abd el Nasser in 1954 against the Brotherhood) aimed at eliminating the political power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And unlike his predecessors, Sisi is waging a merciless campaign against jihadi fighters in the Sinai Peninsula in order to restore Egypt’s sovereignty in the desert while drastically reducing Hamas’ power in the Gaza Strip.
 
Sisi has been very murky about his future plans, denying through the army spokesman any intention of running for the presidency in early 2014. However, events on the ground seem to show that the general is preparing himself for the presidency because this is the only viable choice for him and the military establishment. In theory, Sisi could decide to stay in his position under a newly elected president and enjoy his powers as he is doing today, but he could also suffer the fate of his predecessor, Field Marshal Tantawi, who had his career terminated with the stroke of a pen. Sisi does not want to alienate his opponents by eying the presidency too early and creating a situation in which he would have to justify himself.
 
Savior of Egypt
The course of events in Egypt seems to lead to a situation in which Sisi will be “called to the flag” as a savior in order to salvage Egypt from its enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood, and lead the country not only as an Egyptian nationalist but as an Arab hero. In fact, if Egypt’s mainstream media and political power circles could have voted by now, then Sisi would be president with almost no challengers.
 
No observer of the Egyptian scene can ignore the publicity campaign, partially orchestrated by the authorities, singing Sisi’s praises, which has been happening for several weeks. Between TV commercials used to advertise food products, groups on social networking sites and posters in the street, Egypt seems to have “Sisi fever.” Talk shows and newspaper columns have been advocating the idea of the general running for president in order to fight the terrorist threat that they say the country is facing. Local media are also buzzing about the widespread support for a Sisi presidency. In fact, Sisi has no real competitor. Most of the other potential candidates – Amr Moussa, Ahmad Shafik, Hamdeen Sabahi, Abd el Muneim Aboul Foutouh – have declared that if Sisi would run for president, they would retract their candidacies.
 
Recently a number of campaigns have been launched calling on the general to run for president. The campaigns are called “Complete Your Favor,” “A Nation’s Demand,” and “Al-Sisi for President.” Their aim is to circulate petitions with the hope that 30 million signatures will convince Sisi to run, just as the millions of signatures convinced him to act against Morsi.
 
Nasser’s Heir
No doubt the “Sisi fever” is being fueled partly by Sisi himself or by people around him who support him. These supporters stress his charisma, his popularity, and his authoritative demeanor. They also emphasize that Sisi is someone who makes tough, harsh, and unpopular decisions and yet at the same time presents himself as “guardian of the people’s will” and delivers colloquial and sentimental speeches to the nation.
 
More interesting is the concentrated effort to picture Sisi as the political heir of the iconic President Gamal Abd el Nasser. Sisi himself has revived the Nasserist cult by participating in the 43rd memorial ceremony of Nasser’s death. Sisi has also allowed posters to spread with his picture adjacent to the venerated president, invited Nasser’s son and daughter to official ceremonies (such as the one held to commemorate the “October War”), and used Nasser’s “magic words” in his speeches. When these phrases were pronounced by Sisi, Egyptians were able to see him as the successor to Nasser, the Egyptian leader who fought the Muslim Brotherhood domestically and led Egypt to the leadership of the Arab World and the non-aligned community.
 
In a way, Sisi’s revival of Nasser’s memory was a way for him to satisfy deeply buried longings for an era of Egyptian prominence in Arab and world politics. Nasser’s family has mobilized in order to give Sisi the legitimacy to present himself as the political successor of Nasser. Nasser’s daughter Huda wrote an open letter to Sisi urging him to “step forward and take responsibility for the destiny that is yours.” The list of personalities invited to the podium for the ceremony marking Egypt’s “victory” in the “October War” included Abd el Hakim Abd el Nasser (son of President Nasser), Jihan Sadat (the wife of assassinated President Anwar Sadat),  Field Marshal Tantawi, and other dignitaries from the Arab world. The only person missing was former Chief of Staff Samy Anan, but this was likely due to the fact that Anan had presented himself as a candidate for the presidency in 2014. For the Egyptians, Sisi appeared as a unifier, a leader that conceded to his predecessors their rightful place in Egypt’s history. In fact, Sisi was presenting his legitimacy as the rightful leader of Egypt not only to his Egyptian compatriots but also toward the U.S. administration, which is questioning his legitimacy and presenting him as the leader of a coup and a usurper of power.
 
The Nasserist revival presents a challenge. Nasser’s relations with the United States were notoriously bad, as was his attitude toward Israel. Sisi has not challenged the peace treaty with Israel and most probably will not do so as long as his main concern remains the consolidation of his regime and the quelling of the Muslim Brotherhood’s resistance. Sisi, as head of Military Intelligence, knows the intricacies of Egyptian-Israeli security relations and is well aware that the issue of insecurity in Sinai raised by Israel is primarily directed against the stability of the Egyptian regime. As long as Israel agrees to the Egyptian requests to beef up its forces in Sinai in order to fight the jihadists – and is therefore willing to overlook the limitations on Egyptian troop levels imposed by the peace treaty – Sisi has no reason to change the rules of the game with Israel.
 
Anger at U.S. Policy
A new, unexpected element has come into the equation between Egypt and Israel. For years, Egyptians were used to hearing from the U.S. that continuation of American financial assistance to Egypt requires honoring the peace treaty with Israel. However, following Morsi’s ousting, the United States decided to cut its financial aid to Egypt and postpone the delivery of weapon systems already ordered by Egypt. By doing so, the United States has overturned the longstanding correlation between financial assistance and Egypt’s honoring of the peace treaty, leaving the Egyptians to wonder now what the U.S. reaction would be if Egypt were to question its peace treaty with Israel, given that American financial leverage could disappear.
 
The $14 billion that Saudi Arabia and the UAE transferred to Egypt immediately after Sisi’s takeover, and the $40 billion promised in economic aid, are a reminder to the United States and others that Egypt may not be in need of such conditional financial assistance. Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the first to understand the change in Egypt. They see Sisi as a potential ally and protector against the growing threat of Iran in the Gulf area at a time when the U.S. interest in the area fades away and is being replaced by a drive to restore relations with Iran. In the face of Egypt’s serious socio-economic problems compounded by unrest, financial aid from Saudi Arabia and the UAE could become a decisive factor for Egypt in consolidating the situation in the country under army leadership.
 
Moscow has also been paying attention to the unexpected Saudi-Egyptian alliance, as shown, for example, by the recent visit of the director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency, Prince Bandar, to Moscow and his exhaustive four-hour conversation with Russian President Putin. It is interesting that Prince Bandar did not respond to a similar invitation from Washington, which speaks indirectly of Riyadh’s dissatisfaction with U.S. policy in the Middle East.
 
President Obama prefers not to publicly support the Egyptian military regime. After the events of August 14, he attempted to call General Sisi. However, according to some sources, Sisi did not take Obama’s call. Instead, the Egyptians suggested that the White House call the interim president, Adly Mansour, which the Americans, in turn, declined to do.
 
Observers who follow the Egyptian scene are repeatedly stressing the change in the mood of the Egyptians towards the United States, from friendship and admiration to open hostility. Israel also has been suffering from this change in the mood towards the United States. The U.S. attitude (described by Sisi himself as turning its back on the Egyptians) is fueling his leadership exactly as occurred decades ago, when Nasser used CIA money to build a radio tower in Cairo that became the beacon of anti-Americanism in the region. In fact, the crisis with the Obama Administration and Sisi’s reaction to it has helped build up his leadership credentials as a daring Egyptian nationalist who does not retreat before a superpower – particularly one that so openly supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
 
Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
 
The writer, a special Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and deputy head for assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence

Ten Egyptian Soldiers Killed in Sinai Bombing, Over 100 Injured

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:45
Car bomb in SinaiTen Egyptian soldiers were killed Wednesday when a bomb exploded as they were traveling near El Arish in central Sinai. Over 100 soldiers were injured.
 
The soldiers were riding in two trucks when a roadside bomb went off. Ambulances rushed to the scene to transport the injured to the hospital. No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Egyptian officials strongly suspect radical Islamist terrorists as being responsible.
 
The soldiers were part of the many patrols the Egyptian army has sent to Sinai to rout out the last vestiges of Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamic groups that have taken refuge in the area. However, the Egyptian campaign has been less than a resounding success. Terror cells have repeatedly attacked Egyptian soldiers and army units, killing dozens in the months since the Egyptian army booted former President Mohammed Morsi from office.
 
The Islamist groups have a strong presence in Sinai, which is almost impossible to patrol thoroughly. Last month, the army arrested 27 members of a group the government said was planning to murder Egypt’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, in September. The group was affiliated with the Sinai Peninsula-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, Arab media reported, and had also involved in a church bombing in the capital last week, in addition to other terrorist attacks in the country, the report said.
 
Sources in Egypt said that in recent weeks, Muslim Brotherhood members had begun cooperating with members of Al Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups. The Brotherhood members have been receiving training and arms from Al Qaeda and other groups, the sources said.

Morsi Trial: Return to Tahrir Protests?

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 15:06
Supporters and opponents of Morsi clash in Alexandria - AFPTensions heightened considerably in Egypt today (Monday) as the trial for ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammed Morsi began, and was promptly adjourned. Morsi and 14 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood are in court on charges of incitement to murder and violence in the December 2012 presidential palace clashes, which pitched Morsi opponents against his supporters.
 
In light of the seriousness of the situation, and the potential ramifications for Egyptian leadership and regional security, Arutz Sheva interviewed the former Israeli consul in Egypt, Meir Mishan, to evaluate whether or not scenes of protests and violence in Egypt's streets will erupt once again, as they did during the Egyptian revolution some year and a half ago. 
 
Mishan believes that the Muslim Brotherhood will end up accepting the court's decision in any case, mostly on the precedent that they accepted the release of former Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood opponent Hosni Mubarak. This is likely to be the case even despite allegations by Morsi supporters that Morsi's elections were conducted legitimately, Mishan says. 
 
The Egyptian Army has essentially gained the power to "turn back the clock" regarding decisions made about the direction of Egyptian leadership, and Mishan holds that this means that the Brotherhood will be reluctant enough to give up this power to leave the decision at the mercy of the court. 
 
Mishan also speculated that Morsi's trial will extend for at least as long as Mubarak's, and that many appeals can be expected in the foreseeable future. The Egyptian Army's control of the embattled country will last for as long as the trial lasts, meaning that the court may have inherent interests in dragging the trial out for as long as legally possible. 
 
As for violence like the Tahrir Square protests, Mishan claims that it all depends on how the sentencing proceeds. If the trial runs smoothly, he claims, then so will the will of the Egyptian people. 
 
"If there are problems like we saw with Tahrir square, and protests like Tahrir all over Egypt," it will be because of legal problems with the sentencing. "If the sentencing goes as planned, we should not be seeing sights like this," Mishan says. If the outcome aligns with Army expectations - namely, a conviction - Mishan predicts that martial law will hold until the Army can arrange the next elections. 
 
While Mishan points out the convenience for the Egyptian Army to continue ruling over Egypt, Army leaders know that for the nation to continue, they will need international support from the US and other countries, which have stopped providing aid for the time being. The aid would remain permanently frozen if the current situation - a military regime - remains unchanged. 

Exposed: Names and Identities of Muslim Brotherhood Operatives in U.S.

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 04 November 2013 06:56
05-03-11El Watan, one of Egypt's most widely circulated and read newspapers, published a report discussing the Muslim Brotherhood's influence over the United States, especially in the context of inciting pro-Brotherhood policies against Egypt's popular June 30 Revolution, which resulted in the ousting of Muhammad Morsi and the Brotherhood from power.
 
Titled (in translation), "With Names, Identities, and Roadmap...  El Watan Exposes Brotherhood Cells in America," it's written by investigative journalist Ahmed al-Tahiri, who begins the report by saying:
In the context of El Watan's ongoing investigation concerning the Brotherhood's cells and lobby inside America that support the regime of the ousted [Morsi], and which intensified their activities to attack and defame the June 30 Revolution, informed sources have disclosed to El Watan newspaper the names and cell entities of the Brotherhood and their roadmap of activities all throughout the United States of America.
 
The sources said that these organizations, which are spread throughout the States, agitated for and were supportive of the decisions taken by Muhammad Morsi's project to "Brotherhoodize" and consolidate power [in Egypt] and gave a favorable opinion to the general American public that Morsi's decisions were welcomed by the public [in Egypt]. 
 
Following the June 30 Revolution, these groups  launched a malicious war in order to incite the American administration to take hostile decisions against Egypt, with the aim of bringing back the Brotherhood to the power.
 
El Watan then goes on to name names, saying that the following activists and entities are Brotherhood operatives working within the United States (reproduced verbatim):
 
Union of Egyptian Imams in North America, represented by Sheikh Muhammad al-Bani
The Egyptian American Foundation for Development
Dr. Khalid Lamada, New York
Dr. Hassan al-Sayah, Virginia
The Egyptian Network in America, led by Dr. Muhammad Helmi
Dr. Akram al-Zand, Sa'ad Foundation
Muhammad al-Khashab, Head of ART channelsin America
Sameh al-Henawi, member, Business Association of America
Dr. Hany Saqr, member, Egyptian Association in America
Dr. Khalid Hassan, Maryland
Dr. Muhammad Abdel Hakem, Seattle
Dr. Ahmed Ismat al-Bendari, President, Islamic Society of America
Walid Yusari, Chicago
Ahmed Shadid, New Jersey
Ahmed al-Hatab, Indiana
Dr. Muhammad Morjan, Boston
Ramadan Ridwan, Houston
Ahmed Fayez, Las Vegas
Dr. Amru Abbas, member, Egyptian Foundation in Michigan
Dr. Safi al-Din Hamed, Pennsylvania
Dr. Hamdy Radwan, North Carolina
Ahmed Shehata, Director, Egyptian American Organization for Democracy and Human Rights
Dr. Iman Shehata, New York
Dr. Muhammad Amru Attawiya, member, Organization of Islamic Relief in the United States
Dr. Khalid al-Sayes, member, Rebuilding of Egypt Foundation
Dr. Tariq Hussein, member, American Islamic Relations Council (CAIR)
Dr Hisham al-Gayar, member, Egyptian Foundation, Michigan
Amin Mahmoud, Maryland
 
As a most recent example, El Watan quotes from an American op-ed published on October 16 (just two days before the publication of the El Watan report itself).  Titled "Egypt: 100 days later" and written by Ahmed Shehata of the Egyptian American Organization for Democracy and Human Rights, the piece appeared in The Hill, the Capitol's most widely circulated newspaper, published specifically for Congress.
 
The op-ed is certainly a prime example of pro-Muslim Brotherhood propaganda that actually tries to "shame" U.S. policymakers into returning the Brotherhood back to power in the name of "democracy." 
 
Key excerpts follow:
While the U.S. must consider its own interests in the region, it is baffling and disheartening to think the current administration would choose to discount the suffering that continues to occur on a daily basis as well as the complete violation of democratic principles which it espouses to the rest of the world....  As this past week marked 100 days since the coup and the lives of the Egyptian people continue to be sacrificed, the United States cannot be silent any longer for the sake of their own interests and convenience....  
To that end, Egypt represents a golden opportunity for the U.S. to uphold democratic values by pushing for the reinstatement of the democratically elected government, despite their shortcomings. This would aid tremendously in showing the world that, above any one particular physical interest, stands the mantle of freedom and the rule of law.
 
Anyone familiar with the real happenings of Egypt knows that Shehata's assertions are complete opposites of the truth: the military ousted the Brotherhood in response to the will of millions of Egyptians-the people, the demos, as in democracy-who took to the streets protesting against the totalitarian Morsi government.   Moreover, it is the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters who have been committing numerous human rights atrocities-including the slaughter and persecution of Christians, the torture and murder of many Egyptians (including before the revolution), and the destruction and torching of some 85 Christian churches.
 
Shehata seems to think that, if the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters terrorize, murder, destroy, persecute, and betray their nation-which is precisely why tens of millions of average Egyptians rose up against them (though you might not know that following Al Jazeera-led Western media that distorted the popularity of the revolution)-as long as they won "elections" (which from the start many authorities insisted they didn't), then that is all that matters; and, if need be, the U.S. must war with Egypt's military and people on behalf of the ousted terrorists-all in the name of "democracy" and "human rights," as Shehata's U.S.-based Brotherhood front is laughably called.
That such a shameless piece of Muslim Brotherhood propaganda can be published in the most influential and widely read Capitol Hill publication certainly goes a long way in validating El Watan's claims that the Brotherhood has its tentacles all around the United States' points of influence.
 
raymond ibrahimRaymond Ibrahim 
is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam expert.  His books include Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).

Egypt Warns Muslim Brotherhood Against Protests

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 03 November 2013 19:50
Egypt Warns Muslim Brotherhood
 
Egypt's Interior Ministry said on Saturday it will take all action within the boundaries of the law to combat violence during protests against deposed president Mohammed Morsi's trial, scheduled to begin on November 4.
 
According to the website of the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper, the ministry said in a statement published on its official Facebook page that it will stand against any assaults, abiding by "legal procedures regulating the use of firearms."
 
The statement added that the ministry is "accurately monitoring" all the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, especially its call for mass protests on Monday when the former president is due in court.
 
The Brotherhood has plans that aim to "spread chaos, obstruct state facilities and citizens' interests and hold up traffic," the ministry statement continues.
 
It specifically warned against any attempts to attack public institutions or security forces.
 
The pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy had vowed to stage daily protests until Monday.
 
On Saturday, dozens rallied outside the High Court in downtown Cairo, and on Friday thousands staged demonstrations nationwide, reported Al-Ahram.
 
The alliance intends to have a presence in front of the court on Monday, and called on supporters to protest in front of Egyptian embassies and consulates worldwide.
 
Pro-Morsi groups have been staging demonstrations regularly since the army deposed the former president in July amid mass demonstrations against his rule.
 
Daily "anti-coup" demonstrations have recently been held on university campuses, some of which have escalated into violent conflict. On Wednesday, police stormed the Al-Azhar University campus in Cairo to disperse student protests after clashes erupted with staff members.
 
In August, police forcibly dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo leaving hundreds dead. Since then, many of the group's members and dozens of its leading figures have been arrested, with some put on trial on charges of inciting violence.

Egypt: Police Storm University to Confront Protesters

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 10:50
Police Storm University to Confront ProtestersEgyptian police entered the Al-Azhar University in Cairo on Wednesday to confront Islamist protesters, AFP reported. It was the first time security forces have moved on a campus since a 2010 court ruling.
 
The police took the action at the prestigious Islamic university following a request from its administration, the interior ministry said.
 
Students supporting deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi have held regular and sometimes violent protests since the beginning of the school year in September.
 
According to the official MENA news agency, the protesting students had stormed the university's offices on Wednesday, ransacking them and firing birdshot.
 
Police entered "the Al-Azhar University campus following a request from the university's head Dr. Osama al-Abd to defend lives and public property," said the interior ministry, according to AFP.
 
The police had obtained permission from the state prosecutor before doing so, it added in a statement.
 
A police general told AFP it was the first time police had entered a university since a 2010 court ruling banned guards belonging to the interior ministry from operating on their grounds.
 
Pressed by police at every turn, Islamists have adopted universities as protest hubs to galvanize their flagging movement four months after the military overthrew Morsi.
 
Several weeks ago, hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood chanted “Down with the military government” outside Cairo University, after they were urged by the group to hold protests.
 
Egypt has witnessed protests and clashes that have left scores dead since Morsi’s ouster on July 3.
 
The worst violence was in August, when police forcibly dispersed two protest camps set up by Morsi supporters.
 
Since August, Egypt's authorities have rounded up dozens of senior leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, including the movement’s Supreme Guide.
 
On October 6, security forces clashed with pro-Morsi crowds in Cairo as they tried to reach the capital's Tahrir Square where supporters of the military were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War with Israel, known in Egypt as the October War.
 
On Wednesday, Essam el-Erian, one of the most senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders still at large, was arrested in Cairo.
 
El-Erian is the vice chairman of the Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. Egypt's interior ministry commented that a warrant had been issued against el-Erian by the state's general prosecutor, accusing him of "inciting violence" and "aiding criminal acts."

Senior Muslim Brotherhood Leader Arrested in Cairo

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 10:30
Essam-el-Erian
 
Essam el-Erian, one of the most senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders still at large, was arrested Wednesday in Cairo.
 
El-Erian is the vice chairman of the Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. He had been hiding in a residence in New Cairo, a recently built satellite city of Cairo, according to the Egyptian state news agency MENA.
 
Egypt's interior ministry commented that a warrant had been issued against el-Erian by the state's general prosecutor, accusing him of "inciting violence" and "aiding criminal acts."
 
The arrest comes as part of an ongoing move to crack down on the Brotherhood movement by the military-supported government since then-President Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood was deposed in July.
 
Since then, over 2,000 Brotherhood members have been arrested, and at least 1,000 people were killed in clashes in August when government forces cleared two Brotherhood camps in Cairo. Following this, a state of emergency was declared.
 
In September, an Egyptian court banned the Brotherhood and seized its funds. Morsi and other leaders of the group stand trial for incitement to killing protesters when Morsi was in power.
 
The US announced earlier this month that it would cut millions of dollars in aid to Egypt to protest the slow pace of democratization by the military government.
 
Tuesday, a day before the arrest of el-Erian, 27 suspects were arrested on suspicion of planning to assassinate Egypt's interior minister.

'Puppy Bombs' Rescued from Egyptian Violence

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 13:15
Lethal weaponTwo puppies from Egypt were rescued just moments before they were to be used by the Muslim Brotherhood in their protests as "puppy bombs" dipped in gasoline and set on fire.
 
The revelation about the Brotherhood's cruel tactic used two weeks ago at Tahrir Square during demonstrations against the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi's was made known by Robyn Urman, a pet rescuer in Tenafly, New Jersey, as reported by CBS 2.
 
Urman, who works with Pet ResQ Inc., was contacted by Mervat Said, an animal rescue volunteer in Egypt, and flew the puppies to New Jersey to find homes.
 
This is not the first case of dogs being rescued from animal cruelty in Egypt.  On June 14, 2013, NECN reported about a litter of seven orphaned puppies who were rescued by Egyptian movie star Phaedra Al Masri.  Al Masri also serves as a spokesperson for PETA, and took the dogs in after hearing their mother was poisoned when the puppies were only two weeks old.
 
In conjunction with the Egyptian Society of Mercy for Animals, Al Masri posted about the dogs through social media sites, and found homes for them in Canada and America.
 
Protests have shaken Egypt since Morsi was deposed in July, and clashes between police and Brotherhood members have been a frequent occurrence. Just last Friday saw thousands of protesters take to the streets throughout Egypt.
 
Cases of politically motivated animal cruelty have become a known phenomenon in the Arab world, the most common victims being accused of 'spying' for Israel.  There have been numerous stories of birds being captured with Israeli 'spy' devices which turn out to be tracking devices, the most recent such story being from Lebanon where an eagle was captured two weeks ago by Hezbollah and killed.
 
Israeli bird researcher Gilad Friedman spoke about how the "spy" animal saga illustrates a lack of awareness within the Arab world towards attempts to protect animals from cruelty or extinction.

34 Killed in Cairo Clashes

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 October 2013 15:43
October 6 Cairo Clashes
 
At least 34 people have been killed and scores more injured Sunday in Egypt as pro-Mohammed Morsi protesters took to the streets on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel - known as the "Yom Kippur War" by Israelis, and the "October War" by Arabs.
 
There were rival protests Sunday throughout Egypt. On the one hand, there were demonstrations by Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other members of the Anti-Coup Alliance - a coalition that opposes the way the Brotherhood's political leader Morsi was deposed. On the other hand, there were government-organized demonstrations to commmemorate the 1973 war.
 
Al Jazeera quoted Khaled Al Khatib, a Health Ministry official, who confirmed the number of deaths. Seven of those were killed in Ramses Square in Cairo, while another 85 people were injured in clashes throughout the country. Another man was reportedly shot to death in Delga, south of Cairo.
 
Egypt's Interior Ministry announced that 300 protesters were arrested thoughout the day.
 
Police reportedly fired tear gas and shots “into the air” to disperse crowds opposed to the military-backed government, who were trying to make their way to Tahrir Square. Inside the square, thousands of pro-military Egyptians were gathered to mark the anniversary of the war, which is hailed as a victory by Egyptians despite the ultimate military failure of the Arab alliance to achieve its military objectives.
 
Anti-Coup Alliance called on “all Egyptians” to stream to Tahrir Square in a message on Saturday, in a continuation of anti-government protests launched since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July.
 
But Interim President Adly Mansour took advantage of nationalist sentiment to mobilise its own demonstrations in commemoration of the Yom Kippur War's anniversary.
 
In a televised speech on Saturday, Mansour said that authorities will “defeat much-hated terrorism and blind violence with the rule of law that will protect the freedom of citizens and resources.”

Crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood Gives Egyptʼs Christians Hope for Future

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Friday, 27 September 2013 16:46
Church in firePushed to the edge of endurance, Egyptʼs persecuted Christians have started to see some relief from Islamist persecution, as Egyptʼs security forces and law courts crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its violent activities.
 
Ever since a popular uprising backed by Egyptʼs military toppled the government of President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, the Muslim Brotherhood has seethed at their fall from power. And they have directed much of their rage at Egyptʼs Coptic Christian minority, which accounts for 10% of Egyptʼs 84 million people.
 
However, the tide of persecution endured by the Copts may be turning. While military and police operations regain security over the country, a court in Cairo has ordered that the Muslim Brotherhood be banned and its assets confiscated by the state.
 
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled Sept. 23 in favor of the Tagammu party, which accused the Muslim Brotherhood of carrying out terrorist activities and using religion for its own political ends, according to The New York Times. The Middle East News Agency reported the Ministry of Social Solidarity will wait on the outcome of two other court cases involving the Brotherhood before enforcing the ruling.
 
Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for Egypt’s Catholic Conference, spoke with the Register from Cairo and said the situation for Christians has improved since the Muslim Brotherhood onslaught that began Aug. 14. Mobs, enraged by the militaryʼs violent crackdown on Brotherhood demonstrations, retaliated by destroying more than 60 churches, hospitals and schools. They also killed, harassed or assaulted Christians unfortunate enough to be caught in their path.
 
 “We are still under threat,” Father Greiche said. “Everything canʼt come back steadily overnight.”
However, he said the court-ordered seizure of the Muslim Brotherhoodʼs assets was a “wise decision” that would deal a critical blow to its network of patronage and support.
“Most of the Egyptians, Christians and Muslims, have been awaiting this verdict,” he said.
 
The Muslim Brotherhoodʼs extensive network provides social services and welfare payments for many Egyptians from its own coffers. This allows it to command a great deal of loyalty from its supporters. But Father Greiche said this network also helps the Brotherhood pay its supporters to demonstrate, protest and carry out terrorist acts against Christians and Muslims who oppose them.
 
“This money has to get all dried up,” he said, explaining that the loss of money will greatly curtail its influence and violent activities over time. He added that, once the ruling is in place, “it will get drier, bit by bit.”
 
The Military Rescues the Christians
 
Violent clashes between Egyptian security forces and the Muslim Brotherhood have left hundreds of Brotherhood members dead and thousands injured and arrested.
 
Ashraf Ramelah, president of Voice of the Copts, told the Register that Egyptʼs security forces face an enormous challenge in bringing the country under control. Ramelah said that Morsi freed and pardoned convicted terrorists and allowed Hamas agents to infiltrate the country.
 
“The army and police are trying to have everything under control after two years of this,” he said, pointing to the 2011 break-in that freed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood members from prison.
 
The Egyptian military temporarily reopened the border with Gaza Sept. 25 to accommodate refugees after shutting it down earlier in the month, destroying smuggling tunnels and aggressively patrolling its waters in a bid to cut Hamasʼ supplies and communications running through Sinai. The army and police also liberated the town of Delga in central Egypt from Islamists in a dawn assault. Muslim Brotherhood members had seized the town, terrorizing Muslims and Christians and demanding they pay the jizya tax or convert to Islam.
 
Security forces have also shut down news organizations associated with Islamists, including the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhoodʼs Freedom and Justice daily. Father Greiche said the government shut down a radical fundamentalist radio station. He added the station was inciting others to commit violence against Christians and Jews, calling them “donkeys and monkeys.”
 
“They were poisoning the life of the people,” he said. 
Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has also vowed that the Egyptian military will rebuild every Christian church torched by the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Ramelah said he was cautiously optimistic about al-Sisi.
“So far, from my point of view, he is a person showing real care for the country,” Ramelah said.
 
New Constitution on Horizon
 
Christians also are hopeful that Egyptʼs new constitution will provide them the equal rights they have sought for decades. A committee of 50 technocrats is devising a constitution to replace the one crafted by the Muslim Brotherhood. The final draft may be ready by mid-October, with a national referendum in November.
 
Father Greiche said the constitutional committee includes representatives of Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches, who were appointed from the working committees of their respective churches.
 
“The three committees meet to coordinate their demands,” said Father Greiche. “Mostly, we agree on everything.”
 
Father Rafic said the group is united on expanding religious freedom, freedom of expression and rights for women and children. The Catholic delegation, he said, has been pushing for broader changes to the constitution that would recognize the rights of not only Christians and Jews, but also of all non-Muslim sects.
 
But even as Egypt moves toward ratifying a new constitution, and the military continues to gain the upper hand over the Brotherhood, there is an uneasy calm in Egypt.
“We donʼt know how long this will last,” said Michael LaCivita, director of communications for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA).
 
LaCivita said the militaryʼs “show of force” has put a check on the Brotherhoodʼs mobs terrorizing Christians and moderate Muslims. But with so much violence in the air, he said, rural Copts have hunkered down, fearful to emerge from their homes.
“We have reports from local leaders that [Christians] are running out of food, water and supplies,” LaCivita said. “They cannot get out to get those things.”
 
CNEWA has been actively working with local church leaders to bring relief in areas affected by violence, especially southern Egypt, where most Christians have had their lives disrupted, LaCivita said.
 
But Catholic and Christian relief agencies working with the local churches, he explained, are providing the main lifeline for Christians suffering from violence and persecution in the Middle East. He said this is true in Egypt, and especially true in Syria.
 
“Christians will not register for aid,” LaCivita said. “If they register as a refugee, they feel retribution will be swift and merciless.”
 
He said Christians in the United States could do three things in solidarity with Egyptʼs Copts: pray and fast, stay informed and “give of their hearts and give of their resources” to help relief efforts.
 
Copts Determined to Endure
 
Despite the intensity of the persecution and the uptick of Coptic migration, LaCivita said most Copts are determined to stay.
 
“They donʼt want to leave their assets, homes and farms,” he said. “Their families have been there since the apostles brought the faith to them.” Ramelah agreed.
 
“The sad thing,” Ramelah said, “is that not only is the Muslim Brotherhood trying to change the face of Egypt, they are trying to destroy Egyptian history and the 2,000 years of Christianity in Egypt.” 
Although he left Egypt 40 years ago, his extended family has chosen to remain in Egypt, and he said most Copts would do the same.
 
“The Copts will not leave Egypt,” he said. “It is our country.”

Muslim Brotherhood: No Compromise

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 08 September 2013 20:29
Members of Egypts Muslim BrotherhoodEgypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement refuses to surrender to the intense pressure being brought to bear upon it by the regime headed by Maj. Gen. Abdel Fatah Sisi, who deposed the Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, in early July.
 
The Brotherhood's spokesman, Jihad al-Hadad, wrote on his Facebook page that the Muslim Brotherhood's position has not changed and that it continues to demand a full return to the previous constitutional situation.
 
This includes putting Morsi back in power, a reactivation of parliament and acceptance of the constitution that was approved in a plebiscite.
 
Al-Hadad stressed that the Brotherhood would not recognize "the traitors who carried out a coup against the leadership," nor would it recognize the functions they are carrying out or their pretense to represent the people. The people, he said, will continue to protest by going out to the streets and squares until their goal is achieved.

Muslim Brotherhood like Nazis: Two faces, one coin

Category: Media
Created on Saturday, 31 August 2013 11:22

Morsi-HitlerWatch this Egyptian documentary entitled, Egypt save the world from terrorists, to get the full impact of the value of Egypt's military-backed freedom movement disdainful of Obama's support of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed Mursi attends a meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal

 

 

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Muslim Brotherhood destroying ancient sites

Category: Media
Created on Saturday, 31 August 2013 10:31
The Good Shepherd Church
The list of Christian churches, schools, institutions, shops torched by the Muslim Brotherhood in the last three days
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The following list of some of the 85 looted and burned buildings (including convents and schools) has been verified by representatives of the Christian Churches.
 
 At least 85 Christian churches, schools, institutions, homes and shops have been attacked, looted and torched over the last three days by the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the former Egyptian president who was deposed on 3 July . On August 14 the army has tried to evict the sit-in of the Islamists in Rabaa El Nahda Square and Adaweya. In a wave of devastating violence, over 600 people were killed and thousands injured. But violent attacks were also carried out on Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical churches as well as the homes and shops of Christians, as we have documented
 
 
The representatives of the Christian Churches have drawn up a list which we publish below. The list was handed over to AsiaNews by the Press Office of the Catholic Church in Egypt.
 
 
 
Catholic churches and convents
 
1. Franciscan church and school (road 23) - burned (Suez)
2. Monastery of the Holy Shepherd and hospital - burned (Suez)
3. Church of the Good Shepherd, Monastery of the Good Shepherd - burned in molotov attack (Asuit)
4. Coptic Catholic Church of St. George - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
5. Church of the Jesuits - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
6. Fatima Basilica - attacked - Heliopolis
7. Coptic Catholic Church of St. Mark - burned (Minya - Upper Egypt)
8. Franciscan convent (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) - burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
9. Church of St. Teresa - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
10. Franciscan Church and School - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
11. Convent of St Joseph and school - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
12. Coptic Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart - torched (Minya, Upper Egypt)
13 Convent of the Sisters of Saint Mary - attacked (Cairo)
14. School of the Holy Shepherd - attacked (Minya, Upper Egypt)
 
 
 
Orthodox and Evangelical Churches
1. Anglican Church of St. Saviour - burned (Suez)
2. Evangelical Church of St Michael - surrounded and sacked (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
3. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George - Burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
4. Church of Al-Esla - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
 5. Adventist Church - burned, the pastor and his wife abducted (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
 6. Church of the Apostles - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
 7. Church of the Holy renewal - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
8. Diocesan Centre Coptic Orthodox Qusiya - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
9. Church of St. George - burned (Arish, North Egypt)
10. Church of St. George in al-Wasta - burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
11. Church of the Virgin Mary - attacked (Maadi, Cairo)
12. Church of the Virgin Mary - attacked (Mostorod, Cairo)
13. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George - attacked (Helwan, Cairo)
14. Church of St. Mary of El Naziah - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
15. Church of Santa Damiana - sacked and burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
16. Church of St. Theodore - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
17. Evangelical Church of al-Zorby - Sacked and destroyed (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
18. Church of St. Joseph - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
19. Franciscan School - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
20. Coptic Orthodox Diocesan Center of St. Paul - burned (Gharbiya, Delta)
21. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Anthony - burned (Giza)
22. Coptic Church of St. George - burned (Atfeeh, Giza)
23. Church of the Virgin Mary and father Abraham - burned (Delga, Deir Mawas, Minya, Upper Egypt)
24. Church of St. Mina Abu Hilal Kebly - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
25. Baptist Church in Beni Mazar - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
26. Church of Amir Tawadros - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
27. Evangelical Church - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
28. Church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad- burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
29. Church of the Apostles - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
30. Church of St Mary - arson attempt (Qena, Upper Egypt)
31. Coptic Church of St. George - burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
32. Church of Santa Damiana - Attacked and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
33. Church of the Virgin Mary - burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
34. Church of St. Mark and community center - burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
35. Church of Anba Abram - destroyed and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt) 
 
Christian institutions
1. House of Fr. Angelos (pastor of the church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abraham) - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
2. Properties and shops of Christians - Burnt (Arish, North Egypt)
3. 17 Christian homes attacked and looted (Minya, Upper Egypt)
4. Christian homes - Attach (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
5. Offices of the Evangelical Foundation - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
6. Stores, pharmacies, hotels owned by Christians - attacked and looted (Luxor, Upper Egypt)
7. Library of the Bible Society - burned (Cairo)
8. Bible Society - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
9. Bible Society- burned (Asuit, North Egypt).
 
 
Burned buildings owned by Christians
 
 •1.       58 houses.
 
•2.       85 shops.
 
•3.       16 pharmacies.
 
•4.       3 hotels (Upper Egypt)
 
•5.       75 buses and cars.

More than 84 Coptic Churches destroyed

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 30 August 2013 12:55

Savages in action in Egypt

 

Since July 3, 2013 Muslim Brotherhood burned 85 churches in Egypt. Obama White House is silent!

 Attacks on Coptic Christians Egypt

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The list of Christian churches, schools, institutions, shops torched

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 23 August 2013 19:19
The damaged Prince Tadros Church August 15 Photo -AP
 
The following list of 58 looted and burned buildings (including convents and schools) has been verified by representatives of the Christian Churches.
 
At least 58 Christian churches, schools, institutions, homes and shops have been attacked, looted and torched over the last three days by the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the former Egyptian president who was deposed on 3 July . On August 14 the army has tried to evict the sit-in of the Islamists in Rabaa El Nahda Square and Adaweya. In a wave of devastating violence, over 600 people were killed and thousands injured. But violent attacks were also carried out on Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical churches as well as the homes and shops of Christians, as we have documented.Coptic Church
 
The representatives of the Christian Churches have drawn up a list which we publish below. The list was handed over to AsiaNews by the Press Office of the Catholic Church in Egypt.
 
Catholic churches and convents
 
1. Franciscan church and school (road 23) - burned (Suez)
2. Monastery of the Holy Shepherd and hospital - burned (Suez)
3. Church of the Good Shepherd, Monastery of the Good Shepherd - burned in molotov attack (Asuit)
4. Coptic Catholic Church of St. George - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
5. Church of the Jesuits - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
6. Fatima Basilica - attacked - Heliopolis
7. Coptic Catholic Church of St. Mark - burned (Minya - Upper Egypt)
8. Franciscan convent (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) - burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
9. Church of St. Teresa - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
10. Franciscan Church and School - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
11. Convent of St Joseph and school - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
12. Coptic Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart - torched (Minya, Upper Egypt)
13 Convent of the Sisters of Saint Mary - attacked (Cairo)
14. School of the Holy Shepherd - attacked (Minya, Upper Egypt) 
Savages in action in Egypt
 
Orthodox and Evangelical Churches
 
1. Anglican Church of St. Saviour - burned (Suez)
2. Evangelical Church of St Michael - surrounded and sacked (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
3. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George - Burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
4. Church of Al-Esla - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
 5. Adventist Church - burned, the pastor and his wife abducted (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
 6. Church of the Apostles - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
 7. Church of the Holy renewal - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
8. Diocesan Centre Coptic Orthodox Qusiya - burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
9. Church of St. George - burned (Arish, North Egypt)
10. Church of St. George in al-Wasta - burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
11. Church of the Virgin Mary - attacked (Maadi, Cairo)
12. Church of the Virgin Mary - attacked (Mostorod, Cairo)
13. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George - attacked (Helwan, Cairo)
14. Church of St. Mary of El Naziah - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
15. Church of Santa Damiana - sacked and burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
16. Church of St. Theodore - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
17. Evangelical Church of al-Zorby - Sacked and destroyed (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
18. Church of St. Joseph - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
19. Franciscan School - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
20. Coptic Orthodox Diocesan Center of St. Paul - burned (Gharbiya, Delta)
21. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Anthony - burned (Giza)
22. Coptic Church of St. George - burned (Atfeeh, Giza)
23. Church of the Virgin Mary and father Abraham - burned (Delga, Deir Mawas, Minya, Upper Egypt)
24. Church of St. Mina Abu Hilal Kebly - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
25. Baptist Church in Beni Mazar - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
26. Church of Amir Tawadros - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
27. Evangelical Church - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
28. Church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad- burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
29. Church of the Apostles - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
30. Church of St Mary - arson attempt (Qena, Upper Egypt)
31. Coptic Church of St. George - burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
32. Church of Santa Damiana - Attacked and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
33. Church of the Virgin Mary - burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
34. Church of St. Mark and community center - burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
35. Church of Anba Abram - destroyed and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt) 
 
Christian institutions
1. House of Fr. Angelos (pastor of the church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abraham) - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
2. Properties and shops of Christians - Burnt (Arish, North Egypt)Christian institutions
3. 17 Christian homes attacked and looted (Minya, Upper Egypt)
4. Christian homes - Attach (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
5. Offices of the Evangelical Foundation - burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
6. Stores, pharmacies, hotels owned by Christians - attacked and looted (Luxor, Upper Egypt)
7. Library of the Bible Society - burned (Cairo)
8. Bible Society - burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
9. Bible Society- burned (Asuit, North Egypt).
 
Burned buildings owned by Christians
 
 •1.       58 houses.
 
•2.       85 shops.
 
•3.       16 pharmacies.
 
•4.       3 hotels (Upper Egypt)
 
•5.       75 buses and cars.
 
 
7 Victims (killed) 17 kidnapping and hundreds injured.  

Obama is a Prisoner of his own Agenda

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 19 August 2013 23:15
Sharia lawHow does Obama react to the Muslim Brotherhood's excesses? With open arms.
 
If the American President was not a prisoner to his own pro-Muslim Brotherhood agenda, the U.S. Administration would now be applauding the Egyptian military’s crackdown on the anti-Western, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood thugs who have instigated horrific violence in Cairo and throughout much of the country.
 
Indeed, his own agenda has resulted in untold bloodshed and a human rights meltdown in Syria, Iraq, North Africa, Afghanistan and Yemen. It threatens Jordan, Saudi-Arabia and the Gulf States while leaving Iran free to acquire nuclear weapons capability. And it imposes upon Israel a course which will inevitably lead to national suicide unless the Lion of Judah can finally awake and roar back.
 
The Egyptian military, acceding to the demands of some 33 million of its citizens to remove the Islamic and Sharia colluding Morsi regime, redeployed to end Mohammed Morsi’s Brotherhood supporters from their occupation of areas of the Egyptian capital. They were met by heavy gunfire and over 100 soldiers and police were killed in the first few hours of the confrontation.
 
Not surprisingly, Obama never mentioned this fact during his August 15th press conference; a long harangue during which, according to former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Obama predictably blamed not the Morsi rioters but the Egyptian military; again revealing this president’s egregious and systemic support for the Muslim extremists who wish to turn Egypt into an Islamic republic.
 
Nor did Obama castigate fully the pro-Morsi thugs who turned their savagery upon the hapless embattled Coptic Christian community. It is estimated that perhaps as many as 50 churches and Christian establishments were burned to the ground during the Muslim anti-Christian pogrom; this after Copts have been beheaded in the streets of Cairo. And still the Vatican and world Christendom remain in the main deathly silent.
 
For decades, ever since the secular revolution of Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1954, successive Egyptian presidents and governments have tried to crush the Brotherhood. This has been done by popular demand from the majority of Egyptians.
 
Obama’s threats against the military thus fly in the face of all reality. His actions will most certainly act against the best interests of the West and particularly of the United States. But there are many who believe that Barack Hussein Obama is on track to tactically do just that – harm America economically, politically and militarily - and not by incompetence, but by a planned and mendacious strategy. After all, did not Obama promise that he would fundamentally transform America?
 
During Morsi’s time in office, it should be remembered that sexual assaults against women skyrocketed. Islamic discrimination against women in Egypt under Morsi echoed the horrors perpetrated against females under the Taliban in Afghanistan. It encouraged genital mutilation among Egyptian women, opposed any moves to stop polygamy, and rejected any rights for women to have equality in the distribution of inheritance and assets.
 
And still, apart from a very few brave souls, the feminists around the world have remained deathly silent. And was there a word of censure by President Obama? Not one peep.
 
Remember, too, that the first public announcement Morsi made was to call for war against Israel and utter his vile insult – straight out of the Koran – equating Jews with monkeys and pigs.
 
But what did Obama continue to do in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood’s excesses? Why, he showered the Morsi government with F16 fighter bombers and 400 Abrams tanks – all, no doubt, weapons that eventually could be turned against the Jewish state.
 
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI): Egyptian cleric Dr. Khaled Said, in an interview aired on Al-Hafez TV (via the Internet) on March 17, 2013 described American foreign military aid this way:
 
“If the (Islamic) revolution declares a framework for dealing with the West and America – they will accept it, kiss our hands, and double the aid they give us. We consider this aid to be jizya [poll tax], not regular aid. They pay so that we will let them be. The aid constitutes jizya.”
 
All non-Muslims living under Muslim control were forced over the centuries to pay the discriminatory jizya tax if they refused to convert to Islam. Thus American aid to the Morsi regime was considered just that by the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
According to a report by Debka, an intelligence organization which some commentators often respond to negatively, whether with good reason or not, “President Barack Obama put in a call to Egypt’s strongman, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, debkafile’s intelligence sources report. The US president wanted to give the general a dressing-down much on the lines of the call he made to former president Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011.”
 
The Debka report continued:  “Realizing what was coming, Gen. El-Sissi decided not to accept Obama’s call. The anecdote shows that the military strongman is not only determined to avoid the pitfalls which brought Mubarak down but is equally determined to keep the US Administration from interfering in his plans for driving the Muslim Brotherhood out of Egyptian politics.”
 
El-Sissi has a trump card that he will use against pressure from the Obama Administration. Saudi-Arabia has already begun to provide the financial support he needs to quell the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Saudis loathe, as do several of the Gulf States. All this will create another self-induced foreign affairs nightmare for Obama as an ever-widening rift opens up between the rulers of the Gulf States, Saudi-Arabia and the White House.
 
Indeed, according to Debka, “Our intelligence sources also disclose that, while President Obama was trying to get through to Gen. El-Sissi, the general was on the phone with Prince Bandar, Director of Saudi Intelligence.”
 
Sadly, Israel, unlike Egypt, doesn’t possess alternate allies who can help buttress the Jewish state from hostile pressure from the Obama Administration; pressure which has forced the Netanyahu government to timidly accede to obscene demands from the Holocaust denying Chairman of the so-called Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and from U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, to release Muslim monsters with Jewish blood on their hands:  Next, to agree to enter into “piece” talks with the Jew hating thugdom, the PA, that currently occupies parts of biblical and ancestral Jewish Judea and Samaria.
 
Calls have been made by myself and others in the Opinion columns of Arutz Sheva for a push by Israel to be made to create just such foreign alliances, perhaps with India or China. Israel might not be faced with such intolerable pressures from such a presidency as that of Barack Obama if thought had been given to such a strategy much earlier.
 
Notwithstanding the above, it would be a salutary admonition to the Netanyahu government to consider what Winston Churchill said during his fractious June, 1940 Cabinet discussions with then Foreign Minister, Lord Halifax. During those dark days, when the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, Halifax had wanted to appease Hitler with peace overtures via Mussolini. Churchill withstood the appeasement pressure from Halifax and shot back with the following words:
 
“Nations which go down fighting, rise again; those that surrender timidly are finished.”
 
Victor SharpeVictor Sharpe
Victor Sharpe is a prolific freelance writer with many published articles in leading national and international conservative websites and magazines. Born and educated in England, he has been a broadcaster and has authored several books including a collection of short stories under the title The Blue Hour. His three-volume set of in-depth studies on the threats from resurgent Islam to Israel, the West and to Judeo-Christian civilization is titled, Politicide: The Attempted Murder of the Jewish State. www.amazon.com

'We Won't Stop Until Morsi Reinstated'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 16 August 2013 07:19
A torn poster of deposed  Mohammd Mursi  Reuters
 
The Egyptian Health Ministry has revised the death toll in deadly clashes from 278 to 525, as the country emerges from its most violent and bloody period since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
 
Officials said that 43 of the dead were police officers.
 
More than 3,500 people have also been wounded in the clashes triggered when the interim government finally made good on its promise to forcibly clear protest camps set up by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, who are demanding the reinstatement of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Morsi was ousted by the army on July 3rd and has been held in detention since, facing a number of criminal charges.
 
The main camps were located in the capital, Cairo, but violence quickly spread to the rest of the country.
 
Muslim Brotherhood officials have claimed the bloodshed is far greater than the government admits, saying that at least 2,000 people have been killed in what they termed a "massacre" by security forces against "peaceful demonstrations" by their supporters.
 
In a bid to quell the violence, the interim Egyptian government announced a state of emergency yesterday, but the situation has continued to escalate regardless. The continuing bloodshed led to the resignation of Egyptian Vice President Mohammed El-Baradei, who said in a statement that he could not "continue in shouldering the responsibility for decisions I do not agree with and I fear their consequences. I cannot shoulder the responsibility for a single drop of blood."
 
Speaking to CNN, senior Muslim Brotherhood official Essam Elerian struck a defiant tone, declaring that he was undeterred by the violence or by calls for his arrest, as well as those of other senior Brotherhood leaders:
 
"We will continue our sit-ins and demonstrations all over the country until democracy and the legitimate rule are restored in Egypt," he said.
 
"They can arrest me and 100 of us, but they can't arrest every honorable citizen in Egypt. They can't stop this glorious revolution."
 
"Peaceful Protests"?
 
Despite claims of the "peaceful nature" of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations, security forces claim to have come under fire by armed supporters of Mohammed Morsi. 
 
A series of gruesome images and videos have emerged since last night which seem to corroborate claims of Muslim Brotherhood violence, showing the lynching of Egyptian police.
 
In one video, seen by Arutz Sheva, the body of a man - apparently a member of the security forces - is dragged through through a baying mob as supporters of Morsi hurl insults and physically attacks the body. At the end of the clip, someone off camera points a rifle at the body and opens fire to "confirm the kill."
 
Islamist supporters of the ousted president are also accused of upping their campaign of violence against the country's indigenous Coptic Christian population.
 
Since yesterday at least 17 churches and a number of Christian-owned homes and businesses were torched by Muslim mobs. Coptic Christians have been a target for violence - sometimes deadly - since Morsi's ouster, amid fears that they are being scapegoated by frustrated Islamists.
 
But government forces are also being blamed for using deadly violence, calling in "special forces" to use deadly force to put down the protests, according to CNN.

Libya protesters attack Islamist party after killings

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 27 July 2013 12:37
Protesters demonstrate against on Benghazi Reuters
 
Protesters attacked offices of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood on Saturday as demonstrations sparked by a wave of assassinations in the eastern city of Benghazi turned violent, an AFP correspondent said.
 
Youths stormed and ransacked the building housing the Brotherhood, after hundreds took to the streets overnight to denounce the assassination of Abdessalem al-Mesmari, an anti-Islamist lawyer who campaigned for a civil state.
 
The demonstrators accuse the Brotherhood of being behind killings that have targeted dozens of officers, especially in Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 armed uprising that ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
 
In Tripoli, hundreds of people had gathered on Saturday morning at Martyrs’ Square, in the heart of the capital, for a demonstration in “solidarity with Benghazi” and against the Islamist movement.
 
Chanting “the blood of martyrs was not shed in vain,” the protesters converged on the square as they left mosques after morning prayers, an AFP correspondent said.
 
About 100 youths descended on the offices of the Brotherhood-backed Party of Justice and Construction, smashing its windows and looting its furniture.
 
Mesmari was shot dead as he left a mosque in Benghazi while an army and a police officer were killed in separate attacks in the restive city on Friday, a security official said.
 
The prominent activist was among the first Libyans who launched the 2011 uprising against Qaddafi. He helped found the political wing of rebels who later overthrew the regime.
 
After the revolution, he took a prominent stand against the Brotherhood, which he accused of striving to take power in Libya despite popular discontent.
 
Since Qaddafi’s fall, eastern Libyan has been hit by bombings and a series of assassinations and attacks against judges, military and police officers who served under the Qaddafi regime.
 
Attacks have also been carried out against Western interests.
 
On September 11 last year, Islamist militants attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide calls for pro-Mursi rallies

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 25 July 2013 10:44
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Badie with Arabic text which reads Together to down brotherhoods power reuters
 
The supreme guide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called on Friday for peaceful rallies to support the ousted President Mohammad Mursi, an army call for a popular mandate to fighter “violence and terrorism”
 
“The dignified Egyptian masses...will preserve their rights peacefully,” said Mohammad Badei in a statement. “Turn out, to announce you stand for freedom and legitimacy, and against the bloody coup.”
 
The fugitive Brotherhood leader is wanted by the authorities for allegedly inciting violence. His call came a day after Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for nationwide rallies on Friday to grant him a mandate to fight what he termed violence and terrorism.
 
“I ask ... that next Friday all honest and trustworthy Egyptians must come out,” said Sisi, wearing dark sunglasses as he took to the podium on Wednesday to address a graduation ceremony of military cadets near Alexandria.
 
“Why come out? They come out to give me the mandate and order that I confront violence and potential terrorism.”
It was an apparent reference to a series of attacks by suspected Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula and the violence taking place nationwide between supporters and opponents of Mursi.
 
Almost 200 people have been killed in clashes since the days leading up to Mursi’s overthrow, with militants in Sinai also carrying out daily attacks on security forces, according to Associated Press.
 
Mursi’s Islamist backers have accused security forces of conspiring to blame them for the attacks.
In a statement, they warned of “an apparent plan by security and intelligence agencies to plot violent attacks to terrorize citizens and then attempt to link these incidents to the peaceful protesters.”
 
The authorities have accused Mursi’s supporters of employing violence since he was removed from power following mass protests against his rule.
 
General Sisi denied accusations that he had betrayed Mursi and vowed to stick to a political roadmap that laid the way for a reform of the constitution and new elections within some six months.
 
He said his appeal for protests on Friday was not a call for violence and expressed support for efforts for national reconciliation.
 
Senior Muslim Brotherhood politician Essam al-Erian said the army’s call for rallies on Friday is a threat and will not stop pro-Mursi protests.
“Your threat will not stop the millions from continuing together,” El-Erian wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday, calling Sisi “a coup leader who kills women, children and those at prayer.”
 
Egyptian youth movement Tamarud, which was behind the enormous protests against Mursi before his ouster, said it backed the army’s call Friday’ rallies.
 
“We call on the people to take to the streets on Friday to support their armed forces, which we support and are happy for it to play its role in confronting the violence and terrorism practiced by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Tamarud leader Mahmoud Badr told Reuters.

Egypt Christians Greet Revolution Against Muslim Brotherhood

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 15 July 2013 08:57
Egyptians celebrate in Cairos Tahrir Square July 4 following the military ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.CAIRO — Christians in Egypt have thrown their full support behind the popular uprising that has toppled the Islamist government of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood after suffering the worst persecution in decades.
 
Egypt’s Christians have celebrated the Egyptian Army’s decision to force President Morsi out of power and set up a new government, after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand Morsi’s ouster.
 
The June 30 protests sponsored by the Tamarod (“Rebel”) movement are being called the largest mass demonstration in world history.
 
With Morsi under arrest, Adli Mansour was sworn into office as Egypt’s interim president, while new presidential elections are set up and plans to write a new constitution are put in place.
 
Christian leaders have praised the military-assisted popular uprising to depose Morsi as a recovery of the ideals of the January 2011 revolution that saw Christians and Muslims demanding political freedoms and the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak.
 
“How wonderful are the Egyptian people recovering their stolen revolution in a civilized manner with the idea of Tamarod and its great youth’s sacrifice,” tweeted Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II.
 
Pope Tawadros II also tweeted in support of the decision to remove Morsi, praising “three greats of Egypt — the people, the army and the youth.”
 
The Tamarod movement collected 22 million petitions demanding Morsi resign and hand over power to an interim president and enact constitutional reforms. In contrast, Morsi was elected president after a runoff in which he narrowly won with 51.7% of the 25 million ballots cast, or 13 million votes.
 
“With the revolution [Christians] have discovered their freedom, and they intend to fight with the rest of the population to have a life worth living, a life worthy of a man,” Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak of Alexandria, the leader of Coptic Catholics said in an Italian interview with The Holy Land Review (TerraSanta.net).
 
Both Christian leaders have encouraged the youth of Egypt not to back down and to demand that Egypt’s government reflect a democratic constitution that includes all the voices of Egypt. 
 
Christians are estimated to make up 10% of Egypt’s population of 85 million people, according to the CIA World Factbook, with members of the Coptic Orthodox Church accounting for 9%.
 
Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for Egypt’s Catholic Conference, told Aid to the Church in Need that the fall of Morsi marked a “new political beginning” and “a joyous day for us Christians in Egypt and for all Egyptians.”
 
“We hope that we will not be excluded from the political process that lies before us,” Father Greiche said. He added that “the non-Islamist opposition has found a new unity,” and the Egyptian people were rejecting the Muslim Brotherhood’s neglect of the economy as they pursued their Islamist dreams of building a new Caliphate in the Middle East.
 
Decisive Moment?
 
The Muslim Brotherhood’s fall from power could prove a decisive moment for the future of Coptic Christianity in Egypt.
 
Ashraf Ramelah, president of the nonprofit advocacy group Voice of the Copts, told the Register that Christians will have the most to lose in the revolution against Morsi and the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Already, Morsi supporters have attacked Christians and set ablaze St. George Coptic Church in the village of al-Minya.
 
But Ramelah said Christians realize that overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood is preferable to certain extinction.
“Under Morsi, Copts reached the worst situation in 60 years,” Ramelah said.
 
Since the Muslim Brotherhood took power, the situation of Egypt’s Christians has deteriorated rapidly. Ramelah said that not only had attacks on Christian communities rapidly increased under Morsi, but churches have been attacked or bombed.
 
In an unprecedented move, Islamists besieged St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, the heart of Coptic Orthodoxy, in broad daylight. More than 500 Christian women have been kidnapped by Islamists to face forced conversion, rape or forced marriage.
 
Samir Assaad, an Egyptian Melkite, told the Register that he took his wife and three daughters with him from Egypt in August 2012 to the U.S. because he feared for their lives and safety. He did not want his children kidnapped on their way to school — a fate suffered by other Christian friends and neighbors.
 
Just going to church required an act of faith, he explained.
“You go, you pray, and you don’t know whether your church will be bombed or not,” Assaad said.
 
Assaad also said the Muslim Brotherhood’s religious police would muster around the churches before their liturgies and would harass Christian women for not being covered head to toe in burqas. “It’s like Saudi Arabia,” he said.
 
He explained these same religious police would attack women — Christians or Muslims — for driving cars, not wearing Islamic dress or the “crime” of wearing makeup and heels. Assaad said the religious police would either beat women with sticks or kill them.
 
Christian Diaspora
 
Assaad is just one voice of a Christian diaspora streaming from Egypt to other countries such as the United States. The Coptic Orthodox Church in North America is expecting the influx of Christian refugees from Egypt to continue.
“We have a huge influx of immigration of Egyptian Christians,” said Father Michael Sorial, director of public relations for the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. “We don’t expect the trend to stop anytime soon.”
 
Father Sorial said that they hope Christians will stay and help Egypt’s moderate Muslims build a better future. However, he said the Coptic Church in the U.S. is prepared to welcome Christians emigrating from Egypt with ESL (English as a Second Language) courses and social services.
“Although there is hope in Egypt, there’s quite a bit of uncertainty,” he said.
 
As Egypt seethes and teeters on violence, Egypt’s military has declared a state of emergency in various parts of Egypt. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has plans to strike back, but both Morsi and the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, remain under house arrest.
 
“The country is already in a state of civil war,” Ramelah said.
Both the Catholic and Orthodox churches in Egypt have rejected Western media descriptions of the revolution as a military coup, and they have praised the Army for supporting the will of the people, just as they did in the January 2011 revolution against Mubarak.
 
“They took the side of the people against Morsi,” Assaad said. Without the Army’s intervention, he said, nothing would have stopped the Muslim Brotherhood’s militia from attacking the protesters. “The Army is faithful to the Egyptian people. They did a good job with Mubarak and did an even better job with Morsi.”
 
Ramelah said the revolution is rejecting the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision of political Islam, now that sharia (Islamic law) has failed to make life better for Egypt or provide the basic necessities of life for millions of Egyptians.
“The country has reached the bottom of everything,” he said.
 
Anger Directed at U.S.
 
But Ramelah said Egyptians have enormous anger against the United States for interfering in Egyptian politics and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Ramelah said U.S. Ambassador Ann Patterson tried to pressure the Coptic pope to condemn the June 30 Tarawod protests and also gave assurances to the Muslim Brotherhood that the U.S. government could exert pressure in the region to support it.
 
Protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square have denounced President Barack Obama and Patterson by name — with signs written in English, not Arabic, Ramelah said, for the benefit of the U.S. and Western viewers.
 
Ramelah said the U.S. support of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East was astonishing, since it would also threaten the continued existence of Israel. Ramelah said “the writing is on the wall for Israel” if the Brotherhood achieved the goal articulated by Mohammed Badie, the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, to unite the Middle East into a single state (a new Caliphate) for Muslims with its capital in Jerusalem.
 
“America is not supporting democracy. This administration is supporting terrorists,” he said, pointing out that the Obama administration has not spoken out against the Muslim Brotherhood’s violent persecution of both moderate Muslims and Christians in not only Egypt, but also Libya, Tunisia and particularly in Syria, where Christians have suffered greatly from the Islamist-dominated rebels.
 
“The only supporters of the U.S. in the Middle East, outside of Israel, were the Christians,” Ramelah said. “Now, the U.S. has lost even them.”
 
Register correspondent Peter Jesserer Smith writes from Rochester, New York.

Egypt orders arrest of more Brotherhood leaders

Category: News
Created on Monday, 08 July 2013 10:07
Muslim Brotherhood leadersEgypt's prosecutor general ordered on Sunday the arrest of two high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood officials accused of inciting violence following the ouster of former president Mohammad Mursi, Youm 7 newspaper reported.
 
Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagy are both accused of inciting violence against those who demonstrated outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo earlier this week.
Office of the prosecutor general also issued an arrest warrant to the preacher Safwat Hegazy, also a Muslim Brotherhood’s supporter, on the same charges.
 
The Egyptian authorities began detaining a number of Muslim Brotherhood officials since the toppling of Mursi last Wednesday by a popularly backed military coup.
 
It has previously ordered to arrest the Islamist group’s top leader, Mohamed Badie, but wasn’t able to capture him.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy head, Khairat al-Shater, and the group’s former head Mahdy Akef are already detained by the police.
 
Akef was accused of hiring a sniper to attack protesters trying to storm the group’s headquarters.
But he denied the accusations by sniper Mustapha Mohamed, who had turned himself and confessed that he received orders from group officials to maim and kill those attempting to raid their office.
Mohamed said the Islamist group provided him with rubber-bullets and machine guns.

Thousands Converge on Tahrir Square, Violence Feared

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 30 June 2013 14:31
03-15-11Thousands of people converged on Tahrir Square in Cairo Sunday to demand the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, on the one-year anniversary of his ascent to power.
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Demonstrators waved red cards and chanted "irhal" ("leave"), promising to camp in the square until Morsi resigns, Al Jazeera reported. Some wore black headbands with “Leave, Morsi!” written on them. Anti-Morsi demonstrations were also expected in provincial cities, reported Al Arabiya.
 
Meanwhile, Morsi's supporters also held a gathering, at the Raba El-Adwyia Mosque square in Nasr City, a suburb of Cairo.
 
The anti-Morsi protests have been organized by a grassroots campaign that calls itself Tamarod, meaning "rebellion" or "insubordination". It claims to have collected the signatures of 22 million Egyptians on a petition demanding Morsi's resignation.
 
Poverty is increasing, the protesters say, and inflation is not going away. The Egyptian pound has dropped in value by nearly 20 percent since morsi took office, foreign investment has been decimated, and businesses are hard hit by fuel and electricity shortages.
 
Morsi's November decree which shielded his decisions from judicial review has also made him less popular.
 
There is concern that the protests on Sunday could descend into violence. Egyptians have been stocking up on food and filling up their cars with gasoline in anticipation of unrest.
 
Four Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been killed in attacks on the group’s offices in recent days, and two people were killed in fighting in Alexandria on Friday, including a U.S. citizen.
 
Tanks and other military vehicles have started to appear on the streets of Cairo. Police and troops have deployed to protect key buildings around the country, security officials said. The health ministry said hospitals have been placed on high alert.
 
Marchers were scheduled to set for the Ittihadiya presidential palace, close to the neighborhood where thousands of Morsi supporters were to hold their counter-demonstration.

One dead as pro-, anti-Mursi groups clash in Egypt, ministry says

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 June 2013 15:04
Anti-Morsi outside the presidential palace in CairoOne person was killed and 30 injured late Thursday as supporters and critics of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi clashed in the north of the country, the health ministry reported.
 
The fighting took place in the northern Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, said the agency, cited by the official MENA news agency.
 
The clashes broke out in front of the headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, where Mursi draws his support.
 
A statement from the FJP posted on its Facebook page said one of its members had been killed.
 
The clashes came as Egyptian Islamist parties prepared for an open-ended demonstration Friday in support of Mursi, two days before planned rallies against him.
 
Mursi's legitimacy is at the heart of protests both for and against him.
 
His supporters say he derives his authority from the first free presidential election in Egypt’s history, and that the challenges he faces -- corrupt and inefficient institutions, economic troubles and religious tensions -- were inherited.
 
His critics see him as a Muslim Brotherhood delegate, favouring Islamists in key positions and returning the country to authoritarianism.

Egyptians strive to end Morsi era: Muslim Brotherhood frantic to save the Caliph

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 08:46
a mural of Egypts President Mohamed Mursi on the wall of the presidential palace in Cairo Reuters
 
Inside Egypt a tempest is brewing for Morsi’s resignation on his one-year anniversary (June 30) 
 
Egyptians are united once again by the single yearning to rid the country of its corrupting force, Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and, unlike two years ago, actualize the dream of democracy. There is a sense that something very significant is about to happen with both fear and hope intermingled. Revolutionaries, vigilant since January 2011, are today boosted by a motivated Egyptian populace of young, old, urban, rural, religious, atheist, rich, and poor in a fevered pitch toward removing Morsi from office. 
 
A zeal for human rights will lead them to seize this moment and risk everything in order to achieve liberty for Egypt beginning on the one-year anniversary of President Morsi’s term next Sunday, June 30th. In anticipation, the Arabic press is filled with frightening predictions. Islamic groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are restless, ready to defend their President and willing to incite bloodshed. Islamists threaten the peaceful Tamarud (rebellion) campaign aimed at Morsi’s resignation and point to a ready MB militia. 
 
Once Morsi would step down, the Tamarud hopefuls (15 million petition signers) believe that the high constitutional courts alone will become the interim body to hold and cherish the promise of democracy for Egyptians in handling the nations operations (unlike SCAF upon Mubarak’s fall).
 
Tamarud campaign cites the 1971 Egyptian constitution mandating that an interim court selects a constitutional assembly committee. It will draft a democratic Egyptian constitution replacing the voided Morsi constitution followed by Parliamentary elections and then the Presidential, in that order.  
 
Tamarud (rebellion) campaign with more than 25 chapters around the country
 
Without political or religious pressure of any sort, without cans of oil or packages of rice as bribes, a petition has been circulating among the public for the past two months by Tamarud chapter leaders and activists which has already received more signatures than Morsi received in votes (13 million) gained by massive fraud. With the use of this simple democratic tool initiating demands by “the people” along with a plan to gather and present it, the Tamarud stands in contrast to Islamist factions using the threat of violence as a scare tactic. 
 
As the Tamarud exerts non-violent pressure on the existing power structure leading up to the day of reckoning, Egyptian state police circulate their intentions to remain absent from the staged protests (a decision not too late to reverse) in favor of guarding police offices, leaving protesters vulnerable to MB militia forces. Think Syria and Libya today.  
 
Egyptian sentiment highly suspicious of America’s role toward the MB
 
Ordinary Egyptians, resentful of America’s interference in Egypt all along, “thank” the American administration for the anti-democratic MB-backed Morsi administration and cite America’s financial, military, and political support of the MB in its climb to power. Egyptians blame America for the “Arab Spring” media campaign as an invention to facilitate MB rise to power in Egypt as well as across the Middle East. They see this moment as no exception. 
 
U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, in doing the White House bidding, met with a Muslim terrorist connected to the MB and President Morsi, Kheirat Al-Shater, a former Egyptian presidential candidate turned Vice-El-Morshed (vice-spiritual guide of the MB). The Egyptian Arabic press (Al Masry Al Youm, 6/17/13) applauds sarcastically the Ambassador for her support of the MB. Egyptians condemn her for working outside diplomatic protocol, and accuse the Ambassador of co-opting the natural order of events in Egypt for the upcoming “salvation day” (June 30) to achieve an end actively fostered by the American President. For the people, Anne Patterson is an irritant and much worse.  
 
Copts in Egypt, who suffer endlessly at the hands of Islamists and the MB only to watch the Morsi government receive America’s funding, now endure the biggest insult of all from the American Ambassador in her June 17th overture to Coptic Pope Tawadros II. Approaching the Coptic spiritual leader with the intention of diverting Copts from exercising their civil rights (apparently on the pretense of protecting their welfare?) and preventing them from participating on June 30th, Mrs. Patterson in turn received this liberating response by the Pope, “it is the personal freedom of Copts to take part or not in June 30th protests.” 
 
What was her motive if not to hold back a block of protesters and reduce opposition numbers in favor of the MB? Or was it to prompt Christian default of their commitment to Muslim-Christian collaborations and aggravate relations? Either way does not bode well for Mrs. Patterson. Imagine how disconcerting for the Coptic leader to receive the Ambassador’s attention suddenly now when a deaf ear from America to the pleas of Coptic persecution for so long has been the norm.   
 
Dilemma for Egypt’s MB
 
Judging from street reaction, the majority of those who voted for the MB Justice and Freedom Party have withdrawn their support. When a burqa-clad Egyptian beats the windshield of the President’s limousine with her shoe, it can rightly be assumed that many more citizens are represented by this action. A public spectacle of anger and disrespect (Islam’s worst insult) carried out by an Islamic woman who requires her husband’s approval for everything automatically indicates her  household’s position and the opinion of the extended family, which likely means neighborhood sentiment and so forth. 
 
The worried MB monitors their level of popularity fearful that, if and when Morsi falls, their power collapses once and for all. Egyptians planning to topple Morsi understand the desperation of the gang of terrorists surrounding Morsi who with their militia are willing to pull out all the stops to maintain Morsi’s presidency tied to their power. The will of the people is complicating their picture for the moment, and they hope not for long. But no one needs to remind the MB that Mubarak lasted only through day eighteen of protests. 
 
Even though America has shown its hand in favor of Morsi and the MB in general, America is still the wild card in the upcoming scenario and pending confrontation. How deep will America dig in to protect the status quo of the “moderate” Muslims in power? The answer really depends upon the degree to which America is invested in an MB takeover of governments in the Middle East region, Egypt being the most powerful.  
 
What we might see next from the MB -- a possible scenario
 
The Brotherhood’s optimal strike would create terror in the hearts of the willful Egyptian people through an orchestrated killing spree in advance of the scheduled protest on June 30th. With the aid of Al-Qaida and Hamas forces, the MB could potentially lead a bloodthirsty crowd from mosques after Friday prayers on June 28th to commit brutalities -- spreading panic and a fatal blow to protest efforts. 
 
The manipulative MB is expert at engineering events to deflect attention from themselves, the guilty party, onto a target of their choice – a technique suited to inflame Muslim-Christian sectarian strife. They would not hesitate to sacrifice government buildings and business offices in the process and sabotage police headquarters and army locations. At the same time they are capable of making false announcements of Morsi’s resignation and MB arrests to create confusion through deception. 
 
What will it take for protesters to be successful in ridding the country of Morsi
 
First, it is important to see MB individuals for who they really are as well as who they are not. The MB members surrounding Morsi and running Egypt are not statesmen. Far to the contrary, most are men of ill-repute -- fugitives from the law, convicts, and escaped or released prisoners – requiring a round-up and return to jail by law enforcement to complete their sentences. 
 
Ideally, Tamarud leaders and activist protesters need to urge honest members of the state police and trusted army personnel to make arrests of high-ranking MB, known terrorists, along with MB militia members of the same background. Egyptian law enforcement must stand side-by-side with the Egyptian military to defend and protect the political will of the Egyptian people crying out for Morsi to go. 
 
If this fails to bring Morsi to his knees, Freedom-fighters must then begin to stage prolonged street protests, peaceful gatherings in civil disobedience mode throughout Egypt, until, and only until, their goal is accomplished – Morsi steps down and the MB flees the country in a life-saving getaway. Egyptian protesters on the front lines of this confrontation face a fascist regime – parasitic, desperate and militant – but behind them stand all of Egypt ready to receive back their beloved country from the grip of the enemies of democracy, freedom and human rights. 

Egyptian PM warns violent protesters in tense countdown to June 30

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 22 June 2013 06:52
Hisham Qandil warned that no one was above the law.  Egypt state TV
 
Ahead of opposition protests planned for June 30, marking Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi’s first anniversary in power, the country’s prime minister said late Friday he was concerned by mounting calls for violence.
 
Hisham Qandil, speaking in a midnight television program on state TV, warned that no one was above the law, while saying that peaceful protests would be protected.
His comments came after the Muslim Brotherhood staged a rally in Cairo to show its strength behind Mursi.
 
Mursi and the Brotherhood have turned their organizational prowess into electoral success since the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, but a diverse opposition coalition now hopes to force Mursi to resign by demonstrating en masse on the first anniversary of his inauguration on June 30.
 
“What we hear in terms of calls for violence here and there worries me a lot,” Qandil said, as quoted by Reuters news agency. “We are preparing for June 30 in terms of security and by raising awareness among the people so they commit to peaceful demonstrations.
 
“Since the revolution, the only way to deal with peaceful protesters is to protect them.”
 
But Qandil made clear that the Islamists will not give in to the power of the street, insisting on the democratic legitimacy of the administration: “Real change comes through the polling station,” Qandil said.

Mursi threatened to ‘burn Egypt’ if Elbaradei became PM

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 08:42
ElbaradeiLeading Egyptian opposition figure Mohammed Elbaradei said on Tuesday that President Mohammed Mursi had threatened to “burn the country” if he became prime minister.
 
Elbaradei, citing former military leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi as the source of his information, added that the Muslim Brotherhood had “vetoed” the possibility of him ever becoming a prime minister.
 
In 2011, Egypt's then ruling military council was considering naming former International Atomic Energy Agency Chief ElBaradei as Cairo's new prime minister.
 
It is unclear when Mursi had allegedly threatened against ElBaradei's appointment as PM.“It's been a year since Mursi became president, the Muslim Brotherhood has failed on a political, economic and security fronts,” Elbaradie told London-based al-Hayat newspaper.
 
“The time has come for Mursi to realize that his failure will lead to an early presidential election,” he said, adding that he won’t run for the next elections.
 
In the interview, Elbaradei accused the Muslim Brotherhood of hijacking the Jan. 25 revolution, saying "there is intense anger among young people who sparked the revolution because they feel that the revolution has been stolen away from them, and that their dream was stolen as well, it was a dream of the future."
“Young people represent 60 percent of the Egyptian society,” he added.
 
The majority of the Egyptian people revolted for the provision of basic needs, including economic hardships, but intermittent protests have continued ever since over what has been perceived to be a lack of change in the country.

Time to Derail the Saudi “Visa Express”

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 22:32
Saudi-Visa-ExpressPreferential, fast-lane treatment for Saudi visa applicants should be considered on a reciprocal basis, with verifiable Saudi progress in stopping funding for Wahhabi-Salafist mosque construction; Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated imams; anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-West curriculum materials and jihadi fighters everywhere on Sharia battlefields.
 
One of the more striking—and worrisome—aspects of the April 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack and the cross-border al-Qa’eda/Iran plot to bomb a passenger railway that runs between New York City and Toronto, Canada is the realization that all four suspects so far identified in the two plots had entered legally into the United States and Canada, respectively. Crossing legally into Western countries targeted for terror attacks, entering immigrant and refugee streams without drawing attention from security services, and blending into existing multicultural communities while establishing personas indistinguishable from those of tens of thousands of other new arrivals, appears to be a tried and true modus operandi for Islamic jihadis. It definitely worked for the fifteen of nineteen 9/11 hijackers who were Saudis.
 
Given the reality of that threat, brought home yet again to North America with these two latest plots, now is probably not the best time for the current administration to revive the visa program that allowed the Saudi government to help screen visa applicants for fast-track entry into the U.S. And yet, that is exactly what just happened: an agreement between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was reached in January 2013 that would accept Saudi applicants into the Global Entry Trusted Traveler program. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef heads the Saudi Interior Ministry that will screen Saudi applicants when the pilot program begins in 2014. To his credit, bin Nayef has led an internal Saudi crackdown against al-Qa’eda and survived an al-Qa’eda assassination attempt in retaliation. On the other side of the ledger, however, Saudi Arabia is the world’s foremost sponsor of both Islamic jihad and Da’wa [Islamic religious outreach], the source of funding and inspiration for promoters of Islamic Sharia law and anti-Western suicide bombers alike across the globe.
 
As revealed in early stages of the recent plot investigations, none of these latest accused terrorists in the Boston Marathon and passenger train plots sneaked into Canada or the U.S. or paid a coyote to get himself past border controls. Rather, all of them (or their families) worked the legal system, then later (even years later) were activated—or recruited and then activated—to carry out an attack mission. According to The Iconoclast, the Tsarnaev brothers had been admitted to the U.S., along with multiple members of their extended family, under the aegis of the Refugee Act of 1980. Tamerlan, the elder brother, arrived in 2006 and was granted Permanent Resident status, while Dzhokhar, who arrived on a tourist visa in 2002, was given asylum status as a Chechen refugee from Dagestan, and eventually achieved U.S. citizenship on 11 September 2012.
 
In the Canada-U.S. railway bombing plot, Tunisian-born Chiheb Esseghaier moved to Canada in 2008 and was “granted permanent residency under Quebec’s skilled worker program,” according to the Canadian National Post. Accused co-conspirator Raed Jaser, who was born in the United Arab Emirates, arrived in Canada with his parents and two brothers in 1993 on false French passports; although denied a request for asylum based on claims of persecution in Germany, most of the family eventually obtained Canadian citizenship. Jaser might have too, except that he racked up a criminal record while awaiting his final status ruling. However, because Jaser somehow was listed as a “stateless Palestinian” whose father had left the newly-established State of Israel in 1948 (instead of remaining to become an Israeli citizen), there was no place to where Canada could deport him, despite multiple efforts.
 
Every one of the nineteen 9/11 attack hijackers entered the U.S. on a valid passport and visa, too.
 
Janice Kephart served as a former counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information; a former immigration counsel to the September 11 Commission; and current National Security Policy Director at the Center for Immigration Studies. She also served as an expert witness in the Havlish case which, in December 2011, resulted in a Federal District Court ruling that Iran was co-responsible with al-Qa’eda for 9/11; and provided testimony for both the 9/11 Commission and the Havlish case. Kephart has emphasized the critical importance of travel documents for terrorists. In the affidavit she wrote for the Havlish case, Kephart discussed how Iranian material support to some of the al-Qa’eda hijackers, in the form of refraining from placing border stamps in their passports, ultimately enabled them to enter the U.S. with “clean passports” that bore no evidence of their having been in Afghanistan, Iran, or other Middle Eastern locations that would have drawn unwanted scrutiny. Although Kephart did not say so specifically, fifteen of those nineteen passports were Saudi passports—and in at least eight of those cases, Saudi officials at some level would have to have been complicit with the Iranians to arrange a bilateral agreement on the mark in the hijackers’ passports that would be seen and recognized by the Iranian border guards.
 
As Steven Emerson at The Investigative Project on Terrorism points out in an important—and critical—review of the new Saudi fast-track visa program, the book has never really been closed on Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Indeed, there is a 28-page classified section of the official 9/11 Commission Report that points to the “plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks,” according to former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, and which former Florida Senator Bob Graham asserts would put our understanding of the Saudi role in those attacks in a different light.
 
Aside from the probable Saudi passport arrangement with Iran, Saudi individuals and entities were key links in the so-called “Golden Chain” of financial benefactors to Usama bin Laden and al-Qa’eda. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, those resources were “put together mainly by financiers in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states.” A key list of al-Qa’eda funders was discovered in a 2002 search of the Bosnian offices of the Benevolence International Foundation, a Saudi-based funding mechanism for al-Qa’eda also designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department. Saudi donors featured prominently on the handwritten list of 20 names. The so-called “SAAR Network,” named after Saudi billionaire Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi, was among them; it was raided by the FBI in 2002. The Rabita Trust was also a financial front founded in 1988 by Omar Abdullah Nasseef, who was then Secretary General of the SAAR-linked Muslim World League, and another senior Saudi close to the royal family—as well as to Huma Abedin, Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Clinton from 2009-2013.
 
Then there is the Saudi student, Abdul Rahman Ali Al-Harbi, who was named “a person of interest” and detained under guard by U.S. federal officials at a hospital after the Boston Marathon attack. Al-Harbi, whose extended family clan includes multiple members identified by the Saudi government as al-Qa’eda terrorists as well as five GITMO detainees, was (or maybe still is) in the U.S. on a student visa to attend college in Ohio—but was living in the Boston area at the time of the marathon attack. On Tuesday 16 April 2013, the day after the marathon attack, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) created an “event file” on al-Harbi, specifically citing him under a provision (212(a)(3)B) reserved for “proven terrorist activity.” In other words, as Diana West reported, al-Harbi was on a no-fly list—and apparently with good reason. Steve Emerson appeared on the FOX News Hannity show to report that al-Harbi was due to be deported on national security grounds. But then Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal; and by Wednesday, 17 April, al-Harbi’s event file had been altered and all references to there ever having been a terrorist designation for him had disappeared. Al-Harbi has disappeared, too, at least in terms of coverage by the mainstream media.
 
The U.S. system for background checks (Security Advisory Opinion or SAR) prior to granting visas in cases that raise or ought to raise security flags obviously has some holes in it that do not seem to have been patched since 9/11. Instead, one of the things that has changed, and significantly, is the number of Saudi students studying in this country: as of 2000, before 9/11, there were around 5,500 enrolled. Today, in 2013, according to West, there are about 35,000, thanks to a “reckless agreement” between President George W. Bush and the Saudi government in April 2005.
 
Before the U.S. completely turns over security of the chicken coop to the fox, we need to get a solid grip on how many other Saudi students besides al-Harbi may have slipped through the SAAR system. Congressional leaders, who have asked DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano for a briefing on the al-Harbi case, have been stonewalled. The Saudi relationship with al-Qa’eda as well as Iran—whether past, present, or ever—needs both clarification and immediate termination. Preferential fast-lane treatment for Saudi visa applicants should be considered on a reciprocal basis, with verifiable Saudi progress in stopping funding for Wahhabi-Salafist mosque construction; Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated imams; antisemitic, anti-Christian, and anti-West curriculum materials; and jihadi fighters everywhere on Shariah battlefields.
 
ClareLopezClare Lopez: is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on national defense, Islam, Iran, and counterterrorism issues. Currently a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, the Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Fund and vice president of the Intelligence Summit, she formerly was a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee from 2005-2006, and has served as a consultant, intelligence analyst, and researcher for a variety of defense firms. She was named a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute in 2011. Clare is a Voice of the Copts Board member.

We will defend property ‘by all means’: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Friday, 22 March 2013 12:40
Muslim Brotherhoods Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein  ReutersEgypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on Thursday that it would defend its headquarters against protests if necessary, raising the possibility of a confrontation at a demonstration planned in Cairo on Friday.
 
Anti-Brotherhood protesters clashed with riot police wielding tear gas outside the building earlier this week, the latest burst of street unrest in a country still struggling to install law and order since its 2011 revolution.
 
In a tense press conference in which journalists confronted senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders over accusations that private security guards had attacked members of the press, the group said it would use all means to protect its property.Hundreds of supporters of President Mohamed Mursi gathered outside Egypts Supreme Constitutional Court early on Dec. 2 2012. AFP
 
“Anyone who attacks my house, who pollutes the street in front of my property, in front of my gate, then I have the right to stop them,” said the Group’s Secretary General, Mahmoud Hussein.
 
While acknowledging the attacks on journalists, Hussein refused to apologize until an investigation was completed and called for those who attacked the group’s headquarters to also be held to account.
 
“We promise to investigate, and if any violations are found by the guards of the building then we will hold them to account. And we request at the same time that the judicial authorities investigate and hold accountable the party that carried out the attack,” Hussein said.
 
The Brotherhood also announced that it had legalized its status as an NGO in an effort to put to an end to arguments that the group was considered illegal under Egyptian law.
A court is set to rule later this week on the group’s legality and the effort to register as an NGO appears to be an attempt to pre-empt a negative ruling.
 
“We wish to reaffirm that the legal status of the Muslim Brotherhood, as we have confirmed previously, under law - that no legal rulings have been issued to this day declaring the Muslim Brotherhood illegal,” said Hussein.
Egypt’s Social Affairs Minister has reportedly said that the Brotherhood now had legal status as an NGO under Article 51 of the Constitution.

Media labels Arab Spring pro-democracy as Muslim Brotherhood fulfills jihadist vision

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Sunday, 17 March 2013 20:26
An Egyptian protesterIn late December 2010, the Tunisia uprising was sparked by a tragic public suicide-burning of a twenty-something street vender in an act of civil disobedience. Instantaneously, media commentary like wildfire around the world labeled this event “Arab Spring,” branding it the beginning of a struggle for democracy in the region. Correspondents in the tumultuous Middle East barraged the airwaves with the fast impression that this dreadful incident had value in leading to freedom in that part of the planet, and the image of this terrifying catalyst went viral. 
 
The public gripped on to the horrifying image and romantic notion of the throes of youth in revolt projected daily, accepting it without question as the inclusive narrative. 
Desperation in a street of an Arab-Muslim city, by no means novel, was now predicted to be the trigger for a wave of revolutions to come which in reality would have nothing to do with gaining freedom. 
 
Extreme behavior, in this case burning flesh, reflected Tunisia’s saturation of agents working the streets and fomenting rebellion to finally override its movement for change. In shadows surrounding the world’s focus, parallel truths worth telling were never explored. This led the West to wrongly interpret the character of the protests upending dictators. The media unfolded details and shaped them with the bias used to minimize Gaza’s rocket launches into Israel and spotlight Israeli retaliation as insensitive aggression. 
 
Within a few days after the Tunisian set himself ablaze hordes of pro-democracy youths gathered in the streets. The first state to mimic Tunisia was Egypt, thirty-seven days later. Three weeks after that, Mubarak toppled, opening the door to worse conditions for those seeking freedom. The dominos affect was now underway, and in short order revolutionary fervor flared in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Algeria. Most of these countries at the time of the upheavals reveal the Muslim Brotherhood political apparatus was operating on the ground -- recruiting, smuggling arms, increasing personal wealth -- and waiting in the wings for such an opportunity to grab as this. 
 
With eleven million people, Tunisia was geographically a perfect testing ground – a type of pilot program for a Muslim Brotherhood lurking behind naïve Arab-Muslim rebels enraged with dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Al, and his regime. The Brotherhood-backed Renaissance Party in Tunisia fueled the dissent. The Muslim Brotherhood political arm directed the outcome toward themselves as beneficiary of power and became the sole choice for Tunisians in open “democratic” elections. 
 
As the first power-play of an encompassing shift (away from democracy) in the region was now underway here, the Muslim Brotherhood, perhaps merely a tool, prepared to take over a youth movement snowballing by cyberspace communiqués. Soon after, more uprisings sprung up to protest other Middle East dictators. The real story is now evident in Egypt where the controlling Muslim Brotherhood is fully exposed as an enemy of the people (the genuine opposition) and their pursuit of democracy, which they rode to power. 
 
Now Tunisia, since December 18, 2010, and Yemen, since January 27, 2011, have Islamic Shariah-leaning governments -- franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood and a trademark of Brotherhood takeovers. Rule by the Muslim Brotherhood has been made to appear moderate and pro-democracy in relation to the Salafi and Wahabi factions. 
 
Fighting tribes and Brotherhood jihadist factions pushed Libya’s uprising against dictator Gadhafi which hit the news in February 2011, less than one month of the Yemen rebellion. In Libya, success for the Muslim Brotherhood required an intervention by the international community (Sarkozy suddenly sensitized to the poor oppressed Libyans) conducted by NATO to crush Gadhafi. The result was “democratic” elections bringing about the “imposed” will of the Muslim Brotherhood (with rigged elections like Egypt) and the power grab of Brotherhood member, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council. 
 
Timing was important for the Arab Spring jihadist surge orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, assisted, in this case, by NATO aiding the rebellion. Libyan citizens suffered persecution under Gadhafi’s regime for more than forty years before this blueprint of the “Arab Spring” was executed. Bear in mind that wacky Gadhafi -- friend to world leaders such as Berlusconi, Sarkozy and Trump -- had been welcomed by taxpayers in the West with security details for his absurd overnight stays in Italy, France and the US not long before NATO attacked him in March 2011. Gadhafi pitched his personal portable guest quarters (a tent) in the public gardens of Rome, Paris and New York, less than seven months of the West’s unexpected reversal of Gadhafi’s good fortune. 
 
Meanwhile, in mid-March 2011, it was now Syria’s turn with one significant difference. Freedom-loving words and videos of struggles elsewhere did not spur their activity. Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood struck directly against Assad’s military and seeks today to grab control of the state from Bashar Al Assad with no pretense of democracy or freedom movement to ride. Although Assad is backed by Russia, secularists, afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power, passively support Assad getting caught in the cross fires of this battle. The bloodbaths of Syria illustrate this end with Brotherhood-backed forces ravaging villages as Christians flee Syria over the borders into Lebanon.  
 
Now the Muslim Brotherhood, jihadists with intentions frighteningly clear, has solid control of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. Despite negative outcomes for human rights and democratic freedom in Arab Spring countries resulting from the upheavals, the West (US) undercuts the lesser evil with promised help to the anti-Assad fighters, and the Brotherhood may soon gain Syria as well. 
 
This perfect scenario spells regional success for the Muslim Brotherhood which openly scorns the existence of the Jewish state. Now they are at the helm of countries militarily surrounding Israel and strategically critical to “liberate the land of Palestine.” Assuming Assad falls, Lebanon, now dealing with Iran’s Hezbollah, and Jordan could be next. 
 
The Muslim Brotherhood receives economic and military support from states outside the Arab Spring-state conflicts in order to hasten the common goal of Muslim Brotherhood control. Saudi Arabia, center of Sunni ideology and exporter of jihadist terror, often a safe haven for Brotherhood members, functions here as a silent partner. Qatar, along with the Saudis, is the main source of financing for the Muslim Brotherhood. 
 
The Magreb is the exception that illustrates the true motives of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. Outside strategic interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Magreb suffered none of their interference and remains relatively stable today gaining from the unhindered freedom protests. Morocco and Algeria, two states aroused into protests at the onset of the “Arab Spring,” experienced no hijacking of its uprisings and had few Muslim Brotherhood representatives within the Moroccan and Algerian governments. 
 
Moroccan freedom fighters rising up on February 20, 2011 ended with a level of success by June 17 that year, forcing King Mohammed VI to announce a proposal for constitutional reform. The King relinquished a portion of his authority to the office of the Prime Minister and the Parliament. In another major victory, Berber was made the official language along with Arabic. 
 
Near the time of Tunisia’s incident, Algerians demonstrated in the streets over food prices and unemployment which resulted in the death of two protesters and ended by forcing the government to reduce prices of basic foodstuffs. The upheaval continued into May 2012 followed by a Parliamentary election devoid of Brotherhood tampering with an outcome relatively promising for the people. The National Liberation Front (FLN), a mix of secular and moderate Muslim candidates, won the majority of seats (220 out of 463).  Their party ally, the National Democratic Rally, won 68 seats, and finally, the Islamist alliance of parties (with Muslim Brotherhood elements) won the fewest number of seats at 48. 
 
Now there are two options. NATO and the US can intervene in Egypt, as in Libya, but this time for the cause of the legitimate freedom-fighting opposition seeking to establish democracy against the Morsi Brotherhood-backed regime. This would give the people of Egypt real hope for universal human rights and true democracy. On the other hand, the US can intervene in Syria (already promised by Secretary of State John Kerry) to aid the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood overthrow of the President and facilitate Muslim Brotherhood control of the region vital for surrounding Israel. 

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood To Form Civilian police Units With Other Islamist Groups

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 14 March 2013 19:04
EGYPT ISLAMIC POLICEEgyptian media is reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood is cooperating with other Islamist groups in order form to form civilian police units with powers of arrest. According to an Egypt Independent report:
 
Tue, 12/03/2013 Jama’a al-Islamiya and the Muslim Brotherhood announced Tuesday that they are working to form groups known as the civilian police in cooperation with other Islamist groups.     The militias will be able to arrest people they deem to be criminals or breaking laws.    
 
Ahmed al-Iskandarani, a spokesman for the Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party, said the groups would not take action if police were on the streets. However, should police call for further strikes or withdrawals, community police groups would step in under the supervision of the Interior Ministry. ‘This system is applied in other countries,’ he said.   To garner further support for the militias, the organizers have issued an open call online.    
 
The civilian police initiative is due to growing strike action of police across much of the country. Many are also distrustful of the police after reports of torture and excessive force used against protesters.   
 
Yehia al-Sherbini, coordinator of the Muslim Rebels Movement, said his group is willing participate as civilian police to maintain security and protect public and private property. ‘Islamist movements are capable of replacing the police,’ he said. 
 
‘We can arrest outlaws and hand them over to the police or the army.’   ‘We already started organizing committees in the Assiut and Minya,’ he added.   
 
Youth members of the Muslim Brotherhood also demanded on Tuesday that they be allowed retribution after the group’s supreme guide was insulted while dining at a restaurant in Citystars mall on Monday evening.   
 
However, Brotherhood leadership is shrugging off the incident.    ‘It is a trivial incident,’ said Brotherhood member Islam Fares. ‘The prophet himself was insulted and pelted with stones.’   He added that Egyptians are not known for such behavior and called for residents to respect each other.”

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood blasts anticipated U.N. women’s document

Category: Women rights
Created on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 19:05
Egypt since the 2011 uprising under advocates sexual freedoms for women AFPEgypt’s Muslim Brotherhood sharply criticized an anticipated U.N. document on combatting violence against women, saying on Wednesday that it was “deceitful,” clashed with Islamic principles and undermined family values.
 
The text or details of the document have not been published yet, but it may be issued at the end of a meeting of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women this week in New York. Negotiations have been bogged down in debate.
The Brotherhood, which has emerged as the most powerful political faction in Egypt since the 2011 uprising, say the draft under discussion advocates sexual freedoms for women and the right to abortion “under the guise of sexual and reproductive rights.”
 
In its strongly worded statement, the Brotherhood also decried the document’s defense of homosexual rights, which are not recognized in Islam, and the equating between children born in and out of wedlock.
 
It said the title of the document addressing violence is “deceitful.”
 
“It contains articles that clash with Islamic principles and its basics mentioned in the Quran (Islam’s holy book) and in Islamic traditions,” the Brotherhood statement said. “It eliminates Islamic values, and seeks to destroy the family ... which would lead to social disintegration.”
 
The Brotherhood, which won Egypt’s presidency and controls parliament, called on other Muslim nations, women’s groups and Islamic organizations to reject the document. It called it an infringement on the thought, culture and uniqueness of Islamic societies.
 
The Brotherhood urged women’s rights groups not to be “lured by phony calls for civilized behavior and by misleading and destructive processes.”
 
Libya’s supreme religious cleric also raised similar concerns, rejecting the document for violating Islamic teachings.
 
In particular, he rejected equality between men and women in matters of inheritance, which Islamic jurisprudence does not accept, and criticized wording on sexual freedoms and rights of children born out of wedlock.
 
The Commission meeting, which opened on March 4, focused on combatting violence against women. Cabinet ministers and ambassadors as well as representatives of civil society from 193 U.N. member states are attending.
 
The head of the U.N. women’s agency, Michelle Bachelet, said she hoped the meeting would produce a document that becomes a tool to improve the fight against violence against women.
 
She called for more robust action and commitments to ensure the protection of the rights of women and girls to live in dignity, free of violence and discrimination.
 
The debate over the document is still ongoing in New York, particularly over reproductive and sexual health and rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual rights.
 
U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations are private, said Egypt proposed an amendment saying that each country is sovereign and can implement the document in accordance with its own laws and customs, a clause the West strongly opposes.
 
Such a document was unattainable a decade ago when the commission took up the issue, because governments were unable to reach agreement. Differences over sex education, a woman’s right to reproductive health, and demands for an exception for traditional, cultural and religious practices stymied an accord.
 
The Brotherhood’s statement appeared to reflect those persistent differences, saying that religious traditions and values are threatened by such a universal document.
 
Debates on women’s issues in Egypt, and in the Muslim world at large, are traditionally buried in debates over Islamic laws and whether their interpretations are compatible with demands for more personal freedoms.
 
With the rise of Islamic fundamentalist groups to power in the region following the past two years of protests against autocratic rulers, many women rights groups fear a regression in women’s freedoms with a stricter interpretation of Islamic laws.
 
Already, Egypt’s speech at the opening of the commission meeting has set off a storm in the women’s rights community.
 
The speech was delivered on March 4 by Pakinam el-Sharqawi, an aide to President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood. In her speech, el-Sharqawi praised Egypt’s new constitution as protective of women’s rights, to the dismay of members of the delegation who have been sharply critical of the charter.
 
Her speech caused some in the delegation to walk out.
 
Leading women’s rights activist Nehad Abu el-Qumsan called it “shocking.”
 
Opposition activists say Egypt’s new charter has an Islamist slant, undermines women’s rights and denies them equality while ignoring their political rights.
 
Rights groups also worry that the new charter has granted religious authorities the right to review laws to ensure they are in line with Islamic laws, which they say may further undermine their rights.
 
Violence against women has also been on the rise in Egypt, particularly during political protests. Some suspect the attacks are an organized campaign to curb women’s participation in public life after they played an integral role during the protests against former autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.
 
The issue has been a source of contention between the Islamist-led government and opposition activists, who accuse authorities of not doing enough to address the issue.
 
In her speech, el-Sharqawi said violence against women should be combatted based on “balance between the values shared by humanity, and the cultural and social particularities of countries and peoples.”

Muslim Brotherhood took ‘billions’ from Obama

Category: News
Created on Friday, 04 January 2013 13:38
muslim-brotherhood-receives-157-billionEgypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has been accused of taking 10 billion Egyptian pounds (U.S. $1.5 billion) from the American government, according to claims by Egyptian lawyers.
 
An immediate investigation into the accusation was ordered by Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah on Thursday. 
 
The lawyers, Mohamed Ali Abd al-Wahab and Yasser Mohamed Sayab, filed the complaint against the Muslim Brotherhood for the allegedly illegal money transaction, Egypt’s private daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Jan. 3.
 
The complaint noted that Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the recent U.S. presidential election, had said that $1.5 billion was given to support Egypt's Brotherhood by the Obama administration.
 
In addition, the lawyers accused the Muslim Brotherhood of having armed mercenaries or a “third party,” who have instigated violence during and after the revolutionary uprising in the country.
 
The armed mercenaries are trained in the desert, which lies between the city of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh in Egypt, the lawyers alleged.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Intentions Towards Israel

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Sunday, 16 December 2012 20:28
Cairo rioters burn Israeli flagTo the West, the Egyptian government led by the Muslim Brotherhood preaches commitment to the peace treaty with Israel. To Egyptians, the Brotherhood has made no secret of its desire to cancel it and lobbies for a military presence in Sinai.
 
Although the Muslim Brotherhood has not changed its hostile position towards Israel, it has sent mixed messages since rising to power in Egypt.
 
On one hand, the political leaders, such as President Mohamed Morsi, speak of Egypt’s intentions to abide by its international treaties.
 
On the other hand, these leaders emphasize that they will do so only when the treaties serve Egypt’s national interests. They argue that Egypt’s treaty with Israel harms the Egyptian national interest and intend on bringing it to a national referendum, with the ultimate intention of cancelling the treaty.
 
The Brotherhood’s contradictory stance should raise alarms in the West regarding the organization’s true intentions.
 
President Mohamed Morsi’s Rise to the Top
 
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 and is the world’s largest political Islamic organization. Morsi joined the party in the late 1970s when opposition to the peace treaty with Israel was a main topic of discussion within the organization. He quickly became the head of the regional committee dedicated to opposing the “Zionist Project,” and was later appointed chairman of a similar committee on the national level. H
 
e was elected in 2000 to Parliament as an independent representative of the Brotherhood (since under President Hosni Mubarak the Brotherhood was banned), and remained in that role until 2005, when he was promoted to a position in the Brotherhood’s Guidance Office. In 2011 he was chosen as the head of the official Brotherhood political party, the Justice and Freedom Party. Brotherhood candidates ran under this party in the local and national elections held in the wake of the revolution.
 
In the period immediately after Mubarak’s ouster, the Brotherhood declared that it would not enter a candidate in the race. However, nearly two months before the elections the organization changed course. It claimed that its intervention was designed at combating forces that were allegedly trying to disrupt the election process and the democratic nature of the state. Its initial candidate, longtime leader Khairat El-Shater, was released from jail a short time after Mubarak was deposed; however, allegations of embezzling Brotherhood funds derailed his candidacy. Morsi was selected to replace him, won the election, and became Egypt’s new president in June 2012.
 
The Brotherhood’s Policy on Sinai and Israel
 
According to the Brotherhood, Sinai is Egyptian and Islamic territory upon which the country has not yet exercised its full sovereignty. It believes that the region must be“freed” from international agreements and treaties, specifically the peace deal with Israel that declares Sinai a demilitarized zone.
 
Development of Sinai was a major issue on the Brotherhood political platform during the elections, on a much greater scale than the development of other needy areas in Egypt. The Brotherhood demands that the government develop Sinai in all aspects, including building civilian infrastructure, creating industry, and strengthening its internal and military security. The organization recognizes the importance of securing Egypt’s border with Israel and wants to see more troops deployed to the region.
 
In essence, its desire to develop Sinai is only in the context of its conflict with Israel.
 
The Brotherhood defines Israel as an enemy state and does not officially recognize it. “Palestine” is viewed as holy Islamic land, and Hamas, a Brotherhood-affiliated organization, is seen as the spearhead in the battle to liberate the land and Jerusalem. The Brotherhood acknowledges that this battle must be fought gradually and that it must be patient and careful in trying to achieve this goal.
 
In recent months, Brotherhood Supreme Leader Mohammed Badie referred to Israelis as “rapists” and called on Muslims to liberate Jerusalem through jihad. He defined Palestine and Jerusalem as holy Muslim land and said that any means used to liberate those lands are acceptable. He did permit Jews to live as minority citizens in any other country, as long as they do not have their own state.
 
On November 22, 2012, the day after Morsi brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Badie again declared that jihad was “obligatory” for all Muslims and said that Israel “knows nothing but the language of force.”
 
Conclusion
 
In addition to the Brotherhood’s control of the regime, it has influenced the Egyptian street to think that Israel is no longer a stabilizing factor in the region. The Brotherhood has convinced the Egyptian public that a treaty with Israel harms Egyptian national security and threatens internal Egyptian stability. This thought process goes against the spirit of the peace treaty signed between the two nations.
 
The Brotherhood recognizes Israel’s military and technological advantage and doesn’t want to start a war. In its move to take over Egypt, the Brotherhood has acted with near-precision and has until recently made almost no mistakes.
 
Regarding foreign policy and security, however, it has no experience. Therefore the possibility of a security threat emanating from Egypt in the near future cannot be dismissed.
 
America has an interest to financially assist Egypt as an actor that is still considered moderate in the Middle East and is officially registered as a democracy. Perhaps it should look more closely at the Brotherhood’s true intentions before providing future aid.
 
Dr. Liad Porat is a lecturer of Middle East history at Haifa University and a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
 
A BESA Center Perspectives Paper, published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family
 
Dr. Liad Porat
The writer is a lecturer of Middle East history at Haifa University and a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Syria's Muslim Brotherhood Slams US Terror Label on Al-Nusra

Category: News
Created on Friday, 14 December 2012 08:13
Free Syrian Army soldier in military exercise in HomsSyria's Muslim Brotherhood chapter has slammed the United States State Department for adding the Al-Nusra group to its list of outlawed terrorist organizations.
 
An official in the Brotherhood said Tuesday the U.S. had made a “very wrong” decision by designating the Al-Nusra Front rebel group as a terrorist organization.
 
The radical Islamist Syrian opposition group, which allegedly has ties to the international Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, was designated as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
 
The, group which appears to be connected with the Al-Qaeda branch in Iraq, has claimed responsibility for numerous suicide and other bombings in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs.
 
Al-Nusra is a leading member of a group of 13 radical Islamic groups that issued a statement posted on a jihadist website declaring Aleppo to be a new, independent Islamic state in Syria.
 
The group is also referred to as Jabhat al-Nusra, and as Ansar al-Jebhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham (“Supporters of the Front for Victory of the People of Syria.”) Al-Nusra has referred to the United States and Israel as the “enemies of Islam” and has attacked the religious beliefs of non-Sunni Muslims in Syria, including Alawites.

Qatar to inject $254 million into Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 19:53
Palestinians collect concrete metal that were smuggled through tunnels beneath the Egyptian-Gaza border in RafahQatar on Tuesday launched a $254 million plan to rebuild and modernize Gaza, the biggest injection of reconstruction aid for the Palestinian enclave since it was devastated in an Israeli military offensive nearly four years ago.
 
Projects announced at a news conference by Qatari ambassador Mohammed al-Amadi will require the cooperation of Israel and Egypt to admit building materials and heavy machinery to Gaza, which is under a partial blockade.
 
Amadi said this had been arranged. Work would begin on site within three months, starting with a highway that will run the length of the Mediterranean coastal strip.
 
The projects are of sufficient scale to transform Gaza and the lives of its 1.6 million people, 28 percent of whom are unemployed.
 
Economists said thousands of jobs would be created by local contractors who have won tenders to do the work and smaller businesses that will supply and service them.
 
The Islamist Hamas movement which rules Gaza welcomed the announcement as proof that Gaza had emerged from isolation. 
 
An aide to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called it “the first drop of rain.”
 
Hamas is shunned by the West as a terrorist organization because it is pledged to destroy Israel. But its position is shifting: ties to Shi'ite Muslim Iran have loosened over the past year and it has grown closer to the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood which now governs Egypt and the conservative Arab Gulf state of Qatar.
 
Qatar’s envoy said politics played no role in the emirate’s aid decision, but acknowledged that the government of Gaza would ultimately benefit, in addition to the people. 
 
“The policy of the state of Qatar is that we make the projects, we design them, we finance them, and once they are finished we hand them over to the relevant ministry,” he said. 
 
“This is the policy of Qatar everywhere we act and Gaza is no exception,” he added.
 
GAZA GRATEFUL
 
 
“Thanks Qatar. You have fulfilled the promise,” read a large billboard in Gaza city.
“Injecting such an amount of money in development and infrastructure projects would certainly get the economic wheels moving and bring down unemployment,” said Gaza economist Maher Al-Tabba.
 
Parts of Gaza were left in ruins in January 2009 after Israel’s three-week military offensive to stop Hamas and other Gaza militant groups firing rockets and mortars at southern Israeli communities.
 
More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed and 13 Israelis died in the conflict. Roads, homes, offices and factories were destroyed and subsequent reconstruction was choked by tight Israeli controls on any material that might have a military use.
 
Gazans started rebuilding from the rubble itself and smuggling cement from Egypt via tunnels until Israel partially eased restrictions in mid-2010, allowing Gaza's economy to revive from rock bottom.
 
The Qatar project will renew three main roads, establish a new town, build a hospital and residential buildings and overhaul the infrastructure.
 
“Because of the political situation it wasn't possible until now,” Amadi told Reuters, “these projects are not for Hamas, they are for the people of Gaza.”
 
Asked if Qatar was confident that what it helps to build over the next three years would not be smashed in a future war, the ambassador answered that “human life is more precious than bricks and steel.”
 
“I don't think these are targets Israel would hit in the future. This is what we are hoping.”

Muslim Brotherhood Lacks The Patience Of Turkish AKP Party

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 14 October 2012 23:24
mo-bro-leaderEgypt and Turkey are united on the Syrian issue, Egypt has pushed back against the Turkish AKP that wanted to teach the Egyptians how to establish a successful and enduring Muslim regime. These offers have been rebuffed because Arabs refuse to be tutored by Turks.
 
What characterized the rule of the Turkish Justice and Development party (AKP ) was its gradualist approach to consolidating power. During its first term, the party tried to project an aura of moderation. This helped mislead President George W. Bush and his successor Barack Obama, who salivated over the prospects of a moderate Islamic government whose example could be propagated through the entire Muslim world. Once it had gotten two terms under its belt, the AKP began showing the Army and the judiciary who was the boss and instituting a more Islamist policy.
 
The clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square between the Muslim Brotherhood supporters and liberal Egyptians are an example that the Turkish model has not been embraced.
 
Muslim demonstrators simply destroyed a stage that had been set up for the liberal elements and pelted them with stones. 120 were wounded. Realizing how bad the reports were for its image, the Muslim Brotherhood quickly distanced itself from the thugs who had attacked the liberals - but the damage was done.
 
The call for a jihad against Israel to liberate Jerusalem, issued by the supreme Muslim Brotherhood Guide Mohammed Badie, and laced with gutter anti-Semitism, was also politically premature.
 
Egypt's behavior will not help to endow the country with a business-friendly image and some US congressmen, even before the events of this weekend, were calling for cuts in aid to Egypt.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood will be expected to demonstrate economic success and Egypt's president Mohammed Morsi is trying to roll out the red carpet for investors, but he has to keep his own followers from providing a distraction. One of the keys to the AKP's political success, it should be recalled, in Turkey was the country's stellar economic growth rate.
 
In fairness to the Muslim Brotherhood, it developed in a climate of political dictatorship, while postwar Turkey was characterized by more competitive politics. This allowed AKP politicians to hone political skills and sensitivities that the Muslim Brotherhood  lacks.

Egypt opens closed-door training camp in Alexandria for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 29 September 2012 14:04
terrorist-training-campThe following article appeared in the Al Wafd newspaper in Egypt on Thursday. September 27, 2012:
Closed-door training camp for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood 
 
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders initiated a closed-door training camp in Alexandria, Egypt. The training will take place in Abu Keer, east of Alexandria; the workshop is entitled Senaah El Regal 5 [Industrialization of Men, 5]. 
 
Along with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood there are 180 members of Hamas arriving from Gaza.
This facility was created by Mubarak’s National Party for use in training its members. The facility cost Egyptian taxpayers many millions of Egyptian pounds. The initiative was prepared and organized through Al-alabdaa Industry Research Studies and Training of Gaza.
 
The training program takes seven days to complete and it includes ongoing intensive training for youth. The training is led by the participation of a group of experts and international trainers in the areas of human development. 
 
The training is free with all expenses paid by the Egyptian taxpayers. 

Egypt: August 24-25 Uprising against Muslim Brotherhood: Will this be the start Civil War?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Thursday, 23 August 2012 18:52
Egyptian ProtestorsEgyptian revolutionaries of the youth uprising of January 2011 who succeeded in ousting Hosni Mubarak are once again organizing through social media and traditional media outlets (where allowed) to protest against the Morsi presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood. This time with the benefit of political leaders and a coalition of pro-democratic parties they plan peaceful protest rallies for Friday and Saturday (August 24th and 25th) throughout the country. The initiative is being led by Mohammed Abu Hamed, the secretary and founder of a party yet unlicensed called Egyptian Life (Hyat Al-Masreen). He is a former member of the Egyptian Parliament. 
 
After more than a year and a half of living with degraded conditions and chaos under SCAF (Mubarak’s military) leadership actively scheming behind the scenes with the Muslim Brotherhood to wrest power, Egyptians now have even much more reason to distrust the new government headed by President Morsi. Just 50 days into the new presidency, President Morsi not only appears hopeless to deliver on any of his promises to improve the lives of Egyptians but is making matters worse. 
 
Many of the poor in need of basic provisions, like jobs and food for their families, came out to the poles to vote for Morsi. Although he promised relief, Morsi instead is seen preoccupied with matters outside the country -- reconnecting with leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Africa, meeting with the Saudi Arabian king, welcoming a visit from Gazan terrorist leader, Haneyah, receiving the Qatar Prince and accepting Mrs. Clinton’s congratulatory support from America. Soon he will travel to Tehran. All the while mountains of garbage reek in the streets and lawlessness prevails within a crippling infrastructure. 
 
With shortages of gasoline, drinking water, and electricity rationing, the people are fed up.  Mr. Morsi and the Freedom and Justice Party rose to power declaring to Egyptians that domestic issues were their first priority, but the people aren’t waiting any longer. Seeing Mr. Morsi clamp down on the press, the military, and the ordinary people in the street, it is foolish to waste time. Appalled at the rumor of Sharia tourism, the 13 million Egyptians who benefit from this industry, both Muslim and non-Muslim, are disgusted by talk of restrictions -- such as, no alcohol, no bikinis, and separate beaches for men and women. 
 
On top of their everyday woes, Egyptians must now worry about the government’s deteriorating relationship with the State of Israel. Running for election, Mr. Morsi confirmed his respect for all international treaties, yet now Egyptians watch their president move the military illegally into Sinai and break a signed international agreement. What is the ultimate plan of the man who was released from prison (having been deemed a dangerous person by Mubarak) shortly before he was chosen by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party known as the Freedom and Justice Party? Just refer to the Muslim Brotherhood 1928 motto for the answer. 
 
Determining that the Freedom and Justice Party and its deception is synonymous with the Muslim Brotherhood, protest leader, Hamed, announced their intentions to carry out peaceful street protests with the following statement in the Egyptian press at the beginning of August, “It’s the people’s revolution against Muslim Brotherhood, and its goal is to correct mistakes that occurred during the January uprising of last year. The demands of this new uprising are that President Morsi step down, the Muslim Brotherhood group be dismantled and their funds confiscated.”  
 
Likewise, the president of the Egyptian Socialist Alliance Party, Abed el Ghafar, who agrees with the pro-democracy groups’ right to protest but will not participate in order to give President Morsi more time to prove himself, condemned the ills of the current situation. He explained in a statement in the Egyptian press around the same time as Hamed’s announcement that “the issues are serious and should not be taken lightly.” He added that “less than 50 percent of Egyptians voters voted for Muslim Brotherhood.” 
 
Furthermore, Ghafar said, “the disappointment of those who voted Muslim Brotherhood after successive negative events that have taken place after the presidential election like water and electricity cuts, unsafe conditions, or what occurred in Dashour [Muslims attacked Christians], and at the Egypt-Israel border; all that creates waves of anger on the streets” (Bracketed information added). 
 
What is the Muslim Brotherhood reaction to the announcement of the coming protest? It comes as no surprise that those who hold the ridiculous notion of blanketing over the pyramids and the sphinx (and all other ancient archeological sites regarded as pagan) and view President Morsi as the new Caliph are also screaming blasphemy at protestors intent on gathering in the streets to speak out against him. 
 
Accordingly, Al Watan newspaper reported on August 3 that a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman indicated the Muslim Brotherhood “has already a plan to abort the protests of August 24th and 25th.” Determined to quash the uprising by every possible means, the Muslim Brotherhood is fabricating falsehoods in order to jinn up opposition against protesters. The same Muslim Brotherhood source indicated just that to the Al-Watan reporter in a further comment saying, “there are intentions from those who plan to protest to generate violence and try to destroy buildings, overall to burn Muslim Brotherhood offices.”   
 
The Muslim Brotherhood is taking a two-pronged approach to combat the problem of the upcoming protest -- on the one hand, curbing any aggression among the protesters, while on the other hand, inciting violence in the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood. In order to quell the passions of the people and suppress the uprising before it takes place, henchmen taking direction from Muslim Brotherhood headquarters are in neighborhoods handing out Ramadan holiday presents to citizens and urging self-control in the upcoming days. 
 
As reported to Al-Watan in the same article cited above, the Muslim Brotherhood instructed their officers to persuade the people into “self-control,” to “take advantage of the Ramadan holiday to get closer to the people,” to “convince them to not participate in this protest,” and finally to “deal with this invitation against the original revolution in order to avoid any escalation of violence.” This last point, denouncing violence, pertains only to protesters and is a critical part of their strategy to crush this rebellion.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood very cleverly goes on to publicly label protesters criminals in order to spur hostility and violence among their own members and sympathizers. Their spokesman is quoted in the same Al-Watan article as saying, “We invite everyone to stand against this new criminal faction and stand around the original uprising, the president, and his government in order to achieve our plan of correction and development.” Simultaneously, an Imam has conveniently generated a fatwa stating that all Muslim Brotherhood members are to kill protesters. Paradise will be the reward for those who die in this act of jihad defending President Morsi and his key people. The Muslim Brotherhood is calling for blood in order to retain rule of Egypt – a goal they sought patiently to achieve for many years.   
 
This frightening scenario is especially dangerous for Egypt’s approximately 18 million Christian Copts who are at the bottom of an Egyptian society in crisis which is devoted, now more than ever, to radicalizing a religious-supremacist agenda. It is likely that significant numbers of Copts will join other freedom fighters in the weekend rallies as vital and integral voices to this protest. However, this time it will be to take back what is rightfully theirs from those who annexed their “original uprising” against Egypt’s authoritative regime over 18 months ago. As a result of this unfortunate turn of events, the whole of Egypt is now subject to the tyranny of a powerful minority faction and its leader, President Morsi.

Rep. Bachmann Blasted for Mentioning Muslim Brotherhood Ties

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Friday, 20 July 2012 14:23
Rep. BachmannRep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is being lambasted for pointing out that Huma Abedin, a top aide of Sec. of State Clinton, has familial ties to the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement.
 
Even members of her own party are attacking her for her statement about Abedin. The Republican onslaught against Bachmann began with Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ.) statement on the Senate floor Wednesday, saying she had made “sinister accusations.”
 
The background of this contraversy is as follows.
 
On June 12, 2012, Congressional Representatives Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Trent Franks, Lynn Westmoreland, and Tom Rooney sent letters to the Inspectors General (IGs) at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State and the Office of the Director of National Security (ODNI) seeking information about the influence exerted by the Muslim Brotherhood, a hostile foreign power, inside the U.S. government and especially the Intelligence Community.
 
As Diana West noted in her 19 July column, there is ample cause for alarm, because, over the last couple of decades, the most senior levels of this country’s national security leadership increasingly have turned for advice to members of an organization openly dedicated to “destroying Western civilization from within” in order that “God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
 
Furthermore, the Supreme Guide of that organization, Mohamed Badi’, declared war on the United States in September 2010.
 
That was about five months before the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular organization” that had “eschewed violence.” It was about nine months before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conferred diplomatic recognition on it. And it was about 18 mos. before Mohammed Morsi claimed the Egyptian presidency in June 2012, with substantial support both visible and behind the scenes from the Obama administration. During the campaign, Morsi, who is a veteran Brother, led massive crowds in chants vowing to take Jerusalem away from the Jews by jihad and suicide bombing. It’s on You Tube. So is the mid-July 2012 film showing Secretary of State Clinton’s motorcade in Cairo being taunted with chants of “Monica, Monica” as demonstrators threw shoes and tomatoes at her entourage.
 
Rep. Bachmann knows why the Egyptian people feel betrayed by Clinton and the Obama administration: it’s because they’ve put the power of the U.S. government behind the Muslim Brotherhood, the self-proclaimed enemy of America, Egypt, and genuine democracy everywhere. Rep. Bachmann also knows how the erstwhile leader of the free world got to the point where oppressed people like the democratic, liberal, and secular voices in Egypt no longer see America as their champion but rather as the ally of Islamic tyranny.
 
Bachmann and her four congressional colleagues understand that U.S. foreign policy that presently supports the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood with its commitment to Islamic law (shariah) did not abandon defense of equality, protection of minorities, and the rights of every individual to freedom of belief and speech overnight. They know it was a process of “civilization jihad,” as defined so carefully by the Brotherhood in the 1991 “Explanatory Memorandum on the Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America” which was presented as evidence by the Justice Department in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial. They also know because they’ve studied the 10-part online course about the Muslim Brotherhood created by Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy. And as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Rep. Bachmann also understands how the Brotherhood’s sophisticated, hostile influence operations have infiltrated every agency and department of America’s national security infrastructure.
 
When the U.S. Intelligence Community Director gets sent to Capitol Hill with notes that say the Muslim Brotherhood is “secular” (and then actually reads them) and the Secretary of State seems oblivious to the fact that the leader of the organization to which she’s just granted diplomatic recognition literally declared war on the U.S., there is something more drastically wrong in Washington, D.C. than mere political correctness. “Influence operations” are the deliberately targeted activities of intelligence organizations intended to affect the perceptions and behavior of leaders, groups, and populations. The key to changing an enemy’s strategy, operations, and tactics is getting inside his decision-making loop. This the Muslim Brotherhood has succeeded in doing in a massive way.
 
The operations began decades ago but shifted into high gear after 9/11, when counterterrorism “experts” realized they had no idea how we’d been taken by such surprise nor why. Unfortunately, when officials sought advice about al-Qa’eda and its jihadist motivations, those best prepared to take advantage of the ignorance and panic were the intelligence operatives of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Their myriad groups were already in place, having penetrated deep into America’s academic, government, media, military, national security, and social fabric over the course of decades. The first thing they did together with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was gain control of counterterrorism language. Not later than 2004, an organization called “True Speak,” whose advisors included the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Yousef al-Qaradawi (the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader) began promoting a lexicon to the Intelligence Community that avoided words like “jihad” – even though the 9/11 Commission Report that same year used “jihad” more than 100 times and “Islam” over 300 times.
 
Over the next few years, every major U.S. national security and counterterrorism document was purged of any inference that the incubator of Islamic terrorism is Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture. By 2012, U.S. government training courses about Islam had removed instructors and material that accurately identified the Islamic jihadist enemy or connected that enemy with the actual source of his inspiration: shariah Islam. Officially stripped of their ability to know and name the jihadist enemy, national security officials increasingly fell under the spreading influence of Muslim Brotherhood front groups and their message that “Islam means peace,” the Brotherhood is “moderate,” and the only enemy is al-Qa’eda with its kinetic terrorism.
 
Official contacts with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood began as early as 2007 in Cairo. By the time Barack Obama was running for president in 2008 on a platform that included “outreach” to the Muslim world, America’s national defenses against the stealth jihad were crumbling. Obama staffers were talking to HAMAS even before the election, and affiliates of HAMAS’s parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, were soon appointed to key advisory positions, working closely with the National Security Council (NSC), and even ensconced in the White House.In January 2009, a young Muslim intern named Huma Abedin was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton, the new Secretary of State. Somehow the usual security clearance regulations pertaining to clearing someone with immediate family members living abroad who are involved in activities such as attempting to influence or overthrow the government of the U.S. must have been overlooked for Ms. Abedin, because as Rep. Bachmann appropriately noted in her letter to the State Department, she has/had at least three immediate family members (her late father, mother, and brother) “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.”
 
As detailed in this letter, important U.S. domestic and foreign policy decisions supported by Secretary Clinton over the last 3 years have proven enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood, both domestically and abroad. Not least of these have been the involvement of the Clinton State Department in the OIC’s Istanbul Process, whose stated objective is to criminalize the criticism of Islam, and the wholesale U.S. backing for the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power across North Africa and the Middle East. Such developments are deeply inimical to the national security interests of the U.S. and our allies (especially Israel) and it is not only appropriate, but incumbent upon Congressional oversight committees, to question the potential for undue influence from individuals and groups intent on “destroying Western civilization from within.”
 
The folly of not taking our enemies at their word has already claimed too many victims, as the FBI report describing how the FBI failed to stop Maj. Nidal Hassan before the Ft. Hood jihad massacre out of political correctness demonstrates. Reps. Bachmann, Gohmert, Franks, Westmoreland, and Rooney deserve our admiration and support for their courageous leadership in the fight against the Muslim Brotherhood.
ClareLopezClare M. Lopez a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund, writes regularly for RadicalIslam.org, and is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, and counterterrorism issues.
 
Clare lopez is Voice of the Copts' board member.
 

Egyptian army chief says will not let ‘one group’ dominate the country

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 15 July 2012 20:15
Mohammed Hussein Tantawi mets with U.S. Secretary of StateEgypt’s army chief said on Sunday the military will not let “one group” dominate the country, intensifying a standoff with the Muslim Brotherhood from which the new president has emerged.
 
“Egypt will not fall. It is for all Egyptians and not just one group... The armed forces will not allow it,” Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said in statements carried by the official MENA news agency, in apparent reference to the Brotherhood.
 
Tantawi -- Egypt’s interim ruler after Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising -- made the comments hours after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during which she urged the military to support a transition to civilian rule.
Egypt is in the midst of a complex power struggle that is being played out between the newly-elected Islamist president, Mohammed Mursi, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headed by Tantawi.
 
Last week, Mursi ordered parliament to convene, defying a military decision to disband the house after the country’s top court ruled it invalid.
 
Mursi’s decree was applauded by supporters who believed the court’s decision to disband parliament was political, but it set off a storm of criticism from opponents who accused him of overstepping his authority.
 
The origins of the battle for parliament lay in the constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF before the president was sworn in.
 
The declaration, which acts as a temporary constitution, granted the military sweeping powers, including legislative control, and rendered the presidential post little more than symbolic.
 
Mursi’s decision was seen as an opening shot in a power struggle between Egypt’s first civilian leader and the Mubarak-appointed generals who wanted to retain broad powers even after they transferred control on June 30.
 
But on Wednesday, Mursi said he would respect a court ruling overturning his decree, in an apparent bid to mollify an infuriated judiciary and the powerful military.
 
During her visit, Clinton called for the military to help smooth the country’s full transition to democracy.
 
Clinton has repeatedly called on the military to respect the outcome of the elections and told a news conference her talks with Tantawi would focus on “working to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.”
 
After meeting Clinton, Tantawi said the army would keep a role in “protecting” Egypt but said it respected the presidency.
 
“The armed forces and the army council respects legislative and executive authorities,” he said in a speech to troops in the city of Ismailia. “The armed forces would not allow anyone to discourage it from its role in protecting Egypt and its people.”
 
Ties between Cairo and Washington were strained this year when Egyptian judicial police raided the offices of several U.S.-backed non-governmental organizations on suspicion of illegal foreign funding and put several Americans on trial as a result.
 
The rare spat ended when Egyptian authorities allowed the U.S. citizens and other foreign workers to leave the country.
 
Making her first visit to Egypt since Mursi’s inauguration, Clinton appeared to recognize there were limits to what, if anything, Washington can do to influence events in Cairo and stressed that it was up to Egyptians to chart their future.

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi:"Allah Imposed Hitler upon the Jews to Punish Them" "Next Time...[by] the Believers"

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 24 June 2012 08:26

Yousuf Al-QaradhawiSheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, official "Spiritual Leader" of the Muslim Brotherhood, prominent Islamic scholar: "Allah imposed Hitler upon the Jews to Punish them. ...Allah willing, next time it will be at the hands of the Believers. ..."

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Egypt won’t see ‘Algerian’ war

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 21 June 2012 08:20
Former speaker of the parliament Saad al-Katatni12-09-11Egypt’s generals have set political rules that could keep the army in power for years, one of their senior Islamist opponents warned on Wednesday, but the Muslim Brotherhood will not fight back in the way that plunged Algeria into bloody civil war.
 
Saad al-Katatni, speaker of the short-lived democratic parliament dissolved by the ruling military council last week, told Reuters that the opponents of army rule in Egypt had no weapons and only “legal and popular” means at their disposal.
 
“What happened in Algeria cannot be repeated in Egypt,” said Katatni, rejecting comparisons with the conflict that erupted 20 years ago when a military-backed government blocked another Islamist group’s ascent to power through the ballot box. Some 150,000 or more Algerians were killed during the 1990s.
 
“The Egyptian people are different and not armed,” Katatni, a 61-year-old microbiologist, said in his first interview since the Islamist-dominated legislature was dissolved after a court ruled procedures in its election were unconstitutional.
 
“We are fighting a legal struggle via the establishment and a popular struggle in the streets,” he said. “This is the ceiling. I see the continuation of the struggle in this way.”
 
He demanded the army recognize democracy but also offered conciliatory words: “Everyone must submit to popular will,” said Katatni, who was elected by fellow lawmakers in January to preside over Egypt’s first freely elected parliament in decades.
 
The army deserved thanks for removing Mubarak and preventing wider bloodshed, he said in an interview at a party office ─ like other members, he is barred from the parliament building.
 
The latest twists in Egypt’s messy transition from Hosni Mubarak’s rule has plunged the country into a new bout of political instability just as Egyptians had hoped the election of a new president would mark the start of a new era.
 
Instead, the generals and the Brotherhood appear at opposite ends of a power struggle defined in ever more dramatic terms. Yet the prospect of violence seems, for now, a remote one.
 
Veteran Islamists have long held that Egypt’s own brush with militancy in the 1980s and 1990s ─ violence led by hardline, armed Salafi groups, not the Brotherhood ─ has undermined the idea that much can be achieved in Egypt through violence.
 
It was decades ago that the Brotherhood eschewed violence in pursuit of its goals, though offshoots of a movement founded in Egypt in 1928 still deploy violence ─ notably Palestinian Hamas against Israel ─ while the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria is part of an opposition there that has taken up arms in the past year.
 
Egypt’s parliament was declared unconstitutional on Thursday by a court ruling that was swiftly followed by the military council decree ordering its dissolution ─ the first of a series of measures that have redrawn Egypt’s transition from army rule, undermined the Brotherhood and entrenched the generals’ power.
 
The decree issued on Sunday restored legislative power to the military, set new rules for the writing of a new constitution and curbed the powers of the presidency, which the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi claims to have won. Results have yet to be announced amid mutual accusations of vote-rigging.
 
“It indicates the desire of the military council to continue in power and not to hand it over. In an indirect way, they will not hand over on June 30, and are continuing, and it’s open-ended this time,” Katatni said, referring to the date the generals had set for handing control to nominal civilian rule.
 
There was absolutely no doubt, said Katatni, that the Brotherhood’s Mursi had won the presidential election held on Saturday and Sunday by defeating ex-air force commander Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister.
 
He dismissed Shafiq’s claims of victory, arguing that it was mathematically impossible that he could have won on the basis of official logs of the vote count, copies of which his office presented to Reuters in a hefty, bound volume.
 
“The Supreme Election Committee’s papers are the same as ours,” said Katatni, dressed in a suit and tie as he spoke at the headquarters of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in central Cairo. He dismissed questions about the consequences of a Shafiq victory as “a hypothesis that does not exist”.
 
Constitutional vacuum
Were Mursi to become head of state, a prospect army sources have said is likely, the new curbs on the presidential powers raise questions over whether the position may be more of a curse than a blessing to the Brotherhood, making the group answerable for Egypt’s problems but without the power to resolve them.
 
The new decree also complicates the drafting of a new constitution, a process which is supposed to be seen through by a body of politicians, lawyers and other society figures picked by parliament and which sat for the first time this week.
 
The new decree gives a range of top public figures, including the head of the military council, the right to veto articles of the constitution ─ something Katatni said could lead to protracted legal battles in the constitutional court.
 
This could “lead us into a vacuum and the constitution could take years, giving a justification to the military council to stay in power for years”, he said. “This is unacceptable.”
 
A Brotherhood veteran, Katatni served as a member of parliament from 2005 to 2010, winning his seat against the odds in elections that were rigged to favor Mubarak’s ruling party. Born in Sohag in southern Egypt, he joined the group in 1979.
 
Interpreting the reason behind the generals’ latest moves, Katatni said their concern appeared to be ensuring the new constitution was completed by the time they step aside, thereby guaranteeing the interests of a military at the heart of power in Egypt since army officers overthrew the king in 1952.
 
Katatni offered a conciliatory reading of their actions, saying the generals, worried about the prospect of change, wanted to make sure the military establishment would not be badly damaged in a state run by civilians.
 
He said the military council did not have the right to dissolve parliament the way it had, even though he said the Brotherhood respected the court ruling that had declared the election laws unconstitutional, and with them the vote itself.
 
The speed with which the military council had dissolved the chamber hinted at its political motives, he added.
 
“It’s un-Egyptian,” he joked, comparing the speed of the move with the usual pace of the local bureaucracy. “The ruling contains plenty of politics and little law,” he said.
 
He also faulted the military order for failing to set a date for a new parliamentary election, leaving the country with neither a parliament nor the prospect of having one soon.
 
Despite the problems Egypt now faces, Katatni said he was optimistic about the future. He repeated statements of gratitude often heard from Brotherhood leaders for the role played by the military since it removed Mubarak from power on Feb. 11, 2011.
 
“We don’t want them to bear more than they are capable of: to carry the responsibility for executive and legislative powers. They played a very great role in protecting the revolution and managing the interim period,” Katatni said.

Muslim Brotherhood made critical mistakes

Category: Reports
Created on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 06:13
Muslim Brotherhood 00The Muslim Brotherhood has committed several grave mistakes since the regime was toppled in 2011, said professor of law Hossam Eissa.
 
“When the referendum on the constitutional amendments was drawing near, they disappeared from the scene and switched off their cell phones,” he told Al Arabiya’s Presidential Candidate. “They started holding meetings with the military council and struck their own deals.”
 
Eissa added that the Brotherhood signed all the documents stipulating that Egypt should become a civilian state, then took that back later.
 
“When the time came to choose members of the Constituent Assembly in charge of drafting the new constitution, they wanted Islamists to prevail in a very suspicious way.” 
 
What caused concern, he explained, was that the Brotherhood wanted to be in control of the transitional period and to exclude other political forces.
“This was not possible especially with the poor performance of Brotherhood MPs in the parliament.”
 
Eissa pointed out that the Brotherhood committed another mistake when they decided to stage a massive demonstration in protest of the Supreme Constitutional Court’s ruling to dissolve the parliament.
 
“This is absolutely wrong. We need to abide by court rulings.”
 
For former Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Mohamed Habib, the group’s gravest mistake was fielding a presidential candidate despite earlier statements.Mohammed Mursi
 
“This was a fatal mistake because it cost the Brotherhood their credibility and adversely affected their popularity,” he told Al Arabiya’s Presidential Candidate.
The only way for the Muslim Brotherhood to redress its mistakes, Habib explained, is to issue an apology.
 
“They have to apologize to the revolutionaries for their actions starting February 2011 to the time they fielded a presidential candidate. This is the only way they can gain political maturity.”
 
Habib said he hoped that after the revolution the Brotherhood would be able to unite all national powers, but they failed to do so.
 
“I guess they are starting to realize how wrong they were after seeing their popular support clearly receding.”
 
According to professor of political science Hazem Hosni, lack of trust in the Muslim Brotherhood is not only confined to the Egyptian people, but also extends to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
 
“SCAF and the Muslim Brotherhood were in agreement in the beginning, but things changed when the Brotherhood got a parliamentary majority and started using a condescending tone with SCAF,” he told Al Arabiya’s Presidential Candidate.
 
Regarding the controversial supplementary constitutional declaration, Hosni said that unlike what many think it did not curb the power of the president, but just defined them.
 
“Before the military council hands power to at the end of June, it was important to have another document that determines the distribution of authority.”
 
Professor of constitutional law Ramadan Bateekh seconded Hosni’s opinion and said that dissolving the parliament made the supplementary constitutional declaration even more crucial.
 
“After the parliament was dissolved, a legislative vacuum was created and it was important to mention that the military council will temporarily have the powers of the parliament,” he told Al Arabiya’s Presidential Candidate.
 
Bateekh added that while the military council will give its legislative powers after a new parliament is elected, it will retain other powers in the new constitution.
 
“The military council will still have the final say in some matters like the declaration of war and which the president cannot do without the consent of the council.”
 
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Egypt’s chapter of Arab Spring ends not as scripted

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 07:35
Mohammed MursiThe Egyptian chapter of the “Arab Spring” ended not as it was scripted by the revolutionaries of Tahrir Square.
 
They deposed a military dictator, secured the first free presidential race in their history, and then may have lost it to a die-hard Islamist president. Not only this. The generals who had stood behind Hosni Mubarak remain firmly entrenched.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood claimed its candidate Mohamed Morsy, 60, won the election against military rival Ahmed Shafiq, 60, but a sweeping legal maneuver by Cairo’s military rulers made clear the generals planned to keep control for now -- even if Shafiq’s refusal to concede defeat turns out to be justified.
 
“This is more an episode in an ongoing power struggle than a real election,” Anthony Cordesman, a veteran former U.S. intelligence official and now the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters.
 
“It is unclear who will rule, who the real leaders will be, and who - if anyone - represents the people. What is clear is that Egypt is no closer to stability and a predictable path to the future than before.”
 
In reality, the new president will be subordinate for some time at least to the 20-man military council which last year pushed fellow officer Mubarak aside to appease street protests.
 
In the latest twist on Egypt’s far from complete path to democracy, the generals issued a decree on Sunday as voting ended which clipped the wings of the president by setting strict limits on his powers and reclaiming the lawmaking prerogatives held by the assembly it dissolved last week.
 
“This is their insurance policy against a Muslim Brotherhood victory. It shows the extent to which they (the generals) are willing to go to maintain their interest and their stranglehold on power,” said Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Doha Center.
 
Brotherhood restraint
 
 
The power struggle, analysts say, will almost certainly escalate between the two Leviathan powers after the army, which controls swathes of Egypt’s economy, indicated that it had no intention of handing power to its old enemy the Brotherhood.
 
“This is the culmination of decades of rivalry between the army and Islamists,” Shaikh said. “This could really explode.”
“If we see any more aggressive approach then we will be talking about something similar to Algeria,” he said, referring to Algeria in 1992 when the army dissolved parliament after Islamists won a vote and 20 years of conflict followed.
 
Adding to the legal quagmire, a ruling in a case challenging the legality of the Brotherhood, which under Mubarak was banned, could be issued on Tuesday.
 
The rulings further consolidated powers in the army’s hands, after the justice ministry gave the generals and intelligence service extraordinary powers to arrest, detain and prosecute civilians without judicial warrants.
 
“What happens shows that it is a very deep state not willing to let go. It shows a dark side for this regime,” Shaikh said.
 
Despite its victory declaration based on initial counts which gave it 52 percent compared to 48 percent, the Brotherhood is not out of the woods yet.
 
There are a number of scenarios under which the Brotherhood victory could be sabotaged. Although monitors have broadly given guarded approval to the vote there may yet be enough reports of irregularities should a determined state wish to use the judiciary to contest the result.
 
The onus, diplomats said, would be on the United States - major patron and paymaster of the army - to pressure Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to meet his own deadline of July 1 for relinquishing control and allow a civilian president to rule.
 
The two candidates faced off in a second run-off which polarized the nation and left a section of society, which ousted Mubarak in popular protests, out of the game with neither of the candidates appealing to their liberal or reformist aspirations.
 
Many voters were dismayed by the choice between a man seen as an heir to Mubarak and the nominee of a religious party who they feared would reverse liberal social traditions.
 
The Brotherhood has contested the army's power to dissolve parliament and warned of “dangerous days” ahead. But their stamina, diplomats and observers said, has been sapped by 16 months of a messy and often bloody transition.
 
Diplomats said the group, outlawed under Mubarak, may well avoid confrontation on the streets for fear of offering its opponents in the deep state a pretext to crack down on them.
 
“What the counter revolutionary forces would like is for the Muslim Brotherhood to throw their forces onto the street then there would be a real pogrom. That is why I don't think it will happen,” said one senior Western diplomat.
 
“I think the Brotherhood...would keep their people under control,” the diplomat said.
 
pictures of presidential candidates who used to work with Hosni Mubaraks government. ReutersToothless president?
 
Tensions flared with the military when the Islamist group reneged on their pledge not to run for the presidency, a U-turn that came hard on heels of a bigger victory in parliament than it had said it would seek. 
 
The diplomat said it was “a shock to everybody,” notably the army when the Brotherhood named Khairat al-Shater as the group's first choice only to have him disqualified, forcing it to name Morsy instead.
 
Adding to its missteps, legislation proposed by some of its MPs to impose Islamic strictures turned the tide of public support against them. Some Egyptians also looked nervously at Islamist-fuelled militancy and violence in Tunisia.
 
For many Egyptians their revolution, which followed Tunisia’s, now seems victim of a coup by generals who changed the chief executive, Mubarak, but have not touched the deep state that kept him and his predecessors in power for six decades.
 
Since the army toppled the colonial-era monarchy in 1952, it has built massive wealth and commercial interests across industries, followed by a close U.S. alliance that came with the signing in 1979 of a peace treaty with Israel. With this web of interests and alliances, it is unlikely it will cede its power.
 
The worry for the military is that the Brotherhood could eventually challenge their position, just as Turkey’s AK Party with its Islamist has reined in the generals there. The military also worries that Islamists with their fiery anti-Israel rhetoric will weaken the deal with Israel.
 
Regionally, the rise to power of the Brotherhood in the Arab world’s most populous nation would unnerve Gulf Arab monarchies which have managed to avoid being swept away by an Arab Spring that has also toppled leaders in Tunis, Libya and Yemen.
 
Israel frets that the Brotherhood will embolden its offshoot, the Islamist Palestinian Hamas movement which is at war with Israel.
 
Despite regional and domestic misgivings the election was unprecedented for a nation which has never given ordinary Egyptians the chance to freely pick their leaders in a history that stretches back thousands of years.
 
But a toothless president, a dissolved parliament and an ascendant military in a country without a constitution is not what most Egyptians had in mind when they poured onto the streets to drive out Mubarak at the start of 2011.
 
“It is not the end of the story, but somebody flipped us back to page one,” the diplomat said.
 
“Egypt is increasingly hard-wired for greater chaos and instability. It is an extremely tense and volatile environment. Nobody knows what will happen,” Shaikh said.

The ‘vanishing ink’ plot in Egypt vote

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 17 June 2012 05:32
casting votesRumor had it a devious conspiracy was afoot: Egyptians voting for a new president Saturday were being tricked into using pens with disappearing ink so their choice on the ballot would vanish before it was counted.
 
“Is this the right pen?” an old man in a traditional galabeya robe shouted, holding one up to the judge supervising at a polling station in Giza, the sister city of Egypt’s capital, Cairo.
 
There was no concrete evidence for the rumors, but some voters in polling stations around the city were clearly concerned as they marked their paper ballots. Talk of a plot just deepened Egyptians’ worries that the dirty tricks rife in elections under authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak were still in play and that powers greater than them still manipulate the system, even after a revolution last year aimed at bringing transparency.
 
The claim seems to have emerged two days before the vote. A right-wing, Rush Limbaugh-style TV host, Tawfiq Okasha, known for his backing of the ruling military, accused the Muslim Brotherhood of importing 180,000 disappearing-ink pens from India. He proclaimed that they intended to distribute the pens outside polling stations to voters they believed would vote for Ahmed Shafiq, the former Mubarak prime minister running against the Brotherhood's candidate, Mohammed Morsi.
 
“I warn everyone. I warn the Shafiq campaign. I warn all voters,” Okasha shouted on his show on the satellite channel he owns. “The voter will make his mark on the ballot with it and four hours later the mark disappears. The vote counters will open the ballot and find it blank.”
 
A Brotherhood spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, denied the claims.
 
The rumor gained further ground when officials suggested the plot was a reality, though they did not accuse the Brotherhood or any other group.
 
Speaking to journalists Saturday, the interior minister in charge of security forces warned that the pens had indeed been brought in from abroad.
 
Farouq Sultan, the head of the presidential election commission, said that “once the rumor” spread, the commission asked the Interior Ministry to provide 50,000 pens for the polling centers to use. He and the interior minister said that election workers had been instructed not to let voters use anything but the official pens. Sultan said that “as far as he knew,” some vanishing-ink pens had been discovered in circulation.
 
An anonymous SMS sent en masse to some mobile phones Saturday repeated the accusations the Brotherhood were passing out the pens.
 
At a polling center in the Cairo district of Shubra el-Kheima, the supervising judge was tearing his hair out over voters fussing over pens. One woman brought a pen from home because she didn’t even trust the official one. Another wanted to take her ballot outside to wait to ensure her checkmark didn't disappear, said the judge, Mohammed el-Minshawi.
 
“These rumors are corrupting the national consciousness,” he said. “I am hitting the ceiling. This is a dirty election game that aims to make people lose trust in the process,” he said.

Mursi warns foul play in Egypt vote will trigger revolt

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 14 June 2012 20:36
Muslim Brotherhoods presidential candidateThe Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi said on Thursday that foul play in Egypt’s election run-off that pits him against Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, would be met by “a huge revolution.”
 
Mursi also said at a news conference that a court ruling that overturned a law that would have prevented Shafiq from running in the race and another that will dissolve the Brotherhood-led parliament indicated “there some who seek, strive for and plan ill against the people.”
 
The Muslim Brotherhood candidate urged all Egyptians to unite on the days of the run-off elections, scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, against any attempt to forge the elections. He invited the voters to head to the ballot boxes in millions.
 
Mursi added that the revolution “is continuing and the power will be transferred from the military to an elected civilian authority.”
 
Earlier Thursday, Mursi said he respected a court ruling that declared as unconstitutional the rules under which Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament was elected.
 
He said in an television interview he also respected the Supreme Constitutional Court’s decision to allow his rival in the presidential election, Shafiq, to stay in the race -- though he said the ruling was “unsatisfactory.”
 
“The ruling must be respected,” Mursi told the privately-owned Dream TV in reference to the ruling on parliament, an assembly in which the Brotherhood has the biggest bloc.
 
“This ruling does not dissolve parliament,” he added, saying that it only applied to a third of the members of the assembly.
 
However, the head of the constitutional court had earlier told Reuters that the ruling would mean parliament would be dissolved and new elections held

Jihad's Willing Executioners

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 09:54
british-muslimQuietly, behind the scenes, the Muslim Brotherhood is enforcing censorship of all U.S. government training about Islam and the forces of Islamic jihad. Under the co-opted direction of National Security Council official, Quintan Wiktorowicz, key Cabinet Departments, including Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State are purging their curriculum materials of any references about Islam that their Muslim Brotherhood advisors find objectionable. In effect, the national security policy of the U.S. government is being brought into compliance with Islamic law on slander.
 
Under Islamic law (sharia), "slander" means "to mention anything concerning a person [a Muslim] that he would dislike." Telling the whole truth about Islamic doctrine, law and scriptures-especially the Muslim obligation to conduct warfare against non-Muslims, subjugate them and force them to live under Islamic law-would reveal the very essence of sharia Islam. For obvious reasons, it's not the part of Islam that its Brotherhood vanguard wants Americans to know about.
It's much easier to conquer an adversary who's been anesthetized, cowed, infiltrated and lulled into ignorant passivity than one who's alert and on the defensive. That, in a nutshell, is why there is a campaign called "Islamophobia," designed and promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood to silence those who would speak truth about Islam. And it is why the Brotherhood coup that has just achieved the capitulation of the top levels of the U.S. government is so dangerous to the future of the Republic and America's Constitutional rights.
 
Farah Pandith is the Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the U.S. Department of State. In that official capacity, she repeatedly has associated with groups and individuals that are known affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood and its equally jihadist off-shoot, HAMAS. In an interview with the Gulf Times at the conclusion of the May 2012 9th U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Qatar, Pandith confirmed that it has been the policy of the Obama administration since its inception "to put the priority of engaging with one fourth of humanity [Islam] front and centre."
"What is very clear," she said, "is that President Obama, from the very beginning, on the steps of the Capitol, spoke very clearly in his inauguration address to Muslims and said that he wanted to begin again . to create a new opportunity to build relationships. That's historic, that's never happened before, that a president would use that moment to do that."
 
She's right: There's never before been an American president who so unashamedly and deliberately has sought to empower those who've openly and repeatedly declared themselves the sworn enemies of this country. It will be recalled that Muhammad Badi, the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide, effectively declared war on the U.S. in October 2010, about nine months before the Obama administration granted formal diplomatic recognition to the jihadist group.
What is now unfolding across the vast bureaucracy of the U.S. government has been planned carefully over a period of years. But it is only with the Obama presidency that the deep Brotherhood penetration of U.S. national security leadership is moving unafraid into the open, at last confident of its acceptance and backing. The Brotherhood putsch to gain control over U.S. policy and training about America's jihadist adversaries began to come into clear view with a September 2011 series of hit pieces on an obscure blog named "Danger Room" that belongs to "Wired Magazine."
 
The previously unremarkable young writer, Spencer Ackerman, claimed breathlessly that the FBI was teaching material offensive to jihadis, something he (just like the Muslim Brotherhood) apparently thought was inappropriate.
The following month, on October 19, 2011, an op-ed piece, written by Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) President Salam al-Marayati, was published in the Los Angeles Times and threatened the FBI that the Muslim community would withhold cooperation against terrorism if the Justice Department (DoJ) didn't purge its training materials "immediately."
Justice must have gotten the message very quickly, immediately in fact, because that very afternoon, Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, represented the Department at a George Washington University summit in Washington, D.C. to confirm its capitulation to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In attendance to accept the surrender was Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Imam at the ADAMS (All Dulles Area Muslim Society) Center; DoJ earlier named ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial.
 
In fact, FBI Director Robert Mueller appeared to anticipate the al-Marayati blackmail piece when he appeared before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence earlier on October 6, 2011, to offer his mea culpa for FBI training material that, among other things, taught accurately that "Jihad is motivated by the strategic themes and drivers in Islam."
By February 15, 2012, the FBI was announcing that it would be taking its curriculum purge and revision advice from a panel that apparently includes Muslim Brotherhood associates ISNA and MPAC (although the FBI refuses to say for sure). Under the watchful eyes of its jihadist mentors, the FBI subsequently pulled over 700 documents and 300 presentations from its training materials.
Also in October 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its Training Guidance & Best Practices for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), a term that deliberately erases any hint that Islamic terrorism derives its motivation from the doctrine, law and scriptures of Islam.
 
It's no surprise that DHS Secretary Napolitano's CVE Working Group includes the Obama administration's favorite Imam, Mohamed Magid (of ISNA and Muslim Brotherhood association), plus Dalia Mogahed, who sports her own jihadist leanings, and one of the Muslim Brotherhood's all-time favorite law enforcement officials, the LAPD's Deputy Chief, Michael Downing.
In an announcement made on Oct. 25, 2011, MPAC crowed that its 2010 "Building Bridges to Strengthen America" policy paper had been cited by DHS as one of its "best practices" resources for DHS training guidelines (which predictably omits any words or references like "jihad" that would actually inform law enforcement officers about what they're up against). It's unlikely that DHS leadership knows what Sayyed Qutb, the Brotherhood's foremost ideologue, said about "building bridges:"
The chasm between Islam and jahiliyyah [ignoranance] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam. - Qutb, "Milestones"
 
The final bastion of America's defense against Islamic jihad and sharia, the Pentagon, fell to the enemy in April 2012, with the issuance of a letter from General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, re-issuing his earlier order that all Department of Defense (DoD) course content be scrubbed to ensure no lingering remnant of disrespect to Islam.
All U.S. military Combatant Commands, Services, the National Guard Bureau and Joint Staff are under Dempsey's Muslim Brotherhood-dictated orders to ensure that henceforth no U.S. military course will ever again teach truth about Islam that the jihadist enemy finds offensive (or just too informative). To all intents and purposes, DoD Secretary Leon E. Panetta likewise has acquiesced to a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of U.S. military education.
 
The Great Purge represents a huge victory for the jihadist enemy, who told us in the Muslim Brotherhood's Explanatory Memorandum more than 20 yrs. ago of its plan for "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands[i.e., our hands]"
Without the willing assistance of America's most senior leadership figures-at DHS, DoD, DoJ, the State Department and White House-this enemy triumph could never have happened. Reversing the disastrous effects of the Great Purge before the Republic slips further under the censorship of the Muslim Brotherhood is the critical task before us now.
 

Clare LopezClare M. Lopez
a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund, writes regularly for RadicalIslam.org, and is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, and counterterrorism issues.
 
Clare lopez is Voice of the Copts' board member.

Egyptian presidential election: Leading Egypt to democracy or disaster?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Sunday, 10 June 2012 08:27

A wall sprayed with graffiti ear Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. ReutersAs reported in the Egyptian press last week, American senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, asserted that Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections were conducted honestly and without fraud (masrawy.com, 5/25/12). Masrawy further recorded that Senator Kerry advised the Egyptian people to accept the results of the upcoming presidential election after the challenges of the past year. Without commenting on the current Muslim Brotherhood majority in Egypt’s Parliament, the Senator urged the next president of Egypt to stand up for the people and added that the U.S. Congress will deal with Egypt’s next Islamist president openly, fairly, and without prejudice.

For those who fought for freedom and the overthrow of an oppressive authoritative regime, Senator John Kerry’s remarks, hailing from the beacon of freedom in the West, are devastating. What has passed so far as a democratic process in Egypt is not exactly what revolutionaries had in mind when 18 months ago pro-democracy liberty seekers took to the streets to bring down the tyranny of the Mubarak regime hoping to replace it -- first by writing a new constitution and holding free elections – then with a new government by the people and for the people.

Now Islamists make up a majority in the Egyptian Parliament. Their presidential candidate, Mahmoud Morsi, is an Islamist. The opposition candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, is from the old regime, a military member and a Mubarak look-alike. Corrupted elections fraught with bribes – votes traded for oil, rice and potatoes -- brought them about. All are advocates of Islamic Sharia law, a state religious system having nothing in common with democratic principles, now making the outcome for the people of Egypt a grim reality. 

Regardless of what Western leaders have decided, the Egyptian people, who have shed their blood and risked their lives with the hope of fulfilling their dream of democracy, are not giving up their fight. Although politically inexperienced, freedom-fighters resolve to fight until death for basic human rights taken for granted in the West. The blogger’s words I quote below illustrate a fiercely tenacious spirit for a fight to the end in this current political landscape, and one can only imagine how hasty and defeatist the words of Senator Kerry sound to him. He writes,

 

We are not obligated to choose between an Islamic supreme guide and the fallen regime. Since we believe in liberty, we are also aware that to obtain freedom, we pay with our lives. Our revolution has withstood both military beatings and lies from the Brotherhood. We insist on our freedom or to die. We will not accept a Khomeini in Egypt. We will not accept another dictator to shepherd us with a staff. After 18 months of sacrifices they are wrong to think that we will accept a parliament from the Stone Age or a dictator from the military or a supreme guide. In any case, we will not accept it, and our rejection will reach you through our river of blood.

 

He goes on to say that their bravery breaks with the tradition of their fathers’ cowardice. He writes,

 

We will do everything for our goal of freedom, and this time the future of our children will not be designed by the cowardice of our fathers. We are not like our fathers. We are not scared of military jails or long beards. We are against these elections, and we will boycott it, and we announce that we are not recognizing either candidate as a president. We reserve our right to choose a substitute. Either we have complete freedom or you will pay a high price if you can.

 

The next few weeks leading up to the Egyptian presidential election is like a fuse already lit. Let’s review how we got here. Remember when protesters took to the street en masse in a relatively peaceful unity of pro-democracy youths, Muslims and Christians together. They would not back down until Mubarak stepped down. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) usurped their power, deceiving all about not wanting any political power.

Egypt’s military formed an interim council headed by Field Marshal Tantawi (a MB sympathizer) to keep the regime’s power in tact hoping to renew old political parties for an election win crafted to assure the continuance of the Mubarak regime. Egypt’s constitution was appropriately expunged. The military agreed with MB leaders that a new one would not be written. When the military realized the new political emergence of the MB, they struck a compromise with them to preserve their own unique privilege (a military state within the state), then entered a power struggle with them to take over the country. The freedom fighters paid a high price with their blood.

Banned from political life in Egypt since the early 1950s and still claiming not to seek power, the MB created political parties and ran candidates in the parliamentary elections. Their exploitation of the politically inexperienced Salafis, whose previous dealings in Egypt had always been manipulation behind the scenes and now whose parliamentary candidate in the race, Dr. Abu el Fotuh, former MB and head of the terrorist group, Al Gamaaha Al Islamiah (responsible for Sadat’s assasination), created a very scary voice for democracy seekers. This strategy made the MB appear moderate. It must be noted that Tantawi turned a blind eye to the corrupt practices of the MB before and during the parliamentary elections.

Currently, no longer in the limelight, Salafis remain on the sidelines to eventually join with the MB if they should lose the upcoming presidential election and, as a result, decide to instigate a rebellion against the victorious military represented by Shafiq, taking down freedom fighters in the process. Three weeks out from the June election, already the Muslim Brotherhood has openly stated that they do not accept a challenger in the presidential bid because they alone are entitled to the executive position based on their pursuit of the Caliphate. Consequently, the Shafiq headquarters in Cairo was recently attacked by MB protesters and burned (Al-Arabiya.net, 5/29/12). 

Morsi, the MB candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party, will most likely win the presidential election this June. If so, Tantawi and the military, bent on maintaining power, may be apt to suspend the election results, dismiss Morsi, and declare martial law. Such in turn could generate an Islamic uprising producing chaos in the country similar to what has been happening in Syria for the past year.

More than 20 Egyptian blogs and online journalists now say that Morsi has promised in an alleged statement he provided privately to a journalist visiting his Cairo office that with his rise to power will come a new Caliphate era in which Muslims will re-open Egypt to Islam one more time (Egypt’s first Islamic “gazwa” was in year 651). According to reports, Morsi has given fair warning to Copts that once he obtains power, Copts must convert to Islam, leave Egypt or relegate to second-class (dhimmi) status. Morsi’s statement, if rumor only, reveals the deepest fears of the people; if factual, it constitutes enough evidence to drown out all hope of achieving pluralism and democracy in Egypt, reversing what protesters set out to gain by ousting Mubarak.

Reading the handwriting on the wall, Senator Kerry has invited certain members of U.S. Congress to dialogue openly with the MB if and when they win the election. We can only hope that all monetary considerations from the American taxpayer to the Egyptian state will be contingent on regularly verifying that equality and human rights are being honored in this new democratic Egyptian state.  

08-02-10 -10Ashraf Ramelah is the Egyptian-born founder and president of Voice of the Copts, a nonprofit human rights organization fighting the spread of Islamic supremacy, board member of Stop Islamization of Nations (SION).

Egypt Brotherhood calls for Mubarak retrial; lawyer to appeal sentence

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 02 June 2012 08:42
Egyptian riot policemen - protesters shout against Hosni Mubarak outside a court in Cairo. AFPDeposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and other defendants standing trial with him must be retried with solid evidence, the Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement issued on Saturday by the campaign of its presidential candidate.
 
“The public prosecutor did not carry out its full duty in gathering adequate evidence to convict the accused for killing protesters,” said Yasser Ali, official spokesman for the Mohamed Mursi campaign.
 
An Egyptian judge convicted Mubarak earlier in the day of complicity in the killings of protesters during the uprising that ended his 30-year rule and sentenced him to life in prison.
 
Meanwhile, a defense lawyer told AFP that that the sentence will be appealed. 
 
“We will appeal. The ruling is full of legal flaws from every angle,” said Yasser Bahr, a senior member of Mubarak’s defense team.
 
Asked if Mubarak was likely to win the appeal, Bahr said: “We will win, one million percent.”
 
Sent to hospital
 
Egypt’s general prosecutor ordered Mubarak to be transferred to Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairo, the state news agency reported. The helicopter that took him from court had landed at Tora.
 
Protesters have long demanded that Mubarak be moved from the hospital to Tora, where other defendants have been held during the trial. In the past, officials said Tora prison hospital was being prepared to treat Mubarak, who has always appeared in court on a hospital gurney suffering undefined ailments.
 
Angry reactions
 
Meanwhile, in reactions to Mubarak’s sentence, clashes broke out in Cairo’s court between his supporters and opponents. And outside the courtroom, supporters and opponents yelled “void, void” and “The people want the judiciary purged” following the verdict by Chief Judge Ahmed Rifaat.
 
The protesters also clashed with police outside the courtroom building, witnesses said. Protesters threw rocks at riot police standing guard outside the building and the security forces gave chase, they added. 
 
People had different opinions and reactions towards the verdict. 
 
Outside the court, there were celebrations, with many chanting “God is greatest.” Soha Saeed, the wife of one of those killed in the uprising that toppled Mubarak on Feb. 11, 2011, shouted: “I’m so happy. I’m so happy.” 
 
But one man held up a sign calling for Mubarak to be executed, others chanted for a death sentence.
 
Angry families of protesters that were killed during the January 25 Revolution slammed the verdict by demonstrating in Tahrir Square. The families called for a death sentence to be handed in for Mubarak. 
 
To eliminate more protesters pouring in Tahrir Square, the police blocked the entrance to the square, Al Arabiya correspondent reported, adding that the angry demonstrators warned of escalation of their protests. 
 
In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, meanwhile, crowds gathered to denounce Mubarak’s life sentence.

Egyptian emergency law expires today, Muslim Brotherhood pledges its cancelation

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 May 2012 08:26
Today Egypt’s controversial three-decade-long emergency law expires amid speculations on the possibility of another extension and concerns about the stance of the Islamist-dominated parliament. emergency law in Egyp
 
According to observers, the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party will be subject to harsh criticism in case the parliament proposes an extension to the law, especially in the light of the remarkable drop in the group’s popularity following the performance of its members in the lower house of parliament, the People’s Assembly. 
 
The stance of Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi in case he wins the elections was also brought into question. Mursi’s campaign was quick to respond and stress that in case Mursi becomes president, he will never seek an extension for the emergency law.
 
“Mursi has no intention to extend the emergency law and there is no need for doing that in the first place,” Yasser Ali, the spokesman of Mursi’s presidential campaign told the Egyptian daily independent al-Watan.
 
Ali said that with the fierce competition between Mursi and Hosni Mubarak’s former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, both of whom have reached the run-off, the first will stir clear of anything that the second represents by virtue of being an integral part of the former regime and a potential replication of all its repressive practices.
 
Ali quoted Mursi as saying that proper application of the penal code is enough to guarantee the prevalence of security in the Egyptian street.
 
“Then there will be no need for such a notorious law.” 
 
As for security during election time, Ali said that this can be done through the police working at full force.
 
“We will never go back. Citizens will no longer be subject to detention without justification,” Ali concluded.
 
 
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Egypt doesn’t want to be led by Islamists

Category: From the Net
Created on Monday, 28 May 2012 08:41
Mohammed MursiHe lacks charisma, notoriety, intensity and political depth. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate is not the president many Egyptians had in mind. He wasn’t even what the MB first had in mind. Mohammed Mursi, a replacement candidate for the Islamist bloc’s first choice, Khairat al-Shater, managed to snatch 26.4 percent of the first round of the vote. That percentage has placed him in pole position as a frontrunner to win the election. Yes, that percentage. 
 
Those who choose to vote for him may wish to once and for all deviate away Hosni Mubarak’s military man, Ahmed Shafiq, who will be entering a runoff June alongside Mursi. It will be a choice between two age-old dragons, stilling wish to breathe their fire onto the country’s similarly age-old battleground: the oppressed vs. the oppressors.
But an Islamist presidency was never the wish of moderate Egyptians; those who voted for the likes of secular leftist Hamdeen Sabahi, independent Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa among others. Collectively, these independent candidates (again, the strongest among other independent presidential hopefuls) won 51 percent of the about 25 million Egyptians who voted.
That’s (at least) half of the voting population wishing to have a president that was neither from the Muslim Brotherhood nor were remnants of the Mubarak regime. That’s (at least) half of the voting population that were urging a new-era president to take office. And yet, the abundance of candidates led to a whittled-down runoff, where a “favorite” had won a measly 26 percent, from a tiny voting population (only 25 million Egyptians voted out of a possible 50 million who were eligible to vote.)
Can you see now that the vastly greater majority of Egyptians do not want Islamist leadership? It's the circumstances of this election, abundant with candidates, and a matter of bizarre odds that have led to this result. Mursi’s 26 percent became a sad majority. 
 
Now, the Brotherhood’s main man, who just joined the race five weeks ago after Shater’s disqualification, did not need to flex any political muscle to win votes. The seemingly unrivaled party politics of Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement appears to have weakened independent frontrunners. MB strength aside, a main qualm is Mursi’s seeming inability to say the right thing at the right time. During his rallies, he promised to implement Sharia if he were elected, plugging his "renaissance project" - an 80-page manifesto based on what it terms its “centrist understanding” of Islam. 
 
For the moderate Muslim Egyptian, not least Christians who make up about a tenth of the population, this does not spell out what it means for the geopolitical, societal, economic future of Egypt. It pushes aside these factors anyway, making room for religion as a main priority. It practically shuns the fact that the constitution already defines the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation. On the education and healthcare reform front, his campaign did not offer promises different to what many other candidates had promised – they are “rights for all Egyptians,” goes the motto.
 
Yes, trumpeting his Islamist credentials has appealed to many in the country; those who felt the boot of an autocratic regime for decades – fearing autocracy more so than craving Islamism. That’s where Mursi’s tactical voters applied their knowledge at the ballot. 
 
“Egyptians initially were attracted to the Muslim Brotherhood not because it is a Muslim outfit, but because it is a Muslim outfit that shares their experience of persecution and would therefore be less likely to persecute them,” writes analyst Shikha Dalmia.
 
Mursi’s failure means paving the way for what many now foresee to become a military dictatorship.
At the time of writing this piece, this election drama has been already been described as Egypt’s “worst case scenario” by many. And so it goes that by the end of reading this article, you’ll find a case against Mohammed Mursi, which is not juxtaposed with support for Ahmed Shafiq (as you might have expected). 
 
The whole saga is a disappointment, those who argue that Shafiq “hijacked the revolution” (with his possible win being a kick in the teeth for Egypt’s revolutionaries), can also argue that Mursi did so too as the rebellion against Mubarak was mainly led by the country’s liberals, not Islamists.
 
For all the Egyptians who share my sentiments; let’s vote for the lesser of two evils - and even that may lead to bitter indecision.

Brotherhood Candidate and Former PM to Run-Off Round

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 27 May 2012 22:24
Mohammed Morsi - ReutersMuslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, are the two candidates who will face off in a run-off round in Egypt’s presidential elections.
 
According to a report by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, Morsi has taken 24.9 percent of the votes, and Shafiq is a close second with 24.5 percent.
 
Though official election results will not be announced for at least two days, the newspaper’s calculations show that Morsi and Shafiq are likely to be in the run-off on June 16 and 17.
 
In a surprising turn of events, Egypt’s former foreign minister Amr Moussa, who had been considered a top candidate, did not do well in the polls. Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi has surprised many by coming in third, with 4,616,937, or 21.1 percent of the votes, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
 
Earlier on Friday, the Muslim Brotherhood said its candidate had won through to the run-off.
 
“It is clear that the run-off will be between Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq,” a Brotherhood official told reporters.Ahmed Shafiq
 
Shafiq said earlier this month that he would be ready to visit Israel, if elected, “provided it gives something to show it has good intentions.”
 
The Muslim Brotherhood, which also clinched the majority in recent parliamentary elections, has threatened to cancel the peace treaty with Israel by putting the issue up for a referendum and letting Egyptians decide.
 
Channel 2 News reported on Friday that former Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, who had also been considered a frontrunner, has hinted that he will tell his supporters to vote for Morsi in the second round. According to the report, this may help Morsi clinch the victory.

Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mursi promises Islamic law in Egypt

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 26 May 2012 19:23
When he joined the race for Egypt’s presidency just five weeks ago, Mohammed Mursi was mocked as the Muslim Brotherhood’s uncharismatic “spare tyre” after its first-choice candidate was disqualified.mohammed mursi
 
But the 60-year-old engineer came first in the opening round, according to a Brotherhood tally after most votes were counted, thanks to a campaign that showed off the unequalled political muscle of Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement.
 
The run-off on June 16 and 17 with second-placed Ahmed Shafiq, who served as deposed leader Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, gives Egyptians a stark choice between a military man linked to the past and an Islamist whose conservative message appeals to some and alarms others in this nation of 82 million. 
 
A Brotherhood official said that with votes counted from about 12,800 of the roughly 13,100 polling stations, Mursi had 25 percent, Shafiq 23 percent, a rival Islamist Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh 20 percent and leftist Hamdeen Sabahi 19 percent.
 
Calling himself the only authentic Islamist in the race, Mursi has targeted devout voters whose support helped the Brotherhood and the ultra-orthodox Salafi Islamist movement to secure 70 percent of parliament seats earlier this year.
 
He has promised to implement Islamic sharia during rallies peppered with references to the Quran, God and the Prophet Mohammed and occasionally interrupted by pauses for mass prayer.
 
But he has seldom spelt out what that would mean for Egypt, where piety runs deep and the constitution already defines the principles of Islamic law (Sharia) as the main source of legislation.
 
Mursi has called for a review of Cairo’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, saying Egypt’s neighbour has not respected the agreement, a line mirroring that of most of the other candidates in the race. The group has said it will not tear up the deal.
 
“We will take a serious step towards a better future, God willing,” Mursi said at his final campaign rally on Sunday, promising to combat any corrupt hangers-on from Mubarak’s era.
 
“If they take a step to take us backwards, to forge the will (of the people) and fiddle with security, we know who they are,” he said. “We will throw them in the rubbish bin of history.”
 
Mursi has cast himself as a reluctant latecomer to the election who is running for the sake of the nation and God.
 
Emphasis on Sharia
 
A stocky, bespectacled man with a grey-white beard, Mursi has traveled across Egypt promoting the Brotherhood’s “renaissance project” - an 80-page manifesto based on what it terms its “centrist understanding” of Islam. 
 
His success has dismayed non-Islamists, not least Christians who make up about a tenth of the population, unconvinced by promises that freedoms will be safe in a Brotherhood-led Egypt.
 
“It was for the sake of the Islamic sharia that men were ... thrown into prison. Their blood and existence rests on our shoulders now,” Mursi said during one campaign rally.
 
“We will work together to realise their dream of implementing Sharia,” said the Brotherhood contender, who himself spent time in jail under Mubarak.
 
Mursi, who obtained his doctorate from the United States, is a long-serving, influential figure in the Brotherhood, a movement outlawed under Mubarak but which won close to half of the seats in parliamentary elections held after his overthrow.
 
Mursi ran only after the electoral commission barred Khairat al-Shater, the Brotherhood’s preferred candidate, in April.
 
Like other Islamist contenders, Mursi has courted the ultra-orthodox Salafi Islamist movement, which has emerged in the past year to challenge the Brotherhood’s dominance.
 
The Nour Party, a Salafi group that won more than a fifth of the seats in the parliamentary vote, endorsed Mursi’s main Islamist rival, Abol Fotouh, who parted ways with the Brotherhood last year and cast himself as a moderate.
 
In a gesture to Gama’a al-Islamiya, another Salafi group, Mursi has pledged to work for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, a militant preacher imprisoned in the United States in the 1990s for plotting attacks in New York.
 
Abdul Rahman is the spiritual leader of Gama’a al-Islamiya, which was involved in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat but renounced violence in 1997. The group has entered mainstream politics since Mubarak was toppled.
 
Another cleric, the independent Safwat al-Hegazi, added a radical flavour to Mursi’s campaign, taking to the stage at his events to call for a Muslim super-state with Jerusalem as its capital and drawing enthusiastic chants from the crowds.
 
Rural childhood
 
Mursi’s own speech-making style is stiff and formal. Critics say he lacks the charisma of some of his rivals. Other Brotherhood leaders, Shater among them, have appeared alongside Mursi at campaign events, reinforcing the impression this is a presidential bid by a movement, not an individual. 
 
The son of a peasant, Mursi has spoken of a simple childhood in a village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia, recalling how his mother taught him prayer and the Koran.
 
He studied engineering at Cairo University and in 1978 went to California to complete his studies. He returned to Egypt in 1985. Two of his five children hold U.S. citizenship.
 
Helmi al-Gazzar, a Brotherhood MP who has known Mursi for years, describes him as a scientific character with an analytical mind. “He was an indefatigable man, tangibly eager to perform the tasks for which he was responsible,” Gazzar told Reuters, recalling his days working with Mursi in Cairo.
 
Mursi’s critics portray him as a Brotherhood apparatchik and part of a conservative clique within the group who has long been dismissive of other political forces in Egypt.
 
“He feels they do not have roots in the Egyptian street,” said Mohammed Habib, a former deputy Brotherhood leader, who left the group last year in protest at its post-Mubarak policies.
 
Head of the Freedom and Justice Party that the Brotherhood established last year, Mursi comes across as deeply committed to the 84-year-old movement. His daughter is married to the son of another Brotherhood leader and he has described his wife, who wears a long, cape-like headscarf, as a Brotherhood activist.
 
God and nation
 
Like other members, Mursi has sworn allegiance to the Brotherhood, raising questions over whether that would outweigh his loyalty to Egypt. Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie has said Mursi would be relieved of the oath if elected president. 
 
Mursi has described his challenge for the presidency in terms of duty. “I am walking this path to satisfy God and out of concern for our nation and people,” he said.
 
Despite his campaign trail emphasis on Islamic law, when it comes to television interviews, he has typically tried to ease concerns about what Islamist rule would mean.
 
For example, he has said Egypt will not become a theocracy, adding that there is little difference between the phrase “the principles of the sharia” - the term found in the current Egyptian constitution - and the sharia itself.
 
Pushed by one TV interviewer to clarify what Islamist rule might mean for bikini-wearing on Egypt’s beaches - one element of a vital tourist industry - Mursi did not give a clear answer.

Egypt Brotherhood forms human chain for candidate

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 19 May 2012 08:25
Supporters of presidential candidate Mohammed MursiEgypt’s Muslim Brotherhood organized a 760-km (470-mile)-long human chain of supporters across the country on Thursday to back the group’s presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi in a show of strength ahead of next week’s historic vote.
 
From Cairo to Aswan, members of the Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), held posters of Mohammed Mursi, the Brotherhood’s alternative choice to the group's initial candidate Khairat al-Shater, who was disqualified over a military court conviction.
 
Rows of activists and supporters, some wearing T-Shirts and caps emblazoned with a print of Mursi’s face, held up campaign posters also showing the former engineer’s bearded face and a campaign slogan reading: “Mursi, for president of Egypt”
 
The event, organized by Mursi’s presidential campaign, highlighted the Brotherhood’s powerful network of supporters across the country.
 
On its website, the Brotherhood said it had aimed to form the “longest human chain in the world.”
 
Known to have been the most organized political entity during the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood boasts a campaign machine that can galvanize supporters across the country quickly.
 
Mursi has been trailing behind other presidential candidates, mainly former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Islamist candidate Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh.
 
But members of some liberal political groups say Mursi is likely to show considerable strength given the resilience of the Brotherhood’s decades-old network, which supports his campaign. The Brotherhood’s FJP dominates parliament after winning most seats in November parliamentary elections.
 
“We are confident Dr. Mursi will win from the first round,” Yasser Ali, a member of Mursi’s campaign, said.
 
In March, the Brotherhood reversed an earlier decision to not contest the presidency and fielded a candidate, saying its party in parliament had little room to make policies because power was still in the hands of the ruling military council and its appointed government.

Best Buy Link to Hamas? Boycott Petition Breaks 10,000

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:55

Hamas forces prevent Palestinian protesters from reaching southern IsraelA call to boycott the US-based Best Buy chain alleging the electronics store has ties to the Hamas terrorist organization is continuing its campaign to raise awareness about the issue. More than 10,000 people have signed the online petition set up on April 23 by Islamist Watch.org.

The group alleged that Best Buy donated money to an event run by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The organization was prominently mentioned in federal court papers in the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation charity, which served as the fundraising arm for the Gaza-based Hamas terror organization.
"From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists” and “the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists,” the court papers said.
At the time, District Court Judge Jorge Solis ruled the government had provided “ample evidence” that tied CAIR to Hamas and allowed its designation as an “unindicted co-conspirator.”
In December 2001, the U.S. government froze the assets of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, affiliated with Hamas, and the Al Qaeda-linked Global Relief Foundation (GRF).
A subsequent appeal of a 2008 conviction of five of the group's organizers on charges of financially supporting the terrorist group was lost last year in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Each of the five defendants were sentenced to 65 years in prison – essentially a life term.
According to a statement by the Best Buy corporation, the company aims to “represent a variety of faiths and denominations. We respect that diversity, and choose to engage with our customers, employees and communities in ways that reflect their traditions and maintain good relationships for Best Buy.”
Islamist Watch.org director Marc Fink expressed his disappointment with the move, saying that he had assumed the decision was made by “out of ignorance or at a low level... sadly, I was wrong.”
 
 
 
 
 

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