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During our first trip to the Fayoum Oasis, other interns and I had the chance to visit the “Beautiful Oasis”, a school for children with special needs. When we left the car after our nearly two hour trip out of Cairo, the first thing we recognized was the peacefulness of the whole area. Fresh air, laughing children, chatting women; it was a very nice contrast to noisy, chaotic Cairo.

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Are you crazy? For sure? Why Cairo? These were some of the questions my family and friends (especially family) asked me when I first told them about my internship at the Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU), a center for intercultural dialogue, here in Maadi, Cairo.
Of course, prior to traveling to Egypt, I was not always 100% sure about it... the news wasn't helpful most of the time but since I arrived here I haven’t regretted the decision to come.

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I arrived in Cairo in the first week of February, shortly after I had finished with my undergraduate school in Vienna, Austria. I was looking for a working experience that was relevant to my studies, and, luckily, found a research internship at an NGO, Center for Arab West Understanding. I was, of course, well aware of the recent happenings in Egypt and was a little apprehensive about going there at such a time, but the idea of conducting interviews with Egyptians and working on my own project in the largest metropolitan city in Middle East and Africa kept those worries away from me.

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I was with other interns of the Center for Arab-West Understanding and we were the guests of Mr. Maged Zarif, manager of the Fayoum Oasis Company for pottery. The Center asked him to show us his work in the Fayoum Oasis and how they are helping local people to improve their lives.

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While the Coptic Pope has supported al-Sīsī’s presidential bid, Coptic intellectuals think it may take more than the Pope’s blessings for the Copts to vote for him. 


5. Meeting with Pope Tawadros II, the Holy Week and Easter
Dr. Enan Galaly, having the Knight of Dannebrog title bestowed by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Ambassador of Historical Relations between Denmark and the Middle East and chairman of the Advisory Council for the International Association of University Presidents worldwide, and Cornelis Hulsman, Editor-in-chief of Arab-West Report, were blessed on March 5 by Pope Tawadros II. The meeting was about the importance of the route of the Holy Family in Egypt. Egypt was blessed by the Holy Family, the pope said, and so are visits to locations that were blessed by the Holy Family. The pope is in contact with the Ministry of Tourism about efforts to promote pilgrimage. Read more here.
Arab-West Report uses this occasion to congratulate our Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christian friends with Easter.
67. Statement from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate at Anba Rueiss, Abbassiya

Arab West Report translated the text of the Coptic Orthodox acting Patriarch Bishop Pachomius's comment on the incidents of the village Dahshūr, al-Badrāshīn Township.

Below is the full text translation of the the official statement.

[Reviewer's Note: the below name, address and  postal code were mentioned in English in the official statement that is why Arab West Report did not transliterate Deir Anba Rueiss.] 

2. Hānī Labīb in list of voters of new Coptic Orthodox Patriarch
Watanī published the list of Copts eligible to vote for the 118 th Coptic Orthodox Patriarch. The list contained 2554 names that represent many segments in the society, including: metropolitans and bishops, heads of monasteries, deputies and trustees, members of the Spiritual Council in Cairo, deputies of dioceses and agents of the Christian law, current and former Coptic ministers and incumbent members of the Majlis al-Ummah (parliament), current and former members of the General Millī Council, archons, Coptic owners, chief editors or editors of daily newspapers on condition that they are members of the Syndicate of Journalists.
The list of Copts who are eligible to vote for the new Coptic Orthodox Patriarch contains the name of Hānī Labīb, CIDT's Managing Director.
5. Clinton Visits Mursī amid Coptic Protests

[Editor: Jayson Casper attended this Coptic demonstration on July 14]

Traditionally, it is the Copts who look to America for support of their minority rights. With the Muslim Brotherhood now in the presidency, though not in full power, some Copts wonder if the United States is switching sides.

The statement of ‘looking to America’ should not be taken as normative. The Coptic Orthodox Church and most leaders of influence insist on Egyptian solutions to Egyptian problems. They believe an appeal to the West would brand Copts as traitors in their own land. Average Copts, however, often state a sentiment of longing for America – either for pressure on Cairo or as an escape through emigration.

58. Taming the Islamists

A friend of mine asked me the other day what I think of this quote from the Economist of June 23:
‘The best way to tame the Islamists, as Turkey’s experience shows, is to deny them the moral high ground to which repression elevates them, and condemn them instead to the responsibilities and compromises of day-to-day government.’


In its dispatch no. 5657 MEMRI focuses on the mutual accusations between supporters of the current regime and the Muslim Brotherhood. “Each camp accuses members of the other camp of being Jewish and of implementing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The MEMRI report is full of examples from both camps with photos and cartoons. 

The claims and articles are part of the de-legitimization campaign in which both camps are involved. It is sad that both camps are engaging in such outrageous campaigns, but the value of this should not be overstated. 

Raymond Ibrahim, author of “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians,” is blatantly anti-Muslim in his writings. He is doing ‘well’ in creating fear for Muslims. 

Ibrahim interprets all violence of Muslims against Christians as something that is motivated through Islam as religion. The problem is in his generalizations. It is simply not true that all violence of Muslims against non-Muslims has a religious motivation but each time Ibrahim finds such violence he claims it to be motivated by Islam, while I have found through my work for Arab-West Report that violence is often related to many other factors such as the weak rule of law in Egypt.

On Friday, November 29, an article appeared in al-Fath, an independent Salafī newspaper, written by reporters Tāriq Bahgat and Walīd Mansūr. [1] The article reports on the discussion that took place between Bishop Bola, the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Constituent Assembly, and Al-Azhar scholars about the articles relating to Al-Azhar in the Constitution as well as the so-called “identity articles”, which pertain to the interpretation of Islamic sharī’ah in the new constitution and the role of Al-Azhar. Whereas the Nūr Party representatives sought to impose a stricter interpretation of shar’īah and include it in the draft together with a stronger role for Al-Azhar, the representatives of the Churches refused that. [2] The discussion escalated to the point that Bishop Bola threatened to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly. [3] The article expresses polemic views against Bishop Bola and against the Church’s position of the aforementioned articles.


On November 14, Isabella Pereira mailed a feature story titled, “The dirty secret behind some of Cairo’s development dreams”.  

I have been on the mailing list of Amnesty International for years and appreciate much of their reporting, but I found the title of this story extremely suggestive and unbalanced. 

On August 19, an opinion piece by Dr. Tariq Ghazalī Harb appeared in al-Masrī al-Yawm, a liberal Egyptian daily newspaper. The author, a surgeon, describes the Muslim Brotherhood (which he always names with negative sarcasm) as a cancer in society, and in his authoritative medical opinion the only solution for healing the body from a tumor is its complete extraction.


Newsclippings from International Sources

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The growing number of people held by Egyptian authorities as part of a frenzied campaign to crush opposition to the military-backed government has squeezed the country’s already broken criminal justice system, leading to widespread legal and human rights abuses by security forces, prosecutors and prison guards, Belal and other rights lawyers here say.

Thousands of Egyptians have been swept up in a wave of arrests since the military overthrew Morsi in a coup last summer, including not only the ousted leader’s supporters but also leftist activists, journalists and ordinary citizens caught in the chaos. Security forces have arrested people for offenses such as photographing demonstrations and have accused suspected Islamist militants and demonstrators alike of terrorism.

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By The Associated Press| Mar. 11, 2014 | 6:40 PM

The deputy head of Egypt's dwindling Jewish community was buried Tuesday in a ceremony led by her sister.

Nadia Haroun, lawyer and architect, was 59 when she died Thursday. According to longtime friend Nevin Amin, the cause of death was a heart attack.

Haroun's sister Magda, the leader of Egypt's Jewish community, led the ceremony in Cairo's downtown Gates of Heaven Synagogue. The ceremony was attended by a handful of the remaining members of the aging community and several Egyptian public figures.

Most of Egypt's once-thriving Jewish community left more than 60 years ago. Today, less than 40 remain.

Haroun was a daughter of prominent politician Chehata Haroun, known for his anti-Zionist politics. He defended Egyptian Jews against accusations that they were more loyal to Israel than Egypt, at the peak of the Mideast wars.

Haroun is survived by a son and daughter.

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CAIRO — A private Egyptian television channel has aired what it called exclusive footage of the arrest and interrogation of two foreign journalists, who are now being held in a high-security prison awaiting trial on terrorism-related charges.

The 22-minute video, broadcast Sunday night by the satellite channel al-Tahrir, appeared to have been taken by police forces on Dec. 29 as they stormed a pair of hotel rooms that the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera English satellite network was using as temporary offices. Among those detained were Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Australian Peter Greste, who stand accused of conspiring with “terrorists” to fabricate news about Egypt.

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Gunmen killed a police officer Friday in northern Egypt who worked as a guard for a judge hearing a case against the country's ousted president as his supporters held scattered demonstrations that saw one person killed, authorities said.

The police officer had been riding a motorcycle in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura when gunmen on another motorbike opened fire on him, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its official Facebook page.

A security official said the slain officer guarded a judge in one of four trials facing toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The official said the officer was killed on his way from the judge's home.

Officials also said they dismantled a homemade bomb on a main bridge in the north of Cairo.

A series of bombings and targeted killings, mainly striking security forces and installations, have hit the country since the military overthrow of Morsi in July.

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Analysis: Reconciliation looks remote in Egypt

CAIRO, 5 March 2014 (IRIN) - The seven months since July’s overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt have been among the most violent and divisive in recent times, analysts say, as much of society polarizes along pro-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and pro-army lines.
Reconciliation seems a distant prospect and more remote now, some argue, than in the immediate aftermath of the army takeover.
“The reconciliation opportunity, which existed after Morsi’s overthrow, has disappeared,” said Issandr el Amrani, an International Crisis Group (ICG) analyst on Egypt. “Now that the officials and media call the Brotherhood a `terrorist organization’ and hold them responsible for all the attacks, [the security forces] have to stick to this point of view.”

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