61. Recommendation letter University of Vienna

Arab-West Report organized for the University of Vienna, Austria, a visit to see Egypt in transition. The program was very varied and well organized. The group was very enthousiastic. Egyptians were very hospitable and Egypt was not dangerous for foreign visitors unlike the impression one would get from Western media reports.

43. Austrian Studyvisit to Egypt, Monday May 23 – Sunday June 3, 2012

Following my lecture at Vienna University and Pro-Oriente in Vienna, June 20-23, 2011 we received the attached excellent recommendation for our work which, we hope, will result in a closer cooperation between our Egyptian NGO, Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU) and the University of Vienna. My lecture also resulted in a visit of an Austrian university delegation to Egypt that had the following purpose: Understanding place of Christians in a Muslim society, study possibilities for relations between University of Vienna and Egyptian institutions for the sake of advancing intercultural dialogue. The text of my lecture for the European Parliament on May 8 served as reading advice, click here.

42. Abū Qurqās – A Town Divided by Religion, Politics and Injustice; A Town that Could Symbolize Egypt’s Future

The verdict passed by al-Minya Criminal Court on May 21 convicting 12 Copts and sentencing them to life imprisonment while acquitting eight accused Muslims in the same case, known as the Abū Qurqās sedition case, has caused widespread anger among the Copts. Arab-West Report asked intern Cassie Balfour to research the background of the arrest of 20 persons from Abū Qurqās, around 270 km south of Cairo, in beginning in April 2011 and the following verdict on May 21. It soon turned out that this could not be done with a simple internet search with (telephone) interviews, but that it was needed for an Arabic speaking person to investigate on location. Arab-West Report asked me to do so, not only because I know Arabic, but I also have friends in Abū Qurqās who were willing to help me understand what happened in this Upper Egyptian town.

41. Political activist ‘Amr As’ad about the Egyptian presidential elections

[Editor: This is a report of a meeting between a delegation of the University of Vienna, Austria, and Dr.’Amr As’ad, former board member of the Center for Arab-West Understanding on May 25, thus before the second round of the elections. Yet, ‘Amr’s remarks are nevertheless still very interesting to read.]

 

40. Coptic migration figures of EUHRO disputed

A press release of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organizations claimed on September 27 2011 that between February and September 2011 100,000 Christians had left Egypt in fear for violence and uncertainty. The claims of EUHRO were accepted in English language media without much questioning while Egyptian spokesmen and newspapers were more critical of the migration figures as presented by EUHRO. Jaco Stoop provides an overview.

Full text here

 

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A number of websites and blogs have carried news of ‘crucifixions’ which are alleged to have taken place in Egypt on August 8, 2012. The event was appended onto a well established incident on the same day in which liberal members of the media were assaulted at the studios of Media Production City near the Cairo satellite developments of October 6 City. Those assaulted accused Muslim Brotherhood supporters of the attack and vandalism against their vehicles.

The Egyptian popular newspaper al-Fajr published the text of a leaflet calling to kill Christians, increasing fear among Christians in Egypt. Jihad Watch distributed news about this to a wide western audience, deeply increasing Western concerns for Christians in Egypt. Muhammad Habīb, former Deputy Guide for the Muslim Brotherhood Group (MB) denounces this call while  AWR’s Editor-in-Chief Cornelis Hulsman doubts the leaflet exists or is distributed on a large scale but suspects al-Fajr wants to create tensions to incite a wider public in and outside Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.

Egyptian media gave much less attention to the July 18 attack that cost the lives of five Israelis and wounded thirty three as reported in Israeli and/or Western media.  In this article I will list what I found in Egyptian (Arab) media:

In politics, spin is inevitable. But in times of great political struggle spin is often transformed into misrepresentation. In Egypt these days, as seen in the press, the Muslim Brotherhood is spun virtually into a dervish.


Consider first this article from al-Akhbar, ‘Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Reassures Washington’, published April 7, 2012. Though it details current Brotherhood efforts to portray itself as a moderate political force, the article opens with a similar effort from 2005.
 

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Newsclippings from International Sources

full list here !
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The Foreign Office said British nationals should avoid "all but essential travel" to the region.

An Egyptian bus driver and three South Korean tourists were killed when a tourist bus was attacked in Taba, South Sinai, on Sunday. Advice for other parts of Egypt - which includes warnings against visiting several areas - remains unchanged. Britons are now advised to avoid all but essential travel to the governorates of Beni Suef, Minya, Asyut, Sohag, North Sinai and South Sinai. "We believe there is a high threat from terrorism and terrorists continue to plan attacks," the Foreign Office said in a statement. "Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without prior warning."

Tourists are also advised to "take great care" near buildings belonging to the government or security forces, which have been targeted repeatedly by Islamist militants since the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi in July.The warning against travelling to South Sinai excludes "the area within the Sharm el-Sheikh perimeter barrier", which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el-Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq."Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the Sharm el-Sheikh resort areas," the Foreign Office said.

(Author not mentioned, BBC News, Feb. 19, 2014) Read Original

On the same day their accused killer appeared in court on a shooting and robbery charge, the bodies of two Jersey City men were shipped home to Egypt yesterday via Egypt Air.

A funeral service for Hanny F. Tawadros, 25, and Amgad A. Konds, 27, was held at noon Wednesday at St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church on Bergen Avenue in Jersey City. Their remains departed from Kennedy Airport in New York yesterday and were flown to Cairo, Egypt.

Authorities say Yusuf Ibrahim, also of Jersey City, shot them dead in Jersey City, cut off their heads and hands, and buried them in two separate shallow graves behind an Atlantic County home.

St. George and St. Shenouda Pastor Rev. David Bebawy said the men attended services at the church, but he did not know for how long or how often. Bebawy said as far as he knew, the men had no family members in the United States.

The victims’ bodies were received by Michalski Funeral Home in Downtown Jersey City on Sunday and the funeral was arranged by and paid for by the church in Journal Square.

Ibrahim, 27, is being held on a $3.3 million cash only bail and is charged with shooting the men in their chests in Jersey City last week during a dispute in a white Mercedes Benz belonging to one of the victims. Ibrahim was arrested in Bayonne on Sunday, officials said.

Ibrahim made his first court appearance Thursday on two counts of murder. Yesterday, the court was cleared due to security concerns and Ibrahim was handcuffed and his feet were shackled when he was returned to CJP to make his first appearance on an outstanding armed robbery warrant.

The victim of the Sept. 20 robbery at Yale and Mallory avenues in Jersey City was struck in the head with a handgun and shot in the left foot.

New Jersey State Police are conducting the investigation into the murders and have released no information on a possible motive, and few details on the investigation and allegations.

(Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday threw his weight behind a presidential bid by Egyptian Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, voicing hope that ties would strengthen after the election.

Russia is looking to take advantage of strains between Cairo and Washington, which has withheld some of its annual aid to Egypt after Sisi ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president Islamist leader Mohamed Mursi last year.

Sisi, 59, has been urged to run by members of the public who reject the Islamist government he toppled, and by members of the armed forces who want a president who can face down growing political violence. Earlier this month, a Kuwaiti newspaper quoted him as saying he would run in an election expected to be held in April.

 

(Thomas Grove et al., Reuters, Feb. 13, 2014) Read Original

(CNN) -- A revolution squeezed into its margins -- but that's where it started.

It is February 11, 2014. Three years ago today, I walked to Tahrir Square to celebrate the fall of a dictator. In that square, we felt everything was possible, after Mubarak's 30-year rule. It's that feeling a recent film, "The Square" tried to capture. I resisted watching this Oscar-nominated film for weeks. I was in Egypt for many of the events it portrayed, and I knew I'd be emotionally riven if the film were even partially accurate. Indeed, it was painful to watch a film that captured so many of the core emotions of the past three years, and did it so well.

The film did not portray my own memories: it mediated the emotional history of the revolution through the subjective experiences of certain key characters. They were all archetypes of the revolution. I wondered -- would the filmmakers do what so many writers on Egypt have done, and go for the easy way out, focusing on spoiled rich kids, playing revolutionary? They didn't -- the first revolutionary character, Ahmad, is hardly rich -- he's a young, middle class, average Egyptian. Another central character is Magdy -- a loyal member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the political Islamist group. Ahmad has struggled economically his whole short life -- Magdy has spent time imprisoned for his political beliefs.

(H.A. Hellyer, CNN, Feb. 11, 2014) Read Original

(Reuters) - Egyptian leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi announced on Saturday he would be running for the presidency in a forthcoming election, enlivening a race that army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to win.

Sabahi came third in the 2012 election won by Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was deposed by the army in July following mass protests against his rule.

"My personal decision as a citizen is to run for the coming presidential elections," Sabahi said in a public address to supporters. "Hamdeen Sabahi's battle is the battle of the revolution," he said.

(Tom Perry et al., Reuters, Feb. 8, 2014) Read Original