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



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.


Newsclippings from International Sources

full list here !
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CAIRO — In his second letter penned from an Egyptian prison, Australian journalist Peter Greste wrote, “Journalists are never supposed to become the story.” But due to unrelenting pressure by family members and supporters, he and colleagues netted in the state’s crackdown on the media have become an international story — which appears to be helping to improve their treatment in prison.

“The conditions that they are being held in now are much better than before. Definitely a result of foreign media pressure,” tweeted the family members of Greste’s detained colleague, Mohamed Fahmy, from his Twitter account on Feb. 5.

Greste, Fahmy and their Al Jazeera English colleague Baher Mohamed were among 20 defendants (mostly Al Jazeera personnel) referred to trial on charges of aiding or joining a terrorist group and threatening national security. The prosecutor's statement accused the three of manipulating video footage “to produce unreal scenes to suggest abroad that the country is undergoing a civil war.”

(Shadi Rahimi, Al Monitor, Feb. 5, 2014) Read Original

The fall of the Mubarak regime in February 2011 unleashed a monumental and contagious wave of optimism. Images of Christians and Muslims holding hands in Tahrir Square were broadcast around the world and gave credence to the narrative that a new more liberal and democratic Egypt was being born. The truth was entirely different.

Copts were never enthusiastic about the revolution. Perhaps it was the wisdom of centuries of persecution that taught minorities the eternal lesson of survival: that the persecuting dictator was always preferable to the mob. The ruler, after all, could be bought off or persuaded to back off, or constrained by foreign powers, but with the mob, you stood no chance. Some of the Coptic youth were lured by the promise of a liberal Egypt in which their plight might finally come to an end, but the older generation knew better. The promises of January 2011 soon gave way to the reality of May, when the churches of Imbaba were attacked, and October, the time of the Maspero massacre. The complete collapse of the police and the state’s repression apparatus liberated Islamists from any constraints. On the national level, Islamists soon swept elections and dominated the political sphere, and on the local level, Islamists, much more emboldened by the rise of their brethren nationally and the collapse of the police were asserting their power on Egyptian streets and villages and enforcing their views. While their leaders such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s Deputy General Guide, Khairat El Shater, were proclaiming their goal of the “Islamization of life,” local Islamists were making that goal a reality on the ground.


(Samuel Tadros, Hoover Institution, Feb. 4, 2014) Read original

The Working Group on Egypt (WGE), a nonpartisan US-based group of scholars and experts on Egypt co-chaired by Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, has issued a letter to President Obama warning him against pursuing policies toward Egypt that will “exacerbate persistent instability” in that country.

The letter described what the group saw as frightening repression and concluded that such instability would make it impossible for Egypt to be a reliable security ally for the United States or peace partner for Israel (never mind that Israelis themselves think differently, but what do they know about their own security?). The letter demanded that the president instruct Secretary of State John Kerry not to certify that Egypt has met congressionally mandated conditions on democracy, and to keep aid programs to Egypt suspended as the best way to serve American interests.


(Wael Nawara, Al Monitor, Feb. 4, 2014) Read Original

Sexual harassment in Egypt is on the rise. Many Egyptian women suffer from this phenomenon that violates a woman’s body and freedom. But many are trying to fight back and root out sexual harassment.

A movement called Shoft Tahrosh (I Saw Harassment) is fighting sexual harassment at the legal, psychological and societal levels. The latest in this fight are the Inti Aqwa (You Are Stronger) and Aman campaigns. But the question is whether these campaigns add a new dimension to the fight against sexual harassment.

The state has been making an effort to address sexual harassment. In September, the authorities created a special Interior Ministry unit to face the acts of violence against women based on the protocol of cooperation between the Interior Ministry and the National Council for Women. It deployed security patrols in all cities and streets and used cameras to monitor harassment. It presented to parliament an anti-harassment bill on the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.

 (Reham Mokbel, Al Monitor, Feb. 3, 2014) Read Original

This video, aired by Egypt's al-Tahrir, shows two journalists with Al Jazeera English.

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.


(Erin Cunningham & Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post , Feb. 3, 2014) Read original