42. Church fights for school education and is opposed to child labor; discussing article Katholische Press Agentur Osterreich

One of the members of the Austrian University delegation that visited Egypt between May 23 and June 3 was Daniel Podertschnig who, following his return to Austria, reported for the Catholic News Service of Austria.

 

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.]

 

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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.
 

Al-Misrī al-Yawm published on July 15, 2012 an article entitled "Netherlands agree to grant political asylum to Egypt's Copts". In the article the Dutch Coptic Association was quoted saying "The Netherlands officially approved the Association's request to grant political asylum to Egypt's Copts, after submitting evidence." The Association quoted the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) as saying that the agreement was based on the decision of the Dutch Parliament.  

Al-Misrī al-Yawm added that Dr. Bahā' Ramzī, head of the Dutch Coptic Association, stated "Based on the report of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 2012 and the situation of Christians in Egypt, it was agreed to grant asylum to Egyptian Christians in Holland." ['Imād Khalīl, al-Misrī al-Yawm, July 15, 2012] Read original text in Arabic

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Newsclippings from International Sources

full list here !
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Before the 2012 Egyptian presidential elections, dozens of Muslim Brotherhood members were dispatched to the US and Europe. They presented a picture that interlocutors could identify with. They were young, western-educated and articulate. They depicted the Brotherhood as the sole organized political force that would represent the majority in Egypt. They spoke of democracy, a free market economy and the preservation of rights of women and Copts.

Mohamed Morsi’s one year tenure however, turned all Brotherhood assertions to a lie. Within a few months, Mr. Morsi proceeded to put himself above the law, surrounded himself solely with Brotherhood cronies, and drove the economy into the ground. The tens of millions who poured out on the streets on June 30 asking for his removal also put to rest the common wisdom that the Brotherhood was an uncontestable force.

 

 

(Dina Khayat, Forbes, Feb 7, 2014) Read Original

STRASBOURG, France, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Egyptian democracy needs to be supported by different political views in a future government, the Greek foreign minister told the European Parliament.

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Evangelos Venizelos told members of the European Parliament the ratification of a new Egyptian Constitution last month was a step in the right direction in terms of democratic evolution.

Venizelos, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, said there were also troubling developments on the Egyptian political stage.

"The lack of a truly representative drafting process and the lack of political space for dissenting opinion is extremely worrying, and so is the challenging environment for freedoms of assembly and expression," he said in his statement Wednesday.

Egyptians voted in favor of a constitution designed to replace the one drafted during Mohamed Morsi 's presidency. The Egyptian military removed Morsi from power last year amid frustration with policies aligned with his political backers, the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

(Author not mentioned, UPI, Feb. 6, 2014) Read Original

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.”

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, Pulse of Egypt, 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.

By: Reham Mokbel, Egypt Pulse, Feb 3, 2014) Read Original