39. Widespread Nostalgia for the Pre-Nasser Era – a Book Review of “Inside Egypt: the Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution” by John R. Bradley

John R. Bradley, a British author and journalist best known for his 2008 book Inside Egypt: the Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution, identifies the Egyptian revolution of 1952 as “a failed revolution” that ended Egypt’s belle époque of the 1930s and 1940s’ cultural heyday. The author describes pre-Nasser Egypt as a historically tolerant country where heterogeneity and diversity were the respected norm. Egypt’s liberal intellectuals and Coptic Christians nostalgically tap into the glorious pre-Nasser era as a safe haven for its religious and political dissidents. That being said, the author is critical of ongoing marginalization of Coptic Christians.

 

17. Engagement, not Fear Needed with Egyptian President Mursī

Muhammad Mursī was declared president Sunday after several days of uncertainty that resulted from a presidential election that exposed deep polarization in Egyptian society - those who favor an Islamist civilian president and oppose a member of the Mubarak regime were pitted against those who fear Islamists but were willing to vote for a member of the old order.

14. Peace Journalism

In December 2009 I met with Paul Duffill, the 2008 recipient of the Isaac Roet Prize, at the conference: "Understanding Peace, Conflict and Violence" held at Institute for Social Studies, the Hague. Paul received his prize for his essay: "A Meta-Intervention for the Israel-Palestine Conflict Incorporating Economic and Social Justice Issues". His can be downloaded from (here "Paul Duffill"): We both share an interest in the intersection between media and peace.

47. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Organizational Structure: Any Christian Similarity?

Today the court postponed ruling on a case calling for the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood as an entity. It will be reviewed again on September 4, at which point the group may be declared illegal and forced to disband.

The following is an effort to understand the structure of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as an effort to compare it to a more familiar Western expression of religion: The small group Bible study. Too often the Brotherhood is only seen from its top administrative levels, which fill the headlines of newspapers and command cries of conspiracy and caliphate. It is hoped a greater understanding of its organizational reach can provide perspective about the group as a whole, through which the current legal questions are being asked.

60. The Goal of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood is a difficult subject to tackle. Some of this is the fault of others – there appears to be significant bias against them in many quarters. Some of this is their own fault – they are a closed organization accountable to no government oversight.

 

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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

This is a comment on an article with similar title published today on a blog called “Salamamoussa. Reclaiming Egypt,” named after Salāmah Mūsá (1887-1958), a well-known journalist, writer, and advocate of secularism and Arab socialism who was born into a wealthy, land-owning Coptic family in the town of Al-Zaqāzīq located in the Nile Delta. I earlier commented on previous articles of Salamamoussa that were also related to migration:

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) presented two opposing opinions from editors of large London-based dailies, Tāriq Al-Humayid, editor of the Saudi Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, opposed to Muhammad Mursī, and 'Abd Al-Barī ‘Atwān, editor of Al-Quds Al-'Arabī, rejoicing over Mursī’s narrow victory. Atwan, MEMRI writes, is a harsh critic of Saudi Arabia. Both newspapers published their articles on June 25, 2012.

 

What is written about Christian citizens in Egypt is not subject in any case to the logic of journalistic treatment as it is subject in many cases to the logic of intimidation and exaggeration or underestimation and stultification.

Arab-West Report advocates accurate reporting about Islam and the different streams that exist among Muslims, including Salafīs who indeed often have been misrepresented in various media. On the other hand Arab-West Report expects that Muslim authors and leaders present an accurate picture of Christians and various Christian institutions such as the Vatican. This was unfortunately not the case with an article in the Egyptian newspaper, Al-Fath, founded by Salafi Shaykh, Muhammad Hasān, which appeared on 15 June 2012 (page 3): “The Vatican Calls for Recognizing Christians in Arab Constitutions and Christianization in Nigeria”.

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Newsclippings from International Sources

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As security restrictions clamp down on means of freedom of speech, humor has emerged as the only weapon of resistance. Humor is common across all cultures over time. Philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant and Blaise Pascal before them, as well as Greek philosophers, dedicated long, serious works to the topic of humor.

The situation can be quite aptly summarized by what the famous French comedian and activist Michel Gerard Joseph Colucci — better known as Coluche — once said: "Humor has always been anti-authority."

Humor and sarcasm are well-known as means to confront harsh dictatorships that fail to suppress what is being said and circulated through jokes and mockery. Satire underlines the contempt of people for power and offers a way to break the grip of tyranny.

(Hadeer Elmahdawy, Al Monitor, Feb. 2, 2014) Read Original

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Friday he was frustrated by reports of an Egyptian crackdown on the media.

"We are extremely concerned about the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on media in Egypt, which is hampering their ability to operate freely," he said in a statement.

Colville said his office was monitoring reports that journalists covering last week's anniversary of the 2011 revolution were injured by live fire and rubber bullets. He said pro- and anti-government forces may be to blame for the shootings.

(Author not mentioned, UPI, Jan. 31, 2014) Read Original

Jehane Noujaim's documentary The Square has been short-listed for the Oscar, is now available on Netflix, and recently won her an Directors' Guild Award. But it has still not been released or even screened at a festival here.

There have been a number of recent reviews, which in one way or another have raised the question of the film's viewpoint and its portrayal of a deeply divided, deeply confusing reality. 

At the New Republic, Eric Trager argues that Egypt's protesters also "bear responsibility for the mess that followed." 

But one year later—and only 15 minutes after Morsi’s victory in the 100-minute film’s run-time—the activists are suddenly willing to accept the military’s return to power. Morsi’s dictatorial maneuvers and theocratic ambitions, combined with his use of Muslim Brotherhood thugs to torture and kill protesters, has incited a mass movement against him, and the film’s protagonists eagerly take to the streets. “Do you think the Army will act in the same way it did?” Ahmed asks rhetorically. He clearly doesn’t think so, because he is once again caught up in the enthusiasm of yet another mass protest, and thus convinced that “Now the power is in the hands of the people.” It’s as if the film’s first hour and ten minutes never happened. It’s as if the previous military regime hadn’t shot Ahmed in the head.

(Author not mentioned, The Arabist, Jan. 30, 2014) Read Original

Alaa Saad left work at Shorouk News on the evening of Jan. 28 and walked to Tahrir Square. After arriving at the square, she walked to nearby Mohamed Mahmoud Street and took out her mobile phone to take a few photos of some graffiti. Such drawings fill the walls along the street and are a testament to the numerous events that Egypt has witnessed since the January 25 Revolution.

She said she had only taken one photo when she noticed someone forcefully pulling her shirt from behind, asking her, "What are you doing here?" When she turned around, she saw a woman dressed in a police uniform. She was a member of the women's police, and she grabbed at Alaa's mobile phone, trying to take it from her. She then grabbed Alaa herself and tried to pull her into a police car parked nearby.

(Enas Hamed, Al Monitor, Jan. 30, 2014) Read Original

On Jan. 27, two important developments took place in Cairo. The first was that interim President Adly Mansour promoted army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the rank of field marshal. Hours later, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which is headed by Sisi, officially convened to discuss the latest developments in the country as well as the issue of Sisi’s much debated and expected (and much demanded in some circles) nomination to the nation’s presidency.

While SCAF's resulting statement said that Egyptians will eventually make their will known through the ballot boxes, it did say that “SCAF could only look with respect and high regard to the will of the broad masses of Egypt’s great people in nominating Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the presidency of the republic, and it considers this a [formal] commissioning and commitment.” The rest of the statement followed in the same tone, focusing on the voice of the public as being the main driving force behind this move. Sisi has yet to officially announce his candidacy, likely in part due to procedural issues including the necessity of his registration in the voters database, but it is largely seen right now as a foregone conclusion.

(Bassem Sabry, Al Monitor, Jan. 29, 2014) Read Original