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.

 

46. Powerstruggle in Egypt on the expense of Egyptian citizens

Who will be Egypt’s next president? Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Mursī or the representative of the old National Democratic Party, Ahmad Shafiq? Both claim victory. Mursī has claimed victory from the first minute that the polling stations closed on June 17. How he could know this? I don’t know. While votes were counted claims from both parties that they had won the elections flew around. Until June 18 at around 15.00 hrs. Since then claims from both parties have ceased. They have been told to wait until the official announcement on Thursday, June 21 – if this comes and is not postponed. Many people fear the announcement of the next president will turn into fights. One MP who wanted to remain anonymous even told me he fear that it could turn into a civil war. That is how serious and deep the divisions are.

45. Rumored US support for Mursi/Muslim Brotherhood

Many Egyptians believe that the US supports Mursī and the Muslim Brotherhood in being the next president and forming the next government of Egypt.

As a US-born American, I have always loved my country, but I have seldom been a fan of US-government foreign policy in the Middle East whether manipulated by the Republicans or Democrats.

59. An American Priest in Cairo

Cornelis Hulsman, Editor-in-Chief AWR: We are very pleased that Douglas May started working with CIDT as international coordinator and financial manager on February 1, 2012. While Doug was appointed due to his financial skills and experience, he also has an excellent background in Muslim-Christian dialogue. His having worked with AWR cofounder Father Dr. Christiaan van Nispen sj for more than a decade has also been a definite plus in his work with us. CIDT agreed that Doug may contribute to the blog of Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA, www.cnewa.org). His blogs will be republished in AWR with credit given that he first published them for CENEWA.

 

23. Election Outcome: Confusion, fear for violence, and a military takeover

The presidential elections committee stated yesterday, June 17 that the results of the presidential elections will be announced on Thursday, June 21. Yet, both presidential candidates, Muhammad Mursī and Ahmad Shafīq, have claimed victory, both claiming to have received between 51 and 52 percent of the vote. These conflicting claims have resulted in confusion with supporters of both candidates believing that “the other” must be cheating. Ahmad Sarhān, spokesperson for Ahmad Shafīq, accused the Brotherhood of trying to create a "fait accompli" and of risking confrontation on the streets "when official results declare Shafīq to be the winner".

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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”.

On June 14th Al-Misrī Al-Yawm reported that on June 13th tensions between Christians and Muslims flared-up in al-Sawāqī, a district in the Upper Egyptian town of Luxor, after one Muslim man allegedly verbally harassed a Christian woman. A group of Christian men reportedly retaliated by beating the Muslim harasser who was sent to a hospital after subsequently sustaining several injuries. According to Al-Misrī Al-Yawm, “dozens” of Muslim men in turn began targeting and throwing rocks at Christian individuals and Christian-owned shops.

 

On June 4, Raymond Ibrahim, sent out news with the title “Graphic Video: Tunisian Muslims Slaughter Convert to Christianity.” Ibrahim’s warning that the video is immensely graphic is certainly true. The description of the Arabic text is mostly but not entirely correct. Here lies the problem. Was the young man slaughtered really a convert to Christianity? Dutch Arabist Eildert Mulder does not believe so.

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Newsclippings from International Sources

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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.

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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.

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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.

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IT IS an unlikely setting from which to launch a fightback against Egypt's new military rulers.

But a cramped flat above a disused kebab shop in North London has become the focal point of the Muslim Brotherhood's effort to regroup after President Mohamed Morsi was forced from office and his movement declared a terrorist organisation.

In Cairo the organisation is facing one of the toughest crackdowns in decades: thousands of supporters have been arrested, while organisations linked with the Brotherhood have had their assets confiscated. Mr Morsi, who was Egypt's first democratically elected president, faces trial for alleged treason, and he has been joined in the country's notorious jails by the group's supreme guide and most of its senior leadership.

The handful of senior figures that remain free have fled into exile, and have chosen London as a base from which to rebuild the organisation.

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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.

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