Saturday, August 17, 2013

Egypt and the Falacy of “It Can’t Get Any Worse”

by: Youssef Chouhoud

Over the past two and a half years, Egyptians have become fairly desensitized to violence on the streets of their capital. Prior to 2011, virtually any crime beyond petty theft – let alone violent flare ups in public squares or massive processions against the authorities du jour – grabbed the attention of the Egyptian populace; it was simply outside the norm. Today, lawlessness is rampant, a day without a “million man” protest is unusual, and “molotov” and “birdshot” are as ever present in the Egyptian lexicon as “fuul” and “ta3miyya.”

Yet, even given this more jaded context, the events of the past few days were utterly shocking.

Mosque attacks in the UK

UK Police investigating a blaze at a community centre and mosque
by Shenali D. Waduge


The statements issued from UK and US Governments leave out events that take place in their own lands. The standards and norms have differed in applicability. When non-Western nations claim existential fears because of Muslim conquests of non-Muslim territory, these countries are asked to apply “multicultural” lingo, but when Muslims call for Sharia enclaves in the UK it is defined as “extremism”.

Whatever symbolic gestures are made by various inter-faith groups they cannot disguise some important facts. If people are reacting violently it is because the Government has failed to protect their rights against incursions taking place.

The silence of their Governments to stop these incursions has resulted in groups like English Defence League emerging to become the voice of the Brits in their quest to protect their “Britishness”.

What are the actions that have resulted in the reactions and who is at fault - is it those who planned the actions, the reactors or the Government that simply watched the actions and took action only after the reaction reached simmering point and more important is this the objective - to create further divisions amongst communities as British is infamous for its divide and rule policies?

The Facts:

* research reveals half of all Britain's mosques have been attacked since 9/11 (about 700 mosques have been targeted)

* there are about 1,700 mosques in the UK

* There were 1.6 million Muslims in England and Wales in 2001 (3 percent of population). By 2011 the Muslim population had grown to 2.7 million people or 4.8 percent of the population.

The Pew Forum thinks that there will be just over 5.5 million British Muslims, representing 8.2 percent of the UK population, by 2030.

* About 40 percent of Britain's 2.7 million Muslims live in the capital

* After Drummer Lee Rigby's death arson, computer threats, physical attacks increased by tenfold. Nearly nine attacks per day took place. Examples of the type of attacks include mosque walls sprayed, pigs head left at Muslim families homes,

* The attacks on Muslims is attributed to the “far right” - US State Dept, NGOs or Human Rights groups do not call them “racists” “extremists” or ‘fanatics”.

There was no statement issued by the US State Department to the UK Government stressing US concern over mosque attacks and intimidation of Muslims in the UK.

* The UK Government gives £214,000 annually to Tell Mama project run by Fiyaz Mughal to monitor “anti-Muslim” attacks in the UK. To date, 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” since the Woolwich murder - which has formed the basis of nearly all this reporting - Yet US state department, infamous human rights organisations and the NGO bandwagon have not issued statements condemning the UK Government or even demanding reports or investigations.

* In 2009 there were 368 anti-Muslim crimes in London; in 2012, there were 337. In the first 11 weeks of 2013, there were 64 crimes.

* The number of Muslim prison inmates in England and Wales jumped to 11,248 in 2012 (a 200 percent increase since late 1990s). According to a research report recently commissioned by the British Ministry of Justice, many non-Muslim inmates in British prisons are being bullied into conversion or are embracing Islam in exchange for promises of protection from physical assault. Researchers from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology who wrote the report found that more than one third (39 percent) of the prisoners at Whitemoor are Muslims.

* According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, every year 17,000 Muslim women in Britain become victims of forced marriages, are raped by their husbands or subjected to female genital mutilation - all condoned by more extreme Islamists.

* The number of Muslims attending prayers will reach at least 683,000 by 2020, while the number attending weekly Mass will drop to 679,000.(2.7m Muslims against 41m Christians) (think tank Christian Research)

* Europe's churches are turning into mosques at the rate of two per week.

* There are 85 Islamic Sharia law courts operating in Britain. BBC's Panorama's documentary “Secrets of Britains’ Sharia Courts” have revealed that despite the Sharia law being non-binding UK Muslims are compelled to obey rulings by Islamic judges (qadi), that women are at the risk of violent and abusive husbands (documentary cited Leyton Sharia Council - the oldest Islamic council in UK), proceedings at Sharia Council of Dewsbury (West Yorkshire) was shown where Islamists have promised to turn Dewsbury into an independent Islamic state ruled by Sharia law and apart from British jurisprudence. On its website, the Leyton Sharia Council writes: “Though the Council is not yet legally recognised by the authorities in the UK, the fact that it is already established, and is gradually gaining ground among the Muslim community, and the satisfaction attained by those who seek its ruling, are all preparatory steps towards the final goal of gaining the confidence of the host community in the soundness of the Islamic legal system and the help and insight they could gain from it. The experience gained by the scholars taking part in its procedures make them more prepared for the eventuality of recognition for Islamic law.”

* Muslims Against the Crusades (MAC) group have named Yorkshire towns Bradford and Dewsbury and Tower Hamlets in East London as test beds for blanket Sharia rule.

* In October 2012 the British Parliament held its 1st full parliamentary debate on Sharia courts after Baroness Cox presented a bill to the House of Lords.

* Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill would make it a criminal offence punishable by five years in prison for anyone falsely claiming or implying Sharia courts or councils have legal jurisdiction over British family or criminal law.

* Britain's first Sharia law zone is in Waltham Forest.

* Abu Izzadeen “Director for Waltham Forest Muslims” says he wants to impose Islam's Sharia law in Britain. He claims the Sharia Zone will “ban alcohol, gambling, drugs, music, smoking and homosexuality as well as men and women mixing in public”. He says this is the first step towards turning Britain into an Islamic state.

* The campaign to introduce Sharia controlled zones is run by Muslims Against Crusades (MAC). Its website says Sharia law zones have ‘momentous’ support from Muslim businessmen, lawyers and community leaders, who are ‘sickened by the alcohol, pornography and downright secular culture of Britain'.

* 25 areas around Britain have large Muslims populations - Bradford, Dewsbury, Leicester, Luton are some.

* At least 5,200 people convert to Islam in the UK each year, 60 percent of them women.

* The entire infrastructure of Britain is changing. Mosques, Islamic schools, Sharia courts, Muslim-owned businesses and banks have now become an integral part of the British landscape.’

* There are already 100 mosques in Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

* Across London, 24 Islamic primary and secondary schools teach thousands of pupils the national curriculum, but can devote time to Islamic studies in religious lessons.

* There are hundreds of after-school classes (where boys and girls wearing robes, skull caps or hijabs and learn to recite the Koran by heart) flourish in the mosques of British cities.

* There is also a separate Islamic financial system which conforms to Sharia banking industry restrictions, including a ban on interest payments on loans. According to Global Islamic Finance Report, Britain is now the main centre for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.

A 224 page report by European Muslim Research Center (University of Exeter) over a 10 year study throughout Europe revealed:

* bulk of physical violence, intimidation and discrimination faced by 2m Muslims goes unreported because they have lost faith in the authorities

* disadvantage to Muslims has been the war on terror and everything viewed as a security risk

* “anti-Muslim violence in the UK is predicated on the rhetoric and practice of the “war on terror...by individuals who have become convinced and angry by negative portrayals of Muslims in the media”...one incident a woman wearing a burqa was punched and called a terrorist”

“If brave political leadership is forthcoming, then the task will be so much easier.” - This appears to be the same message delivered by the public.

An estimated 10 percent of children in Britain's schools are Muslim. The Muslim Council of Britain are demanding that UK curriculum includes Muslim contribution to shaping Britain and European history in the school text books.

National Association of Muslim Police are now demanding more Muslim representation in the British police.

From the newspapers - The Daily Star:

"Britain could have its first Sharia-controlled zone if plans for a mega-mosque more than four times the size of St Paul's Cathedral get the go-ahead.

"The East London mosque, known as the Riverine Centre, will hold 9,312 worshippers, compared to 2,400 at St Paul's.

"The 16-acre site in West Ham will include 40ft minarets, an Islamic library, a dining hall, multi-use games areas, tennis courts, sports facilities and eight flats for visiting Muslim clerics.

Daily mail:

Have more babies and Muslims can take over the UK' hate fanatic says, as warning comes that 'next 9/11 will be in UK'


Reactions by the British:

"No more mosques in the UK. We are constantly building new mosques, which are paid for by the money that comes from oil states. We have only in this country as far as we know, 3.5 to four million Muslims. There are enough mosques for Muslims in this country, they don't need any more. We don't need to have Sharia law which would come with more mosques imposed upon our nation, if we don't watch out, that would happen.

"If we want to become an Islamic state, this is the way to go. You build a mosque and then what happens? You have Muslim people moving into that area, all the shops will then become Islamic, all the housing will then become Islamic and as the Bishop of Rochester has so wisely pointed out, that will be a no-go area for anyone else. They will bring in Islamic law. We cannot allow that to happen." (Alison Ruoff)

The issue is that there are organisations that are calling for nations to be turned into Islamic states with Islamic law and this is upsetting natives whether they like in UK, Europe, US or elsewhere. Politicians do not help by turning a blind eye because their silence is rewarded with votes or other rewards at the cost of entire nations. No one wants to live in disharmony or create tensions but it is up to authorities to take care of those setting the stage for tensions instead of taking actions against the reactions to the actions.

Obviously the situation in UK warrants far more attention than elsewhere as facts would show.

The aggressiveness with which the trend is shifting in the UK should make the British wonder how natives of former colonies felt when Christian colonialists conquered nations and forcefully converted natives and massacred those who refused.

For UK it may be sweet revenge but Buddhists and Hindus did not conquer nations or take over nations and forcefully convert natives. Yet, we do not expect the same scenarios to take place in the 21st century.

What we cannot overlook is that the calls are not isolated be it in the UK, EU, US or the current situation in Asia and the followers who believe and accept the calls are also increasing. Leaders are reluctant to take action against those planning to conquer nations through boosting births alongside encouraging and celebrating conversions.

What are the defences for people be they in Britain, US, EU or Buddhist Asia when the authorities and politicians turn a blind eye out of self-interest?

WATCH: 26 year old Canadian Amr Kassem, father and husband, was killed in Egypt

The Revenge of the Police State

by Wael Eskandar August 17, 2013


While the ongoing violence in Egypt has contributed to a state of confusion and polarization, one thing is certain: The biggest threat facing Egypt remains the return of the police state. More specifically, the threat concerns, not only the reconstitution of a police state, which never really left since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, but also the return of the implicit, if not overt, acceptance of the repressive practices of the coercive apparatus.In this respect, the current face-off between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood holds very damaging potential. Widespread anti- Muslim Brotherhood sentiment is currently providingthe state with legitimacy to use of force against the Brotherhood, and, in the future, a potential cover for using similar tactics against other dissidents as well.

There is a problem with the way security force shave violently dispersed the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-ins, even with claims that both Nahda and Rabea sit-ins were armed. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the Muslim Brotherhood or with the objectives of the sit-ins, the murdering of over five hundred people goes against any sense of human decency and morality. The armed protesters’ reported use of unarmed individuals as human shields is equally despicable and reprehensible. Beyond the serious moral considerations at hand, other problems persist.

The forced dispersal of Rabaa and Nahda marks a triumph of security solutions over political ones—a trend that characterized much of the Mubarak era. Security solutions rarely solve a problem without the support of apolitical course of action, which seems to be missing in our current context. There is no question that the Muslim Brotherhood leaders have a long history of poor negotiating behavior, showing extreme stubbornness, and failing to uphold their end of their bargain on many occasions, in power and in opposition.But this is exactly why dealing with them demands a politically savvy approach, instead of reliance on security solutions, which will only reinforce the Brotherhood’s rigidity, not to mention the heavy human costs associated with such measures.

Instead, the military and its sponsored government chose a confrontational, security path. This path will only further empower the coercive apparatus without guaranteeing any results, in terms of political stability and social peace. As extremist groups are pushed into hiding, the security leaders will find excuses to employ intrusive surveillance measures, interrogate, torture, and abuse, all with zero transparency and accountability.Supporters of the crackdown among those who oppose the Brotherhood will gladly accept. Reinforcing this trend is the fact that the crackdown has apparently empowered radicalized elements among the supporters of the deposed president.

Some may say that the increasing influence of the security sector will only be limited to “counter-terrorism”and extremist Islamist groups that espouse violence. There are clear signs that this would not be the case.For example, immediately prior to the crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins, retired generals took control of governerships in an overwhelming majority of provinces. For many, this was a clear signal that the state has opted to “securitize” governance, and political files.

Additionally, those who believe that security sector will not overstep its boundaries clearly overlook the long history of the Egyptian state’s meddling in political and private affairs in the name of counter-terrorism and national security. Given that rich history, we could safely conclude that today domestic intelligence agencies are quickly gaining a blank check to meddle in our affairs for the sake of national security. Soon Egyptians will be asked to support their government in whatever decisions it takes on the grounds that the government is at the front lines of the fight against “violent Islamists.” Political dissidents of all orientations will be vulnerable tothe accusation of being soft on “terrorism” or supportive of “radical Islamists.” Will anyone care in the confusing state of insecurity?

Egypt, in other words, is on a dangerous path. There are many reasons to believe that police forces will employ their brutal practices at Mubarak era rates. The policing establishment itself has not changed inanyway, never reformed, and never held to account for its past crimes. Minister of interior Mohamed Ibrahim has even signaled that such a return is imminent, pledging, “Security will be restored to this nation as if it was before January 25, and more."

Tacit supporters of the security state will respond that were was no other way, that there was no room fornegotiating with the Brotherhood, and that the forcible dispersal of the sit-ins was necessary.

Such a response, however, overlooks the major limitations of the security solution to the underlying problem,namely that calling on the police—unreformed and lacking the proper training—to resolve the stand off between the Brotherhood and the government is like asking a butcher to do a heart surgeon’s job.Additionally, one could counter and ask: Was it necessary for the police to target unarmed civilians carrying cameras? Was it necessary for security forces to shoot at unarmed crowds? Was it necessary for the policeto leave unprotected all the churches that suffered attacks in the aftermath of the sit-ins’ dispersal?

But setting aside analyses of what the police could have done differently, it remains that the recent violence has only deepened people’s reliance on the security state and will exempt politicians from devising solutions to political differences. With the increase in social conflict, particularly along sectarian lines, security services will once again regain their traditional role as an arbiter of these conflicts, as well as their license to employ abusive, repressive tactics. This sustained sense of insecurity will only steer Egypt away from real justice.With the empowerment of the security sector, there will be no reason or motivation to push for revolutionary demands for real reforms inside the policing establishment. It is also likely that the escalation in violence and the pro-security rhetoric that the state has been touting will make it difficult for political dissidents, who areequally opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, to employ street action.

In some ways, the MB’s confrontational approach, wittingly or not, is handing back the coercive apparatus its license to kill and repress with impunity, but so are all those who are cheering on the security forces’crackdown against the Brotherhood. Many such voices have criticized Mohamed El-Baradie for resigning his post as vice president in the wake of the recent violence. But in reality there is no role for a politician in a state that is poised to pick a security solution in dealing with every pressing challenge.

As we confront the question of whether or not Egypt will witness the “return” of the police of the Mubarak era, a number of critical questions arise, such as: Is there any revolutionary fervor left to resist this route? Or have revolutionary commitments been drained through all the blood and the failed attempts at establishing a democratic political order?

Whether or not a new wave of revolutionary mobilization will emerge to push back against the growing power of the security state is an open question. But it is clear that the persistence of the confrontation between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood will only deepen the securitization of politics by reinforcing demands for security solutions. What will it take to reverse the return of the police state, which revolutionary activists have worked hard to resist, is uncertain. One could argue that the brutal injustices that the police are bent on committing will always make resistance structurally inevitable. But that suggests that reviving resistance will come at a high price, one that Khalid Said, Jika, Mohamed al-Guindy, and many others have paid.

Hadeeth in Sahih Muslim

Narrated Jarir:

While we were in the company of the Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) in the early hours of the morning, some people came there (who) were barefoot, naked, wearing only striped woollen clothes, or cloaks, with their swords hung (around their necks). Most of them, nay all of them, belonged to the tribe of Mudar.

The colour of the face of the Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) underwent a change when he saw them in poverty. He then entered (his house) and came out and commanded Bilal (to pronounce Adhan). He pronounced Adhan and Iqamah, and he (the Holy Prophet) observed prayer (along with his companions) and then addressed (them, reciting verses of the Holy Qur'an): "O people, fear your Lord, Who created you from a single being" to the end of the verse, "Allah is ever a Watcher over you" (iv.1). (He then recited) a verse of Surah al-Hashr: "Fear Allah, and let every soul consider that which it sends forth for the morrow and fear Allah" (lix.18).

(Then the audience began to vie with one another in giving charity.) Some donated a dinar, others a dirham, still others clothes, some donated a sa' of wheat, some a sa' of dates; until he (the Holy Prophet) said: (Bring) even if it is half a date. Then one of the Ansar came there with a money bag which his hands could scarcely lift; in fact, they could not (lift it). Then the people followed continually, until I saw two heaps of eatables and clothes, and I saw the face of the Messenger (peace_be_upon_him) glistening like gold (on account of joy).

The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: He who sets a good precedent in Islam, there is a reward for him for this (act of goodness) and reward of those also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards. He who sets in Islam an evil precedent, there is upon him its burden, and the burden of those also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.

Found in Sahih Muslim

Egyptian youth leader backs army in battle with Brotherhood

Mahmoud Badr, a leader of the Tamarud youth movement, speaks during a news conference in Cairo July 29, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
By Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO | Sat Aug 17, 2013 

(Reuters) - Mahmoud Badr, the activist whose petition campaign helped to bring down Egypt's Islamist president, says the bloodshed that has followed is a high but acceptable price for saving the nation from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Badr's staunch defense of the army, despite the deaths of almost 800 people in the past three days, shows how many Egyptians who consider themselves liberals are sitting back and watching what human rights campaigners say is one setback for democracy and the rule of law after another.

"What Egypt is passing through now is the price, a high price, of getting rid of the Brotherhood's fascist group before it takes over everything and ousts us all," Badr, 28, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Badr and his two twenty-something co-founders of the "Tamarud-Rebel" movement encouraged millions of Egyptians to take to the streets in protests demanding the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi.

The army removed Mursi on July 3 and violence has erupted across the country this week as security forces cracked down on Brotherhood supporters demanding his reinstatement.

Badr, a journalist, believes the pivotal Arab nation could be descending into civil war. But he still thinks ousting Egypt's first freely-elected president was the right decision and defended the military's conduct in the violent aftermath.

"I did not see anything bad from the army. They did not interfere in politics and I am a witness to that," said Badr. "I back its decisions on my own and without any instructions as I think they are right and getting us where we want."

Like the army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Badr sees the Brotherhood as a terrorist group that is a threat to Egypt, which straddles the Suez Canal and whose 1979 peace treaty with Israel makes it a vital factor in Middle East stability.

Brotherhood leaders have alleged that former cronies of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, himself ousted in a popular uprising in 2011, funded and encouraged Tamarud along with secret policemen.

Earlier this year Badr and his young associates succeeded in two months in launching a mass movement, armed only with laptops and mobile phones.

Tamarud activists scoured towns and villages collecting signatures on a red-printed petition demanding Mursi's departure. They say they got 22 million signatures, nine million more than Mursi's vote in the 2012 presidential election.

Security officials have advised Badr to stay out of sight at a secret location for his safety. He spends most of his time monitoring Egypt's political upheaval on television.

But Badr appeared on state TV in his trademark polo shirt and blue jeans this week, urging Egyptians to take to the streets and form "popular committees" to protect citizens from the Brotherhood.

At night, soldiers beside armored vehicles man checkpoints with barbed wire barricades. Groups of vigilantes, some as young as 16, block off roads and direct traffic.

ALLY OF THE MILITARY

Human rights activists fear Sisi and other generals will return Egypt to the oppression of the Mubarak era.

Interim vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace prize winner, resigned in protest at the violent crackdown but other liberals did not follow suit.

Badr, who advocated democratic civilian rule when founding his movement in May, accused ElBaradei of undermining the uprising that toppled Mubarak. "His decision made the revolution look shaky and weak," he said. "What happened in Egypt was a revolution and any revolution has to have victims."

Badr says he has had no contact with the military since meeting Sisi on July 3 to discuss plans for a return to democracy in a room with generals, a senior Muslim cleric, the Coptic Christian pope, a top judge and opposition leaders.

"My role now is to act as a pressure group by observing the political transition and be ready to interfere if things go in the wrong direction," said Badr, who cut his political teeth in the 2011 uprising.

The Brotherhood, which won every election after Mubarak's fall, has called for more protests across the country, raising the possibility of further bloodshed.

For the next few weeks, Badr predicted "more violence and possible political assassinations" but added: "We will win over terrorism and civil war eventually."

(Editing by Michael Georgy and David Stamp)

Study shows opposition to Morsi ouster rises to 69%

Posted Sunday, 11 August 2013


A recent field study indicates that the number of Egyptians opposed to the overthrow of Dr Mohamed Morsi as President has risen to 69 per cent. Only around 25 per cent of Egyptians support his current detention, while 6 per cent prefer to keep their opinion to themselves.

The study conducted by the Egyptian Centre for Media Studies and the public opinion group Integrating Egypt is the second of its kind to be conducted since General Abdel-Fatah Al-Sisi, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and various political and religious factions collaborated to depose Morsi in a military coup last month.

The aim of the study was to examine the critical group in opposition to President Morsi's detention and the trajectory of the level of support for the 2011 Constitution (approximately 78 per cent) if the current political situation continues. It shows the qualitative distribution of those in opposition to Morsi's isolation, only around 19 per cent of whom are Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Thirty-nine per cent of those opposed to his detention are affiliated with other Islamic factions whereas 36 per cent do not affiliate with any political movements. The liberal bloc and Christians constitute 6 per cent and 2 per cent of the study respectively.

In terms of the qualitative distribution of those who support President Morsi's overthrow, the study indicates that 55 per cent were affiliated with the disgraced Mubarak regime. Nineteen per cent belong to the Liberal movement, 17 per cent are Christian and 6 per cent affiliate with the Leftist bloc; 3 per cent do not affiliate with any political movement.

The qualitative distribution of those who prefer not to express an opinion on the political situation shows that 91 per cent affiliate themselves with the Nour party or some religious schools of thought whereas 9 per cent do not have any political affiliations. The study was conducted on August 1st and 2nd by selecting 3,911 individuals at random from different denominations and sects in Egyptian society.

The study showed an increase in the number of those opposed to deposing President Morsi, from July's 63 per cent to 69 per cent. The number of those in favour of keeping the president in isolation went down slightly, from 26 per cent in July to 25 per cent; those who preferred to remain silent dropped from 11 per cent to 6 per cent. The study shows a 10 per cent increase in the number of those opposed to removing President Morsi from his post over the course of the previous month. It is noticeable that the opposition is roughly equal to the proportions of the voting bloc alliances in the previous parliament, which included the Freedom and Justice Party and the Nour Party coalition. It is likely that the opposition and the supporters of the 2011 constitution (roughly 78 per cent) will be targeted.

With a 4 per cent decrease in supporter for President Morsi's isolation over the last month, the number of those who support his removal is approaching 25 per cent and the proportion of those opposed to amending the 2011 Constitution is approximately 22 per cent. These figures could become a reality in two months' time if the political situation continues in the same vein.

The qualitative distribution of the 69 per cent of Egyptians opposed to overthrowing President Morsi according to political orientation is broken down as follows:

19 per cent are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood or its political branch, the Freedom and Justice Party, and its political ideology. Many live in Lower Egypt and Greater Cairo.

39 per cent belong to Islamic political movements with ideologies and schools of thought aside from the Muslim Brotherhood. Many of these individuals live in the North or South of Upper Egypt.

6 per cent are liberals and practice independent professions such as medicine, law, accountancy and business. The majority live in the provinces of Upper and Lower Egypt and Greater Cairo.

36 per cent do not align themselves with any political parties, either organisationally or ideologically. Many were born into Islam and are by default practicing Muslims. They inhabit numerous Egyptian provinces and live in villages and hamlets.

2 per cent are Christians and belong to the Evangelical Church. The majority are highly educated.

The qualitative distribution of the 25 per cent of Egyptians in favour of overthrowing President Morsi according to political orientation is as follows:

55 per cent are supporters of Hosni Mubarak and the former regime. Many of them work in government or occupy government jobs. The majority live in Cairo and other provincial capitals.

19 per cent belong to liberal blocs and parties with liberal ideologies in general. Many live in Cairo and other provincial capitals.

17 per cent are Coptic Christians belonging to the Orthodox Church. This study considers them to be a political movement after many Egyptian Church leaders participated in removing President Morsi from office. They mostly live in Cairo, Minya, Beni Suef, Asslut, Sohag, Luxor, Alexandria, and Menouflia.

6 per cent belong to left-wing blocs and/or parties with leftist ideology. They mostly live in Cairo and other provincial capitals.

3 per cent do not align themselves with any political movements and live in all provinces.

Note that of the individuals who support the removal of Dr Morsi from his post as President of the Republic, 97 per cent have political and organisational affiliations. Seventy-two per cent of them are Christian or support the former Mubarak Regime, which reflects the same alliance between these two currents during the period of Mubarak's thirty-year rule.

The qualitative distribution of those who prefer to remain silent on the isolation of President Morsi, according to political orientation, is as follows:

91 per cent are affiliated to the Nour Party or agree intellectually with the ideological philosophy of the Nour Party. Many of these individuals live in Alexandria and the central and western Delta, while the rest live in various provinces around Egypt.

9 per cent do not belong to any political movement and are distributed among Egypt's numerous provinces, and live in a state of ennui and despair in regards to political life.

It should be noted that one month after the first field study in July, in which the figure for those who preferred to remain silent was 11 per cent, the Nour Party and its Salafist sources lost many of its supporters and political authority. One of the main reasons for this was that the Salafist political ideology opposed the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi. Their bias towards the current political situation was formed after many protesters were praying when they were killed and injured by the security forces; the many attacks on mosques have also been an influence. Moreover, their stance came about as a response to the media blackout of opposition voices and in solidarity with the steadfastness of Morsi's supporters since the coup.


NYT -- April 15, 2013 by Amr Darrag

CAIRO — FOR millions of Egyptians still reeling from the shock of Wednesday’s state-led massacre, which killed at least 600 peaceful protesters and possibly many more, the questions are now very basic: How do you reconcile with people who are prepared to kill you, and how do you stop them from killing again?

I represent an alliance of Egyptians who oppose the military coup that overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in July. Over the last two weeks, we have met with foreign diplomats, including Bernardino León, the European Union envoy, and William J. Burns, the American deputy secretary of state, who were invited by the coup’s leaders to mediate. We respectfully listened, honestly communicated our assessment of the situation and emphasized our desire to find a peaceful solution.

But those efforts were doomed by the bad faith of Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s military ruler. It was he, not the alliance, who rejected the mediators’ proposals.

The mediation efforts have been problematic. Diplomats and journalists continue to speak about negotiating only with the Muslim Brotherhood, even though the protesters come from all over the political spectrum; 69 percent of the country opposed the coup, one Egyptian poll showed.

Worse, shocking and irresponsible rhetoric from the State Department in Washington and from other Western diplomats — calling on the Brotherhood and demonstrators to “renounce” or “avoid” violence (even when also condemning the state’s violence) — has given the junta cover to perpetrate heinous crimes in the name of “confronting” violence. The protest sites have been teeming with foreign correspondents for the last several weeks, and there has not been a shred of evidence suggesting the presence of weapons, or of violence initiated by protesters.

The mediators’ most disastrous error was their choice to put pressure on the victims. In their eyes, we were the cause of the crisis, not the illegal putsch that suspended the Constitution and kidnapped the president.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s astonishing remark on Aug. 1 that the coup was “restoring democracy,” despite a disavowal from the White House, did not leave the impression that America was on the side of the peaceful protesters.

If only we could accept the coup as a fait accompli, we were told, all would be well. There would be “good will gestures” from the military, and there would be an “inclusive” democracy.

We have heard all those promises before. The military and so-called liberal elites have shown time and again that they believe they are entitled to a veto over Egyptians’ choices. But the general who betrayed his oath and held the only elected president in the history of Egypt in extralegal detention cannot be trusted to let an opposition movement survive, let alone thrive.

For those seriously interested in a way out of this crisis, some hard facts must be acknowledged.

First, this is a battle between those who envision a democratic, pluralistic Egypt in which the individual has dignity and power changes hands at the ballot box and those who support a militarized state in which government is imposed on the people by force.

Second, this coup has already sent Egypt back into the dark ages of dictatorship — with tight military control over both state-owned and private media, attacks on peaceful protesters and journalists, and detention of opposition leaders without criminal charges or due process.

Third, there is no promise that General Sisi can make that he hasn’t already betrayed. He took an oath to uphold the Constitution; he suspended the Constitution. He took an oath to loyally serve in the government; he toppled that government. And in the classic doublespeak of military juntas, he loudly condemned the opposition for dealing with foreign powers, while he was actively seeking the help of Western diplomats as well as the Persian Gulf sheikdoms that largely financed his coup.

Through all this, the United States government has pleaded impotence. Hardly a day goes by without some press officer, analyst or public official pushing the idea that Washington’s influence really isn’t that decisive with the Egyptian generals. This cop-out simply won’t do. America had influence and still does. It was an American official, not an Egyptian one, who informed President Morsi’s staff of the finality of the coup decision.

There is only one way forward in Egypt today. The legitimate government must be restored. Only then can we hold talks for a national reconciliation with every option on the table.

The reinstatement of Mr. Morsi is not about ideology or ego. It is not political grandstanding. It is not a negotiating tactic. It is a pragmatic necessity.

Without this crucial step, without accountability for those responsible for the bloodshed and chaos facing Egypt today, none of the promises of inclusion, democracy, liberty or life can be guaranteed.

What the United States ultimately decides to do with its diplomatic relations or foreign aid is President Obama’s decision. But Americans need to recognize that every passing day solidifies the perception among Egyptians that American rhetoric on democracy is empty; that American politicians won’t hesitate to flout their own laws or subvert their declared values for short-term political gains; and that when it comes to freedom, justice and human dignity, Muslims need not apply.

The regime we are facing in Egypt is not new. It is one with which we are intimately familiar. Its leaders are selling torture, repression and stagnation. We are not buying. And America shouldn’t either.

Amr Darrag is a member of the executive board of the Freedom and Justice Party, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He was Egypt’s minister of planning and international cooperation under President Mohamed Morsi.

Friday, August 16, 2013

WATCH: Egypt: After the 'massacre'

As violence continues to spike in Cairo, we ask what are the risks of ignoring the different groups within the country
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Egypt is reeling from a massive security assault on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. 

Wednesday was the single bloodiest day in Egypt since the 2011 revolution, with hundreds left dead. 

The deaths occurred when Egyptian security forces moved in to clear two pro-Morsi sit-ins in the capital Cairo. The protesters were demanding Morsi's reinstatement as president after he was deposed by the military on July 3. 

A spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood said the group suffered a "strong blow" after the crackdown, which may be remembered as the worst incident of state violence in the country's modern history. 

The health ministry says more than 500 people - including 43 policemen - were killed nationwide, while the anti-coup alliance puts that figure at above 2,600.

Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have called the crackdown a "massacre". 

Elsewhere, and in a worrying sign of growing sectarian tension, churches across the country were attacked and in some cases torched. 

The tragic events in Egypt have drawn condemnation from around the world. The strongest language came from Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who says Egypt's leaders should stand trial for what he called a "massacre".

US Secretary of State John Kerry described the events as "deplorable", while France and Germany summoned Egyptian ambassadors, and Ecuador recalled its envoy from Cairo. 

Denmark has stopped sending development aid to Egypt following the crackdown, while UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the use of violence against the protesters, and Qatar's foreign ministry denounced the way the army dealt with the sit-ins.

The day's violence also had repercussions inside Egypt. The interim government defended the crackdown, saying authorities had no choice but to act. But Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigned, saying he could not be responsible for one drop of blood that could have been avoided. 

So, what are the risks of excluding the Muslim Brotherhood from the political scene in Egypt? And how will the interim government deal with worldwide anger following the crackdown? 

To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, is joined by guests: Marwa Maziad, a columnist for Almasry Alyoum and a specialist on civil-military relations in the Middle East; Carool Kersten, a senior lecturer in the study of Islam and the Muslim world at King's College London; and Zakaryya Abdel-Hady, a political analyst and professor of Islamic thought at Qatar University. 

"They are trying to steal the [January] 25th revolution from us; in the 25th revolution we managed to achieve something huge, which people have the right to [raise] their voice without fear, they have the right to demonstrate, they have the right to make rallies. And during Morsi's regime [of] one year, people were demonstrating throughout the year, nobody was shooting at them, nobody was arresting them."

- Zakaryya Abdel-Hady, political analyst and professor of Islamic thought at Qatar University.


Source: Al Jazeera 

Egypt's Massacre, Viewed From Field Hospital

The dead bodies of Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi lie in a room in a field hospital at the Rabaa Adawiya mosque, where they were camping, in Cairo, Aug. 14, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

By: Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Posted on August 16, 2013.

Blood stained the staircases and corridors. Screams from the injured filled six whole floors, where bodies lay torn apart by live ammunition, birdshot and shrapnel. Hundreds of corpses lay stacked in the main halls and corridors as the doctors' continuous cries for help echoed out while they tried, with minimal capabilities, to save whomever they could before the wounded gasped their last breath.

Hours after security forces stormed the perimeter of Rabia al-Adawiya Square to forcefully disperse the pro-Morsi sit-in, the hospital became the locus of a never-before-seen sight in Egypt.

“Keep your head low and run” came the warning from an individual standing a few meters from the hospital entrance. A sniper from the security forces had been targeting all passersby and visitors to the hospital to prevent the delivery of aid or medicine, which had been depleted inside. From the moment the confrontation started early Wednesday morning, Aug. 14, and until the hospital was overrun and burned, at least eight people were killed in the area, shot by a sniper atop a building facing the hospital entrance.

Following Egypt violence, Canada should halt military exports, says group

– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –

Montreal, August 15, 2013 — In light of the interim Egyptian government’s violent crackdown Wednesday on protesters, CJPME urges the Canadian government to halt military exports to Egypt. “Canadian MPs should press the Egyptian authorities to cease the violence against supporters of former President Mohammad Morsi, and allow peaceful protest,” asserts CJPME President Thomas Woodley. CJPME calls for a pause in Canadian military exports to Egypt as a gesture of condemnation until there is greater demonstrated respect for human rights by the interim Egyptian government.

Early Thursday, the Egyptian health ministry stated that 525 people died in the violence nationwide yesterday. Since this total includes only figures from hospitals, some estimate the death toll to be closer to 2000. On Wednesday, security forces used lethal force to clear out two encampments of pro-Morsi supporters. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), at around 6:45 am security forces surrounded the two Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins, and very soon afterwards began shooting with live ammunition. Media report that riot police, armoured vehicles, bull-dozers, and helicopters helped raze the two encampments.

Despite the documented evidence of the government’s violence, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi defended the crackdown as an essential step toward stability, and praised the military’s “restraint.” Interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim claimed that the protesters had "threatened national security, incited violence and tortured and killed people." Vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei, appointed in July, resigned in protest over Wednesday’s killings, although his political party defended the military’s actions. Yesterday, the military imposed a month-long state of emergency including a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is demanding an independent inquiry into Wednesday’s events, saying that the high numbers of casualties point to “an excessive, even extreme, use of force against demonstrators.” President Barack Obama today canceled joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises, saying US cooperation with Egypt "cannot continue as usual" during the violence and instability.

About CJPME - Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.For more information, please contact Patricia Jean, 438 380 5410

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org 

The whole or parts of this press release can be reproduced without permission.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The U.S. and its allies have been enablers of the grave crimes committed by the Egyptian military.



There has always been a hierarchy to the value of life. Kings mattered more than peasants. Killing continental European colonialists in Africa or the British in India brought the wrath of the empire down on the natives, who were strapped to the cannons and blown to bits by the hundreds. The contemporary era, with its spread of democracy, globalization and greater egalitarianism, raised hopes that all human beings would have equal value. 

But the murder of 2,977 innocents on Sept. 11, 2001, led to the killing of at least 100,000 Muslim civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan. An Israeli life is deemed infinitely more valuable than that of a Palestinian. Our own government in Ottawa makes no bones about caring more about Christians in Egypt and Pakistan than Muslim victims of similar religious persecution there or in Myanmar. When the West does care about Muslims, it does so for the secular “good Muslim,” not the Islamist “bad Muslim.” 

When Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s thrice-elected “Islamist” prime minister, ordered tear gas and water cannons on peaceful protesters in Istanbul, he was duly reviled. But the Egyptian army that has been firing live ammunition into peaceful “Islamist” protesters and killing them by the hundreds in the last month has only been told, politely, of our “concern.” 

On July 11, Ottawa raised just such a pipsqueak “concern.” Stephen Harper’s government was more emphatic as it condemned the shooting death of a Coptic Christian priest near El Arish. “The targeting of religious leaders is unacceptable.” Following the second massacre, July 27, in which about 80 protesters were gunned down, Ottawa was “deeply concerned and appalled” — and fixated on its clarion call for respecting “religious minorities,” namely Coptic Christians. 

Barack Obama was also mostly silent about the two massacres. So was David Cameron. So was much of Europe. They had refused to call the July 3 military coup a coup. In fact, John Kerry passed the perverse judgment that in toppling the elected president Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian army was “restoring democracy.” American annual aid of $1.3 billion was to continue. 

It’s only now after Wednesday’s bloody massacre of pro-Morsi protesters that Obama stirred himself to shed crocodile tears. The U.S. and its allies have been enablers of the grave crimes committed by the Egyptian military as well of the Goebbelsian lies it has been peddling. 

After each official atrocity, the army has under-reported the deaths and blamed the victims, accusing them of “inciting violence,” “hoarding weapons,” “torturing people in public squares,” “fomenting terrorism” and being “a threat to national security.” It has hurled a slew of charges against Morsi — murder, treason, espionage, conspiring with Hamas, attacking and insulting state institutions, etc. It has held him incommunicado, along with several top Brotherhood leaders. It has shut down a dozen pro-Morsi TV stations, with a nary a peep from free speech advocates in the West. 

The U.S., the E.U and others have also been doing the Egyptian army’s bidding by calling on “all sides” to refrain from violence when, in fact, the violence has been almost always one-sided. Western governments and media have also accused Morsi of having been unduly partisan when, in fact, he was far less so than most ruling political parties in democracies. Proportionately, he appointed far fewer dummies than, say, Harper to the Senate, or the Republicans or Democrats named friends and funders to key posts. 

Morsi was inept in the extreme. But he did reach out to his opponents who simply refused to accept their repeated defeats at the polls. 

It has now been credibly reported that the secular anti-Morsi forces formed an unholy alliance with Egypt’s Deep State (the army, the intelligence, the security forces, the police, the interior ministry and its paid thugs, the judiciary and the bureaucracy), along with the beneficiaries of the Hosni Mubarak era (crony capitalists and corrupt politicians) to undermine the Muslim Brotherhood government. They collaborated in mounting mass protests, in a blaze of hateful anti-Brotherhood propaganda by both the state and privately-owned media, which heralded the unproven and unprovable claims that 20 million people had taken to the streets and 22 million had signed anti-Morsi petitions. Post-coup, acute shortages of gas and electricity miraculously disappeared overnight. Law-and-order situations improved in selective neighbourhoods. 

Reportedly in on the plot were the intelligence agencies of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other oil-rich Gulf states except Qatar. They hate the Brotherhood, not so much for its Islamic ideology but the democratic threat it poses to their monarchies. They rewarded the coup with $12 billion in aid. 

The army conveniently claimed that the coup was only a response to the people’s will. In turn, it has been forgiven all its sins — including the virginity tests on women protesters, and the shooting of Coptic demonstrators and running them over with armoured vehicles. 

What we’ve witnessed is “fascism under the false pretence of democracy and liberalism,” said Amr Hamzawy, an Egyptian political activist and former MP. 

All this will not be lost on the Muslim masses in Egypt and elsewhere. There will be a price to pay — we don’t quite know when and where and how. But as American pollster Dalia Mogahed, who has surveyed Muslim societies worldwide, says, it is useful to remind ourselves that “Al Qaeda was conceived in the prisons of Egypt and, contrary to conventional wisdom, not the caves of Afghanistan.” 

Murdering the Wretched of the Earth


Chris Hedges writes: "Our enemy is not radical Islam. It is global capitalism. It is a world where the wretched of the earth are forced to bow before the dictates of the marketplace, where children go hungry as global corporate elites siphon away the world’s wealth and natural resources and where our troops and U.S.-backed militaries carry out massacres on city streets." 

Invitation to participate in a study about support for Muslim couples

The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) was part of a 2006-10 study on Islamic marriage and divorce (now a book, see below). This work seems to have had a real impact on opening up discussion of marriage and divorce in the American Muslim community.

One consequence is that the Institute for Social Policy Understanding (ISPU), which partially funded the original research and published two reports on this topic which have turned into "bestsellers" - see, Understanding Trends in American Muslim Marriage and Divorce: A Discussion Guide for Families and Communities, and Sharia Law: Coming to a Courthouse Near You? --- has now embarked on further research in this area. 

The new study is focusing on the types of assistance, resources and social services which are made available (or not) to Muslim couples. It will investigate what the community could be doing as a matter of best practice to support healthy marriages. The new study is being conducted by a team lead by Amal Killawi. For further information about the new study please see: http://www.ispu.org/portal/77/ourpage.aspx.

If you would be interested in participating in the study, the researchers are looking for focus group participants in the coming months. They are also interested in hearing from anyone who has had an experience of marriage counselling or other social services support and who would be willing to share its benefits, limitations and impact on their own marriage.

If you would like to participate in ISPU's study, please email Amany Killawi at killawia@gmail.com