Saturday, April 29, 2006

Back to the United States

Here am I back again to United States. I have spent the past five weeks in Cairo. Lots to be said about the trip and about my experience living between Egypt and U.S for the last couple of years at the very different levels. Every time I go to Egypt, I see it from a different perspective. I also find new changes.

Lots of sad and promising events have been taking place in Egypt recently. Politics have been heating up in Egypt in an unprecedented pace. Apprehension, fear and anger are in the air among Egyptians. I did not have much time to blog while in Egypt, I tried my best though. However, now I have a lot to blog about.

Blogging is flourishing in Egypt. I had a couple of meetings with some academic researchers who are studying Egyptian blogging and I had my say. I have some nice pics from Egypt, not that much though as I wanted. I guess I was busy talking.

I have enjoyed my trip tremendously. I had a very heavy agenda and I ended up with not doing everything I wanted. It was a successful trip though and so many blog-related arrangements were nailed down for future projects.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Egypt’s Dahab Attacks "for Idiots"

It was not so long until a third city from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt was attacked. Again on the eve of a national day, April 25 known as Sinai Liberation Day, the popular tourist Dahab city was attacked by three explosions, and two of them are believed to be committed by suicide bombers.
The attacks killed more than more than 18 persons and injured at least 80.

This is the third attack in Sinai around Egyptian national days. The 2004 Taba attacks came on October 6 (Army Day). Sharm El Sheikh’s attacks on 2005 were on the eve of July 23 (Revolution Day) and yesterday Dahab attacks took place at the eve of April 25 of 2006. The relationship between these dates and those heinous attacks in Sinai has yet to be interpreted. These three national days have political significance. The message sent here might not be Islamofacist and could hint that the perpetrators are not Islamists.

Tourism industry constitutes a major source for Egypt’s income and a key activity for Egyptian families who earn their living from tourists and popular places like Dahab. The Egyptian State is continuously weakening the structure of the Egyptian society. Tourism economically strengthens the Egyptian families’ economy especially that tourism in Sinai is based on foreigners and not Egyptians.

Egypt is a police state. Security forces and apparatus are considered part and parcel of the Egyptian regime. The Egyptian regime since 1981 enforced the Emergency Law until today after the assassination of President Anwar Al Sadat. The grip of the political security is tightened on the metropolitan areas and not on the vast Sinai Peninsula.

Sinai has a special geographical nature that makes it either easy to target or easy to protect from attacks. With the technological revolution, protection and security should be uncomplicated to survey the area. However, the safe nature of the Sinai Peninsula also makes it very easy for inflators to plant bombs and explosives without tracking or tracing them. That explains the chaotic police investigation and the anarchy of mass arrests of the Egyptian citizens. Due to the war circumstances with Israel, only natives from the Bedouins maintained their homes. Bedouins have extended families along Sinai, Israel and the Palestinian territories. It was very difficult for them to leave their homes. New Egyptian residents went to Sinai to start tourism business, some of them left their families in the different governorates.

Sharm El Sheikh attacks resulted in a random arrest of about 3000 Egyptians from the Bedouins in Sinai, a move that was criticized by most of the human rights groups. The arrests caused a big anarchy between a peaceful community that are living in Egypt and who are not enjoying the privileges of the metropolitan areas in Egypt. Due to the lack of transparent police investigations, many rumors ran in the country accusing the Bedouins of being traitors and conspiring against the country with no proof. The results of arrests did not lead to any definite conclusions.

The first two attacks on Taba and Sharm El Sheikh in 2004 and 2005 proved the failure of the security apparatus in Egypt. The poor investigations, the no results situation that leaves us in complete ignorance about the nature of these attacks and the amount of humiliation received by the Egyptian citizens as a result of the arrests caused huge problem of credibility and confirmed the trust gap between the state and the people and questioned the role of the security forces. The centralization created a gigantic miscommunication between the State and the people that leaves everyone at loss when it comes to answering questions why Egypt is targeted? And who is targeting Sinai in our political national days?

The Middle East region general atmosphere and the uncertainty of the political future of Egypt are inseparable when trying to interpret the Sinai attacks. The Dahab explosions are a set back for the success of the Muslim Brotherhood because it is easy to point to the involvement of Islamists in these crimes.

Political terrorism does not only survive and revive under tyranny and dictatorship but used by totalitarian regimes to maintain their continuation. The unclear security explanation of the Sharm El Sheikh, Taba and Dahab attacks come at the backdrop of new security unrest like the sectarian violence in Alexandria and the due date to renew the emergency law.

Egypt used most of its cards to engage itself in a dialogue with the current U.S. Administration, however it failed. With the rising interest of the U.S. in terrorism after 9/11, many countries found many ways to engage itself with the U.S. through common security interests.

It is true that terrorism is a global phenomenon, however each case and country should be addressed separately one at a time. The terrorism in Iraq is different than that of Hamas and so on…etc. The Sinai attacks cannot be easily incorporated into the terrorism global phenomenon without proper transparent investigations shared with the world and the Egyptian people.

My heartfelt condolences to all the families who lost their dears in these criminal attacks.

Egypt's Red Sea Resort Blasts, 22 Dead, 150 Hurt
Sharm El Sheikh under Terrorist Attack

Monday, April 24, 2006

Egypt's Red Sea Resort Blasts, 22 Dead, 150 Hurt

Three explosions Monday night (Cairo Time) rocked the Egyptian resort city of Dahab at the height of the tourist season, killing at least 22 people, mostly Egyptians, and wounding more than 150 at just one hotel, according to the doctor who runs Egypt's Sinai Peninsula rescue squad.

Dr. Said Essa said he was headed to the scene of the blasts and that his casualty figures were for victims at the el-Khaleeg Hotel only. He said there were casualties from the other explosions but he had no details.

Al-Jazeera television said one of the blasts hit a restaurant, and authorities said more than 20 ambulances and police cars were rushing to the el-Masbat section of the city.
U.S. President George Bush sent his condolences and asserted his support to the Egyptian people but apparently not to the government of Egypt. He said "The United States sends our condolences to the families of those who were killed ...We keep those were injured in our thoughts and prayers and I assure the enemy this — we will stay on the offense, we will not waver, we will not tire, we will bring you to justice for the sake of peace and humanity."

The situation is still unclear. I will be writing shortly to comment on the sad news that comes in a season for holidays; Easter April 23, Sham Al Naseem (Spring festival) April 24, and Sinai Liberation Day April 25.

It is expected though that number of the killed will increase. Victimes are said to be mostly from Egyptians.

From the United States, Gateway Pundit has a round on Dahab's attacks.

Previously: Sharm El Sheikh under Terrorist Attack

Egyptian police Attacks Peaceful Protesters, One Judge Wounded and 15 Detained

One judge was wounded and 15 activists were detained on Monday when Egyptian police broke up a protest in support of judges calling for reforms outside the judges syndicate in Cairo.

Pro-reform judge Mahmud Hamza was hospitalized after being attacked by Egyptian police down town. Unofficial stories said that Hamza was dragged and beaten in the street by security and he was mugged.

Salma, one of the 40 protesters and a member the pro-reform Youth for Change movement said “Plainclothed security tried to remove us by force. They beat some of the protesters up and when judge Mahmud Hamza came down to defend us, he was beaten up too.”

Pro-reform judges started a sit-in on April 19 to support two colleagues, who face disciplinary action after alleging the judiciary helped rig the 2005 parliamentary polls that saw the ruling party retain a firm grip on power.

Judge at the scene, Nagui Derbala, said “Mahmud Hamza is the price the judges are paying for their independence. It is a message from a security service that does not respect the law. Every day there is more proof that there is no independence of the judiciary."

The judges syndicate, which has become one of the most potent symbols of calls for change and reform in Egypt, has campaigned relentlessly over the past year to demand more independence from the executive branch.

Picture: Sign reads in Arabic: "Independent Judiciary=Free country". Protesters said that all signs were stolen in the attack. I am glad I took a picture for the sign.

From yesterday coverage of the judges' protest:
Mubarak is Hanging in Cairo’s Downtown Streets

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mubarak is Hanging in Cairo’s Downtown Streets

For the fourth day, the Egyptian judges’ sit-in is continuing in protest to the regime’s attempts to stifle the judges’ endeavors to separate the judiciary from the strong iron grip of the Egyptian regime and the executive power.

In the latest escalation to foil attempts to liberate Egypt’s judiciary, the Minister of Justice referred judges Hisham Bastawesy and Mahmoud Mekky (cassation court) to a disciplinary council while threatening to oust them from their positions.

Head of the cassation court who is also the head of the higher council for judiciary Fathy Khalifa has started looking into the case filed against Bastawesy and Mekky. Some of the procedures were described by the press as illegitimate.

Judges from Egypt’s different Governorates in Solidarity with Cairo’s Judges
In an unprecedented move today, judges from Egypt’s different Governorates and provinces in solidarity with the judges’ position as well as with Bastawesy and Mekky joined the sit in at the Judges Club in Cairo.

This is one of reasons why today was so special, it gathered different judges from all over Egypt who are ready to stand against the regime of Mubarak.

The sit-in area, in front of the Judges club, is declared a “Liberated Area” for Egypt’s free citizens.

Freedom Tour Guides
Many activists are available free of charge for explaining what is happening there with information on the judges' stance. The moment I stepped in, questions were flooded on me. Who do I represent? I replied I represent myself and I think that’s enough.

Streets are Painted
Very nice statements are painted on the street between the headquarters of the Judges Club and the opposite sidewalk where the sit-in of the activists is taking place. Statements said “Egypt without Mubarak is Beautiful”, “No for the Regime’s Bullying”, “This is a Liberated Area for Egypt Youth”, “Honoring Mubarak by Burying Him”.
Copts Celebrates Easter at the Sit-in
I met some very popular Egyptian Coptic activists. They told me “we left our feast” and they meant the orthodox Easter to be in today’s protest and sit-in, “because is Egypt is more important”. This is so beautiful. I had goose bumps when I heard this. Happy Easter to all my Coptic friends.

Invitation for April 26
I learned today from the protesters that on April 26, wives and relatives of the Egyptian judges will be protesting in black. Anyone who cares about Egypt’s freedom is invited to come and join them in black this day.

Mubarak Hanging
As for the picture, this is one of the protesters and activists from Kefaya movement- the youth wing is hanging a picture for President Mubarak downtown in front of the Judges Club headquarters in Cairo, showing it to all cars that stop in the light traffic.

More Pics from Today
Protesters sitting
Down: White Sign reads "Protesting in solidarity with the Judges against Crimes of Tyranny"
Down: The black sign reads "Liberated Zone, Join Us" Previously about the judges' battle on "Freedom for Egyptians":
Mom for Freedom of Press and Independent Judiciary in Egypt
Egypt judges' Immunity lifted Over Confronting Government For Independence
Denmark Cartoons absent Real Democracy Battle in Egypt
Egyptian Rigged Elections into International Investigation Is this the Promised Democracy?
Growing tension between the Egyptian regime and the Judges....
Honorable Egyptian Judges:TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR SUPERVISING ELECTIONS Referendum of May 25: Great Forgery Day
Denmark's "Buy Danish" lends its place to Egypt's "Judicial Independence flag"

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Egypt's Emergency Law Silver Jubilee

In May, a decision has to be made on the renewal of the Emergency Law, applied in Egypt since 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar Al Sadat. Emergency laws maintained an iron grip on Egypt’s political life and freedoms under President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power since 1981. The President remained in office for the past quarter of a century through a yes/no referendum with a 99% yes results. Only last year, he ran in multi-candidacy presidential elections and he was an inevitable pre-announced winner for the office of the President.

The presidential and the legislative elections were true setbacks for the march of freedom in Egypt and the Middle East. The expected pre-announced results of the presidential elections and the attacks of security and police forces on the voters and the supervising judges were evidence to electoral processes that do not enjoy any transparency or credibility.

Emergency laws were meant to curb the danger of the Islamists or the banned Muslim Brotherhood who were accused of killing President Sadat. In 1990s, Islamists in Egypt committed abhorrent crimes against Egyptians and foreigners in Luxor and Cairo when terrorists opened fire on innocent visiting foreigners and Egyptians working in tourism.
In 2004 and 2005, another two repulsive attacks targeted two important tourist cities in Egypt; Sharm El Sheikh and Taba on the Red Sea where again many Egyptians and foreigners lost their lives.

Apparently, emergency laws did not succeed in curbing the evil of Islamists and terrorists in Egypt. Islamists and terrorism succeeded in targeting important cities and sites in Egypt resulting in the death of dozens.

Islamists and terrorism revived and survived under the oppressive emergency law to all political freedoms. The right to congregation, right to free press, the hard grip of the executive power over the judiciary, the right to establishment of political parties and the lack of freedom for the civil society were all reasons to the flourishing and the victory of terrorism over the freedoms that should be enjoyed by the individuals in an open society.

In 2006, Islamists from the “banned” Muslim brotherhood rose from their place under the shadow to speak on behalf of Egyptians in Parliament after they won 88 seats that represent around 20%.

The claimed and the declared reason for applying emergency laws was banning Islamists after killing President Sadat, however in 2005, Islamists ran in the Egyptian legislative elections that took them to the parliament. The law legalized their “banned” activities to draft legislations.

The world and the international community until this day did not agree on a definition for terrorism, however, the regime of Egypt wants to draft an anti-terror law. The law has to draft a definition. Will the Egyptian regime be able to track terrorists outside the Egyptian territories as the U.S.? Does the regime in Egypt has information that terrorists are operating in Egypt, knowing that Egypt was not transparent about the investigation of the Taba and Sharm El Sheikh attacks that led to the arrest of more than 3000 Egyptians as suspects. Should we understand that Egyptian regime reached a definition for terrorism?

Few days ago, the regime exploded a bubble saying that the ministry of the interior arrested a terrorist organization operating in Egypt and was planning to blow up gas pipelines and tourist sites. Personally, I am not buying it. It is true we are not living in a safe world anymore to rule out the presence or the existence of terrorist networks, however the timing is convenient for renewing the emergency law.

The President said in the official media that the time is not appropriate for lifting the emergency laws. The reason is that time is too short to draft a new anti-terror law, as if the expiry date for the emergency law was only known two weeks ago. He said the new law will take no less than two years. This new law should replace the current emergency law.

Local or municipality elections were postponed for two years because a new law has to be drafted and the president said the time is not convenient and too short to draft it before the local election that was supposed to take place in April.

International pressure on Egypt led to two suspicious elections in 2005, however the Egyptian regime cannot find a better to card to play now other than procrastinating legislations that either can ease political life like local elections and decentralize or draft a replacement to a dreadful law like the emergency law that makes every living Egyptian citizen a suspect and subject to detention.

It is inevitable that emergency law will be renewed in Egypt next month. In 2003, the law was renewed to combat terrorism and narcotics. I wonder what will be the reason for renewing the emergency law in 2006. The past two decades unfortunately answered this question; strengthening Islamists that found their way to parliament and beating and weakening sincere reformists until diminishing them as an unwelcomed phenomenon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Security Solution is No Longer an Option for Copts' Persecution

Last year and this year’s violent incidents in Alexandria proved the failure of the regime and government to bring justice to Egyptian Copts. Hiring an army to protect Copts in Egypt from potential attacks does not solve the issue of equal citizenship and discharging peacefully anti-Coptic sentiments caused by the government’s help to the extremist public and political figures that disseminated hatred among Muslims against Copts over the past few decades. The Egyptian official channels for the last 30 years hosted religious figures on a weekly or daily basis to instill the idea that Copts are the enemies. On Fridays, a popular weekly religious program hosted by a cleric who has no more than a primary education said that we (Muslims) should not shake hands with Copts (probably because they are disbelievers and enemies of Islam).

Yesterday, I was listening to a BBC Arabic program that was hosting Islamic Scholar Mohamed Emara. He said that Copts should stop mentioning Coptic nation or people. On the other hand, Muslims in Egypt do not stop mentioning or talking on behalf of the Islamic nation/world/peoples. His talk was full of racism and hatred. This is the ideology of so many writers who occupy huge spaces on the Egyptian official papers and press and they are propagating anti-Coptic sentiments. The government is allowing them to write hatred with freedom.

Many Egyptians regard Copts as second citizens, a spirit that did not exist before 1952. The closeness or the shadow role of the Muslim Brotherhood with the military regimes until this day helped fuming and augmenting hatred feelings against Copts. The government opened the way for them to occupy the media to marginalize Egyptian Copts as being no partners in the Egyptian society.

The lack of democracy and freedoms in Egypt further led to the marginalization and isolation of Copts. As Islamists won the popular places to speak to the Egyptians with the help of the regime (recently the parliament), their battle became a religious jihady one. Islamists’ first enemy became the non-Muslims in general. Internationally, the enemy is the western civilization, and in Egypt, Copts became the enemy to crush. Regrettably, Copts are easy target in the absence of democracy and freedoms. The centralized dictatorship ruling in Egypt denied Egyptian citizens to enjoy equal rights. The western civilization became the target through organized terrorism operation, a topic I won’t address this post.

The ideology of the 1952 coup d’etats that killed Egypt’s diversity and kicked all Egyptian citizens who were Jewish out of Egypt, denying them their wealth and money, could not get rid of the 10% Copts in Egypt easily. Jewish Egyptians who made their money under Egypt’s free economy system before 1952 were denied their rights and wealth, and some of them went to the airports fleeing to Europe in their bedtime clothes. However with Copts, the ideology used manipulated different forces to make the Copts’ lives in Egypt almost impossible. That explains why so many Egyptian Copts prefer to immigrate and that also explains who so many Copts are active abroad. This is not because they are agents as the regime tries to depict them but because injustice has a reaction. In so many cases, wounds are not easy to be healed.

The Anti-Coptic hatred speeches (in the different media outlets) and religious Friday prayers preaches, together with strict governmental control on culture, art and education, led at the end to full hatred to the Copts. The fact that the government denied Copts any influential posts in the different ministries, police and army made all Egyptians feel that they should remain marginalized because they is the way how they are treated. Over the decades, generation forgot to ask why. The instilled culture became a Coptic citizen has no word in his own country. Muslim activists who are defending Copts’ equal rights are very few and regarded by other Muslims as lunatics, to mention but few Dr. Said El Din Ibrahim, Amin Al Mahdy and Tarek Heggy.

The fact that any Muslim even if he is a door man can turn a room into a corner mosque while denying Christians to build a church except with a presidential decree sent a clear message to all Egyptians that Copts are treated as second class citizens. The government instilled this despicable culture. I want to mention a historical piece of information for those who do not believe that the 1952 regimes instilled an anti-Coptic culture. Egypt was not that centralized before 1952. Wealthy families took care of whole regions in Egypt and not as depicted by the post 1952 superficial movies that they were cruel users. Those families were Copts and Muslims. Many wealthy Coptic families lived in Upper Egypt (South of the country). It was very well known that those families as they built churches, they also built mosques. Same thing for Muslim wealthy families, they built mosques and churches. Worshipping places were not an issue. It was a service that needs to be provided like any other service according to the demand and need without thinking whether it is Christian or Islamic.

The continuous attacks on Copts in the different provinces in Egypt without fair transparent police investigations or fair trials to perpetrators led dormant negative sentiments that are evolving today into bloody violence.

The regime succeeded on turning the Coptic persecution issue into how many churches should be built when it is not a religious rights battle and making people believe it is a battle to defend Islam or Christianity. It is a political issue.

Finally, the solution in my opinion is not further security measures or the renewal of the Emergency Law next May because of the Alexandria violence. The security solution is the option of the totalitarian regimes that want to maintain their ideologies whether Islamization or communism…etc.

For a citizen, regardless of his race, color or religion or no religion, to enjoy a full-fledged citizenship with no persecution or oppression, he or she has to live under a democratic regime and not a rights granting regime whenever it deems so.

God Bless Egypt

Sectarian Clashes Continue in Alexandria for the third day, One Muslim Dies
Muslims and Christians Clash following Churches Attacks
Good Friday Attacks on Coptic Churches in Alexandria
Disturbing News from Alexandria, Egypt
Egyptian church clash injures 12
Two Muslim Women in their Own Words about Religions in Egypt
Al-Azhar objects a Movie on Jesus, And Its Scholars criticizes ...
I am branded as a Coptic Site

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sectarian Clashes Continue in Alexandria for the third day, One Muslim Dies

As the Egyptian official media continue to confirm that the entire incident of Good Friday attacks on churches in Alexandria is because of a mentally ill person, clashes continue between Muslims and Christians there.

Official papers today continued to confirm that the doer is mentally ill person and reported a vague story about another mentally ill person who attacked a mosque in Mansura. The story is meant to cover the sad events of Alexandria.

Today is the second day after Good Friday attacks and clashes are continuing between Christians and Muslims with sticks and stones. Cars are being torched.

The illogical vague explanation and handling of the Egyptian official media and the government to the Alexandria violence is not helping any party. In fact, it leaves lots of unanswered questions and rooms for rumors to flame more violence.

Some other funny official stories blamed Friday violence on Denmark's Muhammed Cartoons. Should we understand that if they were not published Egyptian Copts would have enjoyed equal rights and full-fledged citizenhip? The easiest way to escape taking responsibility and taking responsibility seriously is to lay the blame on others.

The Copts' statements are critical of the Egyptian government handling of the security arrangements last Friday. Statements condemned the lack of responsibility of the police. Their statements overrule the official press statements of many untrue stories about the events. The government resort to security solutions to Coptic persecution problems in Egypt proved its failure after Good Friday attacks.

Today, a Muslim died. Yesterday, Copts buried the first victim of Good Friday attacks, 67, who was stabbed in what Copts called organized terrorist acts.

Muslims and Christians Clash following Churches Attacks
Good Friday Attacks on Coptic Churches in Alexandria
Disturbing News from Alexandria, Egypt
Egyptian church clash injures 12
Two Muslim Women in their Own Words about Religions in Egypt
Al-Azhar objects a Movie on Jesus, And Its Scholars criticizes ...
I am branded as a Coptic Site

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Akef says “Fuck Egypt”

The ambitious “banned” or the non-banned Sunni Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mahdy Akef insulted Egypt and Egyptians by saying in an interview conducted by the popular Rosaelyoussif paper “Toz fy Masr wa ely gabo masr”. “Toz” is not an Arabic word, but it is a word used by Egyptians when they want to decently say fuck something. “Masr” is Egypt in Arabic.

Lawyer Hussein Mahmoud Hussein filed a case of libel and slander against the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mahdy Akef for insulting Egypt and Egyptians on April 12 at Nasr City district in Cairo.

Rosa el Youssif Journalist Said Shoeb interviewed the MB leader on the group’s activities, ideology and on their success after winning 20% of Egypt’s parliament’s seats. Akef surprised everyone by insulting Egypt and Egyptians and using indecent words. The Islamic movement believes and campaigns for “Islam is a Solution” as political slogan Egypt.

Among strange statements this man gave during the interview:

  1. “He welcomes a Malaysian Muslim to govern Egypt”. Let me explain this he means that any Muslim even if he comes from the moon is acceptable than any Christian or Egyptian Copt. His hatred speech against other faiths and non-Muslim Egyptians is very obvious every time he opens his mouth.
  2. He said any Christian (he meant Egyptian Copts) who wants to rule Egypt wants to cause sectarian rifts. Oh yes, democracy is the deed of the western infidels and Egypt is not for all its citizens. Muslims must have priority and supremacy over non-Muslim Egyptians, is that what he meant?

During the interview which Rosa el Youssif has a record of and published; Akef used some derogatory words in Egyptian Arabic that are socially unacceptable. They are difficult to translate for their Egyptian cultural association. But I will mention some for those who speak Arabic; “7’amorgy”, “beta3 neswan”, "toz"…etc.

Egypt’s Penal Law has many articles that condemn using insults or unacceptable words publicly.

Akef’s repulsive interview and statements caused a rift among the Muslim Brotherhood leaderships. A wing led by Mahmoud Habib and Abdel Moneam Abo Al fotouh are asking Akef to apologize, not because they are different, but power competition is surfacing. The second wing is led by the Muslim Brotherhood Mufti, Mohamed Abdulla Al Khateeb. He is against apology because he believes apology will cause a set back to the Islamic movement. Other leaders excused Akef by saying he was joking and that journalist should not have published jokes. Insulting Egypt and Egyptians reveal their allegiance and strategies. Anyway, now it is not their decision to apologize or not, because the Egyptian courts and laws will decide on that.

Finally, I want to add a comment on Akef's statements. They actually explain why it is easy to recruit terrorists? Because, their allegiance is to Islam not to the country and their nationality is Islam not their citizenship. His statements explain why Muslim British citizens went to blow up themselves in Britian's subway. They actually say "Fuck Britian" and please excuse my language. MB's allegiance is to Islam not to Egypt or the Egyptian people. Their thirst for power is not for Egypt but for Islam...and that explains it all.

Source:Rosa El Youssif Paper, April 16, 06, pages 1,3

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Forgot to tell you...

that I was on Toot's top 10 for March and tagged for an interesting post. And you can still vote for me for April's.

Muslims and Christians Clash following Churches Attacks in Alexandria, Egypt

Does the Egyptian Government believe that Egyptian Copts' allegiance is to other countries as the President claimed that all Shiites in Middle East countries allegiance is to IRAN? And, hence they do not need their citizenship rights in their homeland.

If yesterday's attacker is mentally sick, are all those who went out today for clashes with Copts mentally ill? There is a problem and must be addressed. The government and the civil society must work to end the Coptic persecution in Egypt to avoid potential civil war with this growing hatred among Muslims and Copts in Egypt. We should stop burying our heads in the sand.

Today, following yesterday's attacks on churches in Alexandria, clashes erupted between Muslims and Copts in the street after the funeral of the victim who was killed yesterday.

(Reuters) - Witnesses said police fired tear gas on Saturday to stop clashes in Alexandria between Muslims and Christians angered by the killing of an elderly Copt a day earlier by a Muslim.

Two cars were torched, shop windows were smashed and police arrested 15 people.

Hundreds of Christians turned out for the funeral of the 67-year-old man. His assailant wounded five other people in the knife attack on worshippers in two churches.

Thirty people were wounded in Saturday's fighting, medical and police sources said. Rocks and sticks were used in the clashes, which the state news agency MENA said started after the funeral.

Tensions between Egypt's Christians and Muslims occasionally boil over into violence. In 1999, 22 people where killed in sectarian strife in the southern village of Kosheh.

An Interior Ministry source said the 25-year-old man who carried out Friday's attack said he was taking revenge for insults to the Prophet Mohammad, apparently a reference to cartoons of the Prophet published mainly in European newspapers. The authorities said the attacker was mentally ill.

But Christian demonstrators in Alexandria said the authorities were trying to make excuses for what some Copts saw as increasing attacks on Christians.

"We want justice. Christ is the winner," they chanted as they marched through the city on Egypt's northern coast.

"Why can't we live in peace?" read a banner held by mourners at the funeral. "No to oppression," read another.

Three people died in Alexandria in clashes with the police in October during protests by Muslims over a church play which they said was offensive to Islam.

Coptic Christians comprise between 5 and 10 percent of Egypt's 73 million people, most of whom are Sunni Muslim.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday Attacks on Coptic Churches in Alexandria

Sectarian Violence one more time in Alexandria

Worshippers at three Christian churches came under attack from knife-wielding assailants during Mass Friday. Police said one worshipper was killed and more than a dozen wounded in the simultaneous attacks in the northern city of Alexandria.

The killed victim was indentified as Naser Atta Gergis. Witnesses on said on TV stabbers were running after worshippers, among them were children who were protected by their parents. Egyptian Christians complained that the security's first reaction was so neutral and that it did not interfer for protection.

News reports said that more churches were targetted, however the police foiled the organized timely attackes on the churches.

Egyptian TV reporterd that the Governor of Alexandria said one of the attackers was an ex-police officer who is mentally disturbed. This is so repulsive. The government of Egypt is the government of excuses. Any incident that happens in Egypt and denied any logical or objective explanation is blamed on mentally-disturbed people...

Hundreds of Christians gathered in angry protest outside the Coptic Christian churches, and witnesses said clashes erupted between Christians and Muslims.

Initial police reports said a total of 17 people were injured: 10 at the Saints Church in downtown Alexandria and three at the nearby Mar Girgis Church. A third attacker wounded four worshippers at a church in Abu Qir, a few miles to the east.

One worshipper was killed and at least two others were in serious condition, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The attack comes on what is Good Friday to many of the world's Christians. However, Egypt's Coptic Christians, and other followers of the Greek Orthodox church, celebrate the holiday a week later.

When I hear about simultaneous string of attacks on civilians in Iraq by timely suicide attacks, we call it terrorism. These string of attacks in Alexandria on worshippers, I have no other description for it but terrorism, terrorizing innocent citiznes. It is shocking for me, because when I read local media and I hear Islamic and non-Islamic figures the only thing they say "we want to show the tolerant face of Islam". Are these attacks what they mean by Islam's tolerance?

Disturbing News from Alexandria, Egypt
Egyptian church clash injures 12
Two Muslim Women in their Own Words about Religions in Egypt
Al-Azhar objects a Movie on Jesus, And Its Scholars criticizes ...
I am branded as a Coptic Site

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sudanese Islamic leader Revolutionize Islam

Sudanese Islamic Leader Dr. Hassan Al Turabi gave new statements and released some new fatwas (religious opinions/edicts) that blew up many of what is believed to be basics or unquestionable issues in Islam, many related to the usurped righted of women.

In Islam, Muslim women are not allowed but to marry a Muslim man or a man who has converted to Islam. On the other hand, Muslim men are allowed to marry any woman from any faith with no restrictions.

Dr. Al Turabi, a party leader, said that a Muslim woman is allowed to marry a Christian or a Jew and not necessarily a Muslim. He asserted that forbidding her from marrying a man from another faith is aimed at dragging women backward. He added that Islamic Shariaa (Islamic jurisdiction) does not provide any restrictions for women to marry any man from another faith. He said that it was forbidden during war when Muslims were fighting with other armies. He said that when the reason is gone, the restriction is lifted.

Dr. Al Turabi, 74, in a seminar at the headquarters of the opposition Al Umma party said that women have the right to lead prayers. Current Muslim clerics forbid women from leading the prayers. Al Turabi said, if she has more knowledge, she has the right to lead the prayers. The criterion is the knowledge and not the gender.

He said that Prophet Muhammed permitted one of his followers who was a knowledgeable Muslim woman to lead the prayers at her home that included all men. He also cited the wife of the prophet, Aisha, as a model.

Al Turabi, PhD, said in this seminar entitled “The Role of Women in Establishing Good Governance” that women’s testimony at courts is equal to men. In Islam, one man’s testimony is equal to two women. Al Turabi denied this and said this is meant to go back to the dark ages and has nothing to do with Islam. He challenged anyone who could bring evidence that this is true.

He also refuted the idea of the Hijab, headscarves. He said that the Hijab is applied against the misinterpretation of some Quran verses and cannot be generalized on all the generations. He said that headscarves were made for the wives of prophet Muhammed not for all women.

Al Turabi called upon all women to invade politics, innovative, intellectual and sports domains and get all her rights and be an active participant in drawing strategies and stipulating legislations. He also attacked the Sudanese government and said the current regime does not enjoy any governance that is based on freedom, transparency and accountability and democratic participation.

Al Turabi said we living in Sudan in an age of corruption and there is a need for family and society reform and women’s inclusion. He emphasized the need for an election law that provides the participation of women so that they can play a role in political parties, elections and leadership positions.

Al Turabi also said that alcohol is not forbidden by Islam as agreed by most of Islamic clerics. He said that alcohol is only forbidden when drinking becomes an aggression. Practicing Muslims do not drink alchohol. Al Turabi's article in Arabic

Sunday, April 09, 2006

President Mubarak Sours Egypt's Relations with Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iran

President Hosni Mubarak in a televised interview with the Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV said yesterday Iraq is in the middle of a civil war that threatened the Middle East and that Iraq's and Arab Shiites' allegiance is to Iran, hinting to Iran's influence in Arab countries.

Mubarak said there are Shiites in all these countries (of the region), significant percentages, and Shiites are mostly always loyal to Iran and not the countries where they live."

In Iraq, Shiite Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, flanked by President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and Adnan al-Pachachi, a Sunni and the parliament's acting speaker said the comments have upset Iraqi people who come from different religious and ethnic backgrounds and has astonished and discontented the Iraqi government.

The statement read by Jaafari said Sunday "We are astonished that Egypt identifies Iraq's security problems as a civil war. Our people are still far away from any sectarian conflict or a civil war."

Expressing his anguish at Mubarak's statements, Talabani said these "accusations against our Shiite brothers are baseless and we have asked our foreign minister to talk to Egypt about this."

Around 90 percent of Iran's nearly 70 million people are Shiites who make frequent pilgrimage to Iraq which is burial place of six of 12 revered Shiite Imams (religious leaders).

There are also significant Shiite populations in Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

In Kuwait, Shiite MPs and clerics have demanded an official apology from President Mubarak over his controversial comments about their loyalty to Iran..

MP Hassan Jowhar told a press conference in parliament attended Sunday by three of five Kuwaiti Shiite MPs "We are not begging for certificates of loyalty to our countries from Mubarak or others. These are irresponsible statements... and only serve to incite sectarian rifts. Nothing can satisfy Shiites except a clear official apology from President Mubarak..."

Almost one-third of Kuwait's native population of one million are Shiite. The leader of the Congregation of Muslim Shiite Scholars in Kuwait, Sayed Mohammad Baqer al-Mahri, said Shiites living in the Gulf were loyal to their countries.

In Iran, Tehran on Sunday insisted it was using its influence to stabilise Iraq after President Mubarak expressed alarm about Shiite Iran's sway in the Arab world.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters "It is evident that the Islamic Republic of Iran is only interested in seeking security and stability in Iraq, and the region."

Blogging Mubarak:
Mubarakism, Mubarak: majority of Shia Muslims more loyal to Iran than their own states

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Anti-Jihady Writer Sayed Al Qumni is Back to Writing

Last July, I wrote about Sayed Al Qumni's decision to divorce his pen and stop writing after receiving death threats from terrorist group operating in Egypt.

I was checking the Middle East Transparent site two days ago, a site known as a hub for all progressive liberal Middle East writers, I found an article for Al Qumni. I was so delighted to find Al Qumni's article, an Egyptian writer known for his enlightening progressive anti-jihady and anti-Muslim fundmentalists and extremists writings.

He is back with a great article on the Muslim brotherhood's dirty history in Egypt. Al Qummi is revealing in his article all the lies of Egypt's islamists who are hiding and benefiting from the democracy process. He is historically proving that Islam never had democracy in its entire history and that circulation of power was always done either by poision, dagger or sword and that Caliph or Amir Al Mo''mean was to rule for life until his killed or betrayed.

He is also relating the history of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, shedding light on the done deals between the Egyptian regime and MB along their history. Regrettably, the article is in Arabic and it is so unfortunate that the Western world can hear the extremists and not be able to read such enlightning progressive forward Egyptian thinkers.

I hope he is really back and that this is not a leaked article for him because there is no official announcement on his return except a welcome note by Pierre Akel from ME Transparent.

Previously on Al Qumni's resignation: Terrorist attack on freedom of expression in Egypt

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

History made in Kuwait, Women go for their Rights!

Women made history in Kuwait on Tuesday by voting and running for office for the first time in a local by-election after the conservative Gulf state granted them suffrage last year.

Polls opened for the vote to fill a single seat in the 16-member Municipal Council. The rest of the members were elected or appointed last year. Some 28,000 voters, including 16,000 women, are eligible to cast ballots for the six men and two women standing.

Last May, parliament passed a government-sponsored bill granting suffrage to women who had fought for their political rights for more than four decades.

Tuesday's election paves the way for women to take part in 2007 parliamentary polls, the first since Kuwait's new ruler, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, took office this year after the death of his half-brother.

Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah said in remarks published on Tuesday that the political participation of women would boost Kuwait's international standing.

And while visiting a polling station with first female cabinet minister, Planning Minister Massouma al-Mubarak and members, the Prime Minister said yesterday: "We say to Kuwaiti women 'God bless you'. You are welcome to participate in all spheres of life."

I predict that between five to ten years Kuwaiti women will get rid of their head scarves to bring a new leading liberal progressive experience to the Gulf region states. Congratulations to all Kuwaiti women who participated in yesterday's voting process!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Clash of Civilizations in Egypt, Taliban is Coming!

Egypt’s Grand Mufti (the Sheikh who is responsible for releasing all fatwas and top Islamic jurist) Ali Gomaa issued a fatwa (religious opinion/edict) few days ago that forbids Egyptian Muslims from owning or displaying statues at their home because it is un-Islamic according to a “Hadith” (Prophet’s saying). The controversial Qatar-based Islamic scholar, Yussef al-Qaradawi joined the Mufti.

The Mufti who is appointed by the President represents the official line of the country and that tells you how secular we are evolving to be, a future Taliban state.

The Fatwa does not rule out:
  • The demolition of all pharaonic civilization heritages represented in the thousands of statues and Luxor and Aswan temples and others scattered all over the country. Those temples for those who did not visit them have huge statues for ancient Egyptian Kings and Queens.
  • Boycotting all sculpture artists and closing down arts colleges in the country for teaching students art. I will have to boycott all my friends and family members who took art as a profession.
  • Getting rid of any foreign heritage in the Egyptian houses. Many Egyptian families since more than two centuries still take pride in inheriting some pieces of art that came to Egypt from Europe. Those pieces are extremely precious and invaluable.
  • Treating us as insane retarded citizens with no brains who will take the first opportunity worship statues for anything in which we can undo everything Prophet Muhammed did when he forbid the people of Mecca from worshipping statues. Egyptians do not have the desert culture, we have the civilization of the Nile valley that inspired Egyptians with all forms of beauty along the centuries of history despite all difficulties.
I have read in history books, when the nature called a desert man and he wanted to clean himself he would rub with a stone or sand to clean themselves. Five thousands years ago, ancient Egyptians were dying their hair and using perfumes. Contexts should be in place.

Today, in the 21 century, the desert culture which had never had any appreciation to art or any form of art in the first place, except for poetry, still wants to impose its traditions on us.

According to the Fatwa:
It is ok now for my parents to ask my brothers to go for a jihad trip to Luxor or Aswan to sabotage and destroy the statues of the temples because they are against Islam. As a domestic creature being a woman who is not supposed to go out with men in their jihad trip, I will help mom in taking care of all the statues at home.

I need to say the “F” word here, excuse my language. Oh and by the way, I do not think Taliban is coming and I think it is already here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

For democracy and freedom to take over in the Middle East blood has to be shed?

The Egyptian liberal Al Wafd party headquarters in Dokki was stormed yesterday by the 71 year old disposed leader and last September presidential runner Nomaan Gomaa with 60 armed thugs and gang members.

Gomaa who was dethroned last January by the reformists of Al Wafd leaderships on allegations of hidden agenda and conspiring with the current regime of Egypt under President Hosni Mubarak that does not spare a moment to stifle liberal reformers for the best interest of the ruling National Democratic party and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The current regime which is continuously containing rising movements calling for freedom of the press, independent judiciary and the formation of liberal parties that can compete with the Islamist movement of the Muslim Brotherhood, gave protection to Nomaan Gomaa. Egypt’s General Attorney ordered his return as a leader to the party following his disposition last January which is considered blatant intervention in independent parties affairs.

Yesterday, the disposed leader of Al Wafd party, together with 60 armed loyalists stormed the headquarters of the party claiming seizer of the party. Gomaa and his loyalist opened fire on the party’s journalists while working wounding at least one of them.

The 10-hour clash ended with the arrest of Nomaan Gomaa and his failure to reclaim control of the party headquarters. The arrest of Gomaa saved him from the angry members of the party who were standing with the acting party leader outside the headquarters in shock as Nomaan Gomaa opened fire on his opposition that inhured 23 and killed one. Gomaa and his loyalits did not leave the party before setting fire in the Al Wafd party headquarters.

The acting party leader Mahmoud Abaza prominent member of the party Munir Fahkry Abdel Nur complained that the police looked idly on as Gomaa and his supporters stormed the compound. Nur said "There were 50 policemen this morning and all they did was phone for ambulances as they looked idly on and Gomaa fired his gun.” Abaza said "It's an act of madness. Someone who is mentally sane does not open fire on journalists simply trying to do their work."
Gunshots were fired as Gomaa and his gang removed employees of the party and of its official newspaper. Witnesses said Gomaa himself fired shots at Wafd journalists.

Outside the entrance to the party headquarters, Abaza supporters scattered old campaign posters of Gomaa on the muddy ground and shouted anti-Gomaa slogans as they trampled the pictures.

Imagine which is far-fetched thought, that this Nomaan Gomaa won last September’s presidential elections, the result is another gangster ruling regime. This man has a PhD degree in law and apparently he believes in nothing but usurpation of power. I have no idea how Egypt reached this level political moral decomposition and decay. Al Wafd party history before the 1952 military coup d’etats is a source of pride to all free Egyptians regardless of their political inclinations.

Egypt reports two new human cases of bird flu, that make them Seven

Egypt reported two new human cases Sunday of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza which has already killed two Egyptians and infected four others in recent weeks.

Egypt's Health Minister Hatem al-Gebali told reporters at Cairo airport that the infected persons were two sisters aged 18 months and six years from the northern Nile Delta governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh.

He said "They had been playing with infected poultry... They were given all necessary medical assistance and their condition is stable...Medical testing has established that no other members of their family were infected."

This brings to seven the number of human cases reported in Egypt, two of which proved fatal.

In Jordan, an Egyptian worker was also identified Friday as having been infected by the deadly virus, the kingdom's first human case.

Egypt Reports Four Human Cases of Bird Flu
BREAKING: First Human Death from Bird Flu in Egypt
Bird Flu in Egypt: 24 Provinces out 26 confirmed Cases
Poultry Breeders Demonstrate in Cairo Over Bird Flu Boycotts
Mass Slaughter, State of Emergency Declared Over Avian Flu Spread ...
New Suicide Bombers, Egypt Attacked..

Arab League Summit Guarantees Amr Moussa’s Salary for next Year

The Arab League Summit held in Khartoum dealt another blow to the Arab nationalists; one Arab world day dreamers.

Ten of the 22 leaders did not bother to show up in Khartoum, and most of those who did were gone by Wednesday morning, before the summit had officially concluded.

Saudi Arabia delivered the final blow to the Arab League summit in Khartoum this week. To the apparent dismay of Amr Moussa, the league's secretary-general, Ghazi al-Gosaibi, the labour minister representing King Abdullah, declared that the kingdom would not host the yearly gathering next year, leaving it to be held in Egypt, home of the league.

No one knew what had prompted the Saudis to decline to host next year's summit. Some diplomats speculated that the prospect of greeting Col Gadaffi in Riyadh was too disagreeable. The colonel and the Saudi king exchanged insults during a 2003 summit. Relations have deteriorated since then amid allegations of a Libyan plot to assassinate the Saudi leader.

There were the usual theatrics of Libyan leader Muammer Gadaffi, who walked out because he could not address the open session. Lebanon, where the anti-Syrian parliament majority is trying to remove the pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud, sent two competing delegations which refused to sit together and lobbied at cross-purposes. The president and the prime minister, Fouad Siniora, openly clashed in a closed session.

Not only that Arab leaders were discussing international issues but the head of the Arab League called on Arab states last Tuesday to work toward "entering the nuclear club" by developing atomic energy — a new concern for a Western world already trying to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions and fretting about a possible Mideast arms race.

Arab League resolution pledged only vague support for the Sudanese government at the outset of a summit that does not commit Arab members to any financing of African Union (AU) forces, as the US had hoped for.

Iraq, Syria, Darfur and Palestinian territories were on the Summit's agenda but those issues are no longer considered Arab, they are rather international and handled through the United Nations in coordination with the international communitty. Why do Arab leaders pretend to have a say on issues that they had never been a key players in such issues?

Arab states refuse pressuring Syria, sending Ambassadors to Iraq or peace keeping troops, and supporting and sending U.N. international peace keeping troops in Darfur. Israel is taking unilateral initiatives by deciding on drawing Israel's borders by 2011.

I guess the only decision that the Arab leaders were able to take was the renewal of the Arab nationalists mouthpiece Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa's term.

Israel’s Elections 2006

There is no doubt that Israel's elections is one of the most important elections in the Middle East if not the only one. Other Arab-like elections, voters are killed or wounded or peacefully have their votes rigged. Israel's elections is yet another reminder for the failure of the Arab states and leaderships to establish democracy over half a century of military ruling. In less than 60 years, a tiny country became the only democracy in a vast region, mostly populated with youth. Iraq now with the support of the U.S. and international community is taking leading steps towards democracy. At least, Iraqis have a start.

While Arab leaderships are convening in Khartoum to decide on international issues, with the absence of 10 Arab leaders, to bring more failure to the Arab affairs scene, Israel was winning another democracy battle and taking unilateral initiatives as usual. The Israeli people voted for their new government and members of parliament. Winning Kadima leader and acting PM Ehud Olmert announced Israel’s initiative to establish permanent borders for Israel by 2010, leaving no room for any Palestinian or Arab initiatives.

The newly-established party Kadima won 28 seats in the Knesset, opening the way for a coalition government. Kadima’s victory is seen somehow historical. Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Likud and the Labor parties were alternating governments in Israel.

As an Egyptian, I find that easiness and smoothness of handing over power from Coma-stricken Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is phenomenal. I cannot imagine that any Middle Eastern country doing so that easily. The fact that Sharon disappeared from the political scene does not mean that the political power or scene in Israel should diminish.

On the other hand, regrettably, Arab leaders in the Middle East work all the time to prove that they are indispensable and that their replacement will always mean instability and chaos or extremist Islamic movements. Despite Israel’s low population in comparison to many neighboring countries, there is always an efficient alternative in Israel.

Congratulations to the Israeli People on their democracy and freedom.