Inside Jihad

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Frontpage, by Danusha V. Goska, August 24, 2015:

Here’s my four-sentence review of Dr. Tawfik Hamid’s new book Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works; Why It Should Terrify Us; How to Defeat It. Buy this book. Read this book. Refer to this book. Share this book.

I’ve read and reviewed counter-jihad classics by bestselling experts including Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Bostom, Wafa Sultan, Brigitte Gabriel, Mosab Hassan Yousef, and Phyllis Chesler. I think highly of each. This is how good Inside Jihad is. If someone said to me, “I want to read just one book about jihad.” I’d give that reader Dr. Hamid’s book.

Inside Jihad is brief. Hamid’s style is direct and fast-paced. He says what he needs to say without sensationalism, emotionality, literary ambition, or apologies. He pulls no punches.

Tawfik Hamid was born and raised in Egypt, the most populous Middle Eastern country. He was raised Muslim. Hamid’s mother was a teacher; his father, a surgeon and a private atheist who taught him to respect Christians and Jews. The family observed the Ramadan fast but had little other religious observance. Arabic is his first language and he has studied the Koran in the original Arabic. From 1979-82, he was a member of Jamaa Islamiya, a terrorist group. He met Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al-Qaeda.

Hamid grew up under Gamal Abdel Nasser’s pan-Arab socialism. Nasser wanted to modernize Egypt. He suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, executed one of its leaders, Sayyid Qutb, and curtailed travel to and from Saudi Arabia, fearing Wahhabi influence.

The 1973 Oil Embargo sparked a revival of Islam. Muslims concluded that Allah rewarded Saudi Arabia for the Saudis’ strict religious observance. Allah’s reward was the Saudi ability to humble the United States.

Islamization in Egypt “started mildly enough.” Hamid warns the reader to pay careful attention to slow Islamization. He says that the same methods that were used in Egypt are now being used in the West. “The more we surrender” he warns “the more Islamists will demand.”

The camel’s nose under the tent was something few could object to: individual prayer. Previously, if an employee interrupted his workday to perform one of Islam’s mandated five daily prayers, it was perceived as bizarre. Now it was admirable.

Another straw in the wind: the hijab. In school photos taken before the 1970s, many Egyptian girls are without hijab. After America’s humbling in the oil shock, more and more girls began to wear hijab. Men stopped wearing gold wedding bands; gold was deemed “un Islamic” for men. More toxic Islamizations, including Jew-hatred, followed. Imams preached that Jews are monkeys and pigs and that they poisoned Mohammed.

Islamization on campus also began in an innocuous way: Islamists used the moments before class began to talk about Islam. One day, the Christian professor of one class said that it was time for discussion of Islam to stop and the academic hour to begin. The Islamists called the professor an infidel and broke his arm. “The Christian students were terrified,” Hamid reports.

“I remember the first time I looked at a Christian with disdain,” Hamid reminisces. He was reading a required textbook. The book told him that Mohammed said, “I have been instructed by Allah to declare war and fight all mankind until they say ‘No God except Allah and Mohammed is the prophet of Allah.'” Hamid, who had previously had Christian friends, turned to a Christian student and said, “If we applied Islam correctly, we should be doing this to you.”

Jamaa Islamiya actively recruited medical students like Hamid. It took six months for Hamid to become “sufficiently indoctrinated.”

Hamid details several lures that recruiters used to bring young people into their movement:

  • fear of hell,
  • a demonization of critical thinking,
  • a sense of superiority over non-Muslims,
  • suppression of any emotional life outside of Islamism,
  • suppression of sexual expression,
  • a promise of sex for jihadis,
  • and upholding of Mohammed as the perfect example, beyond criticism.

Author Don Richardson estimates that one in eight verses in the Koran mentions Hell. By contrast, the Old Testament mentions Hell once in every 774 verses, and it is never described as graphically as it is described in the Koran. Hamid quotes Islamists using many Koranic passages that vividly describe Hell to terrorize potential members: “garments of fire shall be cut out for them … burning water will be poured over their heads causing all that is within their bodies as well as the skins to melt away … they shall be held by iron grips; and every time they try in their anguish to come out of it, they shall be returned and told ‘Taste suffering through fire to the full!'” Infidels in Hell will eat thorns and drink scalding water as if they were “female camels raging with thirst and disease.” Their intestines will be cut to pieces.

Another method used to Islamize recruits was “al-fikr kufr” – “one becomes an infidel by thinking critically.”

Recruiters flattered recruits, telling them that they were superior to non-Muslims. “Take not Jews and Christians for friends,” they quoted from Koran 5:51. Jews are monkeys and pigs: Koran 5:60. Those who worship Jesus are infidels: Koran 5:17. Do not offer the greeting “As-salamu alaykum,” or “peace be with you,” to Christians or Jews; whenever you meet Christians or Jews in a road, force them to its narrowest alley: Sahih Muslim. Muslims who did not carry out jihad were also inferior.

Terror recruits’ emotional outlets were cut off. They were forbidden from creating or consuming music, dance, or visual art. They were discouraged from having sex, but lured with promises of great sex in paradise. The houris – dark-eyed virgins – are graphically described in Muslim literature as very soft, without complaint, and easily satisfied. Houris regain their virginity immediately after sex. Men are promised organs that never go limp. Mohammed, recruits were assured, could have sex with eleven women in an hour.

Finally, the example of Mohammed himself was not to be questioned. Mohammed married a six-year-old. He raped war captives, in one case immediately after decapitating the captive’s brother and father and after she had witnessed her mother being carried off also to be raped. Mohammed approved of the dismemberment of Um Kerfa, a poetess who criticized him. Mohammed is the “perfect example, worthy of emulation.” Muslims today must unquestioningly approve these behaviors.

Hamid’s fellow extremists were aware that Muslim countries were no longer in the cultural forefront. Islam had spread as far as Spain and India in only the first century after Mohammed’s death. Terror recruits believed that early Islam’s success was caused by strict adherence to Islamic doctrine. They believed that their strict observance could bring back Islam’s early dominance.

Some wonder how women could be recruited into a movement that keeps them in an inferior position in relation to men. Hamid clarifies: Muslimahs were told that they would be superior – to infidel women.

Hamid expounds uncompromisingly on the power and importance of hijab. He insists that when prominent Westerners such as Nancy Pelosi and Laura Bush travel to Muslim countries and wear hijab, they are making a grave error. Hijab is not “a neutral, or merely traditional, fashion statement.” Hijab’s purpose “is not modesty or to encourage observers to focus on a Muslim woman’s personality.” Hijab exists to proclaim “deep Islamic doctrinal connections to slavery and discrimination. Western women who cover themselves are unwittingly endorsing an inhumane system.” Hijab’s purpose, Hamid argues persuasively, is to create a society where superior free Muslimahs are visually distinct from inferior infidel slave women.

Islamists “despise women who did not wear hijab. We considered them vain … we believed they would burn in Hell.” Further, “the hijab serves to differentiate between slave girls and women who are considered free … it creates a feeling of superiority among the women who wear it.” The Koran promises that women who wear hijab will not be “molested.” Women without hijab are slaves and can be raped without guilt.

Australia’s foremost Muslim cleric restated this Islamist position in 2006. In Sydney, fourteen Muslim men gang-raped non-Muslim women. Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali said that it was the victims’ fault. “If you take out uncovered meat” and cats eat it, the cats are not to blame. Women possess “igraa,” “the weapon of enticement.”

Hamid emphasizes that hijab is both vanguard and emblem of Islamic supremacy. During their 1953 meeting, the first thing Sayyid Qutb asked Nasser to do was to force women to wear hijab. A YouTube video documents this conversation. In the video, Nasser is speaking to a large assembly. When he repeats Qutb’s demand, the crowd laughs. One wag shouts out, “Let him wear it!” Nasser points out that Qutb’s own daughter does not wear hijab. The crowd laughs even more, and bursts into applause. This video is at least fifty years old. It is a reminder that fifty years ago, countries like Egypt and Iran were modernizing. Women, in cities at least, could be seen in public in miniskirts and without hijab.

Hamid reports that the Muslim Brotherhood does not announce its end goal openly. “They pose as peacemakers … The Muslim Brotherhood will accept circumstances that offend their beliefs – temporarily – if doing so will advance their goals.” They will – temporarily – permit western dress for women and alcohol consumption. This is all part of taqiyya. The Muslim Brotherhood has a four stage plan: at first, merely preach. Then, move on to participation in public life. Next, consolidate power “while faking legitimacy.” Finally, enforce sharia.

A few turning points turned Hamid away from Islamism, for example, when a fellow terror recruit described his plot to bury alive an Egyptian police officer.

Hamid had been studying the Bible so that he could better debate Christians. Jesus’ words haunted him. “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” He asked himself, what profit to Islam if it subjugated the entire world but lost its soul? “Exposure to the Bible was crucial in helping me question the violent aspects of Salafist teaching.”

His medical studies also gave him pause. “I wondered if the divine DNA molecule was violent. Did it attempt to conquer the rest of the cell? Did it try to force other cellular components to behave like itself? It did not. Rather, it worked harmoniously within an organism to create and sustain life.”

The clincher for Hamid was “the existence of alternative forms of Islamic teaching.” Hamid met Muslims called “Quranics,” who reject the hadiths. The Quranics “stood against killing apostates, against stoning women for adultery, against killing gays. They viewed the Islamic Conquests as immoral and senseless.” The Quranics “allowed me to think critically.” “If this alternative sect had not been available, it would have been much more difficult for me to resist jihadism.”

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Egypt’s Christians in the Shadow of the Muslim Brotherhood

Christian Coptic Priest Father Samuel reacts as he stands  inside the burned and heavily damaged St. Mousa church in Minya, Egypt . Dozens of churches were burned as well as businesses and homes during a surge of violence against Egypt's Christian minority after security forces raided two Islamist protest sit in camps on August 14.(Photo by Heidi Levine/Sipa Press)./LEVINE_1327.21/Credit:LEVINE/SIPA/1308301358

Christian Coptic Priest Father Samuel reacts as he stands inside the burned and heavily damaged St. Mousa church in Minya, Egypt . Dozens of churches were burned as well as businesses and homes during a surge of violence against Egypt’s Christian minority after security forces raided two Islamist protest sit in camps on August 14.(Photo by Heidi Levine/Sipa Press)./LEVINE_1327.21/Credit:LEVINE/SIPA/1308301358

Washington Free Beacon, by Daniel Bassali, Aug. 11, 2015:

In the nearly five years of turmoil that have followed the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, no group in Egypt has suffered more than the 15 million Coptic Christians. Both a religious and ethnic minority, the Copts are descended from the native population of Egypt who lived and ruled there from the time of the pharaohs until the Roman conquest in 31 B.C. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East today.

Copts have long been the target of discrimination and persecution in the majority-Arab nation. But this ancient people faced a terrifying new prospect in 2012: Muslim Brotherhood rule.

After Mubarak was ousted, the violence began almost immediately. Churches and schools were burned; peaceful protestors were massacred. When parliamentary elections were held nine months later, they were swept by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties. When Mohamed Morsi won the presidential election in May 2012, the party’s victory looked complete. The same year, Morsi gave himself unlimited powers and the party drafted a new constitution inspired by Sharia law.

Morsi benefitted from the organizational advantage of the Muslim Brotherhood. Backed by imams preaching the benefits of religious rule, the previously banned political party was able to defeat the fractured coalitions of the pro-West, liberal, and secular candidates.

“They used thugs to carry out political intimidation against Christians,” a former member of Egyptian Parliament told the Washington Free Beacon. Chants celebrating the Brotherhood victory echoed through the streets of Cairo. “Morsi won! Copts out!”

FILE - In this May 8, 2014 file photo, Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian court sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsi to death, Saturday, May 16, 2015,  over  a 2011 mass prison break.. (AP Photo/Tarek el-Gabbas, File)

FILE – In this May 8, 2014 file photo, Egypt’s ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian court sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsi to death, Saturday, May 16, 2015, over a 2011 mass prison break.. (AP Photo/Tarek el-Gabbas, File)

During Morsi’s rule, Christians were murdered and tortured by the hundreds. Attacks and abductions of Christian children spiked significantly. “Most Americans do not know how vicious and bloody the Muslim Brotherhood is,” Ahmed, a 24-year old secular Muslim, said. “They really can’t understand.”

Pope Tawadros II, Egypt’s Coptic Christian leader, criticized Morsi for negligence after six Christians were killed when police and armed civilians besieged Egypt’s largest cathedral. “We want actions, not words,” the Pope said.

Public accusations of blasphemy also became ubiquitous. A Facebook post interpreted as undermining Islam could bring a mob of fundamentalists with rocks and Molotov cocktails to the homes of Christians, surrounding them with families trapped inside. Sham trials with no legal representation would follow. Anti-Christian terrorism was not punished, but the wrong words often landed Copts in prison, forcing the church to make public apologies and families to leave their towns and villages.

Lydia, an activist who provides relief supplies to torn Christian communities in Upper Egypt, and who requested that only her first name be used to preserve her safety and that of her colleagues, witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood offer the very poorest Egyptians social services that bought their allegiance. “When you have no food or money, you will listen to anyone who gives you the resources your family desperately needs,” Lydia said. “They brainwash the illiterate with extremism so they hurt Christians.”

Still, Morsi’s authoritarian rule—rewriting the constitution, disbanding the Egyptian parliament, tossing potentially obstructive judges into jail—was not long lived. Barely a year after he assumed office, a reported 35 million citizens took to the streets to protest his rule, leading the Egyptian military, under Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to remove him from power in July 2013.

Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi protest at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 26, 2013 / AP

Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi protest at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 26, 2013 / AP

Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.) told the Free Beacon that had al-Sisi not responded, the promise of Egyptian Democracy would have died. “What it seemed the Egyptian people wanted was more opportunity to be able have some sort of functioning democracy, elections, input into their own government,” Lankford said. “It was the immediate understanding as soon as the Muslim Brotherhood was elected, that was the last election Egypt would have.”

In 2014, al-Sisi was elected Egypt’s new president. He won a solid electoral victory, giving him control of the Egyptian government with the responsibilities of forming a new constitution, a new parliament, and a new judicial system. The Coptic Church fervently supported al-Sisi’s candidacy because the new president promised Copts equality in citizenship, security in their communities, and the ability to build places of worship.

The new Egyptian president challenged the leaders of the Islamic world to push a more moderate message. In December 2014, hundreds of Christian and Muslim theologians gathered at al-Azhar, Egypt’s leading mosque and religious university, participated in a conference to fight “jihad” and promote inclusion. Al-Sisi ambitiously called for a “religious revolution” in January 2015, saying that clerics bear responsibility for the growing extremism in the Middle East.

As president, al-Sisi took many symbolic steps to integrate the Coptic community with the majority Sunni population. In a surprise to most Egyptians, al-Sisi attended a mass at Saint Mark Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo on Christmas Eve, a first for any Egyptian president. Al-Sisi regularly invites Pope Tawadros II to appear beside him when he announces major policy rollouts or requests public dialogue from senior advisers.

Al-Sisi also appointed two Copts as members of his cabinet. Under the constitution, the president of Egypt has the power to select 10 members of parliament. Political observers believe he will select Copts to fill a majority of those appointed seats to offer a more representative parliament.

“Our lives haven’t changed much but one positive result of the revolution is the Egyptian people have politically woken up,” said Hala, a Mubarak-era government official who also wished to be identified by her first name only because she fears political retribution. “We no longer accept what we are told. Egyptians are at least aware of the government’s actions and they are more aware of the troubles Copts face.”

But while al-Sisi’s administration provides a welcome change of tone toward the Coptic community, the day-to-day lives of Copts remain little changed from the Mubarak days.

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ISIS’ Sinai Attacks Show Real Threat to Hamas

Hamas fighters (Photo: Video screenshot)

Hamas fighters (Photo: Video screenshot)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, July 3, 2015:

The attacks on Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula by the Islamic State (ISIS) this week shows why its new vow to topple Hamas in the Gaza Strip should be taken seriously. Polls show that Palestinians have the highest level of sympathy for ISIS in the Arab world with the possible exception of Syria.

ISIS has killed at least 17 Egyptian security personnel (13 soldiers and 4 police officers) and injured 30 in coordinated attacks that reflect increasing sophistication.  The Egyptian military said 70 Islamist terrorists participated and five checkpoints were assaulted. ISIS claims it struck 15 sites all at once.

The Egyptian government immediately accused the Muslim Brotherhood of involvement as it has in the past. Egypt also claims Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, is secretly supporting ISIS operations in the Sinai Peninsula. It has even threatened to attack Hamas in Gaza in response.

The Egyptian claims are questionable because of the open animosity between the two groups and ISIS’ new video pledging to conquer the Gaza Strip, but the Israeli military confirmed the links after Wednesday’s attacks. It identified two senior Hamas officials who advise ISIS and covertly arrange for hospital visits in Gaza for its injured operatives.

The Brotherhood denies involvement and its website has a statementurging Egyptians to reject violence, but the group’s double-talk is well-documented. It is simply false that the Brotherhood is completely non-violent and Brotherhood media outlets explicitly call for violence like that perpetrated by ISIS this week.

However, there does appear to be a division within the Brotherhood.Youth leaders and elements outside the country are advocating violent jihad, while the older generation repeatedly reaffirms the group’s non-violent stance in Egypt. It’s possible this is all a calculated deception. It’s also possible the rift is real and a faction would be willing to support ISIS against a common enemy.

One Brotherhood official, Mohamed Gaber, said it “seeks to use all expertise inside and outside the Brotherhood to achieve its goals at this stage,” referring to toppling the Egyptian government.

The Egyptian government’s crackdown on the Brotherhood makes it tempting for Hamas to support ISIS operations in the Sinai. Hamas may prefer a situation where its southern border is a battlefield between ISIS and Egyptian forces instead of a base for either. Plus, the Brotherhood uses every death as proof that Egypt’s crackdown is counter-productive and should end.

There are three possibilities: Claims of Hamas/Brotherhood links to ISIS in Sinai are simply wrong; the two groups simultaneously collaborate and fight with each other depending on circumstances; or there are elements within Hamas/Brotherhood that work independently with ISIS against the wishes of the leadership.

Whatever the truth is, the attacks in the Sinai show the threat to Hamas should be taken seriously.

A November 2014 poll found that the Palestinians are the most sympathetic population to ISIS in the Arab world. Only 4% view ISIS positively but if you include those who view it somewhat positively, it grows to nearly one-quarter of the population. However, another poll found that only 3% of Palestinians view ISIS’ gains positively and 88% view it negatively.

ISIS could capitalize on widespread dissatisfaction with Hamas and the situation in Gaza. ISIS’ message that Gaza is in bad shape because Hamas is not sufficiently implementing Sharia could resonate with Islamists who are struggling to understand why Hamas’ rule has not been blessed by Allah. The video also slams Hamas for being too soft on Israel.

A poll released last month shows that 50% of the population in Gaza—and an astounding 80% of the youth—want to leave. About 63% favor continuing rocket attacks on Israel. Another poll found that almost 25% would not vote if elections were held today.

Should a full-blown war between Hamas and ISIS break out that makes Gaza look like Syria, the West mustn’t embrace Hamas as the better alternative. The minute differences between them should not be exaggerated out of a desire for a side to pick. They are the two manifestations of the same enemy.

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Massive Terror Attack on Military Checkpoints in Egypt’s Sinai Kills Dozens

CI0r3wTWsAAM86yPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 1, 2015:

A coordinated attack by terrorists on multiple Egyptian military checkpoints in north Sinai has left dozens dead with fighting still ongoing in some areas, according to multiple reports.

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Wilayat Sinai, the ISIS affiliate operating in Sinai and formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) until their merger with ISIS in November 2014, has reportedly already taken credit for the attack:

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This attack comes just two days after the assassination of Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, whose funeral was yesterday.

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The attacks occurred near Sheikh Zuweid not far from the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.

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If casualties are in fact 60 dead or more, this would be one of the biggest terror attacks in Egypt’s modern history and definitely would mark an escalation in the conflict between terrorist groups and the Egyptian government in the two years since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.

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Egypt is one of the top U.S. allies in the Middle East, though the Obama administration withheld military supplies from Egypt for nearly two years as the insurgency in the Sinai escalated, only relenting recently.

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Hillary May Have “Appointed” Morsi President of Egypt

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Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, June 29, 2015:

It’s an interesting development and certainly wouldn’t be surprising.

After all the entire aim of the Obama-Clinton policy was to get the Islamists in power across the region. When they couldn’t do so democratically, they went to war under false pretenses as in Libya. Considering the convoluted nature of Egypt’s system of elections, it’s doubtful that they would have had any problems forcing the authorities into giving them what they wanted.

Now, however, the news website Al-Monitor reports that there is evidence that Morsi did not win the 2012 elections after all, but was merely declared the winner by the electoral commission, in order to avert the violence that was sure to follow an announcement to the contrary.

Per Al-Monitor’s translation, the document states that the commission had opted to “take the decision that is correct and most beneficial for the country and its citizens, despite it being in violation of the law, and announce Dr. president of Egypt. This is to spare the country of the bloody conflict that will inevitably occur in the event that Ahmed Shafiq is announced president….”

The letter also, however, spells out another option: namely, and again per the translation of Al-Monitor, “to reject all pressure – whether internal or external – and announce the facts to the Egyptian and global public opinion, and reveal the defects and gross cases of manipulation and forgery that marred the electoral process as a whole. This is in addition to revealing the criminal pressures, practices and threats that the chairman and members of the committee, as well as their families, have faced.”

The allusion to “external” sources of pressure is particularly intriguing. According to Al-Monitor, local Egyptian press has reported that then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contacted Tantawi prior to the announcement of the election results with the aim of “putting pressure on Egyptian authorities to hand power over to Morsi.

Of course that raises basic questions about their own narrative of a coup that overthrow Morsi. In practice Mubarak and Morsi were both removed from power after the military backed popular uprisings. What isn’t discussed much is that the coup against Mubarak was backed by Obama and Hillary.

Among other things, we’re seeing the clearing of the board and the resetting of Egypt back to pre-Arab Spring conditions with Mubarak’s people making a comeback. The other side of the coin means that some resolution will be achieved with the Muslim Brotherhood. Anyone expecting Egypt to fundamentally change is likely to be disappointed.

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‘Al-Ahram’ Editor: ‘Washington Post’ Waging A Vicious Campaign Against Al-Sisi Regime In Service Of Muslim Brotherhood

Muhammad 'Abd Al-Hadi 'Allam (image: ahram.org.eg)

Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Hadi ‘Allam (image: ahram.org.eg)

MEMRI, June 22, 2015:

In an article titled “Political Pamphlets in an American Paper,” the editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Hadi ‘Allam, slammed the U.S.’s Washington Post for its frequent attacks on the Egyptian regime since the ouster of former Egyptian president Muhammad Mursi. According to ‘Allam, the Washington Post is waging a “vicious campaign” and voicing “open incitement” against Egypt in the service of “terror organizations” such as the Muslim Brotherhood. This, while refraining from criticizing human rights violations or the absence of press freedom in countries like Turkey and Qatar.[1]

The following are excerpts from the article:[2]

“No country in the world [other than Egypt] receives so much attention in Washington Post editorials, which are full of a strange and pathetic fury over this country’s domestic affairs – to an extent that indicates the existence of a vast lobby behind these articles, whose number has broken every record in the last few months.

“The press inside and outside Egypt is entitled to write whatever it wants, and we have a right to tell [our] critics that the strength and the reputation of a great country that is undergoing a process of rehabilitation are not a ‘toy’ in the hands of interests groups that hammer the readers over the head every morning with editorials that constitute a vicious campaign. [This campaign] first of all undermines the faith in the changes that are currently happening in Egypt, and in its economic growth on the eve of the opening of the new Suez Canal in less than two months.

“The ongoing and widespread use of terms such as ‘oppressive state’ and ‘tyranny’ in this big American paper’s editorials [about Egypt] constitutes open incitement against the Egyptian state and against its judiciary, which is presented as a [mere] tool in the hands of the regime. [This criticism] is part of an ongoing attempt by some Western media to kill the rule of law [in Egypt] in favor of terrorist organizations that have become masters of deception, cheating and killing in the name of religion [namely the Muslim Brotherhood].

“During this period, we did not find in this widely-distributed American paper even one investigative article about the ideological roots of the culture that [condones] violence and opposes the nation state. [This is the culture of] the groups of political Islam, which have been the eternal allies of the U.S. and Britain since the 1920s. We never saw [in this paper] a single report about the deadly violence against Egypt’s civilians, police officers and military personnel. At the same time, there is plenty of sympathy and compassion for the Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders, who have fled to Arab and foreign countries in order to spread their endless poison. These are the same leaders against whom millions of angry [Egyptians] came out in the June 30 revolution.

“The Egyptian people left the handling of this issue to the police and the military, and let them deal with this group that is undermining the abilities of the nation states. [So far], we have not seen or heard that any of the imaginary assessments regarding the imminent collapse of the [Egyptian] state and the shattering of its foundations have come to pass. These papers’ efforts to spread [these assessments] is an open game, which most Egyptians receive with a sarcastic smile and with pity for these foreign reporters and for their Egyptian collaborators who see only what they want to see, while ignoring reality.

“The American paper displays overt hostility towards Egypt in its editorials, but it does not dare direct criticism at countries that never practiced democracy [at all]… [This,] out of concern for American interests and in order to avoid clashing with interest groups inside [the U.S.] that are close to those countries. Had the paper been fair, it would have discussed the issue of human rights and freedom of the press in Turkey, [or] the issue of the foreign laborers in Qatar, just as it addresses the situation in Egypt.

“The Egyptians practical response to this paper’s claims in recent days regarding empty promises [made by President Al-Sisi] will come when we invite papers from around the world to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new Suez Canal and the vast projects associated with it. Then we will see the promises that the president has undertaken [to fulfill] for the sake of his people – while other people justify the crimes of the terrorists between the lines [of their articles] and want the circle of bloodshed to widen and grow. The response of the [Egyptian] state and people in the coming months will expose the campaign of lies and deception that has been waged in Washington by fugitives from Egyptian justice and by agents [of various parties]. [This campaign] is waged on recruited websites and papers and in foreign papers that are more concerned with destroying the abilities of the Egyptian state than in supporting the interests of their countries.

“The ‘political pamphlet’ press will fall, even if it originates in the capitals of the very countries that gave rise to the theory of democracy and turned the Arab East into hell. And in case you have forgotten, let us remind you of the crime of your silence over the Iraq war and of what your people did in Abu Ghraib prison, or the disasters that later befell the Arab world!”

Endnotes:

[1] In an article published in Al-Ahram on June 22, columnist Ahmad ‘Abd Al-Tawwab likewise attacked “some large newspapers around the world that lean in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood” and that have lately been harshly criticizing the Al-Sisi regime and calling it a “coup regime.” According to ‘Abd Al-Tawwab, these papers deliberately harm the reputation of the Al-Sisi regime and blame it for things that are not its fault, with the aim of evoking sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood. He added that these papers attack Egypt because certain countries “unfriendly to Egypt” have lately purchased shares in them, and also because they are influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood’s global lobby. He accused the papers of “committing shameful crimes” and called to hold them accountable. He added that he could understand why Egypt is taking this matter so lightly, and called it to confront the “deliberate attack and the fabrications.”

[2] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 18, 2015.

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Egypt’s Grand Mufti Court Upholds Death Sentence of Former President Morsi

morsi sentenceCAIRO, June 16 (UPI) — Egypt’s Grand Mufti court in Cairo on Tuesday upheld the death sentence of former President Mohamed Morsi over a prison break.

Morsi and more than 100 Muslim Brotherhood members were sentenced to death in May for breaking out of the Wadi Natroun prison in 2011. The decision to uphold the death sentence was passed to Egypt’s highest religious authority, the Grand Mufti.

The death sentence can still be appealed.

Morsi was also sentenced to life imprisonment on espionage charges along with 16 other Muslim Brotherhood members, accused of spying for the Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas. Three other senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders were sentenced to death by hanging.

In Egypt, life imprisonment sentences equate to 25 years in prison.

The judge said the Muslim Brotherhood “collaborated with Palestinian Hamas to infiltrate Egypt’s eastern borders and attack prisons.”

Morsi is already serving 20 years after being convicted of inciting violence and torturing protesters outside the presidential palace in 2012, but was acquitted in their deaths. He has previously said he is innocent of all the charges, claiming he is the victim of a coup led by current President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Morsi was Egypt’s first freely elected president after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule, but unrest began less than a year into his term when he declared himself to have far-reaching powers. He was overthrown in 2013.

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If the death penalty is not approved and the civil court ignores the disapproval and goes forward to implement the death penalty, this could mean that the court is secured by the backing and protection of the President in order to serve justice. This in turn reveals that Al-Sisi is truly willing and able to go forward with cleaning corruption and rolling back religious extremism in an effort to reform the country.

Security Guard at U.S. Embassy in Egypt Arrested as a Terrorist

Amr Dalsh/Reuters

Amr Dalsh/Reuters

Daily Beast, by Jamie Detmer, June 11, 2015:
To the shock of U.S. officials, authorities in Egypt have arrested the local employee and charged him as the purported commander of a radical Islamist organization.
Egyptian authorities have arrested an Egyptian security guard at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, claiming he is a senior figure in an Islamist terrorist organization. U.S. officials are scrambling to get information from Egyptian authorities, who did not alert them beforehand.An embassy official confirmed to The Daily Beast that 42-year-old Ahmed Ali, accused by the Egyptians of helping to plan or taking part in more than a dozen attacks on security forces, was an employee in the security service at the mission in downtown Cairo. Egyptian authorities are claiming he is a commander in the militantHelwan Brigades.Both the lack of any forewarning by the Egyptian authorities and the apparent security failure by the U.S. State Department, which failed to unearth Ali’s membership in the brigades, is likely to prompt outrage on Capitol Hill.

Security for all of the U.S. embassies in the Middle East is meant to have been tightened since the 2012 militant assault on the U.S. diplomatic outpost inBenghazi in eastern Libya that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The disclosure of the arrest by Egyptian authorities on Wednesday came just hours before a suicide bomber blew himself up outside Luxor’s ancient Karnak temple in southern Egypt in an attack that left four people, including two police officers, wounded. Police said they also killed two of the bomber’s accomplices.

No group has as yet claimed responsibility for the attack at the spectacular temple, with its dozens of sphinxes and beautiful bas reliefs of ancient gods, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Nile River. But some analysts speculated that the attack may have been organized by the so-called Islamic State, which has been courting local jihadis, seeking to persuade them to affiliate with the terror group based in Syria and Iraq.

Firas Abi Ali and Ludovico Carlino of IHS, a global risk consultancy, argue the bombing is unlikely to be the work of an al Qaeda-affiliated Egyptian group such as Ajnad Misr, or the Soldiers of Egypt, which recently announced it is trying to avoid Muslim casualties. “It is likely to be the work of the Islamic State, which sees Ancient Egyptian temples as idolatrous,” the analysts say. They believe the attack may herald the announcement by ISIS of an affiliate in Egypt.

It is the second time this month that suspected Islamic extremists have attacked a major Egyptian tourist attraction or launched a raid nearby. On June 3, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside the Giza Pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, killing two policemen.

The Helwan Brigades are not the most dangerous of militant groups organizing attacks in Egypt but members are thought to be behind the killing of a policeman, setting fire to police cars, staging Molotov cocktail attacks and bombing a university in southern Cairo, in the district the group takes its name from, Helwan. Egyptian authorities accuse the group of being affiliated to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. A former member of the Helwan Brigades, 22-year-old Waleed Saad, recently confessed to responsibility for the murder of a policeman and the bombing of the university.

According to Egyptian authorities, Saad told interrogators that two senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood provided the group with weapons that were later used in attacks against security forces, including on a police station in the district of Zilzal. Some analysts are treating his confession with caution, since Egyptian interrogators are known to employ torture.

In August last year the Helwan Brigades posted a video online threatening security forces and “the Interior Ministry in South Cairo” with violence, saying they were “fed up with the Muslim Brotherhood’s peacefulness.” On the video one man insisted they were not members of the Muslim Brotherhood and warned the Egyptian Interior Ministry that it “would be targeted for what you have done to us.”

He added: “You have shown no consideration for the fact that we are your brothers. You have shown no consideration for anything. You have shed blood and stepped on us. You have raped the women. You have impregnated the Muslim women.” More than 200 alleged members of the group were arrested last summer and charged with “plotting against the police and the army, and against official facilities.”

Egyptian State prosecutors have alleged that the Muslim Brotherhood, after an army-led coup backed by large street protests ousted the government of the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, assigned members to form militant groups including the Helwan Brigades, the Ultras, and the Anti Coup Alliance.

Muslim Brotherhood officials vehemently deny the allegation.

Rights groups accuse the Egyptian authorities of erroneously painting the Muslim Brotherhood as linked to militant Islamists, jihadis, and terrorists without distinguishing among them. But following the ouster of Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, and the mass arrests of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, younger members have drifted toward more violent action.

In a statement issued to the Egyptian press Wednesday a U.S. embassy spokesman said: “We understand an embassy employee, who is an Egyptian citizen, has been arrested by Egyptian security. We are in touch with Egyptian authorities regarding the charges and the next steps in the legal process.”

Also see: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/10/suicide-bombing-at-luxor-temple-highlights-threat-to-egypt-tourism/

Could Hamas be the Next Nobel Peace Prize Winner?

2009-01-08-hamas-firing-rockets-in-gaza-600CSP, by Rachel Silverman, June 10, 2015:

The United Nations and Egypt have both decided to not label Hamas a terrorist organization. When the U.S. State Department created its list of foreign terrorist organizations in 1997, Hamas was one of the first names on it. But I guess according to the UN and Egypt, they somehow don’t qualify to be grouped with armies and guerilla groups that kill and maim children in conflicts worldwide.

On Monday morning, the UN decided to leave Hamas off its blacklist of nations and armed organizations that violate children’s rights during conflict. Despite endless documentation of Hamas using hospital patients and children as human shields.

There is evidence that shows Hamas placing weapons and missile launchers in densely populated areas during Operation Protective Edge. They also sent men, women, and children to act as human shields for terrorists. Innocent bystanders were killed as a result of Hamas’ abuse of its own civilians. Instead of keeping its citizens out of harm’s way, Hamas encouraged and even forced Gazans to join its violent resistance against Israel.

During Operation Protective Edge Hamas also used hospitals as a command center and to launch attacks against Israel. Unfortunately, using hospitals as part of its human shield is not new for Hamas. A PBS report from 2007 shows how Hamas gunmen intimidated the staff at al-Shifa hospital.

During Operation Cast Lead in 2009, The New York Times reported that:

“Hamas has used the last two years to turn Gaza into a deadly maze of tunnels, booby traps, and sophisticated roadside bombs. Weapons are hidden in mosques, schoolyards and civilian houses, and the leadership’s war room is a bunker beneath Gaza’s largest hospital.”

On Saturday, the Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters canceled a previous verdict labeling Hamas as a terrorist organization. The court said the lower court lacked jurisdiction to issue such a verdict in the first place, according to the report.

On February 28, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters made the ruling after an Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit in last November calling for banning Hamas and classifying it as a terror organization.

Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group, used illegal underground tunnels connecting Egyptian Rafah to its twin Palestinian town to enter the country and smuggle weapons to attack Egyptian police and army personnel.

Hamas militants have also been accused of carrying out terrorist attacks and killing over 30 people in late October 2014 as well as carrying out an armed jailbreak to free Brotherhood members during Egypt’s popular uprising in 2011.

So tell me why Egypt thought it was a good idea to overturn a verdict that labeled Hamas a terrorist organization?

On January 31, the same court listed al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, as a terrorist organization. The court ruling came days after a series of bloody attacks occurred in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 33 soldiers and policemen. So let me get this straight, Hamas isn’t a terrorist organization, but their military wing is, makes a lot of sense of to me.

The Egyptian government has been at odds with the group repeatedly, with longtime President Hosni Mubarak lashing out at the group and refusing to recognize Hamas’ rule in Gaza. In December 2014 the current Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-SISi, viewed Hamas’ movement as subversive, acting against Egypt’s national security and in line with its mother-movement the Muslim Brotherhood.

For years Egypt has played a major role in peace negotiations between Israel and various Palestinian factions, with Egypt being seen as fairly impartial by both sides. There is no doubt in my mind that this new ruling will affect Egypt’s position as a mediator between the two sides.

Also see:

Egypt helping organize anti-Muslim Brotherhood Syrian opposition

640x392_65997_224309-190x150CSP, by Ashley Davies, June 8, 2015:

A two-day conference of Syrian opposition leaders in Cairo is set to wrap up today, June 9th. The conference, a continuation of meetings in January, intended to develop a political solution to Syrian turmoil and form a new coalition called the Syrian National Opposition. In January, over 150 representatives of 40 Syrian political parties and organizations gathered and drafted a 10 point document on the new coalition’s goals. These points included backing a political solution in Syria, rejecting foreign military presence in Syria, releasing all hostages and detainees in Syria, and following the Geneva I communiqué.

The meetings on Monday and Tuesday, organized by Haytham Manna, were also set to elect a political committee and establish a policy charter. The political committee, the Syrian National Opposition, is said to be in favor of separation of state and religion, equality of all Syrian citizens, and seeks to criminalize political sectarianism and terrorism. Manna claimed the conferences have taken place in Cairo because the “Egyptian Foreign Ministry has always maintained good relations with all the currents of the Syrian opposition.”

Amongst those attending the most recent conference included 75 members of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, of whom Manna says approximately 20 of the democratic members are with him.

Attendees included Haytham Manna and Ahmad Jarba. Manna, one of the main organizers of the conferences, is well known for being highly critical of the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in the Syrian opposition. Manna has accused the Brotherhood of being the cause of Syrian turmoil and forcing Syria to embrace “Islamism”. In response, the Muslim Brotherhood have accused Manna of aiding the Assad regime’s interests. Jarba was elected president of the Syrian National Coalition in March 2014, assisting Mustafa al-Sabbagh’s faction, in an attempt to oust the Brotherhood out of the opposition, take over all other positions in the Coalition. The undermining of the Brotherhood’s presence in the Coalition resulted in substantial ill will between many of the Brotherhood’s members towards Jarba.

The presence of these high-ranking Syrian leaders at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood highlights the fact that Egypt’s motives for hosting the conference may extend to a desire to help form Syrian coalition with a strongly anti-Brotherhood stance. Tensions between Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood have been high since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Brotherhood, was forced out of office in a coup in 2013. Most recently, Egypt has expressed in intense displeasure with the United States meeting with Muslim Brotherhood members. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s  administration playing host the Syrian opposition conferences, we can expect Egypt to attempt to encourage an outcome that best undermines the Brotherhood.

Egypt Summons U.S. Ambassador Over MB Visit

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

IPT, by John Rossomando  •  Jun 9, 2015:

Egypt asked the U.S. ambassador in Cairo to account for the Obama administration’s allowing Muslim Brotherhood officials to visit Washington for a private conference this week sponsored by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID).

Egypt sought the recent meeting with Ambassador Stephen Beecroft to show its displeasure with American policy toward the Brotherhood, which it labels a terrorist organization.

Delegation members include Amr Darrag, whose handling of drafting and ratifying Egypt’s December 2012 constitution led to fears the Brotherhood aimed to impose a theocracy; and Wael Haddara, a Canadian Brotherhood member who served as an adviser to deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

The administration has no plans to meet with the delegation, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday. U.S. policy allowed for engagement with people from across Egypt’s political spectrum, he said Monday.

Emails obtained by Middle East Briefing, a publication of the Dubai-based Orient Advisory Group, show that since 2010, Obama administration policy sought to support the Muslim Brotherhood under Presidential Study Directive 11.

State Department and White House officials met in January with a Muslim Brotherhood delegation whose trip had been partly funded by the Brotherhood-linked group Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ). EAFJ leader Mahmoud El Sharkawy is a member of the Brotherhood’s international organization and serves as liaison between his group and Brotherhood members exiled in Turkey, Egypt’s Al-Bawaba newspaper reported in April.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki downplayed the visit and denied it was a Brotherhood delegation, saying it was a delegation of former Egyptian parliamentarians which included members of the Freedom and Justice Party. Delegation member Waleed Sharaby said in a February interview with Egypt’s Mekameleen TV that the State Department agreed with their position that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had not brought stability and that his removal would pave the way for a transition to democracy.

Recent Muslim Brotherhood calls for violence have been reflected in the Facebook accounts of EAFJ members. El Sharkawy’s Facebook page supports violence in Egypt in posts such as a Feb. 10 communiqué from the Popular Resistance Movement (PRM) which has launched attacks against Egyptian police and other targets. It features an image of a blood-red map of Egypt with a fist superimposed over it and claims responsibility on behalf of the PRM for targeting two police cars. It also stated the following motto in Arabic: “God, martyrs, Revolution.”

Other members of EAFJ such as board member Hani Elkadi, who identified himself as a Brotherhood member in a March 9 post, have posted similar images on Facebook.

Egypt Proposes ‘International Law to Criminalize Contempt of Religion’

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D, June 8, 2015:

On Sunday, Egypt’s minister for Religious Endowments, Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, called for an “international law to criminalize contempt of religion,” which would make it a crime to publish articles or cartoons showing disdain or ridicule of religions.

Contempt of religion is already illegal in Egypt, with a punishment of between six months and five years in prison and a fine of 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds. In recent years, many people have been arrested on this charge and faced trial. As recently as last week, an Islamic show host was sentenced to prison in absentia for accusations of being in contempt of religion.

A Ministry official announced the proposal in Gomaa’s name during a conference for world religious leaders in Kazakhstan this weekend.

Though Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has not publicly weighed in on the proposal, he has been calling upon Egypt’s Islamic institutions, including Al-Azhar, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and Dar Al-Iftaa to “renew religious discourse” since early this year.

The president has emphasized the importance of “correcting religious speech so that it is in accordance with the tolerant Islamic teachings,” as well as insisting that it “eliminate sectarian disputes and confront extremism and militancy.”

This is not the first time such a proposal has been made. Last January, following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars called for protection for “prophets” and urged Islamic countries to submit a draft law to the UN, outlawing defamation of religions. The union said the UN should then issue a “law criminalizing contempt of religions and the prophets and all the holy sites.”

Though Gomaa has said he believes such an international law should criminalize contempt of religion universally, “without any discrimination,” skeptics are already wondering whether a statute of this sort would not invite selective enforcement based on personal beliefs.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, a legal organization, warned that under such a law, “anyone could be presented to court” for publishing an article, images or any material on any religion if the opinion expressed is different from that of the ruling faction.

The warning is not an exercise in hyperbole. Complaints of selective enforcement of Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa are a regular occurrence in countries that still have them, such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and even Egypt itself.

According to Paul Marshall of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, while Islam is zealously guarded, people publicly insult Judaism and its adherents “everyday and every way in Egypt,” without anyone being called to task under the contempt of religion law.

Thus, while the Egyptian law is, in theory, meant to discourage people from offending people’s religious sensitivities, it is, instead, used to stifle free speech and intimidate those who do not subscribe to the standard.

More importantly, the principles of freedom of speech and of the press are meant not only to protect the speech of individuals with whom we agree, but above all, to protect those with whom we do not agree.

A healthy criticism of religion, like criticism of politics and culture, is a hallmark of a free society. All freedoms can be abused, but their abuse does not negate their value or the wisdom of defending them.

Also see:

Egypt Says NY Times Promoting Muslim Brotherhood Agitprop

The New York Times building in New York City

The New York Times building in New York City

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, June 3, 2015:

The Egyptian ambassador to the U.S. has written a public letter to The New York Times protesting “its unquestioning adoption of Moslem Brotherhood’s propaganda” and false characterization of the Islamist group as non-violent.

Ambassador Mohamed Tawfik’s letter was written around the same time that the Egyptian embassy released three videos of calls to violence made on Muslim Brotherhood television networks based in Turkey.

The networks’ coverage promoted explicit calls for killing Egyptian police officers and attacking foreign companies and embassies. A threat was also made to carry out regional attacks against the interests of countries who support the Egyptian government.

Egypt is infuriated at the Times as well as the Washington Post for repeatedly asserting that the Brotherhood is non-violent. In response to the Times suggestion that the Egyptian government’s prosecution of the Brotherhood is pushing it towards terrorism, the Egyptian ambassador writes:

This statement demonstrates, at best, a complete misunderstanding of the roots of radicalism. At worst, it amounts to a justification for violent extremism. Today, terrorists in Egypt are part of a network of extremists who are bound by a singular distorted ideology, and by a shared goal of taking our region back hundreds of years. They are inspired by the radical teachings of the former Moslem Brotherhood leader Sayyid Kutb [Qutb]. Terrorists in Egypt share the same evil goals as terrorists in Iraq, Syria and Libya.”

Indeed, Ambassador Tawfik is correct that the New York Timesseparates Islamists from terrorists and extremists. The Times editorial condemns “relentless and sweeping crackdown on Islamists, under the baseless contention that they are inherently dangerous.”

The New York Times described sentencing to death of former President Morsi and 100 other Brotherhood members as “deplorable.” It describes the Brotherhood as having renounced violence in the 1970s.

However, Morsi and the defendants were sentenced for his involvement in prison breaks in 2011 that freed 20,000 inmates, including Morsi himself. The Egyptian government says the attacks were well-orchestrated and involved participation by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Tawfik chastises the Times for failing to mention that the prison break was a violent operation that resulted in the deaths of prison guards and inmates and freed members of Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Egyptian ambassador also excoriated the Washington Post in February for “toeing the Muslim Brotherhood line” and advised it to be more balance in order to “save whatever is left of your credibility in the Arab world.”

Egyptian President El-Sisi came into power after the popularly-supported military intervention in July 2013 overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government. The move had the support of a broad spectrum of Egyptian society with public endorsements from secular-democratic activists, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University and the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The overthrow came after Morsi (whose election itself was marred by charges of voter fraud) seized far-sweeping powers for himself, essentially negating any semblance of a democratic government.

El-Sisi is often characterized as an anti-democratic strongman; a depiction that his government is now challenging.

He argues that these strongman tactics are necessary because a democratic transition cannot be completed without stability, economic development and a confrontation with Islamism (also known as Political Islam). He asks the West to understand that there is a “civilizational gap between us and you” and it will take time to modernize.

A study commissioned by the Egyptian government criticized its heavy-handedness but concluded that banning Islamist parties is required for the country’s stability and democratic development. It recommended a program to separate politics and religion.

The Egyptian government sees the Islamic State (ISIS) as a natural outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its website warns that the Muslim Brotherhood has a network of fronts in America that are disguised as civil society organizations.

El-Sisi called for a reformation in Islamic interpretation in January 2014 and made a dramatic call on the Islamic religious establishment to address problematic teachings this January that received widespread media coverage. He has explicitly said that Egypt should be “a civil state, not an Islamic one” and defined the ideology of the enemy as Political Islam in an interview on FOX News Channel.

El-Sisi is also confronting Islamist terrorism internationally, in addition to its fight against Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula. His government is an enemy of Hamas and is as minimally anti-Israel as can be expected of an Arab leader.

Egypt has conducted airstrikes on ISIS in Libya and is materially supporting the Libyan government in its civil war against Islamist forces. Egypt and Libya are complaining about a lack of American backing. A new Egyptian-backed offensive is said to be in the works.

El-Sisi is assembling an Arab rapid-reaction force of 40-50,000 troops that can quickly be deployed to fight Islamic State and other terrorists. Egypt is also taking part in the Arab military intervention against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

El-Sisi also made a historic visit to a Coptic Christian church during mass on Christmas Eve. He challenged the Egyptian honor culture when he apologized to a woman who was raped in Tahrir Square.

Major American media outlets have fallen for the falsehood that the Muslim Brotherhood is non-violent. It is true that the Egyptian government is often criticized for its human rights record, but coverage of those accusations should not automatically exempt the Brotherhood and other Islamists from blame.

If the New York Times values objective reporting, then it must mention the Brotherhood’s calls to violence in its coverage as well as the many other instances of violence that the group has been involved in.

Also see:

Muslim Brotherhood Steps Up Terror in Egypt, While U.S. Provides Cover

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, June 2, 2015:

What are we doing? As the bodies pile up, the churches burn, and an MB statement justifies killing politicians, judges, security, and media, Kerry’s State Dept. hosts MB visits and lobbies to keep them off terror lists. (Also read: “More MB Leaders Arrested“.)

In recent weeks, the Muslim Brotherhood has stepped up their terrorist activity and made unmistakable calls for more violence in Egypt, effectively dropping the “moderate” mask that gave cover to Western analysts and government officials going back to the Bush administration.

This policy has nonetheless stayed intact — the Obama administration continues to meet with and be advised by Brotherhood officials.

A March 2007 Foreign Affairs article, “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” provided talking points to the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” advising a continuance of this charade. At the time, I was one of the few analysts publicly challenging claims of the Brotherhood’s “moderation,” and I documented elsewhere the foreign policy disaster wrought by embracing the Muslim Brotherhood and other so-called “moderate” Islamists.

Just days before my arrival in Cairo last year, two Muslim Brotherhood members were killed in a shootout with Egyptian security forces as they attacked a police checkpoint in the Nile Delta. At the same time, the ISIS-linked Sinai terrorist group that has been waging a terror campaign there released a suicide bomber video showing one individual who was know to have been involved in the Muslim Brotherhood protests that were broken up by Egyptian authorities in August 2013.

As I traveled into Upper Egypt I saw churches and ancient monasteries that had been burned down by Muslim Brotherhood mobs, complete with graffiti identifying those terrorist acts with the group. I interviewed Coptic church officials who gave testimony to the direct role of Muslim Brotherhood officials in those attacks, which were responsible for the destruction of more than 70 churches and 1000+ Christian homes in the space of just a few days:

Egypt32

But when the United Arab Emirates gave terrorist designations to two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups in its efforts to stamp them out last November, the State Department weighed in on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Calls by the Muslim Brotherhood for increased violence by their members have escalated over the course of this year:

  • A group called the “Revolutionary Punishment Movement” closely tied with the Brotherhood issued a statement in early February warning all foreigners and diplomats to leave the country by February 28 or possibly be faced with becoming targets in their attacks.

***

The open question: what will the Obama administration’s do in response to this escalating terror campaign?

As Muslim Brotherhood attacks continued last year, 20 members of the House of Representatives co-sponsored a resolution calling for the designation of the group as a terrorist organization. That bill, H.R. 5194, noted in its findings that the U.S. government itself has already designated branches, leaders and charities of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations, and that terrorism has been integral to the group since its founding.

As terror attacks directly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood increase, and as the group issues more open calls for violence, perhaps Congress will consider reintroducing the resolution from the previous congressional session. Will the United States leave Egypt, one of its allies and the largest Arab country in the world, to fend off the ongoing terror campaign on its own just so the Obama administration isn’t forced to admit their embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood has been a catastrophic, deadly failure?

Read it all

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Videos Call for Violence

Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt (Photo: © Reuters)

Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, June 2, 2015:

Egypt has released three videos of Muslim Brotherhood television networks in Turkey advocating violence against the Egyptian police, foreigners, embassies and interests in the region connected to countries that support President El-Sisi.

On Thursday, the Brotherhood’s English-language website announced a decision for revolution “with all its means and mechanisms” against the Egyptian government. The announcement references a declaration signed by 150 Islamic scholars that is less ambiguous in calling for jihad, also published in English.

The first video is from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Rabaa TV network launched in Turkey in 2013. The Egyptian government says the host in the video is a member of the Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya terrorist group.

The host is seen reading a statement from the “Revolutionary Youth Coalition;” a group that is almost certainly a Brotherhood front established to give itself plausible deniability while inciting and orchestrating terrorism. The vague terminology is an attempt to give its cause greater legitimacy by appearing more inclusive and broad-based.

The Brotherhood station reads the statement that demands the departure of all foreign Arabs, foreign Africans, embassy personnel, foreign companies and tourists by the end of (last) February. All governments must end their support for the Egyptian government “or else all of their interests in countries of the Middle East will be exposed to severe assaults or will be put in situations that nobody wants.”

The threat warns that henceforth there will be “no concessions or mercy.”

The second video is dated February 24 and is from a satellite network named Misr Alaan that the Egyptian government says was founded by the Brotherhood last year. The Arab press says it was launched from Turkey with Brotherhood sponsorship.  The network’s staff said its purpose is to reach a broader audience than the other Islamist channels in Turkey.

The video comes with an English translation that shows the host of a show explicitly urging the murder of Egyptian police and unspecified revolutionaries to rout the Egyptian soldiers who aid the police in the confrontation. His instructions are clear: “Kill them.”

“I say to the wives of all officers and the sons of all officers: Please be aware, your husbands will be dead. Your children will be orphans,” the host says while adding the sons of police officers may be kidnapped and claiming that the revolutionaries have the home addresses of the police.

The third video, also from Misr Alaan, shows a statement being read by a spokesman calling in from the “Revolutionary Punishment Movement,” continuing the pattern of using new, non-descriptive titles.

The speaker is asked about his group and he only says that it is a youth movement involved in the revolutions since the beginning, referring to the ousting of Egyptian President Mubarak. He condemns the arrests of female members of the group and declares there will be “reciprocal treatment.”

The speaker calls for the kidnapping and killing of Egyptian security personnel by the “lions” of this revolution. He then gives out the names of specific police officers to target without any interruption from the host.

On Thursday, May 28, the Brotherhood’s English-language website carried a statement by spokesperson Mohamed Montaser announcing “a final decision, after consulting its popular base, that the revolutionary option with all its means and mechanisms is its strategic choice from which there will be no retreat.”

The announcement appears to be a response to a reported rift within the Brotherhood between the older and more pragmatic leadership and the more militant youth advocating violence and disruption to society. It reiterates the legitimacy of the Brotherhood leadership and claims that it is inclusive of the youth.

Also see: