Egyptian Official: Beating of Naked Man Was Pre-Planned

demonstrators in CairoArutz Sheva:

A former Egyptian presidential candidate told Al Arabiya TV in an interview on Sunday that the brutal dragging and beating of a naked man near the presidential palace last week was previously planned by the interior ministry in an effort to terrorize the public.

Ahmed Shafiq, who lost the presidential race to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year, said the widely circulated video of 50-year-old Hamada Saber was intended to send a message of fear to those protesting in the streets against the brutal reign of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The torture is a “new style of exaggerated terrorism used against the Egyptian citizens that will lead only to violence and hatred of the regime,” Shafiq told Al-Arabiya.

Meanwhile, Saber on Sunday blamed police for the abuse after initially claiming they saved him from protesters.

The presidency described the footage as “shocking”, prompting the interior ministry to order a rare investigation.

While Saber first insisted that police had saved him from protesters, he then changed his account– which was bitterly contested by relatives who said he was being coerced– when prosecutors showed him the video footage, the official MENA news agency reported.

The man, who said he was shot in the foot during the clashes, explained that he initially blamed protesters to “contain the crisis,” the agency reported.

Saber, who has been transferred to a public hospital, said he changed his account and told the “truth” after his family “renounced me…and all of Egypt was angry and people made fun of me on Facebook.”

The main opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) has called for the resignation of Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim over Saber’s beating.

The beating was “an inhumane spectacle… no less ugly than the killings of martyrs, which is considered a continuation of the security force’s program of excessive force,” the opposition bloc said, according to AFP.

Ibrahim ordered a probe into the incident and said he would resign if “that’s what the people want,” his office said.

Islamists, Military on a Collision Course in Egypt

Mursi and Shafiq

By Rick Moran

Egyptians finished two days of voting on Sunday, the first relatively free election for president in their history. But indications are that only about 15% of Egypt’s 50 million eligible voters bothered to cast ballots. The low turnout was a direct result of a Supreme Court decision on Thursday that dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament and struck down a law that would have prevented former Mubarak-era prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, from running for president. The twin blows caught the Muslim Brotherhood flat footed as the military moved incredibly swiftly to seize legislative power and will now issue a “constitutional declaration” that defines the powers of the president in the absence of a new constitution. This forces the Muslim Brotherhood to make a choice: Either deal with the military on power sharing or take to the streets and put pressure on the generals to give in to their demands.

While many Egyptians were angry at the “soft coup” pulled off by the military, the actions of the court and military council had the effect of generating enormous cynicism among the population, which now sees the revolution as being overturned by the old regime. We have no choice at all,” said Eid Muhamed, who works in a tea house in Cairo. “Both of them are awful,” he added.

This belief is widespread across Egypt and no doubt contributed to the ennui that has gripped the electorate. Egypt’s political culture, which already sees a “hidden hand” that manipulates events so that they redound in favor of the rich and powerful, seems vindicated in that belief with the actions of the military and especially their allies in the courts. Most judges are Mubarak-era holdovers who are vehemently opposed to democratic change. Ahmed al-Zend, head of the influential Judges Club, representing most of Egypt’s jurists, denounced the parliament and threatened to overturn legislation passed by the elected body. “From this day forward, judges will have a say in determining the future of this country and its fate. We will not leave it to you to do with what you want.”

Some observers wonder whether the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t blow their chance at presiding over a transition to democracy in Egypt. Although there is no evidence, it was widely believed that the Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, Mohammed Morsi, struck a deal with the military on the election. Regardless of whether that’s true, many Egyptians believe that the Muslim Brotherhood overreached and tried to acquire too much power, too quickly. The resulting backlash hurt Morsi’s vote total in the first round of presidential voting last month, and may have affected the sympathy of voters who look upon the court’s action in dissolving parliament not as unfavorably as one might expect.

What then, do the Egyptian people want, if not a transition to democracy? The political chaos and demonstrations of the previous 16 months have not worn well on most ordinary Egyptians who have seen food become scarce, the economy near collapse, and their personal security threatened by gangs of thugs who have taken advantage of the lapse in police protection to terrify neighborhoods. “We have no security. Every day there are attacks against people in the neighborhood, and there are absolutely no police, no one to turn to for help,” said Hajja Fatma, a woman from a poor Cairo neighborhood. “They hurt old people, rob homes, and kidnap children for ransom. Allah, Allah, we need order,” she added.

Many observers are saying that the military council ruling Egypt has already won the presidential race. That’s because no matter who is elected, they will have to serve under a parliament elected by rules set down by the military, act under a constitution that will be drawn up by an assembly that will probably be appointed by the military, and would likely be constrained to act by laws approved by the military.

The military council took another step to augment their power by issuing a constitutional decree that the Washington Post reports “gave the armed forces vast powers and appeared to give the presidency a subservient role.”

The declaration, published in the official state gazette, establishes that the president will have no control over the military’s budget or leadership and will not be authorized to declare war without the consent of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The document said the military would soon appoint a body to draft a new constitution, which would be put to a public referendum within three months. Once a new charter is in place, an election will be held to chose a parliament that will replace the Islamist-dominated one dissolved Thursday by the country’s top court.

The Muslim Brothers, who were caught by surprise when the court destroyed their power base by dissolving parliament, appear to be regaining their equilibrium. After the polls closed Sunday night, the Brotherhood announced that it had rejected the court order dissolving parliament, calling it a “coup against the entire democratic process.” They also rejected the constitutional decree and vowed that the constituent assembly they appointed in parliament last week to create the new constitution will write the new charter, not the generals.

This would seem to put the two power centers of Egyptian politics on a collision course. But the Islamists have struck deals with the military previously, and it is possible they will accede to the new order as long as Morsi is declared the winner of the election and new rules governing the election of members of parliament don’t shut them out of power. For their part, the generals might accept sharing power with the Brotherhood as long as they maintain their independence from government — much like the Pakistani generals enjoy in that country.

Read more at Front Page

Further analysis from Bare Naked Islam:

So, did the Egyptian Army “use” the Muslim Brotherhood as a smokescreen to help get the Mubarak candidate into office?

I certainly hope so. Tariq Ramadan addresses this issue as polls in Egypt are now closed and results are starting to trickle in.

Tariq Ramadan was banned from entering this country by George W Bush because of his terrorist ties. As soon as Obama got in, Hillary Clinton removed the ban on him. More than likely, Ramadan is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, but he thinks the Mubarak candidate has a better shot of winning. And that would be good for the Copts, good for Israel, and good for America. It won’t be a good day for Barack Hussein Obama, however.

 

Egypt’s High Court Tries to Stave Off Sharia

By Robert Spencer:

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that one-third of the parliamentarians had been elected illegitimately; as a result, “the makeup of the entire chamber is illegal and, consequently, it does not legally stand.” The court dissolved the parliament entirely, dealing a major blow to the pro-Sharia forces in Egypt that had dominated it since elections last November.

Will the court’s action be enough to prevent Egypt from becoming an Islamic state? For that, it may be too late. Many see the upcoming runoff presidential election between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and secularist Ahmed Shafiq, a longtime friend and associate of Hosni Mubarak, as the great showdown that will determine whether Egypt will embrace Sharia and become an Islamic state, or whether it will continue on the relatively secular path it has been on for decades. But in reality, even if Shafiq is elected, it is unlikely that the Islamization of Egypt is going to be stymied in any significant way.

The transformation of Egypt from a Western-oriented state to one dominated by Islamic law has been proceeding for decades. The Muslim Brotherhood’s societal and cultural influence has long outstripped its direct political reach, and shows no sign of abating. One highly visible example of this influence is the fact that while in the 1960s women wearing hijabs were rare on the streets of Cairo, now it is rare to see a woman not wearing one.

Meanwhile, since the presidency of Gamel Abdel Nasser (1956-1970), the Egyptian government has practiced steam control with the Brotherhood, looking the other way as the group terrorized Coptic Christians and enforced Islamic strictures upon the Egyptian populace, but cracking down when the Brotherhood showed signs of growing powerful enough actually to seize power. Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat (1970-1981) not only released all the Brotherhood political prisoners who had been languishing in Egyptian prisons, but also promised the Brotherhood that Sharia would be fully implemented in Egypt.

Sadat didn’t live long enough to fulfill that promise; he was murdered by members of another Islamic supremacist group that was enraged by his peace treaty with Israel. Sadat’s successor Hosni Mubarak didn’t keep that promise to the Brotherhood either, and so it remains unfulfilled to this day, and the Muslim Brothers still want to see Sharia in Egypt.

So do most Egyptians. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in Spring 2010, before the Arab Spring and the toppling of Mubarak, found that no fewer than eighty-five percent of Egyptians thought that Islam was a positive influence in politics. Fifty-nine percent said they identified with “Islamic fundamentalists” in their struggle against “groups who want to modernize the country,” who had the support of only twenty-seven percent of Egyptians. Only twenty percent were “very concerned” about “Islamic extremism” within Egypt.

Read more art Front Page

Egypt’s Presidential Elections: What’s at Stake

By Raymond Ibrahim:

Egypt’s long awaited and much anticipated presidential elections—the first of their kind to take place in the nation’s 7,000 year history—are here. As we await the final results—and as the Western mainstream media fixate on images of purple-stained fingers—it is well to remember that there is much more at stake in Egypt’s elections than the mere “right” to vote.

At Egypt’s voting booths, where it tends to be easy to determine who is voting for whom, and why.

While some Egyptians are certainly voting according to their convictions, the fundamental divide revolves around religion—how much or how little the candidates in question are in favor of Islamic Sharia law. In other words, Islamists are voting for Islamists—Abdel Mon’im Abul Futuh and Muhammad Mursi—whereas non-Islamists (secularists, liberals, and non-Muslims) are voting for non-Islamists, such as Amr Musa and Ahmed Shafiq.

Bear in mind that this is not the same thing as American voters being divided between “liberal” Democrats and “conservative” Republicans; rather, this election is much more existential in nature—possibly cataclysmic for Egyptian society. For, whereas both American Republicans and Democrats operate under the selfsame U.S. Constitution, in Egypt, an Islamist president will usher in Sharia law, which will fundamentally transform the nation.

One veiled woman interviewed yesterday at the voting polls put it best: “We came to elect the man who implements Sharia (Islamic law). But I am afraid of liberals, secularists, Christians. I am afraid of their reaction if an Islamist wins. They won’t let it go easily. But God be with us.”

Interestingly, while she sums up the ultimate purpose Islamists like herself are voting—to empower “the man who implements Sharia”—she also projects her own Islamist mentality onto non-Islamists, implying that if a Sharia-friendly president is fairly elected, non-Islamists will rebel. In fact, it is the Islamists who are on record warning that if a secularist emerges as president, that itself will be proof positive that the elections were rigged, and an armed jihad will be proclaimed.

None of this is surprising, considering that Islamists have not hid their abhorrence for democracy as an infidel heresy to be exploited as a gateway to a Sharia-enforcing theocracy which will, ironically, eliminate democracy. Some have gone so far as to insist that cheating in elections to empower Sharia is an obligation. And, rather than encourage Egyptians to vote for whom they think is best suited for Egypt, days prior to these elections, various authoritative Muslim clerics and institutions decreed that Egypt’s Muslims are “obligated” to vote for Sharia-supporting Islamists, while voters are “forbidden” to vote for non-Islamists—a proclamation with threats of hellfire.

One of the blocs not voting for the Islamists consists of Christian Copts, who make for some 12-15 million people.

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