EXCLUSIVE – Egypt Dispatch: Top General Killed in Joint Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas Assassination Plot

muslim-brotherhood-terrorism-sized-770x415xt-1PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, October 23, 2016:

The killing of a top general responsible for anti-terrorism operations in the restive Sinai province killed outside his home in Cairo yesterday was part of an assassination plot involving Muslim Brotherhood splinter groups and top terror operatives from Hamas in Gaza, Egyptian security sources told PJ Media last night.

The murdered general was responsible for shutting down the smuggling tunnels between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Egypt, and the joint operation is believed to be intended to relieve some pressure from the Egyptian army’s operation that had placed a stranglehold one of Hamas’ main sources of income and slowed the movement of weapons and fighters from Gaza into Sinai fighting against the Egyptian government, including the Islamic State’s group in Sinai.

A statement published after the assassination also invoked the death of a senior Muslim Brotherhood operative killed in a shootout with police earlier this month.

The New York Times reports:

Gunmen suspected of being Islamist militants killed a senior Egyptian Army officer on Saturday in a brazen daylight shooting outside the man’s home in a Cairo suburb.The state media identified the officer as Brig. Gen. Adel Ragai, commander of the army’s Ninth Armored Division.

General Ragai, according to multiple pro-state papers, had previously been deployed to Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, where the military is fighting Islamic State militants.

The military did not issue a statement.

“I heard the gunshots and saw him die before my eyes,” Sumaya Zein el-Abedeen, the general’s wife, told the state media. She said neighbors had told her that they saw three gunmen with assault rifles in a vehicle outside the couple’s home. The men fired on General Ragai and his driver. Both men were taken to a hospital, where they were declared dead.

A group called Liwa al-Thawra, the Revolution Brigade, claimed responsibility on Twitter for the attack. The group’s account was then suspended.

General Ragai was also responsible for an armored division in Sinai:

The Liwa al-Thawra statement claiming responsibility also invoked the killing of Mohamed Kamal, one of the top Muslim Brotherhood leaders leading the group’s more violent factions.

After the killing of Kamal, LIaw al-Thawra issued a statement vowing retribution.

As I reported here at PJ Media on the death of Kamal, he was responsible for the Muslim Brotherhood’s violent factions, including the most recent incarnation of the group’s military wing, Hassm that has been involved in assassinations of Egyptian military officials.

Coincidentally, Hassm released a video yesterday showing fighters engaged in military training:

The possible involvement of Hamas operatives in the assassination operation yesterday may demonstrate an even increased role in terrorism in Egypt, including their ties to the Islamic State group’s activity in Sinai.

The roots of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “special committee” terror units go back to a split within the group’s leadership, with the old guard looking for compromise with the Egyptian state and the youth wing led by Kamal that sought a more violent “creative revolutionary path.”

A series of statements during 2015 endorsed the group’s campaign of violence:

  • 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, 2015, or possibly be faced with becoming targets in their attacks.

I reported here at PJ Media in June 2015 about the escalation of violence by the Muslim Brotherhood youth cadres during 2015, beginning with the published call for a “long, uncompromising jihad” in January 2015.

This past June, I reported on the arrest of an IED terrorist cell composed of Muslim Brotherhood members operating out of Alexandria that attacked military, police, diplomatic and business targets.

Meanwhile, bills calling for the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization have stalled in Congress.

In the House, H.R. 3892, the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015,” a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and currently with 68 cosponsors, passed the House Judiciary Committee in February on a 17-10 vote.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan has not brought the bill up for a full House vote.

The Senate companion bill, S. 2230, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and currently with 7 cosponsors, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Foreign Relations chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has yet to bring the bill up for a committee vote — or even to hold hearings on the matter.

Bill cosponsors have expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s inaction on the Muslim Brotherhood even as terror attacks by the group continue. The group has targeted Egypt’s Coptic Christian community, which I reported on here just a few weeks ago based on my April 2014 survey in Upper Egypt of sectarian attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood.

With Congress in recess until after the November 8 election, the only opportunity for these bills to be considered in either the House or Senate would be in the lame duck session.

Clinton Backed Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Regime

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012 / AP

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012 / AP

Talking points show Clinton called Morsi’s election ‘milestone’ for Egyptian democracy.

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, October 13, 2016:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012 called the election of Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood leader a “milestone” for Egyptian democracy and offered covert police and security help, according to declassified State Department documents.

A nine-page document, once-labeled “Secret,” listed talking points for Clinton’s meeting with newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on July 14, 2012. The talking points said Morsi’s election was a key step toward popular democracy in the strategic North African state.

“We stand behind Egypt’s transition to democracy,” the heavily-redacted Clinton talking points state, adding that the only way to maintain a strong Egypt is “through a successful transition to democracy.”

The first key objective of the meeting was for Clinton to “offer our congratulations to Morsi and to the Egyptian people for this milestone in Egypt’s transition to democracy.”

Clinton then was meant to offer Morsi American technical expertise and assistance from both the U.S. government and private sector to support his economic and social programs.

Clinton’s talking points also included an offer of secret assistance to help Morsi “upgrade and reorient Egypt’s police force toward serving the needs of a democratic people.” The offer included sending a team of U.S. police and security experts to Egypt as part of a “framework of cooperation” that would be carried out “quite discretely.”

Also, the talking points reveal Clinton was ready to help launch an Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, a private sector initiative of U.S. and Egyptian investors to help Egyptian businesses. The fund was to be launched with $60 million and would later involve Congress adding $300 million over five years.

The fund was created in September 2012.

Many pro-democracy Egyptians who had taken to the streets as part of the 2011 revolution that ousted long-time U.S. ally Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak viewed U.S. support for Morsi as a betrayal and part of a U.S. strategy of backing the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

The meeting between Clinton and Morsi took place two months before terrorists in neighboring Libya attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA facility, killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens.

A second State Department document revealed that Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides wrote to Morsi on Sept. 24, 2012 seeking collaboration with the Egyptian leader on Syria and Iran.

“It was a honor to meet with you in Cairo,” Nides wrote in the letter. “We share the goal of growing our markets and increasing trade, as well as a desire for a stable, secure and peaceful region. As I said when we met, the United States also remains committed to helping Egypt address regional issues, including Syria and Iran.”

Both documents reveal that the State Department under Clinton had little understanding of the Islamist threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches.

Andrew C. McCarthy, former assistant U.S. attorney in New York who prosecuted Islamist terrorism cases, said Clinton backed the Muslim Brotherhood over the Egyptian military, stating it was imperative that power be turned over to the winner of the election.

“The defining mission of the Muslim Brotherhood is the implementation of sharia,” McCarthy said. Sharia is Islamic law that critics say is antidemocratic and contrary to fundamental rights and freedoms

The documents were released under a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information on the Obama administration’s secret 2011 Presidential Study Directive-11, or PSD-11.

The directive, according to officials familiar with its contents, outlined how the administration would seek to support the Muslim Brotherhood around the world despite the Islamist supremacist organization providing the ideological underpinning for jihadist terrorism for both al Qaeda and its successor, the Islamic State.

U.S. backing for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt was derailed by the Egyptian military a year after the meeting. Morsi, the first democratically elected head of state in Egyptian history, was ousted in a coup after he had sought to consolidate power by granting himself unlimited authority in what pro-democracy critics called an Islamist coup.

Egyptian military leaders arrested Morsi on July 3, 2013, after protesters took to the streets to oppose his rule. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi headed a military government and was later elected president.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an international organization founded in 1928 that adopted as its motto “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our Leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the path of Allah is our highest hope.”

The leaders of the Brotherhood in September 2010 declared jihad, or holy war against the United States and Israel, six months before the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

Clinton’s backing for Arab Spring states was guided by PSD-11 and produced ongoing disasters in the region, namely in Libya and Syria.

U.S. intervention in Libya ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi but left the oil-rich state in turmoil. It is now viewed as a failed state and safe haven for several Islamist terror groups.

Syria’s civil war helped spawn the emergence of the Islamic State in 2014.

In a section on Israel, Clinton’s talking points expressed appreciation to Morsi for assertions that Egypt would continue to abide by international treaties and obligations.

“Maintaining peace with Israel is a fundamental shared interest and critical for Egypt’s ability to address its economic challenges and enjoy international support as it consolidates its democracy,” the talking points stated. “We may not have a common view, but we do have a common interest.”

The CIA also covertly backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, according to Egyptian news outlets. In December 2013, the news website Al Bashayer published audio recordings of a CIA delegation that met with Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Khayrat al Shatir and Brotherhood official Isam al Haddad at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Jan. 8, 2013.

The CIA asked the Muslim Brotherhood leaders to open a back channel to al Qaeda “to secure the safe exit of U.S. troops” from Afghanistan.

Additionally, another news outlet, Al-Marshad al Amni, reported that Maj. Gen. Abd-al-Hamid Khayrat, former deputy chief for Egyptian State Security Investigations said the CIA in January 2013 “asked for the help of the MB in Egypt to facilitate… the withdrawal from Afghanistan.” The Muslim Brotherhood agreed to become a “bridge” between the U.S. government and al Qaeda, Khayrat said.

The reports triggered widespread conspiracy theories in post-Morsi Egypt that the CIA was collaborating with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize Egypt.

The Clinton talking points about the transition to democracy were reflected in a briefing given by a State Department official to reporters the day before the 2012 meeting. The covert police assistance was not mentioned.

A day after the meeting, Clinton stated in remarks at the U.S. Consulate in Alexandria, Egypt, that she told Morsi the success of his presidency and Egypt’s success “depends upon building consensus across the Egyptian political spectrum and speaking to the needs and concerns of all Egyptians—all faiths, all communities, men and women alike.”

Retired Army Lt. Col. Joseph Myers, a former DIA official and specialist on terrorism, said the documents show the endorsement and support of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was “a fools errand and shows a disastrous strategic naivety.”

“The whole policy initiative to support a Muslim Brotherhood government anywhere is another example of a total policy failure of Secretary Clinton,” Myers said.

“But it also raises deeper questions of who in our government is advising and influencing such reckless and dangerous policies that show no fundamental comprehension of the threat we face from radical Islamic jihad,” he added. “Or worse these advisers precisely understand what they are doing to U.S. policy and Secretary Clinton could not.”

Two Senior Leaders of Muslim Brotherhood ‘Terror Wing’ Killed in Egypt

muslim-brotherhood-terrorism-sized-770x415xtPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Oct. 4, 2016:

Two senior leaders of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood were reportedly killed in a shootout with government forces, the Ministry of Interior announced late yesterday:

Reuters reports:

Egypt’s Interior Ministry said early on Tuesday that it killed a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader it said was responsible for the group’s “armed wing” and another member of the group in a shootout on Monday.Mohamed Kamal, 61, a member of the group’s top leadership, and Yasser Shehata, another leader, were killed. The ministry said it raided an apartment in Cairo’s Bassateen neighborhood after learning it was used by the leaders as a headquarters.

Both Kamal and Sehata were wanted by Egyptian authorities since the dissolution of Mohamed Morsi’s government in August 2013:

Shehata was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for “assaulting a citizen and forcibly detaining the person in the headquarters of the freedom and Justice party,” the political wing of the origination, the ministry said in its statement.Kamal had been sentenced to life in prison on two counts in absentia, added the statement.

Kamal is one of the most prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and a member of the Guidance Bureau. He was in charge of the supreme Administrative Committee, known as the youth committee. He resigned from the committee in May 2016, because the committee was opposed by other top leaders in the organization.

It is precisely Kamal’s role in inciting violence through the Muslim Brotherhood’s youth committee that brought him into conflict with other leaders of the group. He was directly responsible for the creation of the youth cadres that continue to wage a widespread terror campaign targeting army, police and other Egyptian government officials.

In June, Mohamed Hamama explained Kamal’s role in establishing the Muslim Brotherhood’s current terror wing:

The roots of dissent grew out of this crisis management committee, with Kamal and [Ali] Bateekh among its members. They were elected by the group’s Shura Council in 2013, following the end of the mandate of the Guidance Bureau, the group’s leadership body. In the committee’s view, Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie still retains his position despite his imprisonment, while the committee takes on the Guidance Bureau’s responsibilities given the absence of most of its leaders.By June 2014, divisions in opinion on major issues, such as the group’s position on violence, began to fester. According to a former Brotherhood leader from the Delta who preferred not to be named, Kamal, Bateekh and others called for a meeting in January 2015 to discuss the revolution’s anniversary. At that meeting, they spoke of violence as an inevitable path. The meeting culminated in the formation of two new committees to adopt a violence-oriented strategy: the Revolutionary Punishment Committee and the Popular Resistance Committee.

The constituencies affiliated with Kamal, Bateekh and other dissenters live in the areas where the greatest violence against the state has been waged in the last two years: Cairo, Alexandria, Qalyubiya, Monufiya and the northern part of Upper Egypt.

Coincidentally, prior to the announcement of Kamal’s death, research Moktar Awad published an assessment of the “Islamist insurgency” in Egypt, noting Kamal’s role in the Muslim Brotherhood’s terror wing, including its most recent incarnation, Hassm, which has assassinated several top officials responsible for local crackdowns on the Muslim Brotherhood:

Immediately after Kamal began leading a faction of the Muslim Brotherhood towards a “creative revolutionary path,” a series of statements during 2015 endorsed the group’s campaign of violence:

  • 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, 2015 or possibly be faced with becoming targets in their attacks.

I reported here at PJ Media in June 2015 about the escalation of violence by the Muslim Brotherhood youth cadres during 2015, beginning with the published call for a “long, uncompromising jihad” in January 2015.

This past June, I reported on the arrest of an IED terrorist cell composed of Muslim Brotherhood members operating out of Alexandria that attacked military, police, diplomatic and business targets.

Meanwhile, bills calling for the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization have stalled in Congress.

In the House, H.R. 3892, the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015,” a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and currently with 68 cosponsors, passed the House Judiciary Committee in February on a 17-10 vote.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan has not brought the bill up for a full House vote.

The Senate companion bill, S. 2230, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and currently with 7 cosponsors, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Foreign Relations chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has yet to bring the bill up for a committee vote — or even to hold hearings on the matter.

Bill cosponsors have expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s inaction on the Muslim Brotherhood even as terror attacks by the group continue. The group has targeted Egypt’s Coptic Christian community, which I reported on here just a few weeks ago based on my April 2014 survey in Upper Egypt of sectarian attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood.

With Congress in recess until after the November 8 election, the only opportunity for these bills to be considered in either the House or Senate would be in the lame duck session.

Egyptian Leaders Praise Donald Trump, Blast Hillary Clinton After President El-Sisi Meets with Both Candidates

trump-el-sisi-ap-640x480Breitbart, by JEN LAWRENCE & DUSTIN STOCKTON, Sept. 21, 2016:

NEW YORK CITY, New York — Members of the Egyptian delegation to the United Nations blasted Hillary Clinton just a day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with both Clinton and Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. They also had high praise for Trump—and while not an official endorsement, it is a positive outcome for Trump’s first and only meeting with Muslim world leaders thus far.

Egyptian officials expressed frustration and outrage over the Obama administration’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and expressed concern that a Clinton administration would continue to undermine Egyptian efforts to dismantle Brotherhood terrorists attempting to destabilize the democratically elected Egyptian government.

Ahmed Gad, a member of the Egyptian Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee, told Breitbart News Tuesday night:

I think 90 percent of Egyptians would prefer Trump because he will not cooperate with terrorists. He [Trump] will not cooperate with Muslim Brothers and our main concern in Egypt now is terrorist attacks as you saw two days ago in the United States. We saw it daily in Egypt on the hands of Muslim Brothers so we know very well that Muslim Brothers are a terrorist group and we want to build up our democratic regime.

Many members of the Egyptian delegation spoke on the record exclusively with Breitbart News at an event to promote communication and unity between the United States and Egypt on Tuesday night. The event was organized by popular Egyptian media personality and host of American Pulse Dr. Michael Morgan, and featured several American foreign policy experts including representatives from the London Center for Policy Research and more than a hundred prominent Egyptians including members of parliament, leading media figures, government officials, and businessmen.

The Egyptian delegation interviews came as El-Sisi, in an interview with CNN, said that he has “no doubt” that Donald Trump would make a strong leader. El-Sisi also responded to a clip of Hillary Clinton accusing the Egyptian government of being “basically an army dictatorship,” during a debate with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He said, in part, that “in Egypt there will not be a chance for any dictatorship because in Egypt there is a constitution, there is law, and there is the will of the people which will refuse to allow any leader to stay in his position for any period longer than his term which is four years.”

The fact that El-Sisi and those from the Egyptian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly here in New York City this week would speak so openly and positively about Trump—and so openly and negatively about Clinton—may surprise some. They are Muslim leaders and Egypt is perhaps one of the biggest and longest-standing Muslim nations in world history. Many establishment media outlets have painted Trump’s relationship with all Muslims as toxic, since he has expressed plans to temporarily ban Islamic migration into the United States. But El-Sisi, when asked about Trump’s proposed Muslim ban during his CNN interview, defended Trump.

“The United States in general conducts very strict security measures for everyone who wishes to visit it, which has been in place for quite a few years,” El-Sisi, the first Muslim world leader to meet with Trump, told CNN. “It’s also important to know that during election campaigns many statements are made and many things are said, however afterwards governing the country would be something different.  And will be subject to many factors.”

El-Sisi expressed these same sentiments in other interviews with the Egyptian delegation to the U.N.G.A. this week. At Trump’s meeting with El-Sisi, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn—the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for two years during the Obama administration—and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) were also present.

The Trump campaign said in a readout of the meeting sent to press:

Mr. Trump thanked President el-Sisi and the Egyptian people for what they have done in defense of their country and for the betterment of the world over the last few years. He expressed great respect for Egypt’s history and the important leadership role it has played in the Middle East. Mr. Trump expressed to President el-Sisi his strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism, and how under a Trump Administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead. Mr. Trump emphasized the strong partnership that the United States and Egypt have shared for so many years and how this relationship is vital to help promote peace and stability in the Middle East, broader region and the world. Mr. Trump also expressed his recognition of Egypt’s close relationship with Israel on countering terrorism.Mr. Trump highlighted how Egypt and the U.S. share a common enemy and the importance of working together in defeating radical Islamic terrorism, not only politically and militarily, but also addressing the ideology. Mr. Trump emphasized to President el-Sisi his high regard for peace-loving Muslims and understands that every day there are people of goodwill that sacrifice their lives and fortunes to combat the growing threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Mr. Trump said that if he were fortunate enough to win the election in November, he would invite President el-Sisi on an official visit to the United States and would be honored to visit Egypt and the Egyptian people who he has a great fondness for.

Clinton’s campaign described her meeting with El-Sisi as being successful as well. According to a Clinton aide:

Secretary Clinton and President Sisi had a constructive discussion about bilateral ties and cooperation on a wide range of issues, including counterterrorism. They also discussed the importance of economic development and investment in Egypt. Secretary Clinton emphasized the importance of respect for rule of law and human rights to Egypt’s future progress. Secretary Clinton called for the release of U.S. citizen Aya Hijazi and raised concerns about prosecution of Egyptian human rights organizations and activists. Secretary Clinton discussed ways to deepen counterterrorism cooperation, particularly in the fight against ISIS. She and President Sisi exchanged views about the Middle East, and Secretary Clinton underscored the importance of the Egyptian cooperation with Israel on counterterrorism, and her commitment to defeating ISIS, to addressing foreign fighters, and to countering radicalization.

However, the Egyptian delegations’ respective statements to Breitbart News do not reveal a positive aftermath for Clinton’s meeting.

But clearly, based upon El-Sisi’s interview with CNN and comments that the various members of the Egyptian delegation here made to Breitbart News, it is Trump not Clinton whom the Egyptian leadership wants to win the election.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Egyptian Chamber of Media Industry, Amr Fathy, took issue with Hillary Clinton’s claims that President El-Sisi is a dictator. “The signs you take as dictatorship is not dictatorship,” Fathy told Breitbart News. Of El-Sisi, Fathy added: “This is our president and we are behind him.”

“The Egyptian authorities they have already dealt with Hillary before; we did not deal with Trump,” Fathy explained about the meetings between El-Sisi and the American presidential candidates. “So, maybe we know now much more and better idea about Mr. Trump in specific.”

When asked about the coziness between Clinton and the Muslim Brotherhood, Fathy showed just how damaging the Obama foreign policy directed by Hillary Clinton and her successor at the State Department, John Kerry, has been to America’s standing in the eye’s of the Egyptians. He said:

They [Muslim Brotherhood] were supported by the Americans and the Western world. Why? I don’t know. They did not come by democracy, they were not the people who came out on the 25th of January. They were not, the youth were the people who came out. We have our own identity, we are not a theocratic nation we have never been a theocratic nation. The American policy is always pushing for theocratic regimes and then when you have a theocratic regime you start crying.

One consistent theme among the Egyptians who spoke with Breitbart News was the deep distrust of Hillary Clinton. Dr. Morgan said of Egyptian President El-Sisi’s meetings with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Monday:

President El-Sisi wanted to meet up with both candidates because he did not want to give Hillary a chance to use and abuse an indirect endorsement from a meeting with a President like El-Sisi. As evil as she is, she was going to go out into the media and say, ‘oh I have a good relationship with this man, I know foreign policy’ so he made sure that he would meet Trump as well to make sure the America public doesn’t think he supports Hillary. We know he would never support Hillary because Hillary is another eight years of Obama and Obama has been really bad for Egypt.

The members of the Egyptian Parliament that Breitbart News spoke with Tuesday night showcased the inclusive nature of the new Egyptian government under President El-Sisi. Among the representatives were two women, a Coptic Christian, and a 31-year-old man. One of the female Parliament members pointed out that a third of the Egyptian parliament members are under the age of 35.

One of those women, Sahar Talaat Moustafa, is the head of the Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee. When asked by Breitbart News how the Egyptian people see Hillary Clinton, she responded: “A lot of people in Egypt feel she is in support of the Brotherhood. Actually, a majority of people think so.”

Moustafa invited Americans to come visit Egypt and see for themselves.

“I invite you to come and see how things are going on in Egypt,” she said. “Everything is so smooth we are walking normally in the streets and there is no terrorism. Egypt’s is one of the safest countries to go.”

Ahmed Gad is a member of the Egyptian Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee and he echoed the desire of the Egyptian dignitaries who spoke with Breitbart News for a better relationship with the United States, but also concern that under the Obama administration the United States sided with the wrong side in the Muslim Brotherhood. Gad said:

For us, it’s a very important signal that we want to resume our good relations but in the same time, I am speaking as a political researcher, frankly speaking, we are very disappointed from Obama’s policy towards our country. Because, by the way, I am a Coptic in Egypt so we suffered a lot under the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Some sort of cooperation between the American administration, Obama Administration, and the Muslim Brothers. We know very well that they are terrorists, they burned and destroyed over 100 churches in Egypt, and they killed a lot of Christians. They killed and are still killing a lot of Egyptians priests men and soldiers. At the same time the Obama administration is refusing to deal with the Muslim Brothers as a terrorist group.

Gad said that El-Sisi’s background as a general should not be taken to mean he is somehow running a “military dictatorship” as Hillary Clinton claimed.

“Yes, El-Sisi has a military background but he saved Egypt,” Gad said. “He restored the Egyptian identity.”

That’s why they seem to really want Trump elected in the United States.

Some of the members of the Egyptian Parliament did express concern that Donald Trump might have trouble restoring the relationship with Egypt because of the institutional nature of the American system of government and foreign policy. Many of the American foreign policy experts explained that the American President sets foreign policy and that a President Trump would have the authority to change the diplomatic course between the two nations.

“That’s why we are ready to cooperate with anybody who can fight the Muslim Brothers and frankly speaking, we are fighting terrorism on behalf of the Modern World,” Gad said.

Brotherhood Members Gather in D.C. to Blast Egyptian Government

mb-theaterby John Rossomando
IPT News
September 21, 2016

Roughly two dozen Egyptians opposed to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, some with Muslim Brotherhood connections, signed a declaration last week in Washington endorsing a civil constitution that separates mosque and state. Three of the declaration’s points involve prosecuting current Egyptian officials.

Sisi, a former general, assumed power in July 2013 after his military forces ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who led the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party. Sisi was elected president with an overwhelming 96 percent of the vote in 2014.

He has cracked down on dissent, especially by the Muslim Brotherhood, imprisoning 29,000 Brotherhood members, mainly on terrorism charges.

They, in turn, have organized campaigns against the government, calling it the product of a coup.

In a Facebook post, one participant explained the statement was issued from Washington after “all other places rejected the meeting.”

The fourth point of their 10-point “Washington Initiative” endorses the creation of a civil state. It calls for “[d]rafting a civil constitution which expressly stipulates no state interference in religious institutions or vice versa, and no military intervention in the political process. It will establish rights and freedoms according to the basis of international human rights declarations and global covenants.”

This declaration also endorsed pluralism, freedom of expression, press freedom, and full equality of all Egyptian citizens. It also calls for releasing political prisoners.

Many of these positions are inconsistent with the Brotherhood’s policies during its year in power. Muslim Brotherhood leaders had promised to bring about democratic reforms once in office. Instead, they resorted to the same sort of repression found during Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year reign. This became clear after Morsi asserted emergency powers in November 2012.

“It was clear from President Morsi’s first day in office that his program for the first 100 days of his term paid little attention to addressing human rights issues and realizing Egyptians’ aspirations for democratization,” the Cairo Institute for Human Rights said in a new report issued in June.

Morsi created the underpinnings of an authoritarian regime in place of Mubarak, the institute said.

Military trials for civilians continued under Muslim Brotherhood rule and accusations of defamation of religion frequently were used to stifle freedom of expression, the institute reported. Press freedom also suffered during Morsi’s presidency.

The delegation in Washington last week included Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, foreign affairs chairman for the Muslim Brotherhood’s banned Freedom and Justice Party, and a frequent participant in pro-Brotherhood lobbying efforts in the nation’s capital.

Dardery previously rejected the separation of mosque and state.

“The issue of the separation of religion from politics is a church issue and it does not apply to Islam,” Dardery said in a Feb. 15, 2014 speech he gave at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, and translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “Democracy is the rule of people [for] the people by the people within the limit of what God allows. Islam is a choice, is a contract between me and God.”

Dardery’s statement at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee more closely resembles the International Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws, which ultimately envisions an Islamic state.

“The need to work on establishing the Islamic State, which seeks to effectively implement the provisions of Islam and its teachings. Defend the nation against the internal enemies, try to present the true teachings of Islam and communicate its ideas to the world,” Article 2, Paragraph E of the bylaws say.

In contrast, Dardery claimed in a more public setting a year later that the Muslim Brotherhood did not want a religious state.

“We’re not calling for a religious law, we’re not calling for a theocracy; we’re standing against theocracy, period. What we are calling for is a democracy that can bring the liberals, the leftists, the nationalists, or the Muslim Brotherhood, because they’re all equal,” Dardery told a University of California, Berkeley audience.

He also affirmed in the speech the idea of a civil state with Islamic principles, meaning that the state would be governed by laypersons under a constitution and that laws would be made within the boundaries of Islamic shariah. This concept contrasts with the Iranian model where clerics rule directly over the people.

The 2012 Egyptian constitution drafted under Morsi’s rule had created a civil state butmade laws subject to review by Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most important institution.

Amnesty International faulted the Muslim Brotherhood’s last attempt to write a constitution for blocking women’s path to full equality and failing to protect minorities.

“It is therefore no wonder that the constitution, drafted solely by political Islamists, further entrenches both political and religious despotism and paves the way for a Sunni theocracy similar to the Iranian model,” the Cairo Institute for Human Rights wrote.

Michael Meunier, a Coptic Christian who helped organize and coordinate factions involved in the 2011 revolt that toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, dismissed the D.C. gathering and its resulting declaration as smoke and mirrors.

“All the [people in] attendance are members of the MB disguised under different banners. I know several of them and definitely they don’t speak for [a] civil state and did not support the creation of a civil state in 2011. [Their] insistence on Jan 25th as the official revolution gives away their motive. They don’t want to acknowledge June 30th as a Revolution since it was against the MB,” Meunier said in an email.

The declaration had more to do with persuading American policymakers to support the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egyptian government, Meunier said. The Brotherhood used similar rhetoric before it came to power in Egypt but failed to deliver after Morsi’s inauguration.

“They love playing under different umbrellas,” Meunier said. “They say one thing in English and another in Arabic.”

Dardery’s contradictory statements support Meunier’s point that Muslim Brotherhood members vary their message depending on their audience.

Egypt’s Youm 7 newspaper identified other Brotherhood-linked figures who participated in the recent conference. In addition to Dardery, participants included former Morsi adviser Seif El-Din Abdel Fattah; Ayman Nour, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sharq Channel; Muhammad Mahsoub of the Wasat Party; and Brotherhood analyst Essam Hajji.

The declaration triggered “earthquakes inside the Brotherhood camp” after its signing,Youm 7 reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood disavowed any formal participation in the conference and said any Brotherhood members who participated did so on their own.

“Media reports announcing the outcome of the ‘dialogue’ workshop held recently in Washington, attended by some political activists, also claimed representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood were present. This is not true. The group had no knowledge of anyone representing it in that workshop,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Talat Fahmy said in a statement posted on the Brotherhood’s own website, Ikhwanweb. “The Muslim Brotherhood reiterates that any views, opinion, stances or attitudes attributed to it must be so expressed through its own institutions and spokespersons.”

Other Islamists denounced the document as a “farce” because it does not recognize the Islamic nature of Egypt.

Egyptian Ambassador Takes Aim at Top Muslim Brotherhood Jurist

ISLAMIC SCHOLAR AL-QARADAWI POSES IN LONDON. REUTERS/Toby Melville

ISLAMIC SCHOLAR AL-QARADAWI POSES IN LONDON.
REUTERS/Toby Melville

CounterJihad, by Kyle Shideler, Aug. 30, 2016:

Last week the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Yasser Reda used the opportunity of a Wall Street Journal op-ed to focus attention on the ideologues who promote and support terrorist violence, and called for United Nations efforts to curb terroristic speech with international policy instruments in a manner similar to terror financing. For the subject of their piece, Egypt’s Ambassador focused not on Islamic State’s Al-Baghdadi, or Al Qaeda’s Al-Zawahiri, but rather a man he identified as “the pontiff of terror,” Muslim Brotherhood leading cleric and sharia jurist Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.

The Egyptians have good reason to fear Qaradawi, a long-accomplished jurist with “more than a hundred tomes on theological and jurisprudential issues” to his name, who in 2013 called for those who overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohammed Morsi to be killed.

Qaradawi’s proclamations played a substantial role in the Arab Spring, particular legitimizing jihad in Libya against Qaddafi and in Syria against Hezbollah and the Assad regime. Qaradawi’s pronouncements also played a role in massive and highly anti-Semitic protests in opposition to Israel Operation Protective Edge against Hamas throughout the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

Prior to the Arab Spring, Qaradawi was perhaps best known for providing fatwas authorizing suicide bombings for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and calling for the death of Americans during the occupation in Iraq in 2004.

Unfortunately Reda’s rebuttals falls into some common rhetorical pitfalls. In particular, Reda attempts to contrast Qaradawi’s support for suicide bombings with a prohibition against suicide found in Islamic law. While it’s admirable for the Egyptian diplomat to admit that Qaradawi deals in questions of Islamic jurisprudence and not an artificial “extremism” unrelated to questions of Islamic jurisprudence, Reda’s argument against Qaradawi’s positions lack a solid basis.

The very statement Reda quotes to condemn itself invokes Qaradawi’s defense against the charge. Reda quotes Qaradawi on Al Jazeera suggesting that suicide operations must be undertaken as part of a military effort by a Jamma (party or group) and not by a single individual. But Qaradawi’s formulation eliminates the possibility that a person has taken their own life only out of their own personal despair, and not in order that “they fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed.” (Sura: 9:39)

Even while making an effort to minimize Qaradawi’s juridical authority, Reda ultimately seems to accept that Qaradawi’s interpretation carries serious weight among his audience, and that those who hear his appeals to violence on the basis of sharia may act upon it.

Far too many western analysts cannot bring themselves to make even this reasonable concession to reality.

Reda also dispatches with the nonsense notion that Qaradawi’s views, which uphold suicide bombings, jihad and revolution are, in any way, the views of a “moderate.”

Qaradawi has been a bugbear for several Arab States, including Egypt, but also the United Arab Emirates, which designated Qaradawi’s International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) as a terrorist group.

Reda’s proposed solution raises some questions and some concerns. Reda proposes a United Nations apparatus to designate ideologues like Qaradawi, in the same manner as designating terror financiers, and to sanction them accordingly.

To begin with Qaradawi is already the head of a U.S. and Israeli-designated terrorist finance organization, the Union of the Good, as being designated by the United Arab Emirates.  Despite this no sanctions have ever been placed directly on Qaradawi or business associated with him.

Qaradawi, who has been banned from entry to numerous countries including the United States, France, and Ireland, faces an Interpol “red notice” seeking his arrest and return to Egypt to stand trial on charges of incitement to murder.

In other words, if the nations of the world were so inclined, the ability to take action against Qaradawi exists.

Yet Qaradawi continues to enjoy the patronage of Qatar and Turkey, nations that have sought to expand their prestige and position in the Muslim world through a mutually beneficial alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, it’s unlikely to see international consensus regarding an effort to sanction him for his calls to violence.

The other problem, of course is Egypt’s own history of seeking to utilize international forums to silence opponents have not always been focused on Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadist ideologues.

Instead Egypt (with the support of the United States), sponsored a 2009 resolution targeting freedom of speech under the rubric of protecting against religious discrimination. As Anne Bayesfky noted at the time:

…Ambassador Hisham Badr, was equally pleased–for all the wrong reasons. He praised the development by telling the Council that “freedom of expression . . . has been sometimes misused,” insisting on limits consistent with the “true nature of this right” and demanding that the “the media must . . . conduct . . . itself in a professional and ethical manner.”

The new resolution, championed by the Obama administration, has a number of disturbing elements. It emphasizes that “the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities . . .” which include taking action against anything meeting the description of “negative racial and religious stereotyping.” It also purports to “recognize . . . the moral and social responsibilities of the media” and supports “the media’s elaboration of voluntary codes of professional ethical conduct” in relation to “combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

This is particularly worrisome since the U.N.-based effort is modeled on using “incitement to violence” to trigger legal penalties, which seems similar to the sort of trigger for sanctions proposed by Reda.

While it’s possible that the current proposal by Ambassador Reda is intended only to narrowly focus on the kinds of jihadist ideology promoted by clerics like Qaradawi, it pays to be cautious.

Still Reda’s editorial displays a rare level-headedness about the depth of the problem, and a willingness to call out not just jihadists but Islamic scholars and clerics who provide legitimacy to jihadist terror.

At a minimum however cooperation between U.S. and western countries and Arab states looking to crack down on Muslim Brotherhood ideologues and their networks would be a key turning point towards responding to the current threat, and one that the U.S. has largely turned a blind eye to. Certainly expanding current terrorism laws to include those, like Qaradawi, who provide ideological and material support to terror, along with including the Muslim Brotherhood as a designated terrorist group, would be a good first step towards “countering the pontiff of terror.”

Donald Trump’s Outreach to Moderate Muslim Leaders Highlights Clinton Failure in Egypt

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by Tera Dahl, Aug. 17, 2016:

In his foreign policy speech on Monday, Donald Trump stated that he would “amplify the voice” of moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, saying, “Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.”

He also said that he would work with Egypt, Jordan and Israel in combating radical Islam, saying, “As President, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal. We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.”

He said that, as President, he would establish a “Commission on Radical Islam,” saying, “That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam – which will include reformist voices in the Muslim community who will hopefully work with us. We want to build bridges and erase divisions.”

His comments about cooperating with Egypt, Israel and Jordan were highlighted in the Arab world’s media, with headlines reading “Donald Trump Announces Plan to Cooperate with Egypt, Jordan, Israel to Combat Radical Islam” and “Trump vows to work with Egypt’s Sisi to ‘stop radical Islam’ if elected.”

Under the Obama Administration, US policy has not been friendly towards our Muslim allies such as Egypt. Hillary Clinton recently said in a primary debate with Bernie Sanders that, in Egypt, you basically have an “army dictatorship”.

Egypt is one of the most catastrophic foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s State Department. President Obama started his outreach to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood when he delivered his 2009 Cairo speech. The US Embassy invited 10 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend the speech, undermining US ally Mubarak – who had rejected to previous U.S. efforts to reach out to the Brotherhood.

The Obama Administration, and Clinton’s State Department, again undermined President Mubarak in 2011 when they urged him to step down and pressured Egypt to hold elections“ immediately” after the 2011 revolution. This policy favored the Muslim Brotherhood to win elections since they were the most organized at the time.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo offering “strong support” for the Islamist President, saying, “I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and their democratic transition… We want to be a good partner and we want to support the democracy that has been achieved by the courage and sacrifice of the Egyptian people.”

The Obama Administration embraced the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, but when millions of Egyptians took to the streets one year later, calling for early elections against the Muslim Brotherhood government, the Obama Administration did all they could to undermine their efforts.

Over 30 million Egyptians took to the streets on June 30, 2013 calling for the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power. After one year of being in power, the Brotherhood was taking Egypt towards an Iranian theocracy and the Egyptian people stood against political Islam. The 2011 Egyptian Constitution had no impeachment mechanism included, so the only democratic way to remove the Brotherhood was signing a petition and taking to the streets in the masses. Millions of Egyptians took to the streets again in July, supporting then Defense Minister General el-Sisi and the Egyptian military in their efforts to fight terrorism.

The Obama Administration condemned the Egyptian military and police after the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood and punished Egypt by freezing military and economic aid to Egypt. This was done while the Egyptian military had launched a major offensive to “crush terrorist activity” in the Sinai that had built up during the Muslim Brotherhood government. Egypt had to fight terrorism alone – not only without support from the US – but with pressure to succumb to the requests from the US Administration to release the Muslim Brotherhood members from prison and reconcile.

The pressure from the Obama Administration against the removal of the Morsi regime emboldened the Muslim Brotherhood and they waged an Islamist insurgency, not only in the Sinai but on the streets of Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood specifically targeted the Christian community and burned down over 65 Christian Churches and hundreds of Christian shops.

The Obama Administration sent U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to Egypt for “U.S. mediation efforts” and met with Khairat el-Shater, the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was in jail at the time and sentenced for life in prison. Our State Department, under John Kerry, sent a representative to Egypt pressuring the Egyptian government to release terrorists from jail.

The Obama Administration also sent Senators McCain and Graham to Egypt to ask the Egyptian government and military to find an agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood. They asked the Egyptian government to “sit down and talk” to the Muslim Brotherhood, who had waged war on the Egyptian people.

Since being democratically elected in 2014, winning with 97% of the vote, Egyptian President al-Sisi has made history speaking out for equality between Muslims and Christians. He was the first President in Egyptian history to visit the Coptic Christian Christmas mass service in January 2015. During his speech at the Christmas mass, he emphasized the need to look at each other as “Egyptians” and not as Muslim or Christian. He said, “We will love each other for real, so that people may see.” President Sisi again visited the Coptic Christmas mass in January 2016 where he vowed to rebuild the Christian churches that were destroyed by Islamists in 2013 after the Muslim Brotherhood were removed from power.

President Sisi has called for “Islamic reform” within Islam numerous times. During a speech to Islamic scholars in 2015, marking the anniversary of Muhammad’s birth, President Sisi urged reform of Islamic discourse and called on Islamic scholars to send Christmas greetings to Christians. In the televised speech to Islamic scholars, President Sisi stated, “We talk a lot about the importance of religious discourse… In our schools, institutes and universities, do we teach and practice respect for the others? We neither teach or practice it.”

The Egyptian government has also addressed the ideology by banning thousands of radical clerics from preaching in the mosques that are not licensed.

Recently, the government of President al-Sisi introduced a textbook for Egyptian public schools that requires Egyptian pupils to memorize the provisions of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty and delineate the “advantages of peace for Egypt and the Arab states”. This is a major reform taken from the Egyptian government in normalizing and strengthening relations between Israel and Egypt.

President Sisi should be considered a key ally of America as he is leading Egypt towards democracy and also is leading the fight against global jihad, both militarily and politically, in countering radical Islamic ideology. Instead, he has yet to be invited to the United States from President Obama.

Hillary Clinton has been critical of Trump’s position towards Russia, but policies implemented under the Obama Administration have pushed Egypt towards Russia and have alienated our strongest Arab ally for over 40 years. Egypt and Russia signed a $2billion arms deal after the United States abandoned them during their fight against terrorism. Russia also is providing Egypt with $25 billion to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

Donald Trump in his speech recognized the need to support our Muslim allies in the global war on terrorism. This is critical in defeating global jihad. We cannot afford another four years of a policy of alienating our allies and emboldening our enemies as we have seen under the Obama Administration.

Tera Dahl is Executive Director of the Council on Global Security.

Revisiting the Muslim Brotherhood’s August 2013 ‘Reign of Terror’ Targeting Egypt’s Christians

St Mousa the Black Coptic Church, Minya, Upper Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

St Mousa the Black Coptic Church, Minya, Upper Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, AUGUST 14, 2016:

Three years ago today a systematic campaign targeting Egypt’s Christian community by Muslim Brotherhood supporters began, causing the destruction of dozens of churches, monasteries, Christian businesses and homes across Egypt – attacks unprecedented for several centuries.

Even today many of these churches and monasteries that were looted and torched during August 2013 remain in disrepair as attacks on Christians continue in certain areas of Egypt.

Several months after the Muslim Brotherhood carved this path of destruction through the Egyptian Christian community, I had the opportunity to visit some of these sites and meet with Coptic church leaders to discuss the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in these attacks.

The Coptic Christian community in Egypt is significant not only because it is one of the oldest and largest Christian communities in the Middle East, but the Coptic Christians make up more than half of the Christians still remaining in the Middle East.

Escorted by Father Anthony Hanna of St. Mary and St. Mina’s Coptic Church in Concord, California, in April 2014 we traveled deep into Upper Egypt, where many of the attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood occurred.

Muslim-Brotherhood-church-attacks-August-2013

One of the first indications of how tense the situation remained even months after the attacks were the levels of security we had to pass through to attend the Easter service at St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral.

Our driver was not even allowed close to the cathedral entrance, so we were dropped off about a quarter mile away. As we passed through the gates, we were checked for our passports and the passes to attend the service. This would be the first of seven ID checks we had to go through to enter the cathedral on the holiest holiday for Christians around the world.

There was good reason for concern for security. A year earlier, the cathedral hadbeen attacked during a funeral by Muslim mobs without any intervention by police under the government of then-President Mohamed Morsi, a top Muslim Brotherhood leader.

Several days later we had lunch with Father Hanna, where he introduced us to a young Coptic man, “George,” who had been been kidnapped for eight days in January 2013. The son of a prominent Coptic businessman, he was held until his family paid a $100,000 ransom.

“George” described his captivity at the hands of his Islamist captors. Initially he was beaten, and subjected to anti-Christian taunts throughout his captivity. When his captors had obtained the ransom, but before he was released, “George” was blindfolded and a gun held to his head, where he was told that if he didn’t renounce his Christian faith and accept Islam, he would be killed. Unable to get him to renounce his faith and with their ransom secured, “George” was released.

Sadly, the kidnapping of Christians in Egypt is still a regular occurrence.

Later that evening, Father Hanna, My Unconstrained Analytics colleague Stephen Coughlin, and myself received a personal audience with Pope Tawadros II at his office and residence in the St. Mark’s Cathedral compound. Again, we had to pass through layers of security, including armored vehicles stationed at the cathedral gates.

Steve Coughlin, Fr. Anthony Hanna meeting with Pope Tawadros II (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

Steve Coughlin, Fr. Anthony Hanna meeting with Pope Tawadros II (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

Armored vehicle protecting St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

Armored vehicle protecting St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

During our audience, Pope Tawadros detailed the ongoing fallout of the Muslim Brotherhood attacks in August 2013 and his reasons for backing Morsi’s ouster following the massive June 30 protests.

Two of the things he specifically cited were the April 2013 attacks on the cathedral, which he noted was without precedent in Coptic history and which a Morsi aide had blamed Christians for, and the torture of Christian protesters in March 2013 by Muslim Brotherhood cadres at a mosque following protests against the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi.

Pope Tawadros had been praised for speaking out during the Muslim Brotherhood’s August 2013 ‘Reign of Terror’ for discouraging attempts to save the churches and the monasteries. “We could replace the buildings, we couldn’t replace the people,” he told us.

Several days later Father Hanna and I set out for Upper Egypt with arrangements made by Pope Tawadros’ staff. Here is a video of Father Hanna discussing our trip into Upper Egypt with CBN News.

Murder in Minya

Our first stop in Upper Egypt was in Minya, one of the largest cities in Upper Egypt about 140 miles south of Cairo. A majority of Egypt’s Christian community lives in Upper Egypt, and considerable destruction occurred in the Minya region.

We initially met with Bishop Makarios, who had survived an assassination attemptjust months before. Bishop Makarios noted was that Christian homes and businesses in Minya had been marked with an “X” by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the days prior to the attacks, much as ISIS did with Christian homes in Mosul, Iraq two years later.

During their ‘Reign of Terror’ the Muslim Brotherhood had openly encouraged the attacks, such as this justification for retaliation posted on the Facebook page of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in Helwan…

******

…In July 2014, Father Hanna and I met with a number of congressional leaders in Washington D.C. describing what we found on our trip and the necessity to changing the U.S. government’s current openness to the Muslim Brotherhood that had waged the August 2013 terror campaign.

Steve Coughlin and I met again with Pope Tawadros last September when we escorted a congressional delegation to Egypt. He told us of the efforts by the Egyptian government to help rebuild the churches – a promise by President Sisi that is being fulfilled.

But issues clearly remain. As previously noted, attacks on the Christian community in Egypt are increasing as the government continues to deal with a widespread terror campaign, while the Parliament takes up several draft laws to end discrimination against Christians in building churches and removing religion from national identification cards.

And as I’ve reported here at PJ Media the Muslim Brotherhood has escalated their terror tactics in Egypt, most recently with a Muslim Brotherhood IED terror cell in Alexandria that had targeted military and police officials.

Three years on from the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Reign of Terror’ it seems time for Egypt to ensure that all Egyptians enjoy equal protection under the law free from discrimination. And it is overdue for the U.S. government to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as the terrorist group it is and always has been, as witnessed by the events of August 2013.

Read it all (many photos and video)

Also see:

Where Did They Go Wrong?

CC9FA462-FE00-420E-8B18-0E83E9AC7E92_mw505_mh331_sThe Cipher Brief, by Eric Trager Aug. 12, 2016:

August 14 2013 was the most violent day in contemporary Egyptian history.  Security forces brutally dispersed demonstrations in northern Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and Giza’s al-Nahda Square, killing hundreds of Islamists who were protesting the ouster of Egypt’s first elected president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, six weeks earlier. Human Rights Watch later put the death toll at more than 800 civilians.  Meanwhile, the incident became a rallying cry for the Brotherhood and its allies, who vowed to avenge the crackdown and reinstate Morsi.

Yet the Rabaa massacre, as it became known, was also significant for another reason: it reflected the total failure of the Brotherhood’s post-Morsi strategy, and its defeat in the power struggle with the military-backed government that assumed control following Morsi’s ouster.  Three years later, the Brotherhood still has not recovered: many thousands of its leaders are in prison or exile, at least hundreds more have been killed, and the organization is no longer a significant player on the ground.

It is worth recalling that Morsi’s overthrow caught the Brotherhood by surprise. When millions of Egyptians took to the streets on June 30, 2013 to protest the Brotherhood leader’s autocratic and failed presidency, Brotherhood leaders told their members that the military stood firmly with Morsi. And they continued to exude this confidence even after the militarywarned Morsi on July 1 that it would intervene with its own “road map” if he failed to respond to the protesters’ demands within 48 hours.

So when Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, flanked by a broad spectrum of Egyptian figures, declared Morsi’s ouster on the evening of July 3, the Brotherhood responded in haste. It ordered cadres from across the country to gather in Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda Squares, where the Brotherhood had been demonstrating in support of Morsi for nearly a week. These squares became no-go zones for the Egyptian police after Morsi’s overthrow, and served as sanctuaries where wanted Brotherhood leaders avoided arrest, held meetings, and addressed the international media.

Despite the military’s significant advantages in arms and capacity, the Brotherhood sincerely expected to win the ensuing power struggle. It believed that only a small number of generals had supported Morsi’s toppling, and that its protests would foment a split within the military and thus restore Morsi to power. The Brotherhood further believed that it could withstand any attempt to disperse the protests, given that its members were willing to die for the organization’s cause. “If they want to disperse the sit-in, they’ll have to kill 100,000 protesters,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad toldjournalist Maged Atef. “And they can’t do it [because] we’re willing to offer 100,000 martyrs.” At the same time, the Brotherhood called for pro-Morsi protests across the country.  Demonstrators blocked roads and clashed with security forces. All of these activities were intended to send a very clear message to the new regime: Egypt would not know stability until the coup was reversed.

The regime got the message, and it was similarly determined to win the power struggle. “We were sure of one thing: that no country can go on if a sector of its population just does not recognize [and] defies the authority,” Hazem el-Beblawi, who served as Egypt’s prime minister during this period, told me during an October 2014 interview. “This is unacceptable.”

The government also made it quite clear that it was willing to use significant force against the Brotherhood’s protests.  Fifty-one Morsi supporters were killed on July 8 outside the Republican Guard Headquarters, where Morsi was being held.  Then, on July 24, Defense Minister Sisi called for mass demonstrations to “authorize” the military to fight terrorism, by which he meant the Brotherhood, and many thousands of Egyptians responded by pouring into the streets two days later. Still, since the first month after Morsi’s ouster coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, the government delayed its plans to disperse the Brotherhood’s protests, and allowed Western diplomats to explore possibilities for a negotiated resolution. “We were aware that such a thing cannot be solved without some casualties, but we wanted as much as we [could] to delay it, but not to the extent that the perception of respect [for] the government should deteriorate,” Beblawi said.

When negotiations failed, however, Egypt’s cabinet met on July 31 and authorized the Minister of the Interior to “take all necessary measures to disperse protests or sit-ins.” To minimize bloodshed, some ministers suggested that security forces should encircle the protest sites and permit protesters to leave, but not allow new protesters or goods to enter. This type of siege strategy would have ended the protests more gradually, but would have also entailed far fewer casualties. According to Beblawi, however, the Interior Minister rejected this idea, arguing that a siege strategy would allow the Brotherhood to decide when to initiate hostilities with security forces, which would have put the police at a disadvantage. This, of course, isn’t how police typically deal with protests – it’s the way generals strategize during war. And that’s exactly how the new government viewed this particular moment in time. So the cabinet ultimately deferred to the Interior Minister, empowering the police to disperse the protests whenever they were prepared.

The Rabaa massacre dealt a very severe blow to the Brotherhood.  Beyond the high death toll, Brotherhood leaders and cadres lost their physical sanctuaries, and during the next few months many thousands of them landed in either prison or exile.  By the end of 2013, the Brotherhood’s notoriously hierarchical organization had been thoroughly decapitated, rendering it incapable of executing any sort of nationwide strategy within Egypt. While the Brotherhood continues to promote its ideas and political narrative from its de facto base in Istanbul, it no longer represents a significant threat to the current government and is barely visible within Egypt today.

I asked Beblawi whether he had any regrets about Rabaa. After all, when security forces killed 28 Christian demonstrators in downtown Cairo in October 2011, Beblawi resigned from his post as Finance Minister in protest. But when it came to Rabaa, Beblawi believed that Egypt’s future was at stake, and didn’t envision a better alternative. “It [was] very painful,” he said. “But you go to war, and many of your kids … lose their arms and even their lives, but you save the country. It was a terrible thing, very nasty, and the decision was not easy, but inevitable.”

For the Brotherhood, Rabaa remains an important symbol of its “steadfastness” in resisting Morsi’s overthrow, and those who were killed at Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda Squares are celebrated as holy martyrs on Brotherhood social media pages and elsewhere. Yet, in recent months, Muslim Brothers have started to reassess their leaders’ failed strategy during that period. In this vein, one Morsi supporter recently asked on Facebook why the Brotherhood simply remained in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square after the Egyptian military issued its 48-hour ultimatum to Morsi on July 1, 2013, rather than mobilizing to the Republican Guard headquarters where Morsi was staying to prevent the military from arresting him.

Of course, these types of questions became even more pertinent after last month’s failed coup in Turkey, as Islamists studied how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan managed to avoid Morsi’s fate. For example, Amr Farrag, who founded the Brotherhood-affiliated news site Rassd, recalled how on the day after Morsi’s ouster, Muslim Brothers were instructed to deal respectfully with soldiers who were entering and exiting a Ministry of Defense building right next to Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. “Our dear brothers were saying, we are peaceful,” Farrag posted on Facebook. “Our peacefulness is stronger than bullets. Fine, so we got smacked on our necks.”

These reassessments reflect the most significant change within the Brotherhood in the three years since the Rabaa massacre: the organization is increasingly fractured. Brotherhood leaders are either in prison, in hiding, or scattered among various countries in exile, and this has catalyzed an internal power struggle that hasn’t been resolved yet. In this sense, there are still many Muslim Brothers but no Brotherhood, at least for the time being.

Also see:

Emails Show Clinton Was Told About MB-AQ Links

scafby John Rossomando
IPT News
May 2, 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails suggest that she may have known about connections between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and hardcore jihadist groups such as al-Qaida early in the 2011 Arab Spring.

Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal noted in an April 7, 2011 email that Egypt’s military leaders expressed concerns about contacts between the MB and al-Qaida. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reportedly feared that the Brotherhood would work with various violent Islamist groups, including al-Qaida affiliates.

“The main concern of the SCAF leaders is that the MB will begin working with more violent Islamist groups, including the various al Qa’ida affiliates,” Blumenthal wrote.

A source “with access to the highest levels of the MB,” including its Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, privately told Blumenthal that the relationship between the MB, al-Qaida and other radical groups was “complicated.”

“Egyptian military intelligence is aware of the fact that these contacts exist, but believe that the MB, under the influence of … [the] moderates, is carefully controlling its contacts with these radical/terrorist groups, in an effort to avoid providing the military with an excuse to move against them,” Blumenthal wrote.

Blumenthal’s source claimed that Mohamed Morsi admitted that the Brotherhood’s looming Islamist government in Egypt would find it difficult to control the rise of al-Qaida and other radical/terrorist groups, according to a Dec. 16, 2011 email. No context is provided for this statement apart from Morsi also noting that the younger generation of Egypt’s military had become Islamized and anti-American despite training by the United States. The email also notes that younger officers would support Egypt becoming an Islamist state more than the current crop of generals.

Morsi became president about six months later.

However, former CIA Director James Woolsey questions Blumenthal’s sources, telling the Investigative Project on Terrorism that he doesn’t know where Blumenthal found his information.

“This is highly speculative but interesting,” Woolsey said. “The issue with the emails is classification. What matters is the sources and methods.”

These emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server, written while she was secretary of state, were made public as a result of a Judicial Watch lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Many are alleged to contain potentially classified information, and this remains under FBI investigation.

Egyptian security sources recorded calls between Morsi and al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri while he Morsi was in power, according to a Nov. 22, 2013 article in Egypt’s El-Watan newspaper. Morsi allegedly agreed to grant a presidential pardon to 20 terrorists, including one al-Zawahiri had known since childhood, and another who ran Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis – now known as ISIS’s Sinai province.

Communications between Morsi and al-Zawahiri began during the first month of his presidency. Zawahiri’s brother, Mohamed, mediated the initial contacts between them.

“Rule by God’s law for us to stand beside you, there is no so-called democracy, then get rid of your opponents,” al-Zawahiri told Morsi, according to the El-Watan transcript.

Al-Zawahiri and Morsi allegedly agreed to cooperate in establishing training camps in Sinai and near the Libyan border where they could create an army to defend the Brotherhood regime. Morsi allegedly met with an emissary of Zawahiri’s at a Pakistani hotel for two-and-a-half hours, and this reportedly resulted in the international organization of the MB giving al-Qaida $50 million.

Morsi called al-Zawahiri asking for his help soon before the military toppled him, according to the Al-Watan report.

“We will fight the military and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame,” al-Zawahiri allegedly told Morsi.

The pro-military newspaper’s reporting has been called into question in the past. Its editor remains under investigation for falsifying a report about an Islamist terror cell.

Still, the alleged phone calls with al-Zawahiri contributed to Egyptian prosecutors seeking a death sentence against Morsi.

Attacks in the Sinai increased following Morsi’s fall. The suggestion by Brotherhood leader Mohamed el-Beltagy following Morsi’s deposition that “Attacks in Sinai would stop the second President Mohammed Morsi is reinstated,” adds to evidence of Brotherhood connections with al-Qaida, according to Michael Meunier, an Egyptian activist who previously worked closely with the Egyptian government.

“There is a clear indication of coordination between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida in Sinai,” Meunier said.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the group responsible for most of the attacks, belonged to al-Qaida before joining the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014. Reports indicate that Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was “structurally” tied with the MB.

If true, the ties between the MB and al-Qaida challenge the academic contention that the two groups are mortal enemies. This contention was based upon mutual criticisms, such as al-Zawahiri’s 2006 condemnation of the MB’s participation in democratic elections.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper invoked the idea that the MB and al-Qaida were opposed to each other during February 2011 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

“The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’…is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam,” Clapper said.

A Feb. 16, 2011 email from an unnamed State Department official who helped draft Presidential Policy Directive-13  – a document that helped frame U.S. policy surrounding Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East – echoed Clapper’s remarks. U.S. policy should not “be driven by fear,” it said, and if it didn’t distinguish the Brotherhood and al-Qaida, it wouldn’t be able to adapt to changes in the region.

Not Just Egypt

Other government documents corroborate Blumenthal’s contention that the Brotherhood and al-Qaida are linked.

The Clinton emails describe a definitive personal link between the Brotherhood and al-Qaida in Libya dating from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state in the person of Ali al-Sallabi, who founded the al-Qaida linked Libyan National Party (LNP).

A Feb. 27, 2011 email from Clinton aide Jake Sullivan describes al-Sallabi as “a key figure in the Libyan Muslim brotherhood and [Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf] Qaradawi’s man in Libya.” Sullivan stands accused of sending Clinton top-secret emails at her private account.

Blumenthal noted in a July 3, 2011 email that the LNP was dominated by former members of the al-Qaida-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “who, according to sensitive sources, maintained ties to al Qa’ida during their struggle with the forces of former dictator Muammar al Qaddafi.”

A March 24, 2011 Libyan intelligence document claims that al-Sallabi coordinated the effort by the international Muslim Brotherhood to assist the LIFG in its fight against Gaddafi.

Similarly, Rached al-Ghannouchi, head of Tunisia’s Brotherhood-linked Ennahda Party,attempted to work with al-Qaida linked Ansar Al-Sharia and its late leader, Abu Iyadh – a former Bin Laden ally sanctioned by the U.S. after 9/11 – during the Arab Spring. Abu Iyadh was responsible for al-Qaida’s assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood two days before the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

These examples also include connections between the Yemeni MB and al-Qaida through Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani. Treasury Department officials described al-Zindani as a “Bin Laden loyalist” in a 2004 press release. He also helped al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, while serving on the board of the Brotherhood-linked Union of Good, which raises funds for Hamas.

Al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood have also used many of the same funding mechanisms, such as the Lugano, Switzerland based Al-Taqwa Bank.

West Supported Brotherhood Making Egypt an Islamic State

In other correspondence, Blumenthal reported that “MB leaders are also pleased with the results of discussions with the United States Government, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both of which, in the analysis of the MB leaders, appear to accept the idea of Egypt as an Islamic state.”

Western business and diplomatic leaders at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos“appeared to accept” an end to Egypt’s role as a partner with Israel, Blumenthal wrote, even if the Egyptians had no desire for a military confrontation with the Jewish state.

Brotherhood members, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, advocated an Islamic government based upon the Turkish model, in which civilians rather than clerics rule. All legislation passed by such a government must conform to the Islamic law. Egypt’s 2012 constitution included this principle, which subjected legislation for review by Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most important academic institution. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, warned prior to his death in January 2013, that religious law would always prevail in such a system.

“If nothing else, the civilian and religious outlooks will differ and will therefore surrender to the religious outlook,” al-Banna said in a 2011 interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm. “Egypt should thus become a civil state, without involving the detailed legislation of Islam.”

Despite this knowledge Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration chose to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood as just another political party.

Meunier, who helped organize the demonstrations that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, doesn’t find any of these revelations surprising.

“To have that information and to ignore it is criminal. I kind of had an idea about this way back when [Clinton] came to Egypt, and I refused to meet with her when she requested a meeting with me,” Meunier said. “We knew that she was colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“She was encouraging and working with a terrorist organization.”

Supporting Deep Democracy

1896925188An otherwise worthy criticism of Obama’s Muslim-World foreign policy misses a crucial point.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | April 20, 2016

Alex Rowell, a British-born journalist with substantial experience in the Middle East, has penned what is overall an excellent criticism of US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy in the Muslim world.  His basic thesis, which is correct, is that Obama’s tenure has empowered autocrats instead of democrats across the Middle East.  In violation of what he claimed were his basic principles, Obama has stood by while more than a million have been killed in Syria.  He stood by while Iran’s hardliners suppressed their democratic opponents, within two weeks of Obama’s famous Cairo address promising support to democrats in the Muslim world.  His Iraq policy and his State Department actively empowered then Prime Minister Maliki to act as a “Shi’a strongman,” which they decided Iraq needed.  This, along with his inaction in Syria, enabled the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the loss of the hard-fought peace in Iraq he inherited from the American military’s sacrifices in the Surge.

Where Rowell goes wrong is in assuming that failing to support a democratically-popular policy or leader of the moment is the same as failing to support democracy.  To be durable, a democracy has to balance a permanent constitutional system against the passing desires of the majority.  Such a constitutional system can be called “deep democracy.”  The danger facing it in the Islamic world is often the danger expressed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who compared democracy to a train.  You get off, he said, once you have reached your destination.

Erdogan may at the moment be able to withstand a democratic election, but supporting him is not being a friend to democracy.  His government has suppressed academics and free inquiry, committed war crimes against his own population, and is devoutly Islamist.  That he won an election does not make him a democrat.  To support democracy in Turkey, one has to support the deep democracy:  the defense of basic rights and values that make a lasting democracy possible.

By the same token, Rowell criticizes the Obama administration for failing to continue to back the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt once it had suspended the Egyptian constitution.  In fact, the error was ever to support a movement that is founded on the principle of overthrowing democratic states and instituting a form of government that bans democratically-enacted laws as blasphemous.  A deep devotion to democracy is incompatible with such a view.  That they might win an election does not make them democrats.

There is much to criticize in the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy in the Muslim world.  Much of what Rowell says is fair and accurate, and his piece is well worth reading.  However, readers should take this caveat:  to defend democracy, more is necessary than to defend whoever happened to win the last election.  Democracy is only sustainable within a constitutional system that protects the beliefs and basic rights that make democracy possible.  The enemies of such systems are the permanent enemies of democracy, even if they win today at the ballot box.

Will Egyptian schools strip religion from curriculum?

Students pray at Nile Garden School before the upcoming Eid al-Adha festival in Cairo, Nov. 11, 2010. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Students pray at Nile Garden School before the upcoming Eid al-Adha festival in Cairo, Nov. 11, 2010. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Al-Monitor, by 

A call made by Nadia Henry, deputy head of the Free Egyptians Party’s parliamentary bloc, to replace the religion course — which is mandatory for students in public schools — with an alternate course on “values” has raised considerable debate within the parliament, accompanied by an attack launched by the Salafist Nour Party and Al-Azhar.

Egyptian schools teach religion from elementary school through high school, and Christian students are separated from their fellow Muslims during religion courses. However, despite the importance of this course in Egyptian education, the students’ grades in religion are not included in their final grades because religion exams taken by Christians differ from those taken by Muslims, and this way everyone can be graded equally. Meanwhile, the Orthodox Church and Al-Azhar contribute to developing the curricula for the religion courses for both Christian and Muslim students.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Henry emphasized that she did not call for eliminating the religion course, but rather wanted to replace it with a course on values that would combine verses from both the Quran and the Bible that underline values and ideals. “The values course should be taught by educators who have knowledge in the science of counseling and psychology, in order to plant the idea of citizenship in students’ hearts and teach them how to love one another,” she said.

Henry refused the idea of teaching the values course along with religion, stressing that the religion course and its results over the past years must be evaluated.

Henry pointed out that the religion course did not produce clear results in changing the concepts of ethics and values in society. She also criticized the way religion is taught in schools by separating young Muslim students from Christians, which increases sectarianism. “The values course would teach students the principles of citizenship, without discrimination and without separating between minority and majority. All institutions must work hand-in-hand; the religious institution establishes doctrine, and the educational institution applies it through educational and behavioral rules.”

She called on all those opposing her proposal to join her at the dialogue table to develop the proposal, stressing that she does not aim at eliminating religion from schools but to establish a more advanced way to teach it.

Henry responded to attacks on her proposal by saying that changes to long-standing methods are always accompanied by societal shock, but it is necessary to reconsider the method of teaching religion in schools. According to her, the results of the religion course are negative because students are separated based on their religion and have teachers who are not specialized in teaching religion. She also argued that it would not lead to a decline in religion, claiming, “The values course would hamper any inclinations toward atheism among students, because they would [be taught] to understand and tolerate one another.”

“I will continue to defend the proposal after the Free Egyptians Party’s educational committee finishes preparing it in order to submit it to the parliament,” she asserted.

The veteran member of parliament revealed that she is preparing to hold a workshop for educators, clerics, experts in humanities, as well as media and cultural figures in order to establish regulations and standards for a new educational course under the name of “values.” Henry noted that she will not be affected by the attacks against her. She welcomes all opinions, and she will continue to implement her proposal. Henry expressed her hope that some religious leaders would be welcoming, noting, “The new religious leadership within the Evangelical Church shows how committed it is to teaching religion to the new generation.”

Henry explained that the values course would “emphasize the concepts ofmoderate Islam for Muslim and Christian students alike. Christian students will learn Quranic verses about tolerance and love, while Muslim students will learn Bible verses about being loving and giving. Thus, citizenship is truly achieved without any [sectarian] slogans.”

Al-Azhar’s committee of senior scholars issued a statement March 10 describing calls to remove religion from state curricula as “harmful to Al-Azhar’s status and the Islamic identity of our country.”

Al-Azhar’s statement was welcomed by Salafist Nour Party’s members of parliament, with parliamentarian Ahmed Sharif applauding Al-Azhar’s stance and stressing that the proposal to remove the religion course was not appropriate.

Meanwhile, Abdel Moneim El-Shahat, a spokesman for the Salafist Call — the Nour Party’s political wing — warned about responding to those calling for eliminating religious education from schools. In press statements published March 15 he said, “All societal classes are in desperate need of an increase in religion in schools, universities and the media.”

For his part, Mohamed El Shahat al-Gundi, a member of the Islamic Research Academy, told Egyptian daily Al-Youm Al-Sabeh in early March that replacing religion for values in school curricula would open the gate to the breakdown of key provisions in the Muslim and Christian religions, and that it was an attempt to resemble the West, which is not the right thing to do.

Henry’s proposal was met with various reactions within parliament. For one, member of parliament Amina Naseer supported the proposal, saying, “Islam and Christianity emphasize the need for ethics and an upright behavior in dealing with others. The values material should include the values contained in Christian and Muslim texts agreed upon by everyone.”

However, independent member of parliament Mohammed Ismail announced that he would make an urgent statement to the Minister of Education to demand including the grades students get in religious course in their final grades, in response to calls to replace the religion course with values. Ismail expressed the need to do away with the current pass/fail grading system for religion, which in his view would eliminate religious illiteracy and prevent the infiltration of extremist ideas into society.

Sitting Ducks? ISIS threatens American troops in Egypt’s Sinai

unnamed (34)Fox News, by Lucas Tomlinson, Jennifer Griffin, April 7, 2016:

Concerned that hundreds of American forces based in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula are vulnerable to attack by a nearby Islamic State affiliate, top administration officials are worried about their safety and what to do next.

The State Department said Wednesday the U.S. troops will not be withdrawn from Sinai.

“We remain fully committed to our multinational force and observers mission,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “So no change in policy, no change in our force structure.”

But troop safety has U.S. military leaders weighing what to do next.

More than 1,600 international forces occupy outposts in the Sinai, including 700 mostly U.S. Army National Guard troops. But these forces are unable to carry out offensive operations against ISIS-affiliated groups such as Wilayat Sinai since they are bound by an agreement made months after the 1978 Camp David accord, which made peace between Egypt and Israel.

At the Pentagon Wednesday, a senior U.S. military leader said discussions at the “highest levels” were taking place among the U.S., Israeli and Egyptian governments about the future size of the U.S. commitment to Sinai.

“My focus is making sure that they have the force protection measures in place and we have increased the force protection measures,” said Rear Adm. Andy Lewis, Joint Staff vice director for operations, in a briefing with reporters.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s top officer, visited the force in December, accompanied by Fox News, shortly after four U.S. soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

In early September, the Pentagon added 75 more troops, as well as additional armored vehicles including four Bradley Fighting Vehicles, after another ISIS attack injured two peacekeepers from Fiji. Their base is typically hit by incoming fire once a day.

As part of the routine harassment attacks, mostly from small arms fire, ISIS-aligned forces sometimes launch mortars without warheads to land inside the camp in order to send a message, one official told Fox News.

“The threat is increasing,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The warning signs have been mounting.

In November, a group claiming allegiance to ISIS said it downed the Russian airliner that crashed over Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.

In December, the Middle East Institute’s Geoffrey Aronson got the Pentagon’s attention when he wrote in an article: “Sinai is ground zero in the ongoing insurgency against the Egyptian government led by ISIS.”

Another foreign policy expert said it is unlikely the United States will be able to change its treaty agreements regarding the international force.

“The Israelis and Egyptians do not want them to [pull out], they don’t want to appear to be giving into ISIS,” said Paul Salem, of the Washington-based Middle East Institute, in an interview with Fox News. “They’re pushing the Americans hard not to … redeploy.”

Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld faced pushback when he tried to pull the U.S. troops out over a decade ago. Israel and Egypt have resisted calls for American troops to withdraw, leaving the Pentagon and the White House with a dilemma considering 700 U.S. troops are now positioned in the middle of an increasingly dangerous region.

“Almost everything has changed in the last few years,” Salem said. “Now there’s a full-on battle between ISIS and the Egyptian army.”

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.

 

Blasphemy Convictions Intensify in Sisi’s Egypt

Gatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim, April 6, 2016:

  • “There have been more blasphemy cases and convictions during the Sisi era than during the Morsi era.” — Ibrahim Eissa, Muslim television host in Egypt.
  • Their crime was to have made a 20-second video on a mobile phone mocking the Islamic State — an act interpreted as mocking Islam. In the video, the boys appear laughing and joking, as they pretend to be ISIS members praying and slitting throats. “The judge didn’t show any mercy. He handed down the maximum punishment [five years].”
  • Egypt is becoming more like Pakistan. Although that nation also prohibits the defamation of all religions, only Christians and moderate Muslims are targeted and imprisoned; some, such as Asia Bibi, a 50-year-old Christian woman and mother of five, are on death row. Conversely, Muslims who openly defame Christianity — and they are many — are regularly let off.

Despite Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s many pluralistic words and gestures, which have won him much praise from the nation’s Christians and moderates, he appeases the Islamist agenda in one very clear way: by allowing the controversial defamation of religions law, colloquially known as the “blasphemy law,” to target Christians and moderates in ways arguably worse than under the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi.

Last month three Christian teenagers were jailed for five years for breaking the defamation of religions law. A fourth defendant, 15, was given juvenile detention for an indefinite period. [1]Earlier, they were detained for 45 days and subjected to “ill-treatment,” according to a human rights group.

Their crime was to have made a 20-second video on a mobile phone mocking the Islamic State — an act interpreted as mocking Islam. In the video, the boys appear laughing and joking, as they pretend to be ISIS members praying and slitting throats. The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, an independent rights group, confirmed that the four teenagers were performing scenes “imitating slaughter carried out by terrorist groups.” Even so, according to their defense lawyer, Maher Naguib, the Christian youths “have been sentenced for contempt of Islam and inciting sectarian strife…. The judge didn’t show any mercy. He handed down the maximum punishment.”

Considering that even Egypt’s Al Azhar — the Islamic world’s most prestigious university —refuses to denounce the Islamic State as being un-Islamic, it is not surprising that mockery of ISIS is being conflated with mockery of Islam.

The Christian youths made the brief video in January 2015, when three of them were aged 17 and one 15. It is believed that the court kept delaying their case until the three 17-year-olds turned 18, so they could receive the full penalty as adults. Their teacher, who also appeared in the video, had earlier been sentenced to three years in jail.

Despite Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s many pluralistic words and gestures, he appeases the Islamist agenda by allowing the “blasphemy law” to target Christians and moderates. Pictured above: Sisi became the first Egyptian president ever to visit the St. Mark Cathedral during Coptic Christmas Eve Mass, on January 6, 2015. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

Several other Christians have been prosecuted under Sisi’s tenure for insulting Islam and Muslims. One young Christian man was sentenced to six years for “liking” an Arabic-language Facebook page administered by Muslim converts to Christianity. A female Christian teacher was imprisoned for six months after Muslim parents accused her of insulting Islam and evangelizing.Bishoy Armia Boulous, a Muslim convert to Christianity, remains behind bars on trumped up charges of blasphemy, according to his lawyer.

While Christian minorities are the most prone to being targeted by the blasphemy law, secular Muslim thinkers and writers are also on the hit list. In January, Muslim writer Fatima Naoot was sentenced to three years in prison after she criticized the sadistic slaughter of animals that takes place during the Islamic festival, Eid al-Adha. The month before that, television host Islam al-Behairy was sentenced to one year in prison for questioning the validity of some of the sayings (hadiths) attributed to Muslim prophet Muhammad.

Although Egypt’s constitution outlaws the “defamation of religions,” the plural indicates that, along with Islam, Judaism and Christianity are protected. In reality, however, the law is almost exclusively used to prosecute Christian minorities and secular Muslims. Despite the fact that there are many more Muslims than Christians in Egypt, rarely are Islamists arrested and prosecuted for defaming Christianity.

In this, Egypt is becoming more like Pakistan. Although that nation also prohibits the defamation of religions — which technically includes Christianity — only Christians and moderate Muslims are targeted and imprisoned; some, such as Asia Bibi, a 50-year-old Christian woman and mother of five, are on death row. Conversely, Muslims who openly defame Christianity — and they are many — are regularly let off one way or the other. A few weeks ago, a Muslim broke into a church and proceeded to burn its Bibles. Although several Christians caught him and handed him over to police, the perpetrator claimed he was mentally unstable and could not stand trial. In another case, a Muslim shopkeeper started selling shoes that depict the Christian cross on their soles. Christians demonstrated but police did nothing.

On January 26, soon after the sentencing of the writer Fatima Naoot, another moderate Muslim and television host in Egypt, Ibrahim Eissa, scathingly criticized the Sisi government, including by saying that “there have been more blasphemy cases and convictions during the Sisi era than during the Morsi era.” He continued:

There is no greater contradiction between what the state says and claims about itself and the reality on the ground… The Egyptian state is schizophrenic because it says what it does not do…. It’s amazing and baffling to see a state who’s president regularly preaches about the need for religious discourse and renewal — and yet, during Sisi’s 18-19 month tenure, the nation has witnessed more reports, cases and convictions, and the imprisonment of writers, in the name of defamation religions than during the one year tenure of the Muslim Brotherhood president…. The [Sisi] revolution dropped the Brotherhood but kept the ideology unchanged.

Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (a Gatestone Institute and Regnery publication, April 2013).


[1] Although only now making English language media, this story was translated here in April 2015, soon after riots and attacks on Christians broke out when Muslims learned of the video.

The Bipartisan Enemy of the Good

secretary_kerry_with_president_al-sisi_july_2014Frontpage, by Caroline Glick, April 5, 2016:

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

On March 25, The New York Times published an editorial effectively calling for US President Barack Obama to abandon the US alliance with Egypt.

The Obama White House’s house paper urged the president to “reassess whether an alliance that has long been considered a cornerstone of American national security policy is doing more harm than good.” The editorial concluded that Obama must “start planning for the possibility of a break in the alliance with Egypt.”

The Times’ call was based on an open letter to Obama authored by a bipartisan group of foreign policy experts that call themselves the “Working Group on Egypt.” Citing human rights violations on the part of the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Working Group urged Obama to tie US financial and military assistance to Egypt to the protection of NGOs operating in Egypt.

The self-proclaimed bipartisan band of experts is co-chaired by Robert Kagan from the Brookings Institution and Michele Dunne from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Among its prominent members are Elliott Abrams, Ellen Bork, Reuel Gerecht, Brian Katulis, Neil Hicks and Sarah Margon.

The Working Group has a history.

In January 2011, it called for Obama to force then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to resign from office. In so doing, it provided bipartisan cover for Obama’s decision to abandon the US’s most critical and dependable ally in the Arab world. Then, as now, the group’s esteemed experts argued that due to the regime’s infringement of human rights, the US could not in good conscience support it. Back in 2011, Israelis found a rare wall-to-wall unanimity of purpose in vocally and forcefully defending Mubarak from his American detractors. From the far Left to the far Right, from the IDF General Staff to the street, Israelis warned anyone who would listen that if Mubarak were forced out of power, the Muslim Brotherhood would take over and transform Egypt into a jihadist state.

Due in large part to the presence of senior Republican foreign policy hands on the Working Group, by and large Israel’s warnings were ignored in Washington. Facing the unusual Israeli consensus backing Mubarak was an American consensus insisting that “democracy” would ensure that a new liberal democratic Egypt would emerge out the ashes of the Mubarak regime.

The Americans chided us for repeating over and over again that the Muslim Brotherhood, the progenitor of al-Qaida, Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and every other major Sunni jihadist terrorist group around at the time, was a terrorist group.

We were attacked as “anti-democratic,” for insisting that the Facebook posters and twitterers on Twitter were in no position to replace Mubarak.

Who were we, the Americans scoffed, to point out that the “Facebook revolutionaries” were but a flimsy veneer which barely hid the Islamists from willfully blind Western officials and reporters who refused to admit that liberal values are not universal values – to put it mildly.

In the ensuing five years, every single warning that Israel expressed was borne out in spades.

Just as we said, right after Mubarak was forced from power, the Islamists unceremoniously dispatched with the Facebook crowd. The two million Islamists who converged on Tahrir Square to hear Sheikh Yussuf Qaradawi call for jihad and the Islamic conquest of Israel weren’t interested in democracy.

The women and Christians of Egypt soon realized, Mubarak’s overthrow, which paved the way for the Muslim Brotherhood electoral victories in 2012, did not expand their rights, it endangered their lives. As for the hapless Americans, immediately after Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was inaugurated to serve as president of Egypt, the government began demanding that the US release from prison Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheikh who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. The US embassy in Cairo was the target of jihadist riots on September 11, 2012.

Then, since Morsi was elected democratically, none of this was any sweat off the back of Washington’s Egypt experts. They supported sending F-16s to his air force even after he hosted then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo, let Iranian warships traverse the Suez Canal and became a strategic ally of Hamas. They also supported his government, even though he enabled Libyan arms to flow through Egypt to Syria, transforming the war in Syria from a local dispute into the incubator for Islamic State – the precursor of which Morsi also gave a free hand to operate in the Sinai, in conjunction with Hamas.

The Americans didn’t reconsider their belief that Morsi was the guy for them, even after he allowed his Muslim Brothers to torch Coptic churches and massacre Christians. They didn’t revisit their support for the Muslim Brotherhood government even after Morsi arrogated to himself dictatorial powers that even Mubarak never dreamed of.

Perhaps if Morsi had been a responsible economic leader, and maintained the liberalization policies Mubarak enacted during his last five years in power, then defense minister Abdel Fatah Sisi wouldn’t have felt the need to remove him from power. After all, Morsi appointed Sisi to his position.

But in addition to ending even lip service to human rights, Morsi gutted the economy. By the time the military overthrew Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in the summer of 2013, Egypt had a mere $5 billion in reserves, and according to the World Health Organization, a quarter of Egyptians were starving.

So had the Muslim Brotherhood remained in power, Egypt would not have remained a democracy.

It would have become a jihadist state as dangerous as Iran, with the economic prospects of North Korea.

In other words, five years ago, there was no chance that a post-Mubarak Egypt would become a liberal democracy. There were only two options – a US-allied tyranny that fought jihad and maintained the peace with Israel, or a jihad state, aligned with Iran, that posed an existential threat to Israel, Jordan, the US and the international economy.

Those are still the choices today, but the stakes are even higher. Due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s year in power, the jihadist elements that gathered force in the Sinai over the past 20 years were able to organize as a more or less unified force, under the rule of Islamic State (ISIS), and in strategic alliance with Hamas. Like ISIS in Syria, ISIS in Egypt is an aggressive, dangerous group that stops at nothing to achieve its aims of expanding the ISIS empire.

The war it now fights against the Egyptian state is a total war.

To his credit, Sisi recognizes the nature of the threat and has taken steps to counter jihad that Mubarak never contemplated. The Egyptian leader recognizes that to defeat ISIS nothing less than a reformation of Islam is required. And so, in addition to fighting ISIS with everything he has, he is risking everything by taking on the jihadist belief system.

Sisi has mobilized the clerics at Al-Azhar seminary to develop an Islamic narrative that rejects jihad.

Sisi risks everything because everything is already at risk. If ISIS wins, Egypt is finished.

To win this war, he has publicly embraced Israel as an ally. He has openly sided with Israel against Hamas. Unlike Mubarak, Sisi has been fully willing to acknowledge that just because Hamas’s primary victims are Jews doesn’t mean that it isn’t a terrorist group that has to be destroyed.

Without putting too fine a point on in, for his fearless fight to the death with the forces of jihad – both in the mosque and on the battlefield – Sisi has already entered the pantheon, alongside Winston Churchill, of word historical figures. And yet, rather than embrace him and support him in his fight for Egypt and humanity, the same “experts” who called for Mubarak to be overthrown now urge Obama to abandon Sisi.

It is depressing that there is no magic bullet – like democracy – for the pathologies that afflict the Islamic world. But there is no magic bullet. And there are no easy choices for people who refuse to recognize that the natural state of man is neither liberal nor democratic.

But it is hard to accept the credibility of those who refuse to learn from their mistakes. It is harder still as well to listen to the “moral calls” of those who refuse to accept that because their past advice was heeded, thousands have died, and if their current calls are heeded, millions of lives will be imperiled.

Also see: