“… It is time for the international community to overcome this obstacle and allow for a more effective humanitarian response in Syria, whenever and wherever it may be required. One way forward would be for key countries such as Brazil, South Africa, and India to support a more aggressive effort to ramp up the UN’s cross-border aid operations inside the country. Such an opportunity presents itself at the forthcoming 2013 BRICS summit in Durban next week. These countries should use their influence to secure a Security Council endorsement of this approach, principally by applying pressure on Russia and China…”
“… In English, the Brotherhood’s political party released a statement “categorically reject[ing] as intolerable the bombings committed in the U.S. city of Boston,” and “offer[ing] heartfelt sympathies and solemn condolences to the American people and the families of the victims.”In Arabic, senior Brotherhood leader and the vice chairman of the group’s political party Essam el-Erian took a different tack. In a post on his Facebook page, he condemned the Boston attack — but also linked it to the French war in Mali, the destruction in Syria and Iraq, and faltering rapprochement between the Turkish government and Kurdish rebels.
El-Erian is making the case that all of these setbacks — from Boston to Baghdad — are somehow connected. “Who disturbed democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred, and intolerance to freedom, justice tolerance, development, human dignity, and social justice?” he asked. “Who planted Islamophobia through research, the press, and the media? Who funded the violence?”…”
From the title, it seems that the administration has taken a decisive stand against the student’s alleged conversion to Shia Islam. In the past, such allegations would have been something like “spreading the Shia confession” or “collaboration with Iran.” However, under the new Egyptian constitution, the accusations can go even further.
The current constitution – unlike previous versions – did not stop at declaring that “Islam is the religion of the state.” The newly added Article 220 considered that “interpreting Sharia [Islamic jurisprudence]” should be based on “eminent sources of Ahl al-Sunna wal Jamaa.” This means that Egypt has been transformed from a “Muslim” state into a “Sunni” state. So it should not come as a surprise that belonging to another denomination is now an accusation.
It has been a long journey for Egypt since its first constitutional drafting committee in 1923. It had 30 members, including six Christians and a Jew, and embodied the spirit of “national unity” sought by the 1919 revolution with its famous slogan “Religion is for God; the Homeland is for All.”
However, the committee was not to the Wafd party’s liking and was named the “rascals committee” by Egyptian revolutionary and, later, prime minister Saad Zaghloul. The Liberals criticized the designation of an official state religion.
Although the formulation of “Islam is the state religion” was in the later sections of the first constitution, it started to morph from one constitution to another, until it became the second article. Then the phrase “the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wal Jamaa” was added, under the current rule of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is facing escalating sectarian strife.
On 7 April 2013, something happened for the first time in Egyptian history. Security forces attacked the St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, which was holding a funeral for the victims of a recent sectarian incident in al-Khosous, north of the city.
The police attacked the mourners to stop them from marching and in response to chants against the “rule of the Murshid,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s leader, leading to another fatality. In protest, Coptic Pope Tawadros II announced he would go into seclusion.
Historical Exile from Egypt
It seems that the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood comes as a culmination of the simmering sectarian anxieties witnessed in Egypt in the past years. The Brotherhood, which is sectarian by nature, perceives its adversaries as sects, instead of political formations or parties. They do not see them as leftists or liberals, for example, but as “Christians,” “Ultras,” or “Baltagia,” meaning thugs.
It is a desperate situation, compared to what historians termed “Cosmopolitan Egypt.” The country began losing its diversity in increments, beginning with the 1948 war with Israel and the displacement of Egyptian Jews, partly as a result of Brotherhood attacks, the most famous of which was the bombing of the Jewish Quarter in Cairo in May 1948. The July 1952 Revolution led by Gamal Abdul-Nasser accelerated the immigration of Egyptian Jews.
Then came the Tripartite Aggression by Britain, Israel, and France during the 1956 Suez War and the policy of nationalization, which led expat communities, such as the Greeks and the Armenians, to leave the country, taking with them an important part of religious and confessional diversity.
The Christians, who barely survived the Nasser era, began to suffer under his successor Anwar Sadat and the beginning of the era of Islamist movements. The “pious president” adjusted the “Islam is the state’s religion” clause by adding the phrase, “The principles of Islamic Sharia are one of the main sources of legislation.” In 1980, it became “the” main source of legislation.
It is not a surprise then that Sadat era began with al-Khanka events of 1972 and ended with the events of al-Zawya al-Hamra in 1981, two events that epitomized the Brotherhood’s antagonistic attitude toward the Copts. During his last days, before his assassination, the dispute between Sadat and Coptic Pope Shenouda III reached the extent of the president ordering the cleric sequestered in Wadi el-Natrun, the desert monastery northwest of Cairo.
The two major strifes that opened and closed the Sadat era turned into a flood of sectarian battles and aggression under his successor. The open conflict between Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the Islamist groups was fueled by fatwas, such as those that allowed killing Coptic jewelers and robbing them to fund jihad.
Mubarak defeated Islamist groups through security, but lost the battle of ideas. Wahhabi Islam began to spread inside the country, with tremendous support from the Saudis. It was promoted by Salafi preachers who had been employed by Mubarak’s security against the Brotherhood. The Salafis’ success in their mission was greater than expected, even inside the Brotherhood, where Salafi became the most prominent current, according to a study by late historian Hossam Tammam entitled “Salafization of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
However, whether influenced by Sayyid Qutb or Wahhabi Salafism, the Brotherhood continues to oppose the modern state as an institution that equates between citizens. It rejects the essence of democracy as a process that equates between Muslims and Christians or men and women, which contradicts the traditional religious hierarchy. The hegemony of fundamentalist ideas only triggered further strife and more attacks against “the others,” no matter who they are: Copts, tourists, or intellectuals.
January 25 Revolution Fails Christians
The January 25 Revolution erupted under the specter of continuing sectarian tensions, last of which was the 2011 New Year’s Eve bombing against the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria. The social uprising against the regime temporarily reduced the tensions. However, the Brotherhood’s quick rise in politics and their early campaign for an “Islamic constitution,” raised tensions.
Several incidents contributed to this rise, such as the destruction of the church in the village of Atfih in Helwan in March 2011 and the Maspero incident in November 2011, where dozens of Christians were killed by the police outside the Egyptian television building in downtown Cairo.
This succeeded in shutting the door of Christian openness to the revolution and led the majority to support the presidential candidacy of former regime figure Ahmed Shafik against the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi. But Shafik lost and the Christians found themselves facing the unknown.
They were not alone, though, as the new constitution only recognized monotheistic religions. The hopes of Bahais dissipated in regaining the right to register their religion in their identification documents. Nubians were shocked at statements by Brotherhood leader Essam al-Erian celebrating the “Nubian expatriate community” in Egypt.
Egyptian Shias, the majority of whom are Twelvers, began facing increasing pressures, due to the ambiguous relationship between the Brotherhood and Iran. Salafis began a campaign against normalizing relations, leading to the retreat of the government. This meant that the Brotherhood will remain within the boundaries of US “moderation,” of which Mubarak was a major symbol, with the additional bonus of becoming friends with Qatar and ending the past animosity.
However, this “moderation” is only one of the features that the Brotherhood has in common with the former regime. Just like Mubarak, it organized a “customary reconciliation” to end the recent strife in al-Khosous. But the television kisses between the sheikh and the priest does not cancel out the seven killed in the incident, one Muslim and six Copts, whose blood remains like coals under the ashes, awaiting the next strife.
Coptic affairs expert Yusuf Ramez also indicates an additional 21 monasteries with around 2,100 monks and nine convents with around 600 nuns, all belonging to the Orthodox church.
On the other hand, there are around 92,600 mosques, according to official statistics. Of which, 64,676 are under the supervision of the Ministry of Awqaf, or religious endowments.
Between April 2011 and April 2013, around 59 Copts were killed, including 28 in Maspero; four in Abu Qurqas in Upper Egypt; six in Imbaba in Cairo; 12 in Manshiet Nasser in Cairo; one in Libya; one in Dahshour in Giza; and seven in Khosous. This is an average of two killed and 18 injured every month, added to the pillaging of 114 homes, in 580 sectarian incidents since 1972.
“… “It is not true that extremists are in charge of liberated lands,” SMB leader al Shakfa said in Istanbul. “The land … belongs to a united front of the opposition.” … he added: “As far as I know, there is no extremism in Syria.” His comments came days after the jihadist Al-Nusra Front, one of the fiercest forces battling the Syrian regime, pledged fealty to Al-Qaeda, sounding alarm bells in the West and triggering concerns among the main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC).…”
Mohammed Bahnasy, a lawyer for the three victims, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the case was referred to trial a day earlier. The two Brotherhood officials – Mustafa al-Khouli and Mohammed Abdel-Radi – have not been detained.
Al-Khouli was identified by Bahnasy and Abdel-Aziz as the administrative head of the Brotherhood’s office in Damanhour. They said Abdel-Radi is a senior member of the local branch of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
An arrest warrant has been issued for al-Khouli, who has failed to respond to a summons for questioning, according to Bahnasy. Abdel-Radi was questioned and released pending the start of the trial, according to him and another lawyer involved in the case, Mohammed Abdel-Aziz.
The Brotherhood’s chief lawyer, Abdel-Monaim Abdel-Maqsoud, said the decision to refer the two to trial was “hurried” and described the investigation as “flawed.”
“Everything will now have to wait for the trial,” he said. “I am surprised at the speed with which this has been done. We have many cases of Brotherhood victims of violence and we have not seen any of them go to trial yet,” said Abdel-Maqsoud.
The US State Department has suggested this month that Egypt was selectively prosecuting those accused of insulting the government while ignoring or playing down attacks on anti-government demonstrators.
Opponents of Mursi also accuse him of trying to dominate state institutions such as the judiciary.
The president has said he is working to rid the government of corrupt remnants from the era of Hosni Mubarak, ousted by a popular uprising in 2011.
The prosecutor’s office in Damanhour said on Sunday that the men were accused of detaining and beating the students in November at the Brotherhood office in the Nile Delta city during clashes between opponents of Mursi and his Islamist supporters.
Bahnasy said the referral documents leave no room for doubt that the alleged detention and torture of the three men took place in the Brotherhood’s Damanhour offices and quotes witnesses as saying they had seen sticks, tasers and swords inside the group’s headquarters.
The clashes in Damanhour were part of a wave of protests and violence set off by Mursi’s decree in November to temporarily expand his powers and prevent court challenges to his decisions.
The crisis triggered by Mursi’s decree deepened the divisions in Egyptian society, mainly between the increasingly empowered Brotherhood and its allies and other groups that fear what they see as autocratic tendencies of the Islamist group.
The prosecutor’s office referred the case to trial on Saturday, court officials said. It was not immediately clear when the trial would take place.
Brotherhood officials in Cairo were not immediately available for comment.
(Reuters, AP, Al-Akhbar)
المجموعة التي نفذت عملية رفح هي مجموعة سلفية بقيادة ممتاز دغمش، لها تواجد في غزة ولها علاقات قوية مع مجموعات سلفية في سيناء،، ممتاز دغمش الذي كان على خلاف مع حركة حماس وطاردته فترة طويلة مهددة إياه بحكم قاسٍ، خضع وتجاوب لرغبات حماس وكتائب القسام، لكن المفارقة الكبرى في عملية رفح أن خمسة من الأساسيين الذين نفذوا العملية، وأثناء عودتهم إلى الأنفاق إلى قطاع غزة تم تصفيتهم بالنفق، حتى يتم دفن آثار الجريمة بالكامل، ويقال إن ممتاز دغمش حالياً في السجن إن لم يصفّ، والحديث عن أن بيان مصري رسمي يذكر أسماء من نفذوا عملية رفح في المستقبل القريب صحيح، وسيصدر بأسماء من قتلوا جميعاً سواء على الحدود المصرية الإسرائيلية أو في غزة، ومن سيذكر اسمه ولم يكتب لن يكون ذو أهمية، ولا يعلم تفاصيل ما حصل، وستتهم جماعة سلفية متطرفة في سيناء وغزة بذلك، وسينتهي الموضوع، حيث ستسلم حماس أربعة أشخاص من السلفيين المطلوبين سابقاً لديها إلى الأمن المصري كمتهمين أساسيين في عملية رفح، المهم في كل ما حصل أن الإستخبارات الإيرانية على علم دقيق وموثق بما حصل في رفح، وتفاصيل العملية من خلال كتائب القسام، وهذا ما يزعج الإخوان المسلمين في مصر، حيث سيكون مجال ابتزاز للإيرانيين في مرحلة قادمة.
سياسة خيرت الشاطر في مصر الآن أي (التنظيم الخاص) تقوم على إنشاء أجهزة ومؤسسات موازية للأجهزة والمؤسسات المصرية القائمة حالياً، على طريق تدمير الأجهزة القائمة حالياً واستبدالها بأجهزة إخوانية صرفة، ولا دور لمرسي في الحكم أبداً،، ما يقرره التنظيم الخاص هو الذي ينطق به مرسي ككتائب القسام، أي تيار كتائب القسام داخل حماس، التي هي على خلاف واسع مع تيار مشعل، هي صاحبة القرار الفصل في حركة حماس، وكتائب القسام تعلن وبصراحة داخل مؤسسات حماس، ان لا إجتماع لمجلس الشورى لانتخاب المكتب السياسي الجديد لحماس قبل التحقيق في قضيتين أساسيتين؛ الأولى اغتيال الجعبري والثانية الصواريخ الليبية المرسلة إلى قطاع غزة، التي اخترقها الموساد وكشفتها ايران وحزب الله، لذلك كل الأمور في حماس معلقة بانتظار ما ستسفر عنه كل الملفات الإقليمية المحيطة ، ومشعل حدد أمره واتجاهه بالمباشر.
ويلاحظ بالفترة الأخيرة أن انفتاحاً أوسع قد بدأ بين كتائب القسام وسرايا القدس من حركة الجهاد الإسلامي، وأن كتائب القسام عادت إلى العمل بقوة داخل المخيمات الفلسطينية في سوريا ولبنان وربما تعد لأمر ما، وكل ذلك بتغطية إيرانية ودعم مباشر من حزب الله.
في الختام، قطر ومن معها ما زالت تراهن على كسب موقف حماس في كل القضايا الإقليمية أو تحييدها على الأقل، وإيران وحزب الله وكتائب القسام ما زالوا متصدين ومحبطين لأي اختراق لمحور المقاومة
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!
Due mainly to its vast oil and gas wealth, the small Gulf peninsula is able to stand among the region’s central powers. Qatar has been successful in leveraging its economic fortune and al-Jazeera media empire to bolster its reputation as a regional superpower.
In the years prior to the Arab uprising, Qatar adhered to a pragmatic diplomacy, building strong relationships with sworn enemies like the US and Iran or Hamas and Israel. In a sense, Doha preceded Turkey in successfully implementing a “zero problems” foreign policy.
Today, however, Qatar has moved more boldly, taking sides in the upheavals sweeping the Arab world and unleashing al-Jazeera against its enemies. It has effectively placed itself in the eye of the storm.
After its media support of the revolutionaries, Doha is getting cozy with Egypt and Tunisia’s new Islamist rulers. In Libya, Qatar was at the forefront of Arab military and financial support for the NATO and Libyan rebel forces that unseated Muammar Gaddafi. In Syria, the emir is risking everything to bring down the Bashar al-Assad regime.
At the center of Qatar’s strategy is its historic ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, who have become the main beneficiaries of the Arab uprisings. Betting on the Brotherhood, however, has its risks – particularly among the other Gulf states, who view them as a greater threat than Iran.
The Brotherhood in Qatar
The presence of the Muslim Brotherhood from a number of Arab countries in Qatar dates back to the 1950s, when many of its members were forced into exile, in particular from Gamal Abdul-Nasser’s Egypt. In 1999, the Qatari branch of the Muslim Brotherhood dissolved itself, with it leader Jassem Sultan declaring in 2003 that the state was adequately fulfilling its religious obligations.
Similar attempts to reconcile the Brotherhood with the ruling family in the United Arab Emirates were not as successful. The UAE branch of the Brotherhood, called al-Islah, was allowed to operate as a charitable organization, but had to cease its political activities.
Over time, ties between Qatar and prominent Brotherhood members grew, most notably with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and a long list of Islamist journalists and activists who flooded the ranks of al-Jazeera, including its former general manager Wadah Khanfar (Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood) and Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafiq Abdul-Salam, who headed up the channel’s research center.
Qatar has wasted no time in coming to the support of the new Muslim Brotherhood regimes by filling their coffers. Contrary to other Gulf states, which reduced their investments in Egypt after Mubarak’s fall, Doha has promised to raise its share to $18 billion in the coming years.
Qatar’s lavish spending on the Islamists also succeeded in luring Palestinian Hamas away from Iran and Syria. In a recent trip to the Gaza Strip, the country’s emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani launched investments and initiated projects that amounted to a quarter of a billion dollars.
Qatar’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood is a source of discontent among its Gulf neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This is not the first time Doha has ruffled feathers in the area, as it was once on the best of terms – primarily for economic reasons – with Iran.
But the remaining Gulf monarchies are growing increasingly wary of the rise of the Brotherhood in the region. Some view the Brotherhood as a greater threat than Iran. The UAE’s recent arrest of dozens of Islah members for allegedly plotting to overthrow the regime is but one example.
Saudi media are becoming more open in their criticism of Qatar’s relationship with the Brotherhood and the UAE is in the process of launching a television station directed against them. Kuwait has yet to send even a symbolic amount of aid to buffet Egypt’s ailing economy.
This situation has made Qatar careful not to upset its Gulf neighbors, putting out any fires before they spread. When Qaradawi, for example, publicly criticized the UAE for deporting Syrians to Egypt in May 2012, al-Thani appeared in Abu Dhabi the next day for damage control.
Qatar’s policy in the Gulf appears to be an extension of its earlier pragmatic approach of allying itself with bitter enemies, reconciling between its Gulf partners and its patronage of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, in other parts of the Arab world, like Syria, it is playing a new and potentially dangerous game of staking all in favor of one side against the other.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
مؤامرة ضد مشعل.. وموقف حاد للجعبري
طالبتكم أكثر من مرة وطلبت من الأخ أبو العبد القليل من الإمكانات المالية لأصرف على المقاتلين، لكن كنتم تطالبونني بالتمهل.. لقد وعدتكم قطر ولم تلتزم إلا بمصاريفكم الخارجية والبروتوكولية في الخارج، والشيء القليل جداً يصل عند أبو العبد، ولولا سياسة الضرائب والأنفاق التي نمارسها بشدة وبقسوة لانهارت الحكومة في غزة وانهارت حماس معها.. أنا لست حليفاً لبشار الأسد، لكن لست مع ما يحصل في سوريا، مجموعات من المرتزقة الممولة خليجياً وأميركياً واسرائيلياً تريد تدمير سورية، هذا ما أقوله لم تخبرني به رموز النظام السوري الذي لا أعرف أحداً منه .. ولا أجهزته الأمنية، هذا ما أخبرني به بعض قادة وكوادر حماس الموجودين في سوريا ولبنان الذين التقيتهم في لبنان عندما ذهبت مؤخراً للقاء قيادة حزب الله.
طالبتكم أكثر من مرة وطلبت من الأخ أبو العبد القليل من الإمكانات المالية لأصرف على المقاتلين، لكن كنتم تطالبونني بالتمهل.. لقد وعدتكم قطر ولم تلتزم إلا بمصاريفكم الخارجية والبروتوكولية في الخارج، والشيء القليل جداً يصل عند أبو العبد، ولولا سياسة الضرائب والأنفاق التي نمارسها بشدة وبقسوة لانهارت الحكومة في غزة وانهارت حماس معها..
أنا لست حليفاً لبشار الأسد، لكن لست مع ما يحصل في سوريا، مجموعات من المرتزقة الممولة خليجياً وأميركياً واسرائيلياً تريد تدمير سورية، هذا ما أقوله لم تخبرني به رموز النظام السوري الذي لا أعرف أحداً منه .. ولا أجهزته الأمنية، هذا ما أخبرني به بعض قادة وكوادر حماس الموجودين في سوريا ولبنان الذين التقيتهم في لبنان عندما ذهبت مؤخراً للقاء قيادة حزب الله.