Thursday, July 30, 2009

Muslim-Coptic Ties Not Satisfactory - Coptic Pope

Written by Mohammed Abdul-Raouf
Asharq Alawsat
29 July 2009
Cairo -- Pope Shenouda III, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, believes that there is no common solution to sectarian problems that arise from time to time in Egypt.
"Every problem should be tackled in its own context and [according to] the environment in which it emerged and should be tackled by all relevant parties," he said.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Pope Shenouda said, "With regards to sectarian problems, there is only a role for security forces whilst MPs and municipal councils are absent. After the security forces get involved, religious institutions also intervene in support of the security solution. After that, we attack religious figures and accuse them of being political."
The Pope denied that these were isolated incidents saying, "If isolated incidents are happening again and again they cannot be described as isolated incidents." He also expressed that not all problems are dealt with objectively; however he refused to name any parties that he believes are not impartial.
The Pope stated that Muslim-Coptic ties in general in Egypt are not satisfactory. "The Sheikh of Al Azhar is a good, merciful man and we have a good friendship and we meet on various occasions. But this does not necessarily mean that there is a good relationship between Muslims and Copts as well."
Sectarian clashes between Muslims and Copts break out from time to time in different parts of the country. The most recent conflict took place a few days ago in Al Minya (240km south of Cairo) after a number of Coptic Christians from one village tried to turn one of the houses into a church where they could perform their religious practices.
"There can be a good friendship and good ties between Muslims and Copts but when it comes to voting in elections, a Muslim will not vote for a Coptic candidate," said Pope Shenouda who added that this is a new issue. "In the Egyptian Lawyers' Syndicate, Makram Pasha Ebeid, a Copt, headed the Syndicate, and then it became customary that the representative would be a Copt. Then Coptic representation completely disappeared from Syndicates' administrative board." He added, "Coptic candidates were elected by Muslim voters, so what happened?" Pope Shenouda believes that the Coptic role in elections has weakened.
In reference to the controversy among opposition circles regarding the upcoming presidential elections, Pope Shenouda said, "I do not think that there will be a [power] bequeathal. It is efficiency and legal principles alone that will determine the election of the next president. If a person considers himself competent he can nominate himself, and whoever meets the legal criteria can enter the elections. Whoever the nation approves will win."
President Hosni Mubarak's fifth term in office will come to an end in 2011 and the presidential elections will be carried out in accordance with Article 76 of the Egyptian constitution that was twice amended in 2005 and 2007 when independent and opposition candidates were allowed to run for presidency in keeping with certain terms and conditions.
Asked whether a Copt could assume power in Egypt, Pope Shenouda III said, "This cannot happen because the majority is made up of Muslims and a Copt cannot rule and represent the [Muslim] majority."
Shenouda added, "The chance of any Coptic candidate [winning] in the elections is slim. If Coptic candidates aren't successful in parliamentary and Syndicate elections, how can we expect a Coptic candidate to succeed in the presidential elections?"
Pope Shenouda praised the way that the Egyptian government handled the crisis of Max Michel (Maximus I) who appointed himself as a patriarch. He said, "The Egyptian government took a strong position against him and took away his identity card and passport that listed this alleged title. I know him as he was one of my students at the theology college, but his opinions contradicted the Christian doctrine so he did not have any position in the church."
"When Maximus failed in Egypt, he took shelter in the US where he obtained the status of archbishop. However this does not mean anything to the Orthodox Church," said Pope Shenouda.
Asked about second marriages amongst Copts, Pope Shenouda said, "In Christian teachings there are no second marriages except under specific circumstances. When a court grants a Christian citizen a divorce, it should allow him to marry [a second time] and not force me to allow him to marry a second time."
Speaking about the status of expatriate Copts, Pope Shenouda said, "They are large in number and, of course, they all have different viewpoints so it would be wrong to generalize. I think that they should strengthen their links with the Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad." The Pope expressed his willingness to meet any expatriate Copts if they wanted to meet him and denied that there were disputes between them and the Church.

Islam’s Civil War

Written by Barry Rubin
29 July 2009
I’m reading a good book by Richard Dowden, a veteran reporter on Africa who now heads the Royal African Society. It’s entitled Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles, published recently by Public Affairs press.
Especially interesting from a Middle Eastern standpoint is his chapter on Somalia:
“Somalis are Sunni Muslims, but always followed the Sufi tradition….Their religious spirit is tolerant…and is mixed with elements of Somali’s pre Islamic Cushitic beliefs....In recent years their culture and religious practice have been undermined by Arab Wahabi preachers and Saudi money. Until recently Somali women played a major role in society, dressed in bright colors and did not cover their heads or arms. Today Somali women are expected to dress in the full Saudi black niqab and obey their men.”
This seems a bit too romantic. Somalia's Islam could be very strict and intolerant, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes in her own childhood. Nevertheless, Dowden makes an important and valid point: things have gotten much worse in recent years.
In addition, a radical Islamist movement has arisen in Somalia which at times has come to dominate the country, impose harsh laws, and even links up with al-Qaida. Dowden stresses that a lot of these developments are due to local conditions, including people being fed up with warlords and civil wars tearing apart the country causing famine and bloodshed. Islamism imposes unity and at least for a little while a decline in internal conflict.
While Afghanistan was always far more—if one can use this word—puritanical in its Islam, the pattern there with the rise of the Taliban was similar. Islamism, that is the political rule by an Islamist movement imposing its version of Islam, has the appeal of imposing a moralistic system on chaos and unity on anarchy. Elements of this kind of situation were visible among the Palestinians and Iraq, for instance, as well.
Still, the result of putting such movements into power is horrendous first and foremost for their subjects.
My view is that for centuries what I call conservative, traditional Islam dominated societies. It was politically quietist focusing more on individual behavior. Islamism is a definite break with that world view though, of course, it is rooted on basic Islamic teachings, beliefs, and writings.
The Egyptian thinker Tarek Heggy, who appears to be the Arab world’s most interesting and creative intellectual today, makes a distinction between a more moderate Egyptian-Ottoman Islam and a more intolerant Wahabi-Saudi version. That is a viable way of looking at the developments, though a lot of Islamism emerged from Egypt and other places that are not at all Wahabi, too.
Heggy also points out the great debates among Muslim thinkers in the early medieval period which led to the defeat of those more flexible and ready to integrate logic by the hardliners, who were the ancestors of the modern Wahabis but also of contemporary Islamists more generally.
When one looks at places like North Africa, Indonesia, Turkey, and sub-Saharan Africa, for example, there is clearly the phenomenon Dowden writes about in Somalia. In part, ironically, it is due to moderate transportation and communication, when the ideas of hardline Muslims and Islamists in places like Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are quickly transported to every corner of Muslim communities throughout the world. Money is sent; teachers are trained or dispatched to outlying areas.
The idea of Islam as a religion of peace is as simplistic as that of Islam as innately extremist. There is a struggle going on. The difference, however, is that in other religions, the moderates have been gaining victories for the last 500 years, while in Islam the hardliners closed down the use of reason in religion (closing the gates of ijtihad) 800 years ago and have been making huge new advances in the last 50 years.
One sees a steady erosion of conservative-traditionalist Islam as the Islamists have been pulling much of it over, steadily in their direction.
An example is suicide bombing. A couple of decades ago if someone had argued that this behavior qualified as an act of martyrdom he would have been thrown out of the offices of mainstream clerics. Now, lots of them accept this deed as heroically proper in Islamic terms albeit only under certain conditions.
The same can be said with the idea of implementing a violent Jihad in contemporary situations. When Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj, a former Muslim Brotherhood member who split off to engage in revolutionary activity, wrote the book about Jihad, "The Neglected Obligation," almost thirty years ago, he was viewed within Islam as a marginal crank. Now his views are mainstream and motivating thousands to fight and millions to support them.
The Islamists gains have not been enough to take over whole societies—one should also never underestimate the attractiveness of Arab nationalism as an ideology and of the regimes’ power to survive--but if this trend continues things could get a lot worse for the region and its inhabitants. At a minimum, fighting out this battle will take the next 30 to 50 years at least.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal

Muslims Abduct Two Christian Coptic Girls in Egypt

AINA) --

Mrs. Samira Markos, who lives in Alexandria, sent an appeal to Egypt4Christ advocacy, pleading with them to rescue her daughter from forced Islamization. The mother said that her daughter Amira Morgan (born 9/9/1992) was abducted on 7-18-2009 on her way to work in the plastics factory near their home.
Egypt4Christ sent one of its members in Alexandria to verify the mother's plea and met with one of the family relatives who corroborated the story.
"At 10 o'clock of the same morning someone called me and asked if I was Amira's mother. He introduced himself as Sheikh Mohammed, and said that my daughter is fine and will convert to Islam," the mother said. "When I cried and begged him to let me have my daughter back, he said he would let me see her again after her conversion to Islam, and ended the call. I tried calling that cell phone back several time, but there never was a reply."
The mother went to El-Sennin Mosque in her neighbourhood at 1.30 PM, after the Muslim noon prayers, and asked a bearded man emerging from the Mosque regarding Sheikh Mohammed, he laughed and said they have more than fifty Sheikh Mohammeds.
"When I started to cry at the Mosque entrance, one of them came to me and said 'Listen, mother of Amira, I am warning you not to report the abduction to the police or do anything, the price will be your son Meena (9 years old) being slaughtered in front of your own eyes. I am not threatening, I'm talking seriously.'" He further said "Listen, your daughter Amira will convert to Islam next Friday, and we are now preparing her for that. Now go home and stay indoors until everything is quietly over."
After getting this message, Samira said that she was filled with terror, went home quickly and took her son Meena and escaped from the whole region, to somewhere unknown.
Samira Markos lives in Alexandria alone with her two children, Meena and Amira; her husband has been working in Libya for the last ten years.
"All the Muslims in our neighbourhood know about the abduction. I could not get hold of my husband, and even my Christian friends have abandoned me as they are afraid of the Salafis who are in complete control of the region."
Salafi is the name of a movement or sect in which Muslims try to imitate their Prophet Mohamad in every aspect of life. Salafism emphasize the laws and punishments of Islam, and has been equated by some with radicalism and terrorism.
Another episode of Coptic female abduction took place on 7-22-2009, also in Alexandria, when 18-year old Ingy Basta went to repair her cell phone in the Nozha Airport area, and was never seen again. Her father reported the case to the police on 23/7/2009 but she has not been found yet. Ingy was be engaged on Sunday 7/26/2009 to a Coptic man.
Egypt4Christ believes that Ingy was abducted by the same Muslim group which operates in the Nozha Airport area of Alexandria. On 28/5/2009 their Imam falsely accused a Coptic young man of stealing the donations box from the Zawiya corner (prayer room) of El-Nour Mosque, after he refused to convert to Islam. Maged Saad was found innocent of this theft by the court.
Ms Rasha Nour, Head of Egypt4Christ warns that the Alexandria Governorate has become full of intolerance towards Christians, which could lead to a sectarian strife at any time because of the "gangs of Islamization," who fill all the neighborhoods in Alexandria. "Those gangs are headed by a group of Sheikhs who are backed by the police authorities, but mainly the State Security in El-Faraana, downtown Alexandria," says Rasha. "One of these is Sheikh Hassan Saber Khalil who is well known to all the police officers. There are other Sheikhs whose names we reserve and will expose if needed."
The first to report (AINA 7-18-2009) on the lucrative business of the 'brokers' of Islamization of Christians, was the independent Egyptian newspaper Al Fagr (the Dawn) in its May 19 2008 issue, citing the city of Alexandria as an example.
Al Fagr reporter Tamer Salah-el-Din highlighted how the operation, which is funded by Muslim businessmen, is carried out with the collusion of State Security and Mosque sheikhs. The 'trading rates' cashed by brokers for each Christian male and female conversion to Islam, at the time of writing this report, was 7000 Egyptian pounds for males and 6000 for females. The rates for Coptic girls fluctuate depending on how good-looking she is and her family's social status.
By Mary Abdelmassih

Egypt 57 Years later (3)

In my previous two articles, I had emphasized what is one of the main Arab characteristics - the art of lying otherwise known as Taqia. The coup of the so-called free officers was based on that characteristic since the first broadcast made by non other than Anwar Sadat. Remember that broadcast had promised for Egyptians to regain their confidence in having their own country free of corruption. This, in itself was a huge lie. Gamal Abel Nasser who became the second president did careless about the country; he had his own agenda that have in first item the Islamization of the country. The plan started along with the war of 1956 by building terrorists cells, exporting revolutions in the region. Nasser be special care to create certain key people as Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi of Libya.
In June 9th, 1967 Nasser had to find another way to turn over the realty of a catastrophic result of the war against Israel . Nasser who ten days earlier had made a speech to the people of Egypt and the world in arrogant way, emphasizing that he could do whatever he want in the region, now had to face those who believed in him, but now are suffering the catastrophic war result. On the afternoon of Friday the 9th of June a telephone conversation took place between him and King Hussein of Jordan . Both were planning what to report about the recent battles. They agreed to join with Syria to broadcast negative views and blame everything that went wrong on the United States stating it was supporting Israel that had caused the greatest casualties to Egyptians and Arabs armies. The telephone conversation was taped by Israeli secret service. The same conversation was made available by Al Jazeera TV and could be found in You Tube.
At this time (June 9, 1967) President Nasser arrived to the main Egyptian TV station to officially announce that Egypt had lost and it was his fault hence he shall resign from all political offices. Yet, now there is an important question, why? Many are asking did he plan to stop the war against Israel or did he stop assisting the guerrillas (terrorists)? OR was he actually going to keep his original word to improve the quality of life for his own people? The millions of dollars lost in just five hours of air strikes from Israel could have made Egypt one of the greatest modern countries.
This joke made by Nasser words would cause the Egyptian population to go into the streets demanding him to stay and to continue his leadership. Did the people of Egypt go out in there own? Or delivered or forced?I personally believe that the majority were delivered by motion and other factors.
Since the end of the war that was to be known as the Six Days War, to the day of his death in 1970, President Nasser tried to rebuild the Egyptian military with the goal to retain Egyptian land.
From the very start of his power, Nasser would be tough on his opponents, often putting them in prison. Muslims brotherhood became Nasser ’s first enemy after their attempt to assassinate him in 1954. Nasser put a lot of those in his special jails along with any opponent.
Anwar El Sadat understood Nasser perfectly as he was capable to keep a good relationship that allowed him to keep various political positions. At the time of the death of Nasser , Sadat was the vice president. He would soon become the Egyptian third President as a member of 1952 coup.
Sadat's relationship with the people of Egypt was not like that of Nasser . In order to gain popularity, Sadat favored Islamic ideologies, he freed Muslim brotherhood and Nasser opponent from jail. Sadat has various goals in his agenda; the first was to destroy Nasser ’s followers. The second was to free Sinai from Israeli possessions. Israel was improving the region -- creating resorts where there wasn't any for many decades. Only one item from Nasser ’s agenda he would not gave up which was the totally Islamization of Egypt.
President Sadat started to use the groups of Muslim brotherhood to crash over socialists and the followers of Nasser (Nassarians). Once again, similar to the brown shirts of Hitler's legions the Muslim Brotherhood would go destroying businesses, homes, farms that were not in the same ideology as a "true muslim." Once again non-Muslims would lose their livelihoods by the hands of the Muslim Egyptians with the government's blessing.
In October 1973, he succeeded to cross the Suez Canal and demanded Israel to return Sinai to Egypt . Over five years later he would be the first Arab leader to visit Israel and be presented at the Knesset enabling him to sign a peace agreement that is somewhat intact to this day.
President Sadat would not have gotten a Nobel Peace Prize had he not signed the treaty. But due to signing it -- he would get the prize and the notoriety. However, the question stands did he really mean peace with Israel or not. This will never be answered.
The free world would start to know that President Sadat would be a man of peace. Over 15 million Egyptians know otherwise. The members of the so called free officers (of the coup) and majority of Arab Muslims would call him the "Believe President".
During his time, more Churches would be vandalized and destroyed. Christian Girls would be kidnapped, raped and then forced to become Muslim or die. The continuing abuse to Copts would go on without limits. Discrimination was rampant against "non-believers."
The Egyptian Constitution was changed. The second item would now state that Sharia (Islamic law) would be the main guideline of law. The Pope of the Copts would be arrested and placed in a Coptic convent located alone in the desert under house arrest -- the convent would become an asylum.
In 1981, while at a celebration, President Sadat was assassinated by what was reported to be the Muslim Brotherhood. What is interesting is that Hosni Mubarek was Sadat's vice president. And like Sadat when Nasser died, Mubarak would then step into the position of being President of Egypt.

Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah

The World Minorities United for Peace

The World Minorities United for Peace is a non-profit organization established June 5th, 2009. Our motto is a verse from the bible: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Our goal is to establish peace for all the minorities in the Middle East and around the world as well. We believe that peace in Israel, which is a minority in the Islamic Middle East, will cause peace in the whole area. That’s why we believe that minorities in the Middle East and in Israel should unite together for peace. We believe that peace for the minorities in the Islamic countries should be an international goal for the whole world. Peace is meaningless if countries keep signing treaties for human rights and religious freedom while Islamic countries do not enforce the implementation of such treaties. The Minorities include: - The Copts and the Baha’is in Egypt. - Christians in Iraq - The Maroonites in Lebabon - Christians of Darfur in Sudan - Christians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. - Bosnia - Returning the region of Crete to Greece. - The disarming of all fanatic Islamic groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and others. We believe that those who are not working for peace are working against it. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Nabil Asaad,
President of World minorities united for peace

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saving the Islamic World's Christians

Richard Z. Chesnoff
July 24, 2009

Here's a good question. Why do the majority of American Christians remain so oblivious to the increasingly bitter fate of their fellow Christians in the Islamic world? These ancient communities -- many descended from the very earliest followers of Jesus himself -- are under growing siege.
From the Middle East to the Sub-continent and Africa, the Islamic world's Christians are being hounded, discriminated against, forced from their homes and in some cases, simply murdered.
In Egypt, where machete-armed fanatics have attacked worshipers in Coptic churches, it is still a crime to convert from Islam to Christianity. In Pakistan, Catholic and Protestant churches are frequently torched, Christian businessmen murdered and young Christian girls kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam and married off to Muslim men. In Saudi Arabia, where one irate father recently hacked his daughter to death for embracing Christianty, the existence of any churches is strictly forbidden as is the import of a bible or the wearing of a cross. Some foreign workers have been arrested, jailed and deported just for holding Christian prayer services in the privacy of their homes.
Even in Islamic countries not strictly run by Sharia law, pressures mount on local Christians to leave the homes they've known for centuries. Iraq's Christian sects, among the oldest Christian communities anywhere in the world, have been directly targeted by terrorist bombs, and Christians are high on the list of those fleeing Iraq's sectarian strife. Thirty years ago, Lebanon was 60% Christian. Since then, an estimated 3.5 million Christians have emigrated, reducing the country's Christian population percentage to barely 25%. Even in the Holy Land, where Jesus once walked, direct and indirect pressures have also led to an increasing Christian exodus from the Palestinian territories. One striking result: Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and once a predominantly Christian Arab town now has an overwhelming Muslim majority.
Part of the problem surely stems from the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the difficulties of living with anti-terrorist walls and barriers. But much of it results from a growing campaign by Islamic thugs to force Christians to sell their property and leave.You can find details of this in a fine article recently written for The Hudson Institute by Palestinian Muslim journalist Khaled Abu Toameh.
In fact, ironically, the only place in the Mideast where Christian communities continue to grow is in the Jewish State of Israel. Israel's tolerance is logical. What people of faith know the dangers of religious persecution better than the people of Israel -- especially those whose families originated in the Islamic world? Between 1948 and 1956 more than 850,000 Jews were forced to flee the Arab lands where their families had lived for centuries. Yet since 1949, the year after Israel's birth, the number of Israeli Arab Christians has grown by an astonishing 345%!
It is true that there were periods when the Islamic world was far more tolerant than Europe. The Prophet's followers preached that "peoples of the book" -- Jews and Christians -- could be tolerated. But they were tolerated only as second class, subjugated dhimmis. Jews and Christians were never granted full equality under Islamic rule. And over the centuries, communities of Jews and Christians suffered severe ups and downs.
With Islamic extremism still on the rise, this is one of the downs. Few Americans seem prepared to connect the dots. Some American evangelical groups like the Washington-based International Christian Concern try to raise the alarm. And America's Copts, especially those based in the New York area, actively lobby against the legal and social discrimination that face their Egyptian co-religionists. Yet most mainstream church groups seem to ignore the threat.
It's time to wake up.

Religious unrest in Egypt

Written by AFP
Straits Times

25 July 2009
MINYA (Egypt) -

HUNDREDS of Egyptian Muslims tried on Friday to set on fire the home of a Coptic Christian in southern Egypt after he announced plans to turn it into a church, a security official said.
The Christian had angered Muslims in the village of Hawasliya, near the southern town of Minya, earlier this week by saying he would turn his four-storey house into a church, he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Residents complained to the authorities arguing that the Copt did not have the proper permit to carry out the transformation and their anger boiled over after Friday weekly Muslim prayers, the official added.
Emerging from mosques, around 500 Muslims gathered near the house to try to set it ablaze but the police prevented it.
The protesters managed nevertheless to set fire to nearby stables owned by Christians, killing six animals, including cows and sheep, the official said.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds and detained 20 protesters, he added.
Egypt's Copts - the largest Christian community in the Middle East - account for an estimated six to 10 per cent of the country's 80 million inhabitants.
In June, 18 people were wounded when clashes broke out between Muslims and Christians in a village south of Cairo after a Coptic priest celebrated mass at his home. Another 35 people were arrested.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Egyptian State-Sponsored Terror or Muslim "Vigilantism" Against Coptic

by Mary Abdelmassih
In less than one month, just in the Upper Egyptian province of Beni Suef, Copts in three hamlets and villages, came under attack by Muslim mobs, masterminded and incited by the State Security, according to various eye-witnesses and Coptic Church sources. Muslim vigilante mobs took the law into their own hands, under the pretext that Christians are 'praying without a liscence' and went on a vandalizing of Christian places of worship spree, in addition to assaulting Christians and looting their homes.
Events of the latest incident took place on 7/17/09, after Friday prayers in the mosque of village of El-Foqaii, Beba, Beni Suef. A mob of 3000-4000 Muslims, marched the village streets chanting "We will bring the Church down', 'We will bring Shenouda to the ground'(meaning Coptic Pope Shenouda III) and " Allah Akbar" (God is Great).
"Before hearing or knowing anything, a few children started hurling stones at Coptic homes, then we heard someone say 'wait until you see the adults coming'. We knew there was a conspiracy against the Coptic Association and our homes," Sobhy Fawzy, village school teacher and eye-witness told Raymond Youssef of Copts United advocacy in a video interview. "We decided to go home and lock ourselves in. We preffered to die as martyrs in our homes .. What else could we do?? Where could we go? We just prayed imploring God's help". He added: "It was only God's grace that saved our lives from this barbaric attack." The village of El-Foqaii, has a population of 10,000, of which only 110 are Copts. "Only 25 people were present in the village at the time, including only five men and the rest were woman and children," said Fawzy. "They surrounded the small one -storey building liscenced as a Coptic association. A few could climb over the iron gates of the Association and caused damage inside, while others went on a rampage against homes of Christians living nearby."
"They broke the wooden doors and crashed into the homes and looted whatever they found. They took away the golden jewelry the women were wearing and looted cash savings,leaving women and children heavily traumatized," he added.
The vigilante mob's excuse for the attacks was because Reverend Gabriel, pastor of the Church in Beba organized on Wednesday 7/15/09 a summer fete in the Coptic Association for the children of three neighbouring hamlets in which symbolic gifts were given to those who passed their exams as a 'token of encouragement'.
For the second time within a month the Governor of Beni Suef, Dr. Ezzat Abdullah, appeared on the popular ' El Mehwar' TV, twisting facts and justifying abuses against Copts, without giving a plausible answer as to who gave the mob the right to take the law into their own hands and attack a 'liscenced' Coptic association. He said that every place of worship needs the 'evaluation of State Security', without giving firm promises of finding a remedy to the recent escalation in the number of attacks on Christians, or promising to penalize the assailants.
Mahgoub Youssef, one of the vigilante mob was also interviewed on the TV programme and he said bluntly that Egypt was a Muslim country with a Muslim President and that Copts cannot pray without a permit from security!!! He said that the Muslims men after Friday prayers went to the 'association' to stop Christians from praying there. "It does not matter if they have no church nearby, Muslims in the West also have to travel 3-10 hours to pray!!! Arrogantly Youssef said "WE cannot have a repeat of the scenario in which Copts have a social services building then they convert it to a church."
Surprisingly this is exactly what the Governor of Beni Suef said in his first interview on Al-Mehwar TV on 6/22/09 "The problem is that it starts with a social services place, then it is turned into a church"
Reverend Gabriel, who was also interviewed exposed the lies of the Governor who could not give a reply to the question of why it is a problem for Christians to pray. Reverend Gabriel confirmed that the Coptic Association was liscenced and used for the last 20 years, without any problems and with the knowledge of the security authorities, as a meeting and a prayer place for Christian villagers once a month, in view of the absence of a nearby church.
In a telephone conversation a spokesman for the Coptic Diocese of Beba and el Fashn told Coptic Wave advocacy that the security authorities masterminded the attack and the incident was known in advance to muslim villagers. "Unquestionably State Security are still penalizing the Diocese of Beba and El-Fashn for daring to arrange for the sit-in after the attacks on the hamlet of Boushra-East on 6/21/09. It has given Muslims the green light to attack Christian places of the worship, and then the place is closed "for security reasons" and because "it upsets the village Muslims'. This way one place after another is being closed."
As predictable ,the Copts in the village were forced by State Security to join in an Arab 'reconciliation meeting' on 7/18/09, where as usual they gave up all their rights to pursue their assailants, "who were caught looting inside Coptic homes and handed over to the police and subsequently released", said Fawzy.
"Don't blame those who attack Churches and places of worship, it is the State which teaches and supports hatred towards building of churches"said Dr. Naguib Gibraeel, President of the" Egyptian Union", Organization for Human Rights. "At the faculty of law, students are taught that building Churches is a sin. Besides, the Al-Azhar affiliated 'Council for Islamic Interpretation of Islamic Laws, issued a Fatwa (religious edict) number 1809 for the year 2008,in which it states "the one who gives his will to the building of a Church is equal to someone who gives his will to the building of gambling Casinos or the building of barns to raise pigs, cats and dogs!!!".
Eye-witness Fawzy told Coptic News Bulletin "Security men were already in the village, they had knowledge of what was to happen, and some of them were at the Friday prayer and joined in the demonstrations. I wish they could only tell us whose turn is it next, so as to prepare ourselves that we will be beaten, that we will be robbed, that we and our females will be assaulted. This is normal. We are only a minority and have no voice.."
Mary Abdelmassih

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Egypt 57 years later (1)& (2)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This Thursday will mark the 57th anniversary of a sad hour of Egyptian history in the 20th century. On July 23, 1952 people of Egypt woke up to a message being aired over Egyptian airwaves stating that a military group made up of free officers took over the country. The announcer was no other than a person who would win a Nobel Peace Prize for a peace treaty he made with Israel in 1978 -- Anwar El Sadat.Mr. Sadat would also become the third out of four presidents Egyptian would have in the 20th century. He was also a member of this military group who's leader was General Mohammed Naugib. This broadcast started at 7:30 am stating that there was a revolution currently in action aimed to depose a king who was corrupted and to improve Egypt for all Egyptians.The leader of the younger officers was Gamal Abdel Nasser who was also part of the infamous Muslim Brotherhood, which was also a partner of the Nazis and had helped the Nazis escape the Allies' jurisdiction to eventually settle in Egypt and in South America . He had also formed a coalition with Naugib which would eventually avoid any problems with other officers who did not care for his ideas.The major declared goal of this "revolution" was to improve the military's income and protest against the king. Sadat, who was never one for bloodshed or conflicts would disappear into a movie theater, however, to make sure that he was not a part of that group (in case of the coup was to be unsuccessful). He had purposely started a fight with another man so that there would be a police report made on him to assure an alibi.Most of the world knows all about Nasser and his ideas. After a year of the King's dethronement, Nasser eventually deposes General Naugib and became the second "President" of Egypt .
How was this successful?There are many reasons. One , Egypt was going through a critical period of history. There was a lot of instability, mischief and corruption throughout the government. Two , Egypt was losing all battles it had started with the newly created Jewish State of Israel which became a black eye to the ego of Egypt and of the population. And third, the Egyptian army was defected and ineffective to the Jewish militia who even though in rags and in second-hand military equipment, knew similar to that of a chess game what would be the best moves.Gamal Abdel Nasser was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and had been taught by its religious leader, the former close friend of Adolph Hitler, Haji al Husseini the vast hatred of Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Atheists. In the beginning of 1956, the European Cold War between the USSR and the United States , Britain and Europe started. The US knowing the President of Egypt and his group's background tried to entice him to stand with them against the USSR and other Soviet Bloc countries to block any communistic infiltration in the Middle East and especially in using the Suez Canal . The US backed Egypt to become a part of the International Bank and to facilitate international investment in the country as well as to implement a huge irrigation project which was to be given to the countries along the Nile River .It is no secret that President Nasser ever cared at all about Egypt or its economy. There was only one goal - to annihilate Israel once and for all - murdering the Jews and infidels. Nasser attempted to use the bank to buy enormous quantities of military arms and supplies from the US . However, the US , had to refuse Nasser ’s demand. Nasser having been refused went to China , one of US’s enemy at the time. With the help of China , Egypt was able to start to obtain new military equipment, but in this process the International Bank withdrew the financial opportunity to build a dam that in the long run would have benefited nearly ten African countries.
On the advice of China , Nasser travels to Czechoslovakia (then a Soviet Bloc country) where he signs an army contract to buy USSR made arsenal. He felt sure that his plans were taking place and there was no stopping him and with Allah's blessing - his goal of destroying all Jews and infidels was at hand. He had decided to nationalize the Suez Canal at this time (1956) without honoring any earlier international agreement. He had established with a young relation of Haji al Husseini by the name of Yassir Arafat many guerilla (terrorist) cells to attack any English properties in Egypt as well as inside Israel . These cells would go and attack villages in Israel and in English facilities in Egypt .
Israel started defending herself, attacking the cells. The Israeli military started to follow the attackers going into Egyptian territory. In October 1956, Israel entered the Sinai which would become two great battles. The battles were Al Contellah and Ras Al Mounkab. The world started learning a new Arabic word. The guerrillas were called the Fedayeen. The United Kingdom requested that Egypt respect the independence agreement and protect the international vessels from attack in the Suez Canal , as well as the air space, railroads and roads. Nasser decided to annul all agreements and declared all English military bases in Egypt will now be Egyptian.
This meant that now the UK would have to attack Egypt in order to protect their property and personnel. At this same time, France had captured a ship from Romania which was carrying Soviet arsenal and Egyptian secret service agents. This ship proved to the French government that Egypt was helping to support Algerians who were fighting the French. France had decided to attack Egypt and destroy all its weapon depots.The USSR saw a great opportunity to defended Egypt by giving an ultimatum to the UK , France and Israel to cease or else. As we all know -- it ended as a stalemate.However, since this time, 1956 to today in 2009 the government of Egypt has honored this day to celebrate a victory against three countries. Even though it was a true stalemate, to the "Arab" mind and that of any terrorist, it was a victory. The truth in Arab world is their own made-up truth, as we have seen with all Arab leaders’ speeches that at any given time the facts are turned around to complement their own benefit.In conclusion, one will notice that
The Egyptian revolution was not more than a military coup performed by a group of young militaries to improve their income.
The true goal of the revolution was not to improve Egyptian life but to fight the newly created Jewish State of Israel and the infidel population in and out of Egypt .
The Fadayeen groups (terrorist cells) were initiated by Nasser .
The attacks from Israel , the UK and France were a chain reaction generated due to the actions of the Egyptian government.
In reading the true accounts, there have been many excursions made by Nasser against Israel . The greatest and most famous of them all happened in 1967, otherwise known as the Six Day War.

Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah
Egypt 57 Years Later (2)
The celebration of a false victory invented by Nasser after the stalemate of 1956’s war is a clear indication and key to understand the typical Arab’s mindset. One of the tenets of Islam is to lie to others. Over time, the liar will even accept the lie to be true.
When the Union of Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR) had announced as an ultimatum to France , United Kingdom (UK) and Israel to cease fire, President Dwight D. Eisenhower then the President of the United States (US) had requested to those fighting Egypt to a ceasefire. This was done and surprisingly, Israel found herself possessing more land than before due to the fighting. This was not even thought of or in any plan. Israel simply was defending herself against the aggressor of Egypt . Eventually a quiet agreement was established stating that Israel can have Eliat port and be allowed the right to use the Suez Canal as long as Egypt can pretend it had won.
Nasser had a vision to become the new "Khalifa" however, he needed to start his own plan of having a Khalifa-like state -- so it would become a true Islamic nation. This would be very complex especially when there were many foreign investors residing and many Egyptians who were of society were Jewish.
Nasser had implemented something that was similar to Nazi Europe -- he would make Egypt Yahudi-free. No Jews would be permitted to live in Egypt as a regular citizen. Hence in the late 1950s, early 1960s Nasser would force the Jews to leave the country and in a short-time without any help and no time to plan and pack. Then all foreigners (English, Italians, Greeks, etc.) would be forced to leave.
Nasser then decided it's time to make a huge Arab republic -- or a region filled with smaller Arab republics but with Egypt as being the main country. Egypt would be known as the United Arab Republic (UAR) and its first partner was to be Syria . A major reason was also because Syria borders along Israel . Nasser communicated with the Syrian leader (Shokri Al-Quwatli) about having an Arab region all united in one goal -- to destroy the infidels.
Nasser would be spending the monies of Egypt in purchasing military supplies from the Soviet bloc countries and deliver them to the Arab guerrillas (terrorists).
However, the relationship between Egypt and Syria would deteriorate at a fast rate. In 1960, Nasser nationalizes the major Egyptian private companies and took away all privately family owned farms so that it would be under the government's ownership.
No one in the west believed of the worse in regards to Nasser . They believed that Nasser was just trying to be a socialist. No one questioned the government's acquisition of the privately owned companies and farms. Nor did anyone question the abuses that were happening to the owners if they should be Coptic, Jewish, European, etc. He took away all land that belonged to the Churches and Synagogues but would not do a thing to Islamic properties owned by Al Azhar . The goal was to wreck any non-Muslim economic power.
Another part was to change the school system that was following a more British-like plan to be more like a Madrassa (Islamic School). The first to be changed was the University of Al Azhar was a religious university. Under Nasser , this institution would be enlarged to include medicine and engineering, ecc. To this day, it stays as such. No non-Muslim can attend this school.
A child's would be hardly any learning of the ancient Egyptians or the true history of the country. All children will have to learn only Islamic history and the Koran as a daily study.
Since the end of 1956 war, Nasser was building an army equipped with the latest military technology from the USSR . This was also the beginning of the abuse of Copts which would force many to immigrate out of their homeland with the blessing of the "free officers" and Nasser.
Less than a decade later in the spring of 1967, Nasser announced that under no circumstance can any ship that flies Israel ’s flag be permitted to go through the Suez Canal . By this one announcement, Nasser had broken the ceasefire agreement that was signed at the end of 1956 war. Israel did not react right away. At this time, Syria had started to increase the aid to the Arab guerrillas to intensify their attacks against Israel through the Golan Heights . These would be known as the "liberation attacks" - to liberate non-Israelis from the Israelis. These attacks would devastate the civilian population in the north of Israel . Israel considered these attacks an act of war especially following Nasser announcement closing the Suez Canal to Israel . Nasser felt his dream of destroying Israel was to be a reality. At this time, Nasser requested to Syria to support them and to demand the United Nations (UN) to withdraw all of their "peacekeepers" from all borders of Israel , Egypt and Syria .
Soon, nearly all the Arab nations surrounding Israel would join together to make Nasser 's dream a reality! Millions upon millions of Arab militia are against less than two million Israelis. The surrounded Arabic countries consisted of Lebanon to the north, Jordan and Iraq from the east, Saudi Arabia to the south were standing next Israeli border ready to attack.
At the beginning of June 1967 President Nasser had visited an Egyptian army unit stationed at the border and gave a press conference in which he stated that Israel was too weak to defend herself after the last war of 1956. However, they were incorrect. At 9 o'clock in the morning of Monday, June 5, 1967, the sirens of Cairo starting blasting. War bulletins started to be airing from public radio stations.The bulletins stated that the liberation of " Palestine " will be ongoing. Israel 's plan would be thumped by the invincible Egyptian defense system. In listening to these broadcasts, one could picture the mighty Egyptian army penetrating the Jewish state like a knife in butter.
On Friday, the 9th of June the radio announced that President Nasser would make an important announcement. Had it been the truth, Nasser would be admitting defeat but it was not to be. All monies that were to go for the better of Egypt 's economy was spent in buying military weaponry that would be destroyed in less than five hours. In six days, the mighty Arab militia was destroyed. Defeat was imminent. But not to the Arab mind. Nasser refused to admit defeat.
The economic results were devastated; the Suez Canal 's shipping lanes were shut down. But what were worse the Egyptian people had begun to lose faith in their leader and government plus a large number of young men had lost their lives. Many families were grieving over their losses.

Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah

Christians in Egypt; prayer in the wilderness

Thomas Leiker
Albuquerque Catholic Examiner Christians have lived and prayed in Egypt ever since Christ. They’re there today. Even before them, people of faith blended into the terrain of this ancient kingdom, which has seen more than its fair share of faith history. In Genesis one God is established for the succession of faiths, while most of the remaining known world would celebrate many for some years to come. Abraham can easily be considered the first to readily acknowledge that one God as all powerful. Abraham’s walk with God took him from Ur, in what is now southern Iraq, to Egypt, and he became the patriarch of three major religions through his descendants, Isaac (Judaism, Christianity) and Ishmael (Islam) because his faith was so strong. Roughly fourteen hundred years before Jesus, the Pharaoh Akhenaton became the political founder of monotheism in Egypt. His views were revolutionary and he forsake all of the royal traditions of his country, even to moving the capital away from Thebes where corruption was plentiful, to a new over-ambitious (even for a pharaoh) city dedicated to the one God. Tradition won out, and Akhenaton was removed from royalty and his name virtually obliterated from history. His story is still being rediscovered.
In Bethlehem, when the magi had departed, an angel came to Joseph in a dream, and told him to rise at once and take the baby Jesus and his mother to Egypt. Furthermore, they were to remain there until the angel came for them. King Herod was searching for the child. As promised, the angel returned to Joseph when Herod had died, but the Holy Family was guided to Nazareth in Galilee instead of their original home. Thus Jesus’ infant journey to Egypt then Nazareth fulfilled prophecy (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23).
The nomads of the first century and the Desert Fathers after them found a certain solace, oneness with the Lord, and peace in death. They were acting out tradition that was already well established. They were of course also there because persecution only reaches so far into the wilderness. Today the Christians are still there, eight and a half million of them, more than the remaining total for the entire Middle East.
Among some of the notable attractions in Egypt are the fabulous monasteries that have survived since the Desert Fathers. Most likely the oldest anywhere is St. Antony’s (Dier Mar Antonios). Antony lived to 105, and his following was tremendous. Soon after his passing in 356 AD, those followers began the construction of a monastery at the site of his grave. St Paul’s Monastery nearby is almost as old. It is said that the abbeys are almost self-contained villages providing their communities with both nutritional and spiritual needs, and celebrating rites that have changed very little since the Desert Fathers.
One of the best known monasteries in the world is St. Catherine’s, The Monastery of the Transfiguration, or Monastery of the God-trodden Mt. Sinai, believed to be at the site of Moses’ burning bush at the foot of the historic Mt. Sinai. When Constantine’s mother, St. Helena was in the area she instructed that a church be built there. By that time, Antony and many others were already in the eastern Egyptian Desert on the opposite side of what is now the Gulf of Suez. Completion of the monastery took place around two hundred years later under the Emperor Justinian I, who named it after Catherine of Alexandria, a saint of whom little is known. In the eleventh century, a Mosque was added to the compound, with respect for the three religions that have celebrated the holiness of this place. Mohammed was among the people who visited and prayed there, and his declaration that the monastery would always be protected by Islam, is perhaps a reason why it has never been destroyed or subjected to terrorist attack.
Most of the Christians in Egypt today belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. They maintain the monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul. The nineteenth chapter of Isaiah is the prophecy of Egypt. The Coptics adhere particularly to verse nineteen, which says that an altar to the Lord will stand in Egypt. The Church is said to be founded by the evangelist, St. Mark and that from the very beginning was embraced by many Egyptians.
There is also a strong following of Greek Orthodox, who are the monks that now care for St. Catherine Monastery which houses the largest collection of original manuscripts and codices that exists outside of the Vatican. The Christians of Egypt today face strained relations with the government and with each other. As recently as July 11, 2009, the AFP news agency in Cairo reported the Coptic Church claimed there were new tensions stirred up the Roman Catholic assessment (reiterated by the Vatican on Tuesday, July 10) of being the one true Church of Christ.
This examination was to conclude the series on the nomads, Antony and the Desert Fathers, Benedict, Lectio Divina, and the Christian call to the Egyptian Desert. The series has shown that nomads carried the first good news of Jesus Christ, whether they were apostles, evangelists, or desert wanderers. It showed how the Desert Fathers came to be and how Antony developed their monastic code of behavior, and how through John Cassian, the rule became a foundation for that faith-filled lifestyle throughout the Western world as illustrated by the Rule of St. Benedict. It was a series that carried the underlying message that the heart of it all was a need to be alone with God, to be absorbed in contemplative prayer and a life pleasing to God. There was enough information uncovered in the research to fill several books (and indeed it has), and therefore, far too much information than could be included in these examinations.
Wandering off to the Egyptian Desert may not be everyone’s favorite way to find God. The wilderness is anywhere one chooses to find it. It is the place where one most feels the presence of God. That could be anywhere. The message was not about moving to a sand dune, but about contemplating the scripture that has been passed down by the witnesses and their chronologists. It may not always be accurate history, but it is certainly the Word of God. That same Holy Spirit has been given to other writers for their mission of writing all things spiritual. The desert is about prayer and faith. It is about finding that place where you call out to God, and it is silent enough that you can hear him when he answers.

Two Measures and Two Scales in the Arab World

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The recent murder of a Egyptian who was Muslim occurred couple of weeks ago in Dresden , Germany had made great news in Egypt and in the Arab world. The Germans handled the murder in the normal way that news of this sort is normally handled.

This murder is a clear example of how Arabs and Muslims see and act towards certain facts. At first, one thing had to be clear, a murder is a murder in a civil society. Murder does not have a religion nor skin color. Any one who commits murder has to be judged and sentenced as per the law. Furthermore, the murderer has also the rights to defend himself.

The 32-year old woman followed her husband to Germany to be with him during his continuing education. It seems that she had an argument with a 28-year old man in a public park when she requested that he allow her son to play on the swings. The woman was dressed in a head covering (hijab) which is uncommon in the western world. Instead of letting the little boy play the man called harassed her by calling her a terrorist. This was brought to trial where the man was fined €750.00. He was in the process of trying to appealed the sentence and fine but was not being successful and sought out the woman murdering her with a knife. In any other civilized country, this would be the end of the story. However, like the Teddy Bear fiasco in Sudan , this is not the end. Egyptian press is calling for blood.

Perhaps the world needs to examine this violent attack as being more than a typical violent action. We need to come to an understanding the real dimensions of this tragedy, that it is very clear that the ways of life in the west are being violated due to a new invasion - using a weapon which is called "political correctness" to undermine common sense and civil rights for all. The following are the points to the above named incident:

The lady went to Germany with her son to join her husband who was continuing his education from Max Blanc, a German institution.
The lady went to a public park with her son.
A German man was in that park to spend some time and relax.

How can we imagine this incident evolving? Perhaps, the lady asked politely or arrogant for the man to move from the swing for her child to play on them. However, this is not the issue. Could the issue is that the German man felt somewhat anger over seeing a woman wearing a symbol of terrorism (in his mind). The man refused the child to play on the swings. This is not the issue. The issue is the way some people may feel towards others. The main question -- how does a citizen feel about immigrants?

Let's look at the flip side of things. It is well known that a western woman visiting any country of Muslim majority has to respect the local laws and behave accordingly. She has to don a hijab, she can't be driving on her own and must always be in the company of men. However, here in the west, we notice that a Muslim woman may be wearing the traditional head covering however, she was not obeying the tenants of her faith. She spoke to a stranger - a man who was not Muslim. This woman was using freedoms that are not awarded to her in her own land by speaking to the strange man.

Recently in Italy , thousands of Muslims refused to honor local law and culture by brazenly prayed in the plaza of “Il Duomo” in Milano and next to Coliseum in Roma, while Copts in Egypt (and Christians under Muslim rule in other countries) get arrested for praying in their houses! The interesting thing was the so called Arabic media which managed the matter looked at things differently which, in itself is reminiscent of how the Nazis looked upon things. Some of the Arab media claimed that the German man was Jewish to demonstrate that the hate is coming from Jews (and connecting this to the Palestinians in Gaza to be the victims of Jews.). Other media outlets indicated that he is a Christian to allow them to find a justification of murdering Christians in the Muslim world and bring more oppression which occurs to Copts in Egypt .

They tried as always to take the maximum advantage of a normal incident to justify all and any aggression against non Muslims.

After this incident many Muslims in Germany protested carrying signs asking “What was her sin to be killed?” They have every right to ask this question -- as I ask the same -- what were the sins of the Jews, Christians and others who are persecuted due to being non-Muslims? WHY ARE YOU MURDERING MY PEOPLE?! Let's look at the slaughter:

Thousands of innocent (Americans and Non-Americans in the tragedy of September 11, 2001;
Thousands in bombings of trains, subways, discos, pizzerias, etc. in Spain , England , Malaysia , Indonesia , and many other countries;
Children in Breslan , Russia , Mumbai , India ;
Jews because they are Jews;
Copts of Egypt that suffered in over 1,400 years of occupation. Thousands upon thousands in last few years:
What was the sin of 83 Copts killed and burned alive in “Zawia Al Hamra ” Cairo ”?
What was the sin of 23 Copts killed and burned alive in “Kosheh in Upper Egypt ?
What was the sin of the monks of Abua Fana that were attacked by Arabs under the protection of the Mubarak regime?

To the Political Correctness world, the answer is very simple, those are not Muslims, so who cares. The man who killed that Muslim lady is sitting in jail waiting to be judged. How many murderers of non-Muslims were judged or are in jail? The answer is NONE.

Personally, I feel disgusted when I see and read certain comments from journalists that supposedly are at a decent level of cultural knowledge. An honest journalist may easily find a clear difference between a single persons actions and a group of barbarians attacking a church, like what happened at "Ain Shames" Cairo last year.Interesting how we never see or hear any high ranking Egyptian official make any comment when a Copt is killed in Egypt or when an attack occurs against civilians who are not Muslims in any part of the planet. This Egyptian woman was an average person within the country. At her funeral only the presence of Mubarak and his first Minister was missed. In fact three ministers, high ranking police and military officers, and six thousand people were present for the funeral. Now in Egypt , a street will be renamed for her so she can be always in martyrdom!

Martyr, yes now she is known by the name THE HIJAB MARTYR which shows just what the mentality of these people are.

Muslims are asking for an apology for the killing of this Egyptian woman! While I do not condone what happened I have to ask, what about the millions of Copts killed without any reason in their homeland?

I think it is the right time for Copts to ask not only for an apology, but demand civil rights and respect in their own homeland! It's time not to be silent but to shout to the whole world so the world should understand the true tragedy that the Copts have been suffering from (as well as many non-Muslims) without any “Politically Correct” involvement.

Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Egyptian Security Refuses to Return Abducted Christian Coptic Girl

(AINA) --

Two incidents of abduction of Coptic girls to force them to convert to Islam took place within one week in Upper Egypt. In both cases the Egyptian security predictably played a key role in the outcome of the cases.
Rania Asaad was returned to her family, while Irene Labib is still missing, in spite of pleas from human rights organizations to the security authorities to end this Coptic family's misfortune.
In view of the security authorities' complete neglect in the handling of Irene's case, and false government media reports that Irene was returned to her family, a spokesman for the Coptic Church's Sohag Diocese issued a statement on 7/16/09 calling for the immediate return of the abducted girl.
Irene Hanna Labib, 20-years old, disappeared on 7/1/2009 from Sahel Tahta, Sohag Governorate, 500 km south of Cairo.
After carrying out their own investigations, the well to do Labib family discovered that Irene was abducted by Muslim Hisham Saad Mohamed, who works as a waiter in the IT institute where she studies.
"Her brother Girgis Labib went and met with the abductor Hisham, who confessed to Irene being in his possession," said Reverend Sawires Rady pastor of St. Shenouda Church, Sahel Tahta in Sohag."The Labib family filed a report with the police and accused Hisham Mohamaed of abducting their daughter. The police detained Hisham and Irene's brother Girgis, who was subsequently released after taking a pledge not to harass Hisham." Hisham was released three days later after promising security to bring back Irene at 8 pm of the same day, but he has subsequently disappeared. Reverend Sawires said "the abductor never kept his promise and I now ask security to bring back the abducted girl as they know her whereabouts."
Mamdouh Nakhla, head of Al Kalema Human Right Organisation told Copts United "Security must disclose the whereabouts of the girl kidnapped by the Muslim man, as they know her whereabouts from the confessions of the abductor who pledged to bring her back on the same day." Nakhla holds security responsible for bringing the girl back to her family safe and unharmed. Also the Bareek Center for Anti-Violence Against Women Advocacycriticized the role of security. Until her return, the Labib family is keeping quiet about the circumstances of their daughter's disappearance.
The family of 21-year old pharmacy student Rania Tawfik Asaad from Samalut, Minya Governorate, were successful in getting back their daughter, one week she disappeared on 6/27/2009; she was held by her abductor in the small village Of Taha Bosh, Nasser district, in the Beni Suef Governorate.
Rania was approached by Muslim army officer Mohamed Sayed Farag, 29 years old, who posed as a Copt called Mina who was living in Cairo. After a brief courtship, the army officer proposed to her and asked her to meet his elderly mother. According to Ayman Eid of Free Copts advocacy Rania knew the true identity of her abductor only when she arrived at a secluded house in Beni Suef.
Mohamed was also discovered to be a member of the Islamic Welfare Association, which is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood. He asked Rania to convert to Islam and marry him, but she refused. After a great ordeal her family discovered her whereabouts and learnt that she was forced to convert to Islam by the Association and married Captain Mohamed two days after her abduction.
Her father reported the incident to security and accused the army officer of abducting his daughter. According to an eyewitness who asked to remain anonymous, the State Security had made a deal with Rania's father to bring her back on condition of dropping all changes against the army officer, as he would be subjected to trial by the armed forces and due to the negative publicity to the reputation of the Defence Ministry, in return for his daughter's safe return.
The issue of abduction of Coptic girls forms one of the most explosive problems in the relations between Christians and Muslims of Egypt -- especially as abductions are carried out in cooperation between Arab-funded legitimate associations and the State Security.
In the opinion of Magdy Khalil, political analyst and researcher that abduction of Coptic girls is an organized crime. "Abducting and converting Coptic girls to Islam is not only a result of the paranoid and racist incitation against the Copts, it is an organized and pre-planned process by associations and organizations inside Egypt with domestic and Arab funding, as the main role in seducing and luring Coptic girls is carried through cunning, deceit, and enticement, or through force if required," he said.
Khalil tells of incidents of abduction he witnessed when the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Pope Shenouda intervened, and where the abducted girls were returned to their families within 24 hours. "What can we call this? And what about the poor ones whose voice could not be heard, or have no connections?" he said.
Activist Medhat Kelada, PR for Copts United advocacy believes that the Islamization business represents a permanent source of livelihood for security officials, "Especially with the flow of funds from the rich and extremist Wahhabis who try to Islamize the Egyptian Copts with the help of some of the security service officers", he said.
The Egyptian Al Fagr (the Dawn) independent newspaper was the first to report on the lucrative business of the 'brokers' of Islamization of Christians, in its May 19th 2008 issue, taking the city of Alexandria as an example.
Al Fagr reporter Tamer Salah-el-Din highlighted how the operation which is funded by Muslim businessmen is carried out with the collusion of State Security and Mosque sheikhs. The 'trading rates' cashed by brokers for each Christian male and female conversion to Islam, at the time of writing his report, was 7000 Egyptian pounds for the male and 6000 for the female. The rates for Coptic girls fluctuate depending on how good-looking she is and her family's social status.
Coptic Pope Shenouda III openly protested on December 17th, 1976 about this problem and in spite of the multiplicity of incidents, not one single person accused of abduction of Coptic girls was brought to justice.
"Amid the government's inaction and its collusion, awakening the international conscience may be the more effective means in exposing the perpetrators and those who support them." says Khalil.
By Mary Abdelmassih

Friday, July 17, 2009

Police Collusion Suspected in Attack on Church in Minya, Egypt

Strangely, officers arrest Copts; roof collapses after Muslim suspects set fire to church building.
By Roger Elliott
ISTANBUL, July 17 (Compass Direct News)

– Villagers in Ezbet Basillious, Minya suspect local police in Egypt of corruption and collusion after two Copts were arrested for an arson attack on their own house church on Saturday (July 11).
Egyptian State Security Investigations (SSI) officers later arrested three Muslim suspects in accordance with eyewitness testimony that local police had ignored. The suspects were seen entering the Church of St. Abaskharion Kellini with cans of kerosene and leaving it shortly after, shouting “Allahu Akbar [God is great].”
The two Copts who were arrested, 35-year-old Reda Gamal and Fulla Assad, 30, are still in custody.
Suspicions of police collusion come not only from the inexplicable arrests of the Copts but also from the lack of police presence while the church was burning. Guards who were stationed outside the property had left their posts, and according to some reports they had moved to a nearby café and were drinking tea while the property burned.
“It sounds like a pre-arranged situation, that they [the arsonists] knew this was the agreed time, [when] the guards were away,” a source told Compass. “Mahmoud Muhammad Hussein, the head guard, and Mustafa Moussa, one of the village guards, were heard telling people, ‘Say Reda set fire to the church.’ So the local police were involved.”
The attack in Ezbet Basillious, 90 kilometers south of Cairo, took place shortly before noon. The perpetrators entered the building where the church met using a connecting door from an adjoining residence. The fire cracked walls and caused the roof to cave in.
It took police two hours to arrive at the scene, according to Suleiman Faiz, a local schoolteacher.
Three Copts were taken to the police station, initially only for questioning – Gamal, Assad and Assad’s 75-year-old mother-in-law. Assad and her mother-in-law live in a home next to the house used by the church, and it was through their connecting door that the attackers entered the locked building.
The two women were present in the house at the time and witnessed three men carrying cans of kerosene. Mary Abdelmassih, a reporter for the Assyrian International News Agency, said the arsonists threatened them at knife-point to remain quiet and not call for help.
After questioning, Assad and her mother-in-law returned home. The following day Assad was arrested, and at press time she and Gamal were still being held.
“This Copt, Gamal, they took him as a pawn in order that later they could twist the church’s arm to give up its rights,” Abdelmassih said. “This happens every time, there is no change in the scenario at all.”
Buildings in Egypt require government permission to be used for religious gatherings, and typically churches find it very difficult to obtain.
Officials promised the Abaskharion Kellini house church a prayer license on July 3 that would enable the building in which it meets to be used as a place of prayer; the congregation has struggled in vain for 30 years to construct another church building for worship. Having received verbal assurance that a prayer license would be granted for the building in which it met, the diocese’s bishop held a consecration service there, and SSI officials then closed the house church and placed it under guard pending formal permission.
The attack marked the third recent incident of violence against the Coptic community in Minya, with new church premises being the precipitating factor in each case. Muslim mobs on June 6 attacked a building in Ezbet Boushra-East on suspicion that it would be converted into a worship place, and the same thing happened on July 3 at a building in Ezbet Guirgis Bey.
“People are really fed up, and if they lose patience there will be fighting in the streets,” a source who requested anonymity told Compass. “A lot of young people are getting so exhausted from this persecution that they might do anything; they’ve had enough.”
Schoolteacher Faiz, 34, told Compass that initially the attack on the Abaskharion Kellini house church made him and others angry.
“You can imagine the amount of anger one would have to a very unfair situation like this,” he said. “Equality and justice for everybody is essential. We love Egypt and would like it to take its place among the respectable nations on earth.”
Faiz said he hopes some day Egypt becomes free of corrupt police in order to have full freedom of religion.
“We trust that these little actions and these little conspiracies from low-ranking police forces, and those who have infiltrated police with radical ideas, which are against the country’s interest, are found out and corrected,” he said. “Because we still trust the higher ranking people in leadership.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Egyptian Christian community under attack

One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;We are perplexed, but not in despair;Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Christian community under attack – Egyptian government blames Christians
Dear Friends and Partners,
Two villages in Egypt have recently been engulfed in violence in separate incidents involving attacks by Muslims on the Christian community. The Egyptian government is trying to use these incidents to promote the marginalization and repression of the Christian minority. As a result, we must speak up on behalf of truth and justice and demand fair treatment for our Egyptian brothers and sisters.
The first incident began on June 29, when an 18-year-old Muslim named Mohamed Ramadan Ezzat died in hospital after he was stabbed during a dispute with Emil Gerges, a Christian shop-owner in the village of Kafr El Barbari, north of Cairo. Seeking revenge for Ezzat’s death, his family attacked and burned Gerges’ store and two apartments owned by the Gerges family. On July 1, 2009 the violence spread to the Christian community in general as hundreds of Muslim mourners attending Ezzat’s funeral attacked Christian homes breaking windows and injuring 25 people. In the aftermath of the violence, Christian villagers fled or were remaining indoors in fear of further attacks.
The Egyptian government is using this incident as proof that Christians are to blame for such clashes. The Christian community is frustrated and angry, however, because this episode is consistent with other common cases that follow a familiar pattern in which a Christian kills a Muslim in self-defense resulting in a riot by Muslims. In this case Gerges had been forced to pay jizya, a kind of protection money demanded by Muslims from Christians in Egypt and other Muslim countries. When Ezzat attended at the store to collect the jizya, Gerges told him he could no longer afford to pay and offered items from his store. Ezzat then physically attacked Gerges, whose 20-year-old son, John, stepped in to protect his father, wounding Ezzat.
Emil Gerges and his two sons were arrested and remain in prison where it is feared they are being tortured, while his wife, who was also arrested, was released for health reasons shortly afterward. Ezzat’s family continues to threaten the Gerges family with revenge if they are not punished by the courts.
In a separate incident on July 3, Muslims in the village of Ezbet Guirgis set fire to a warehouse damaging two buildings. The warehouse was next to a building owned by the village church, which had applied for a permit to convert the building to church use. Existing facilities for the village’s 1400 Christians, who are limited to an old building that is smaller than 400 square feet, are woefully inadequate. Even so, the permit was denied but a rumour spread among the village’s 400 Muslims that the church planned to use the building anyway, which the village priest denied. In addition to the warehouse, the Muslims also tried to burn cars belonging to the church and the priest. Police arrested 11 Coptic Christians and 5 Muslims and there is concern that authorities are trying to torture one of the Christians into taking responsibility for the fires. There are also concerns that the village priest will be forced to leave the area as in a similar case in a nearby town in June.
In the wake of these incidents authorities ordered a curfew in both villages and restricted or at least monitored access. Tensions are high among Christians throughout Egypt who already fear that any minor incident could quickly escalate into major violence with authorities laying the blame on Christians.

Please pray:
• for Emil Gerges and his family, that they would have courage and be comforted in the midst of their ordeal and that the authorities would treat them with fairness and justice in keeping with truth;
• that the family of Mohamed Ramadan Ezzat would stop threatening the Gerges family and that they would encounter the Prince of Peace and experience the only true peace that can comfort and console them for the death of their son and brother;
• for the Christians of Kafr El Barbari and Ezbet Guirgis, and throughout Egypt, that they would be strengthened and comforted in this time of difficulty and be filled with a spirit of unity to stand up on behalf of truth and justice for the Christian community; and,
• that the Egyptian authorities would stop misrepresenting the facts in order to justify their continued marginalization and repression of the country’s Christian minority and that they would recognize the importance for the strength and future of their country of treating all Egyptians fairly and equally and respecting their human rights, regardless of their religion.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write to (contact details are included below):
• the Egyptian embassy in your country, demanding that the government stop misrepresenting the facts and blaming Christians for attacks against their own communities and that it take effective measures to stop such attacks and to ensure that the human rights of Christians and other minorities are respected and that all Egyptians are treated equally without respect to their religion; and,
• the Minister for Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State for your country, insisting that they make human rights and religious freedom a priority issue in their relations with Egypt. Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at:
Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
"They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream" in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El ShafiePresident and FounderOne Free World InternationalEl Shafie Ministries Sources: One Free World International, Compass Direct
In Canada:His Excellency Shamel Elsayed NasserThe Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt 454 Laurier Avenue EastOttawa, ON KIN 6R3Tel.: (613) 234-4931; Fax: (613) 234-4398Email: (or:
The Honourable Lawrence CannonMinister for Foreign AffairsForeign Affairs Canada125 Sussex DriveOttawa, ON K1A 0G2Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802 Email:
In the United States:His Excellency Sameh ShoukryEmbassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt3521 International Ct. NWWashington DC 20008Tel.: (202) 895-5400; Fax: (202) 244-4319 Email:
Secretary Hillary ClintonU.S. Department of State2201 C Street NWWashington, DC 20520Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)Webform:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

islamis not what you thing its worse than you could image

national american coptic assembly
washingtonDC Mr. Morris Sadek-ESQ President
Islam is not what you think.
Its worse than you could imagine.
By: Mark Harding
International Canadian Christian News Correspondent
It would appear that our infantry build up, mainly by the USA soldiers leaving Iraq and moving to Afghanistan, which we know is the real snake in all of this, Is clearly making a difference.Make no mistakes, Islam is a cult and it will fight like one by using lies and deception, mixed with ?it's truth?, a mixture of war hatred and murder. What is Satan but a liar and a deceiver such is what Islam is made of.In order for a Christian to even be in Afghanistan it is against the Sharia laws. You must submit to their god, ?Allah of Islam,? that is the driving force that is headed our way here in Canada, ?it is the writings on the wall.? I believe there will be a war soon that will be much larger then what we have seen so far and it will be from either Iraq or Iran. The next steps are being taken.President Obama sends all of the troops to Afghanistan where a mighty show down seems inevitable.For many years now, God has been trying to help us see the truth that surrounds us. ?Islam is not a religion of peace? as we have been lead to believe. And all people who are outside of this Islamic faith anywhere in the world are in danger. Especially Christians and Jews, or ?Kafirs? as we are called by Islam.Most Muslims are taught that we ?Kafirs? sometimes spelt ?Kufirs? are inferior to them because they follow Allah the false god of Islam, and we do not.Nor do we Christians follow Muhammad the false prophet that leads the world astray. Although I advise you to Google it for yourself, ?KAFUR?, I do not suppose there will be one person that would be vary happy in an Islamic environment, unless you are a Muslim of course.Yet sadly, ?millions of Christian life?s are being torn apart by this evil lion that feasts on the souls of the lost, and tries to nudge the saved into a pit of hell by using terror and humiliation.?. But as God has said: He causes it to rain on the good and the evil? for the two must grow together until the end.Matthew24: Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:25: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.26: But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.27: So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?28: He said unto them, An enemy hath done this ISLAM. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?29: But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.30: Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.It is time for separation?. As I have said and say again ?The God Of Israel is not the god found in the Quran. Satan is found in the Quran, not the one and only true God, the God of Israel?.We need to tell them about Christ. The church must be made aware of what Islam is and what it is doing to innocent Christians everywhere. Canadian Christians TOGETHER should protest the way that our Christian Brothers, Sisters and all of their families are being treated, not in one or two, BUT In all Islamic societies today ?with un-imaginable terror?. These backward Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran and Afghanistan and all Islamic societies around the world today are trying to stamp out Christianity!Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, all Islamic societies today are persecuting Christians. Millions are being chased from their own homes because of their faith in Jesus Christ and the God of Israel. Churches are being vandalized and burned to the ground even with families in them. We want you to hear and understand that we Christians are being attacked in all Islamic societies around the world today. We are also clearly being attacked in our own lands as well, especially in Europe.The Christians of Canada are asking, ?why?? Why is our Government not doing something to expose these barbaric teachings of Islam? These teachings are being used to qualify the disgusting inhumanity-taking place today against Christians. What make?s our pain even harsher is after they have killed the Christians or burned one of our Churches, we hear the supporters of Allah yelling ?Allah Akbar? which means ?their god is greater? even greater than the God of Israel.We hear the Christians in Islamic societies like ?Iraq? where Pastors are being killed so that there will be no more Christian followers or teachers! We hear our Brothers crying for help. We hear the plight of Christians in Egypt as the Islamic Government destroys their churches and makes Martyrs of their Christians families. We hear the cries of Christians in Pakistan where they are chased from their homes by the thousands and are barely able to escape beheading or being hanged by angry mobs of Muslims because they are Christians!!.
We hear their crying and we see the culprit, ?it is Islam?. We condemn the god of Islam and are in total wonderment of those Muslims who profess to be following the same God that we follow as Christians.Is that a joke?There is in deed grave persecution of Christians in Islamic societies today. It is a war and not just a few Islamic Jihadists blowing themselves up around a crowd of as many people as can be found!The war that is being waged against the Christians, like the one that drives Bin Ladens sickness,who believe that all of Christianity needs to be simply eradicated out of Islamic lands,can be dealt a heavy blow from right here in Canada, if only we as a nation of Christians couldsee the dangerous teachings of Islam and how they will come to effect our children andgrandchildren in years to come, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW.We have seen what happens in cities like Toronto and Montreal, to those who appose the Islamicway of religious teachings and laws.There is far too much proof to ignore! The Islamic war machine is marching again, for all eyes to see.But we have one that leads us, Jesus Christ. We stand against these barbaric Islamic nations and their actions being allowed to fester and grow against our Brothers and Sisters in Islamic societies. And we ask our government to put a stop to it. If that means renouncing Islam as a religious cult of war and not of peace here in Canada, if that means doing a little research to see the truth about Islam which is at war with the Christians and the Jews, then so be it. Right now as we desperately try to show our Muslim neighbors how to live in peace here in Canada, in Afghanistan, an Islamic society, our Canadian soldiers defend Islamic laws that will not even allow a Church to be built on its own soil. And these same Islamic laws even go as far to teach that Christians must be killed.If our intention as a nation is to fight against terrorism, then we need to do that here at home rather than trying to do it in a country that supports it, and Afghanistan does support racism discrimination and terrorism.Islamic teachings are the source for Islamic terrorism around the world and right here in Canada.Islam is not what you think, its worse than you could imagine.
God bless Canada and keep her strong and free.
Mark Harding.International Canadian Christian News CorrespondentFor: The Canadian Christian Standard NewsYou can reach Mark at
Thanks to eng. nabil Bissada

Coptic Church Security Thwarts Apparent Attack By Veiled Woman

AINA) --
A veiled woman wearing a Hijab entered the Coptic Church of St. Demiana and St. Mercurios in Shubra, Cairo, a couple of weeks ago, carrying two big kitchen knives, a pair of scissors, a heavy solid brass kitchen club for pulping and grinding, a rope and anaesthetic drugs in her bag, just as the children's weekly Religion classes ended."The woman, who sounded quite educated, gave an irrational and flimsy excuse for having all those sharp objects. She told the police that she did not want to leave those objects at home for fear her children might harm themselves," Church Pastor Ibrahim Abdu told 'Theban Legion' advocacy in a video interview. "Does she only have at home two kitchen knives, a pair of scissors and a pulping/grinding kitchen club weight?" he commented sarcastically.
Reverend Ibrahim refrained from confirming the rumor that the woman has made a vow to kill two Christian children, and referred the Theban Legion correspondent Bishoy Mamdouh to ask the prosecutor who is handing the case.
The veiled woman entered the iron gates of the Church carrying a bag just as the children finished their weekly religion classes and had surrounded the pastors asking for favors or financial assistance. "We thought she was needy, so we did not want to stop her," said Nady, one of the Church porters.
"Our Church is open to everyone, and we give all needy people financial assistance regardless of religion, so it is not unusual to see a Muslim woman come to our Church, and that is the reason why the Church porters did not stop her. However this woman was not from our area and we do not know her," said Reverend Ibrahim. The Church which is in the Cairene modest area of Shubra has a predominantly Coptic population.
She entered the Church while being observed by the two porters who followed her inside. "She put some money in the candles box trying to deceive us, but her behavior was so suspicious and strange that we alerted the Church security guards," continued Rizk another Church porter.
"She tried to rush out when she felt that she was being observed, but the Church's security guards intercepted her, searched her and found the paraphernalia, as the policeman later told us," said Rizk.
When the police were summoned six police cars arrived, headed by the chief detective who interviewed the witnesses, issued a report and took her with them.
"The police told us that the case has been transferred to the Prosecution," said Reverend Ibrahim.
By Mary Abdelmassih

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Egyptian jailed for insult poem


A civil servant in Egypt has been jailed for three years for insulting President Hosni Mubarak in a poem, according to newspaper reports.
Moneer Said Hanna's family said he wrote satirical poetry for fun, to entertain his work colleagues, and never meant to hurt anyone.
The case was largely unknown until the family asked a newspaper to publish an appeal for clemency.
The Arab Network for Human Rights says it will appeal against the sentence.
It says Mr Hanna, who worked as a civil servant in a small town in upper Egypt, was tried without being given access to a lawyer.
His younger brother, Hanna Said, said that Moneer Said Hanna began writing poetry only recently and was encouraged when his colleagues at the office enjoyed reading it.
But things took a turn for the worse when he began to write about problems at work and everyday life.
He was summoned for interrogation and put on trial for insulting the head of state.
Under Egyptian law, insulting the president can land the offender in jail for up to three years.
The newspaper that published Mr Hanna's appeal for clemency did not publish any verses from the incriminating poem.
The BBC's Arab affairs analyst, Magdi Abdelhadi, says the case is bound to raise questions as to why the authorities decided to act against this largely unknown amateur writer, when satirical poems about President Mubarak by known poets are widely available in Egypt and on the internet.


Sudan women 'flogged for wearing trousers'

Several Sudanese women have been flogged as a punishment for dressing "indecently", according to a local journalist who was arrested with them.
Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who says she is facing 40 lashes, said she and 12 other women wearing trousers were arrested in a restaurant in the capital, Khartoum.
She told the BBC several of the women had pleaded guilty to the charges and had 10 lashes immediately.
Khartoum, unlike South Sudan, is governed by Sharia law.
Several of those punished were from the mainly Christian and animist south, Ms Hussein said.
Non-Muslims are not supposed to be subject to Islamic law, even in Khartoum and other parts of the mainly Muslim north.
She said that a group of about 20 or 30 police officers entered the popular Khartoum restaurant and arrested all the women wearing trousers.
"I was wearing trousers and a blouse and the 10 girls who were lashed were wearing like me, there was no difference," she told the BBC's Arabic service.
Ms Hussein said some women pleaded guilty to "get it over with" but others, including herself, chose to speak to their lawyers and are awaiting their fates.
Under Sharia law in Khartoum, the normal punishment for "indecent" dressing is 40 lashes.
Ms Hussein is a well-known reporter who writes a weekly column called Men Talk for Sudanese papers. She also works for the United Nations Mission in Sudan.