Saturday, December 29, 2012

FRANKS: Future looks bleak for Egypt’s Coptic Christians

Tens of thousands of Coptic Christians took to the streets in the Maspero section of Cairo to protest the government’s failure to protect them from attacks on their churches. While the protests began peacefully, violence ensued after the Christians were attacked by civilians. The Egyptian military exacerbated the situation when army personnel carriers plowed through the crowds, crushing protesters as soldiers fired on unarmed civilians.
This horrifying massacre occurred on Oct. 9, 2011. What began as a peaceful protest to express frustration over attacks on Coptic churches ended in the staggering loss of innocent human life. Nearly 30 protesters died, many of them Copts, and 500 people were injured on that tragic day. The Rev. Filopater Gameel, a Coptic priest and eyewitness to the Maspero massacre, stated that “tens of thousands were devastated as they watched innocent civilians crushed and shot to death, and their only crime was participating in a peaceful march to reject the destruction of their church.”
Now, after the election of Egypt’s new Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the Copts are terrified about their fate in Egypt. Since the Maspero attack, not one member of the Egyptian armed services has been convicted. In fact, the Egyptian panel responsible for leading the investigations closed the case because of a supposed “lack of identification of the culprits.” Even a simple YouTube search reveals how Egyptian army personnel carriers rammed into crowds of unarmed protesters during the demonstrations. Friends and relatives of the Maspero victims have vowed to continue fighting for justice and even considered taking the case to international courts.
Coptic Christians in Egypt have long suffered discrimination and violence. During a 2011 New Year's Eve service at a Coptic church in Alexandria, for instance, a bomb explosion killed more than 20 and injured 70. The brutal attacks in Alexandria and in Cairo’s Maspero section occurred shortly before the fall of the Mubarak regime and during the subsequent interim military government.
Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, succinctly described the plight of the Copts in Egypt, especially after the Arab Spring: “I think the problem is ever since the [Arab] uprising, there is still no accountability. We’ve had churches bulldozed, we’ve had churches burnt down, we’ve had Christians killed, we’ve had villages torched, and it’s almost the same as it was before. No one’s been brought to justice, no convictions, and so therefore, no justice at all.” The impunity with which the attacks against Coptic Christians were carried out is striking and deeply troubling.
The new government led by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mr. Morsi now openly seeks to permanently enshrine dictatorial arrogance and blatant disregard for religious freedom in the Egyptian constitution. Mr. Morsi pushed for a speedy vote Saturday to adopt a new constitution profoundly dangerous for Egypt’s Coptic community. Groups opposed to the constitutional draft argued that the drafting Constitutional Assembly had been dominated by Mr. Morsi’s extremist allies, and the drafting process lacked transparency.
Islamist movements in Egypt certainly have dominated Egypt’s political process, and the Copts are among the main casualties. When the Islamist-dominated Constitutional Assembly drafted the constitution, they insisted on the supremacy of Egypt’s religious identity, not the nation’s joint civil identity. The new constitution can now legitimately sanction religious discrimination.
Once the constitution begins to take effect, we will witness a new era of additional repression in Egypt. The first few constitutional articles — the foundation of Egypt’s new legal framework — are especially frightening once the implications are assessed and the articles are viewed in context of one another. Article 2 maintains that Shariah, Islamic religious law, is the basis of legislation. Religious freedom analysts have argued that Article 3 essentially sends Egyptian society to a pre-modern system where non-Muslims were extended a limited degree of state protection but were relegated to second-class citizenry in public life. Additionally, Article 4 gives a non-elected, sectarian body, not the Egyptian parliament, arbitration rights to decide how Shariah and current and subsequent legislation should be implemented for all Egyptian citizens.
Furthermore, Article 219 reaffirms that Islamists monopolized the constitutional drafting. Language within this article is unprecedented for Egypt. The article requires that the law be measured for consistency with legal principles found in Sunni Islamic law.
Religious life, as a whole, is under grave threat in Egypt. Article 43 severely limits the freedom of religion and permits only the “heavenly religions” of Islam, Judaism and Christianity to build houses of worship. The Egyptian Baha’is, for instance, and other groups not recognized as “heavenly religions,” would not have freedom of religion or even the freedom to worship.
The legal framework that should ensure equality for all Egyptian society is severely compromised in this new constitution. The United States, and the Obama administration in particular, must undertake every effort to side with the principles of religious freedom for all and underscore the importance of religious pluralism. Unless this happens, Egypt may be completely swallowed up by an Islamist dictatorship as a result of this constitution, and the Coptic Christians and other religious groups will be in extreme peril under a Morsi regime.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/21/future-looks-bleak-for-egypts-coptic-christians/#ixzz2GT8WZUUl
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Friday, December 28, 2012

THE ILLUSION OF EGYPTIAN DEMOCRACY

by Matthew M. Hausman

There seem to be three generic responses to the election of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi as president of Egypt. The first is to herald the triumph of Egyptian democracy and ignore the Brotherhood’s goals of destroying Israel and reestablishing the Caliphate. The second is to fantasize that the Brotherhood was somehow moderated by its participation in the political process despite its adherence to jihadist aims. The third is to engage in cultural relativism and proclaim that even an election assuring a repressive Islamist regime is a democratic victory because it represents the Muslim popular will, and to insist that Morsi’s election be validated by those who find the Brotherhood’s doctrinal supremacism abhorrent. These positions are either na├»ve or delusional, and are the products of left-wing pretense, mainstream ignorance and the failure to grasp the totalitarian goals of the Islamist agenda and global jihad.
Ironically, liberals who urge acceptance of the Muslim Brotherhood would not likewise countenance the ascendancy of right-wing dictators who consolidate power through the electoral process (though historically they’ve had no problem excusing or even romanticizing despots on the left – from Lenin and Stalin to Hugo Chavez.) Clearly, political progressives have a soft spot for socialist or communist regimes they believe represent the fulfillment of leftist ideals, but they would seem to have no ideological kinship with Islamists. Whereas the left professes a deep and abiding commitment to humanist and egalitarian values (as long as the expression of those values does not conflict with its political agenda), Islamist doctrine is inconsistent with those values and contrary to the rights and freedoms that characterize western democracy.
Despite its incompatibility with liberal principles and ideals, Islamism is often regarded with left-wing approval as a reaction to past European and American colonialism and as a declaration of aboriginal rights. In equating Islamism with movements of national liberation, however, the left ignores Islam’s history of conquest, subjugation and colonialism throughout the Mideast, Europe and Asia. The spread of Islam through jihad involved the conquest of indigenous peoples and the usurpation of their lands, and therefore constituted the kind of colonialist excess that the left claims to reject. But the supremacist goals of doctrinal Islam are irrelevant to its western enablers, whose embrace of extremist movements seems more a projection of their own hostility for normative cultural values, their inability to tolerate dissenting political viewpoints, and their repudiation of American exceptionalism.
The same pretensions used to legitimize Muslim extremism helped shape the media’s coverage of the upheaval that swept through the Arab world last year. They also discouraged any mention of the antisemitic, anti-Western and anti-democratic sentiments that were unapologetically expressed by the actors in that political Passion play. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the slanted coverage of the Arab Spring in Egypt, which was not really orchestrated by the liberal, democratic crusaders profiled by CNN, Reuters and the rest of the mainstream media, but rather by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist opportunists. Though the demonstrations in Tahrir Square ended with the Egyptian military still in power and the Brotherhood positioned to prevail in the elections to follow, the western press clung to its fanciful narrative of the “Facebook Revolution.” The fairy tale, however, was inconsistent with the reality on the ground. And the media’s blindness continued with its glowing descriptions of the subsequent elections as a democratic triumph, despite the chill on individual rights, freedoms and liberties – not to mention the widespread violence against the Coptic community – which accompanied the Brotherhood’s electoral victory.
Nobody familiar with its origins could believe the Muslim Brotherhood would ever champion democracy or safeguard the rights of minorities. Founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, a Nazi admirer and strident antisemite, the Brotherhood from its earliest days has advocated jihad against “infidels.” Its list of enemies includes Jews, Coptic Christians and the West, it advocates Israel’s destruction, and it gives assistance to related terror groups that often act as its proxies. Osama bin Laden belonged to the Brotherhood before founding al-Qaeda, as did Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the founder Islamic Jihad before its merger with bin Laden’s group. And then there is Hamas, which holds itself out as the Brotherhood’s military wing in Gaza. The charters of these related groups advocate violence, jihad and genocide, and all are supported by the Brotherhood in one way or another.
Despite President Obama’s attempts to rehabilitate the official U.S. government view of the Brotherhood, the organization undeniably supports terrorism and openly lists among its primary goals the imposition of Sharia and restoration of the Caliphate. Since assuming power in Egypt, it has discriminated and incited violence against religious minorities, and has made statements casting doubt on Egypt’s intention to honor the Camp David Accords. Consistent with these statements, the Egyptian military has moved tanks into Sinai without Israel’s consent as required under the treaty, and Hamas has beefed up its own presence on the Sinai border and beyond. In addition, Hamas has launched Grad rockets into Israel from Sinai on orders from the Muslim Brotherhood, raising the risk that Israeli retaliation to future attacks could extend into Egyptian territory. The threat is taken seriously by Israelis, many of whom fear war on their southern border for the first time since 1973.
To claim that the Brotherhood in Egypt (or for that matter Hamas in Gaza) is democratic simply because it won an election betrays an ignorance regarding the organization’s history and doctrine, as well as the essence of western democracy itself. However, a sound understanding of democratic principles is essential for recognizing why the election of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, or any other Islamist organization, is a threat not only to Israel but to democracy in general, which perhaps is best exemplified by the American system of government.
American democracy is a hybrid combining republican ideals, such as respect for individual rights and liberties, with democratic institutions, including most notably an open electoral system. The inalienability of individual rights is perhaps the defining characteristic of a constitutional republic, while free and fair elections are the hallmarks of democracy. Thus, the rights and liberties most closely identified with American democracy, including the freedoms of speech and religion, are actually features of constitutional republicanism, not classical democracy. Pure democracy, in fact, does not recognize the sanctity of individual rights. Rather, in a pure democracy the rights of the individual must yield to the will of the majority and thus can never be guaranteed. For this reason, America’s founding fathers were extremely wary of pure democracy, in which the rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution could be overridden by a dictatorial majority.
That the United States was established as a republic based on constitutional principles is clearly reflected in Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government.” The founding fathers were painfully aware that unrestrained democracy could degenerate into mob rule and that without clearly delineated constitutional parameters the government would descend into anarchy. As observed by James Madison in the Federalist Papers: “[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”[1]
Republicanism was the ideal that drove the American Revolution. In asserting their independence from England, the early Americans were motivated by the desire for liberty, the belief that citizens bore independent responsibility for their civic duties, and the rejection of heritable power in favor of the collective sovereignty of the people. The republican ideal found expression in both the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, and reflected an inherent suspicion of pure democracy that predated America’s birth by several thousand years.
Indeed, the Greek philosopher Plato believed that democratic self-government was unsustainable because ordinary citizens lacked the skills to govern themselves or to manage relations with foreign nations. He also had misgivings regarding the quality of representative government chosen by the public because he believed that common people were most likely to endorse politicians who could seduce them with flattery and blandishments instead of the ability to govern. In "The Republic", Plato analogized democracy to a ship whose captain is a poor navigator, and whose sailors all believe they have the right to steer despite having no navigational skills themselves. Aristotle expressed similar reservations in his treatise “Politics.”
Similar to the ancient Greek philosophers, America’s founders were concerned that democracy without appropriate constraints could become dictatorial. Thus, they created a system incorporating elements of republicanism and democracy anchored by checks and balances between the different branches of government. American democracy is distinguished today by its ability to maintain: (a) institutional respect for individual liberties through constitutional imperative; and (b) the integrity of representative government through free and fair elections. If the American system provides the measuring stick for evaluating Morsi’s election and its aftermath, it becomes clear that the Egyptian government falls well below any acceptable standard.
Though the government in Egypt has the veneer of democracy because it was elected, one could argue that the elections were neither free nor fair in the western sense because the only parties sufficiently empowered to mount a serious campaign were the Islamists. In the parliamentary elections, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom Party and the Islamist Al-Nour party took the majority of the popular vote. In the presidential election, Morsi prevailed over Ahmed Shafiq, the former prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, although some question remained as to whether the military actually would cede the reins of power.
If democratic success in Egypt can be evaluated by the degree to which it gives voice to the people, then popular attitudes must be examined to determine whether they are consistent with the freedoms that have come to define western democracy. And in this regard Egypt receives low marks. According to a Gallup survey conducted around the time of the Tahrir Square demonstrations, 64 percent of those polled favored the imposition of Sharia, while a large percentage of those who claimed not to still desired a government guided by Islamic law. Consistently, a majority of Egyptians surveyed by Pew Research approved of execution and stoning, respectively, as punishments for apostates and adulterers – views that hardly seem liberal or democratic. Not surprisingly, nearly 65 percent of the electorate voted for the Islamist parties during the parliamentary elections. Given that the election of Islamists seemed to represent the popular will of the Egyptian electorate – and that minorities and dissenters have suffered mightily as a consequence – the outcome seems to validate the fears of Plato, Aristotle and America’s founding fathers.
If the Egyptian military indeed permits Morsi and the Islamists to wield real political power, the Brotherhood’s doctrinal positions will certainly discourage the growth of democratic institutions. Under Sharia, non-Muslims are considered unequal, speech deemed offensive to Islam is not tolerated, and non-Muslim religious expression is subject to limitations that would be repugnant in western society. Clearly, therefore, a system of government based on Sharia would be incompatible with democratic values. The treatment of the Coptic population provides telling evidence that freedom of religion, among other fundamental liberties, will be neither fostered nor respected.
With regard to foreign affairs, the Muslim Brotherhood is unlikely to respect the integrity and sovereignty of nations not governed by Islam – least of all Israel or the United States. Even as the Obama Administration panders to Morsi by inviting him to the White House and offering to forgive $1 billion in Egyptian foreign debt, the Brotherhood openly preaches jihad against the United States, and has been doing so for years. Moreover, this preaching crossed the line from theoretical to practical years ago, as was reported by theDallas Morning News in 2007. During its coverage of the Holy Land Foundation trial in Texas five years ago, the DMN reported the following:[2]
“A 1991 strategy paper for the Brotherhood, often referred to as the Ikhwan in Arabic, found in the Virginia home of an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, describes the group’s U.S. goals, referred to as a ‘civilization-jihadist process.’”“‘The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions,’ it states. This process requires a “mastery of the art of ‘coalitions,’ the art of‘absorption’ and the principles of ‘cooperation.’”
The Muslim Brotherhood apparently regards American-style democracy as an evil that must be eliminated. Because the Islamist agenda is doctrinally supremacist, it is foolish to think that Morsi and the Brotherhood will magically transform into zealous advocates for democracy simply because they won an election. Iran also holds elections but can hardly be considered a constitutional democracy. At best, Iran is an Islamist republic governed by a code that is parochial, totalitarian and chauvinistic; and the Brotherhood’s political ascension signals that Egypt is headed in the same direction. It seems quite unlikely that an Islamist ruling elite once entrenched would be willing to jeopardize its hold on power by risking open elections with non-Islamists or secularists (if such even exist on the Egyptian political landscape).
The outlook for real democracy in Egypt is dim whether Morsi and the Brotherhood are permitted to govern or the military retains control. If in fact the military were to continue in power, perhaps the only difference would be the absence of the illusion of democracy implied by legislative and presidential elections.
Egypt is simply not a liberal democracy regardless of who actually administers the government, which begs the question of how secular leftists, mainstream liberals, and even some conservatives could endorse it as such. The only apparent explanations are that they are ignorant of the doctrinal motives of the Islamist agenda, or they feel a kinship with its rejection of the West’s cultural values and colonial past. Given the mainstream’s general aversion to extremism, it seems likely that moderate liberals and misguided conservatives are simply unaware of the Brotherhood’s Islamist goals and supremacist aspirations.
The political left, however, seems to have a real affinity for Islamist extremism, which may reflect certain similarities in outlook if not doctrine. Similar to the Islamists it seeks to legitimize, the left cannot tolerate dissent and yearns for a totalitarian utopia based on its own rigid values and priorities. Though leftists may not believe in Islamist religious doctrine, they seem to appreciate its dogmatic absolutism and may well empathize with its autocratic impulse and rejection of western cultural values. Perhaps this empathy for Islamism is the real reason the left stokes the myth of Egyptian democracy, and consequently why it is so important to shatter the myth and expose the truth.
Footnotes
[1] Federalist No. 10, November 22, 1787.
[2] “Muslim Brotherhood’s Papers Detail Plan to Seize U.S.,”by Jason Trahan, Dallas Morning News, September 17, 2007,
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20070917-muslim-brotherhood-s-papers-detail-plan-to-seize-u.s..ece.

Matthew Hausman is an attorney living in Connecticut. This article appeared September 19, 2012 in IsraPundit and is archived at http://www.israpundit.com/archives/49232

http://www.think-israel.org/hausman.egyptianillusion.html

THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN ITS OWN WORDS

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) translation of "Jihad is the Way" by Mustafa Mashhur, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, from 1996-2002
A very important book for understanding Muslim Brotherhood ideology has been translated by Palestinian Media Watch (http://palwatch.org/). Jihad is the Way by Mustafa Mashhur explains the beliefs and aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood. Particularly significant today are how the Brotherhood sees violent Jihad and the necessity of patience and timing in bringing about a world under Islam."
PMW's op-ed "The Muslim Brotherhood's Patient Jihad" that appeared in yesterday's bulletin cited from Jihad is the Way.
To read the translation of the entire book, click here.
[NOTE: Some browsers occasionally have trouble reading pdf. If so, go to PMW's website at http://palwatch.org, where it can downloaded directly.]


PMW has selected the following quotes from the book to illustrate the critical ideologies of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Muslim Brotherhood goal: Islamic world domination
  • "...the Islamic Ummah [nation]... can regain its power, be liberated and assume its rightful position which was intended by Allah, as the most exalted nation among men, as the teachers of humanity..."
  • "...know your status, so that you firmly believe that you are the masters of the world, even if your enemies desire your degradation..."
  • "It should be known that Jihad and preparation for Jihad are not only for the purpose of fending-off assaults and attacks against Muslims by Allah's enemies, but are also for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state, strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world..."
  • "...Jihad for Allah is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries.The Muslim homeland is one and is not divided. The banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, the State of Islam will be established..."
Means: Jihad - a mandatory religious duty
  • "Jihad is a religious public duty... incumbent upon the Islamic nation. Jihad is a personal duty to fend off the infidels' attack on the nation..."
  • "The problems of the Islamic world, such as Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, or the Philippines, are not issues of territories and nations, but of faith and religion. They are problems of Islam and the Muslims, and they can be resolved neither by negotiation nor by recognizing the enemy's right to the Islamic land he stole. Rather, the only option is Jihad for Allah, and this is why Jihad is the way."
  • "The symbol of the [Muslim] Brotherhood is the book of Allah [the Quran] between two swords. The swords symbolize Jihad and the force that protects the truth represented in Allah's book."
  • "You should be prepared to answer the call of Jihad whenever you are called, in any region of the Islamic world. Our Islam is universal not regional, and all Islamic countries are one homeland. ...Go out to battle, oh believers, young and old, by foot or on horseback, under all circumstances and conditions..."
Timing: Don't rush, prepare carefully for Jihad
  • "The [Muslim] Brotherhood will never rush after the youth's enthusiasm to carry out immature and unplanned actions, which will not alter the corrupt reality and may even harm Islamic activity, and will benefit the people of falsehood...""
  • "...it is not necessary for the Muslims to repel every attack or damage caused by the enemies of Allah immediately, rather [this is required] when ability and the circumstances allow for it."
  • "Prepare yourself and train in the art of warfare, and possess the components of power. You must learn the ways, manners and laws of war. You must learn them and embrace them and adhere to them, so that your Jihad will be accepted by Allah."
  • "... every Muslim has an unavoidable personal duty to equip himself and prepare for Jihad..."
Personal goal: Aspire to Shahada - Death for Allah
  • "Allah is our goal, the Prophet is our leader, the Quran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and death for Allah is our most exalted wish."
  • "Jihad is our way and Shahada (Martyrdom - Death for Allah) is our most exalted wish. This is the call that we and the men of Da'awa (Islamic missionary activity) have always called ... Many of our beloved ones have already achieved this wish ... We ask Allah to accept all of them... May He join us with them..."
Jihad against Israel
  • "Honorable brothers achieved Shahada (Martyrdom) on the soil of beloved Palestine, in 1947 and 1948, in their Jihad against the criminal, thieving gangs of Zion."
  • "The problems of the Islamic world, such as Palestine... are not issues of territories and nations, but of faith and religion. They are problems of Islam and the Muslims, and they can be resolved neither by negotiation nor by recognizing the enemy's right to the Islamic land he stole."
The entire translation of Jihad is the Way in PDF is athttp://www.think-israel.org/Jihad_is_the_way_by_Mustafa_Mashhur.pdf
[NOTE: Some browsers occasionally have trouble reading pdf files. If so, go to PMW's website at http://palwatch.org, where it can downloaded directly.]

Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch(http://www.pmw.org.il), is an authority on Palestinian Arabg ideology and policy. He was Israeli representative to the Tri-Lateral Anti Incitement Committee established under the Wye accords, and has written reports on Palestinian Authority, Syrian and Jordanian schoolbooks. Nan Jacques Zilberdik is an analyst at PMW, focusing on the opinions and messages of the Palestinian Arab leadership as transmitted to the Palestinian Arab public, with an emphasis on the impact on peace, messages and values communicated to children, and glorification of terrorists. This article is archived at
http:/palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=7201 

http://www.think-israel.org/marcus.quotesmuslimbrotherhood.html

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Egypt's state constitutes itself

Written by Nathan J. Brown
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Foreign Policy

The bargaining among Egypt's political forces over the content of the country's constitution has been noisy, public, stormy, and dramatic. Indeed, over the past week, that tussle has brought the entire constitution drafting effort into crisis.
It is still not clear whether that bargaining can still lead to a consensual document or whether the Constituent Assembly will collapse or produce a star-crossed constitution.
But there has been another bargaining process that has drawn far less attention and commentary, even though much of it has been carried out in clear public view. Even those parts of this second process that have taken place behind closed doors still have left unmistakable footprints in the various drafts. And while not devoid of drama, the slightly quieter process seems more likely to produce successful outcomes. This is the bargaining among various structures of the Egyptian state.
The reason this second process -- every bit as important as the first -- has attracted less attention is because it cuts completely against the grain of most of our images of constitution writing. Few observers know to look for it. Constitutions are supposed to constitute political authority. They are written by the nation -- or at least by its representatives -- assembled; they are presented to the entire people for ratification. But in Egypt, political authorities are helping draft the constitution from which they will draw their own future authority.
Of course, in the past, the reality in the Arab world has generally been that regimes have carefully written documents to serve their own purposes, mimicking only the forms of popular participation. In Egypt today, however, it is not the regime but significant and powerful state bodies -- often enjoying much more autonomy than they did under the old regime and partially freed of presidential domination -- that are stepping forward to instruct Egypt's drafters on what to say. Some such bodies (such as al-Azhar) have formal representatives in the Constituent Assembly, but others make their voices heard by directly negotiating with assembly leaders, airing their opinions in the press, issuing statements, and even occasionally suggesting that they might resort to strikes or demonstrations.
So the Egyptian Ministry of Defense has objected to a constitutional provision barring military trials of civilians. It remarkably described a draft clause as "unacceptable." The State Cases Authority -- a body that defends state agencies in litigation -- has noisily insisted on its designation as a judicial body. Senior military officers have resisted civilian oversight of the military budget; al-Azhar has informed the assembly that it wishes to have its independence guaranteed but does not wish to have its teachings and interpretations given more than moral force. The Supreme Constitutional Court has insisted that constitutional provisions not contradict the current law that makes the court a self-perpetuating body. Other judicial bodies have pressed their own demands. The Judges Club has threatened a strike unless it gets the clauses it wants.
It is as if the United States decided to write a new constitution and allowed the Federal Reserve Board, the FBI, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Government Printing Office, and the Federal Judicial Center all to draft provisions affecting their work.
What do these various state bodies want? They seek the first two thirds of what other Egyptians wanted when they demonstrated in the 2011 revolution for "Freedom, dignity, and social justice." The state actors want freedom or, more precisely, autonomy. They wish to know that they will be able to govern their own affairs, make their own judgments, appoint their own members, select their own leaders, and spend their budgets freed of the heavy hand of presidential control that weighed so much on them in the past. And they wish for autonomy from the parliament as well, mindful that the body will likely be a bit less pliable than the People's Assemblies that met under Mubarak and his predecessors.
The dignity that they seek is sometimes surprisingly important; it often takes the form of demanding a distinct constitutional article in an already busy and loquacious text. Sometimes the placement of a provision is important: military judges and members of the State Cases Authority wish to be mentioned in the chapter on the judiciary (with regular judges sometimes huffily insisting that such personnel are not their colleagues and belong elsewhere in the document). The Supreme Constitutional Court, by contrast, insists on maintaining the privilege it had in the 1971 constitution of having its own chapter, forcefully resisting inclusion in the judicial chapter.
The Constituent Assembly, named by an elected parliament and answering to the people (in the form of a referendum on its work), might be expected to dismiss such claims as chutzpahdik. But it does not, and that is not simply because the predominantly Islamist members do not know the word. The assembly in general, and the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in particular, have found that reaching a bargain with such bodies is generally possible and the effects likely salutary.
Indeed, since Mohamed Morsi was elected in June, the president and the FJP have generally paid far more attention to their relations with important state actors than they have with the relatively feckless "civil" political forces who occupy a minority of seats in the Constituent Assembly. In August, Morsi found that he could carefully negotiate a relationship with senior generals; after overplaying his hand with some judicial actors he has generally backed off and opted for a similar approach.
The Brotherhood generally has no problem with these various bodies as institutions, though it is often very suspicious of leading individuals within their ranks (such as Prosecutor General Abd al-Magid Mahmud or Justice Tahaney al-Gabali of the Supreme Constitutional Court). Where full frontal confrontation does not work, therefore, time might be of assistance; the Brotherhood and the president likely hope that over the long term these institutions might gradually pass into more genial hands. Optimistic about how well politics has served them thus far, and sanguine about their electoral fortunes, Brotherhood leaders can easily see compromises with these state bodies as a small price to pay for a working constitution in which Islamists will play a leading role.
This is thus a cagey approach for the Brotherhood, but is it a good one for Egypt?
It may have some real short-term benefits, particularly given the untested nature of the coming constitutional order. In Egypt's emerging political system, the mechanisms of vertical accountability (popular oversight over officials through the electoral process) may provide only an Islamist echo, particularly if non-Islamists turn in another underwhelming performance in parliamentary balloting. Mechanisms of horizontal accountability -- in which various state bodies keep a check on each other -- might provide a good temporary stand-in to prevent presidential despotism.
But this is no long-term solution. It rests in part by awarding critical institutions more autonomy from external oversight than is appropriate in a democratic system. So the short-term problem may be too much autonomy for these bodies. Over the long-term, there may be the precise opposite problem: the autonomy of many bodies will rest on implementing legislation (for instance, the provisions for the Supreme Constitutional Court allow the current law to be maintained but do not prevent future changes in that law). A series of Islamist majorities might chip away at the freedom that state bodies now seem to think they may be achieving through the constitution.
So in the end, if things work badly, the result might look a bit more like the Mubarak regime than anyone now wants. Mubarak's authoritarianism was presidential and despotic to be sure, but it was not based on having the presidency micro-manage the affairs of various state bodies. Instead it was based on placing those bodies in reliable hands, coopting key members, and reining them in if they suddenly discovered ways to act too autonomously of presidential will.
If Egyptians are not careful they will slip back into that pattern. In the end, there is simply no substitute for healthy democratic competition.
Nathan J. Brown is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

Muslim Egyptian Woman Cut Hair of Christian Schoolgirl in Subway



AINA) -- 13-year-old Coptic girl Maggie Milad Fazez filed a police complaint in Zaytoun, a suburb of Cairo, against a veiled woman who secretly cut her hair during their journey on the subway. The child said that as she entered the crowded train car she inadvertently pushed the veiled woman to go inside, which led to a verbal exchange between them. The veiled woman told Maggie, who has long hair, "You don't know what I will do to you."
When the schoolgirl left the train, she was shocked to find her hair cut off and lying on the collar of her jacket. The incident took place yesterday morning as Maggie was on her way to Zaytoun Preparatory school.

Her Father said that Maggie has abstained from taking food and is suffering psychologically because of this incident.

Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization said that this was the second time in one week that a schoolgirl has had her hair cut off. The first was a girl in first grade at Saray el Koba High School, he said.
Dr. Gabriel asked the Minister of Interior to speedily find this veiled women who is cutting the hair of students and bring her to trial, similar to the veiled school teacher in Luxor who is standing for trial for cutting off the hair of two of her students last month because they did not wear a Hijab.

By Mary Abdelmassih

http://www.aina.org/news/20121106194112.htm

Coptic Christian Girl, 14, Abducted By Muslim in Egypt



AINA) -- Although the abduction and forced Islamization of Coptic Christian minor girls in Egypt is quite common (AINA 8-11-2009), especially with the rise of Islamists in Egypt after the Muslims Brotherhood took over governing the country, the case of 14-year old Sarah has caused a stir.
Sarah Ishaq Abdelmalek, born on August 1, 1998 in the town of el-Dabaa, 130 kilometers from Mersa Matrouh, was on her way to school with her cousin Miriam on Sunday, September 30, when they stopped at a bookshop. Miriam want ahead of Sarah to school, leaving Sarah at the bookstore. No one has seen Sarah ever since.

After filing a missing person report with the police, her father received a call to tell him that he will never see his daughter again.

Anba Pachomius, acting Coptic Pope is Bishop of Marsa Matrouh, and Sarah is one of his congregation. Pachomius has said in many interviews that Sarah is only a child and has to be returned to her family without delay.

On October 18 President Morsi was on an official visit to Mersa Mahrouh and the Copts in the region. Bishop Anba Pachomius instructed Father Bigem, supervisor of the Matrouh churches, to deliver a petition to Morsi, informing him of Sarah's abduction and accusing Mahmoud Selim Abdel Gawad, who owns a bookshop next to the school, of abducting her. Abdel Gawad is the son of a Salafist leader in the area.

Father Bigem said that the girl's father is concerned because Abdel Gawad is a Salafist. "Security knows her whereabouts," said Father Bigem, "and they make promises to resolve the crisis, but it's just words."

Security officials in Matrouh sought the help of the Salafist Sheikh Borhamy from Alexandria, however, he told them that the Salafists in Matrouh are not from the same school he belongs to, and he was unable to help.

Human rights and other civil organizations, together with the National Council of Women, lobbied for Sarah to be reunited with her family without delay. The Council declared its rejection and condemnation of the issue of child marriage, especially as the law criminalizes the act and punishes the offender.

The Salafist Front issued a statement on October 28, warning human rights organizations, especially the National Council for Women, not to attempt to return Sarah to her family, as she has converted to Islam and married a Muslim man. They said "Attempts of the church and human rights organizations to put pressure on the Interior Ministry to return the girl is rejected in form and substance, confirming that the girl has full freedom to convert to Islam and have full freedom to marry as long as 'she has reached puberty and can withstand marriage with its consequences and responsibilities.' We will address in any way, attempts to force Sarah to do anything against her freedom."

This was rejected by the church. Bishop Pachomius, in his appearance on the program In The Light on the Coptic channel CTV, said that the church will not be silenced by the threatening statements from the Salafists.

"Does the law allow a girl of this age to marry?" said Bishop Pachomius. "Have you asked the opinion of the girl's family before marriage since she is minor? Did the girl receive session of advice and guidance?" These sessions were obligatory in cases of conversion since 1851, until they were stopped by Mobarak's minister of Interior in 2004. In these sessions a priest or a sheikh would interview a potential convert to make sure of the decision. Copts have been calling for the return of these sessions, while Islamists are refusing.

In another statement, the Salafist Front said that there is no truth to what the girl's family says about her age. To prove her right age the Coptic Association of Victims of Abduction and Enforced Disappearance (AVAED) published a copy Sarah's birth certificate, proving she was born on August 1, 1998. AVAED vowed to pursue the matter even if they take the case to international human rights organizations responsible for protecting children's rights.

Yesterday the Salafists issued a statement saying that if Sarah returns to her family, she will be "killed" by her father. This was denied by her father, who said "I want my child back in my arms, even if she became a Muslim."

Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization, delievered a memorandum to the Minister of Interior from Anba Pakhomius, stating that that the acting Patriarch is infuriated by the disappearance of the child who has to return to her family in order to achieve "justice, security and peace." The memo warned of the outbreak of sectarian strife if the matter remain unsolved.

Most Copts believe that Sarah has to return to her family, even if they have to go on strike. "If we let this matter go, none of our girls will ever be safe again," commented Coptic activist Mark Ebeid.

By Mary Abdelmassih

http://www.aina.org/news/20121101201755.htm

Muslims Attack Coptic Christians in Egypt After Mass

AINA) -- Yesterday Muslim Salafis assaulted Christians after Sunday mass, angry that Christians from neighboring villages who have no churches attend mass in the village of Tala, el Fashn, in the Beni Suef Governorate. The pastor of St Georges Church Father Cheroubim Chehab could not go out of church for hours after mass.
Eyewitnesses reported that as Christians left the church, they found a huge mob of mostly young Salafi Muslims waiting for them, armed with batons. The assault lead to 5 Copts being hospitalized after suffering broken limbs, and the torching of two cars which transported the congregation from the other villages.

The pastor of the church contacted the police, asking for help, however, they appeared hours later, only after Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization, complained to the ministry of interior against el Fashn police and told them that no forces appeared in the village, and gave the names of six of the perpetrators and asked whether the police in el Fashn are afraid to arrest them. "I want the whole world to know," he said, "that a priest and his congregation are presently held captives in their church, afraid of the Salafi Muslims surrounding the church."

Cheroubim said that he looked from the roof of the church and the mob, from Tala and neighboring villages, was huge. "80% had beards." He said that he stayed inside the church as he "wanted no friction with the Muslims nor with the angry Copts, who wanted me to take other steps."

Later in the afternoon high officials from the security and police departments in Beni Suef arrived to the village for a reconciliation meeting, and while they were preparing for the meeting, Muslims went into Coptic homes and attacked the inhabitants. Five were hospitalized.

The problem started between the two parties nearly three months ago during Ramadan, when Salafist youths stopped Copts from neighboring villages from attending mass. "We had a meeting with the Muslim elders," said Rev. Cheroubim, "who told us to wait until after Ramadan when the youth will leave, however, when we wanted a second meeting to solve the matter, we were told to wait until security is better. When security was better Copts from other villages complained that they have been prevented from praying for three months since Ramadan." He said that only ten men from outside the village came to attend mass, so a large mob of Salafis waited for them after mass. "Muslims from the village held back the village Copts, so that the Salafis were able to beat and terrorize those Copts from outside the village."

Village Muslims insist that the church is an association and not a church and is for serving the village Christians only, who make up nearly 8% of the inhabitants.

Rev. Cheroubim said that he has been serving in St. George's church for 5 years and all that time Copts have come from neighboring villages to pray. "It was only during the last 10 days of Ramadan that this started, with complaints about the way the Christian girls are dressed, then it is not a church but an association, then no Copts to come from outside the village, but the main reason is mainly, as one Salafi from the mob was shouting, is that they want to the church closed."

High officials from Security department arranged for a reconciliation meetings in late afternoon with a group of Muslims and Christians, in which it was agreed that if the is officially licensed then Copts from outside can attend services any time, but if it is an association, then only village Copts will be allowed to attend the services. A penalty clause was included in which any part that attacks the other will pay 500,000 Egyptian pounds. Compensation for damages to the Coptic side will be paid by the government. No one was arrested.

According to Dr. Gabriel, St. George's Church was licensed five years ago. Rev. Charobim told Copts-United News the Deputy Security Director told the Christian party during the reconciliation meeting "Thank God for the outcome -- in other places people get killed."

The situation is now calm in the village.

By Mary Abdelmassih

http://www.aina.org/news/20121029195111.htm

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ansar al Sharia Egypt releases founding statement

Written by Thomas Joscelyn
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
The Long War Journal

Ahmed Ashush, a high-profile jihadist who has longstanding
ties to al Qaeda who has founded Ansar al Sharia Egypt
Ansar al Sharia Egypt has published its founding statement online. The group says that "preaching and jihad are two wings that are indispensable to the spread of Islam," according to a translation prepared by the SITE Intelligence Group.
And the group outlines sixteen goals with that two-pronged approach in mind.
In addition to calling for the implementation of sharia law, and the resurrection of the Caliphate, the organization says it will work towards "the liberation of the Muslim lands from foreign invasion" and resist "modern colonialism, especially the Zionist-Crusader colonialism that is led by America and the West."
Ansar al Sharia Egypt also says, according to SITE's translation, that it will support "the mujahideen and their movements and groups in the different lands of the Muslims so as to resist the Zionist-Crusader colonization, and this comes at the head of our priorities."
The founding statement is signed by Ahmed Ashush, a high-profile jihadist who has longstanding ties to al Qaeda. During a recent television appearance, Ashush criticized Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi for not imposing sharia law. Ashush has consistently denounced the democratic process as well.
On Sept. 16, less than a week after the Sept. 11 protest at the US embassy in Cairo, Ashush released a fatwa online calling for the makers of the film "Innocence of Muslims" to be killed. "He who kills them is due the reward given to a mujahid from Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He," Ashush claimed, according to a translation by SITE. "So, hurry, hurry, O Muslim youth in America and Europe, and teach those filthy lowly ones a lesson that all the monkeys and pigs in America and Europe will understand."
BBC Monitoring reported that Ashush's fatwa "was advertised prominently on the main page of the key pro-al Qaeda website Shumukh al Islam, which has promoted the works of Ashush in the past."
After Ashush's fatwa was released, the Associated Press reported that he is an "al Qaeda-linked Egyptian jihadist...who was believed close to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's current No. 1, Ayman al Zawahiri."
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Ashush was a "close friend of Muhammad 'Atef, aka Abu Hafs Al-Masri, one of al Qaeda's most prominent military commanders." Abu Hafs was killed during the US-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan in late 2001.
Ashush traveled to Afghanistan in 1989 to wage jihad, MEMRI reports, and he lived in Abu Hafs al Masri's home. Ashush also became "acquainted with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawawhiri" before returning to Egypt to found a jihadist group. Ashush was imprisoned during the 1990s and released after Hosni Mubarak's fall from power.
Openly praises and defends al Qaeda
In 2007, a prominent jihadist ideologue named Sayyid Imam al Sharif (also known as Dr. Fadl) published a critique of al Qaeda's approach to waging jihad. Al Qaeda has been criticized by outsiders repeatedly, but Sharif's critique was especially powerful given his longstanding relationship with Ayman al Zawahiri.
A group of jihadists who were then imprisoned came to al Qaeda's defense. Ashush was among them. A statement signed by Ashush and seven others rejected Sharif's attempted reformation. Their statement read:
"We support all jihad movements in the world and see in them the hope of the nation and its frontlines toward its bright future. We say to our Muslim nation that no matter how long the night may last, dawn will emerge."
Ashush's cosignatories included Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, and another al Qaeda-linked jihadist named Sheikh Tawfiq al 'Afani. Both the younger Zawahiri and al 'Afani helped incite protesters on Sept. 11, 2012 in Cairo. Muhammad Jamal al Kashef, an Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) terrorist who was reportedly involved in the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi later that same day, also signed the rebuke of Sharif.
After Mohammed al Zawahiri was acquitted by an Egyptian military court in March 2012, Ashush congratulated Ayman al Zawahiri and the jihadist movement on the younger Zawahiri brother's release. Ashush praised Mohammed al Zawahiri for withstanding the "pressures" of the Mubarak regime. Ashush also asked God to grant Mohammed al Zawahiri "success in word and deed, [to] use him and not replace him, and grant him strength."
It didn't take long for Mohammed al Zawahiri and Ashush to begin working together publicly.
In April 2012, Al Faroq Media posted a video of Mohammed al Zawahiri and Ashush proselytizing in Cairo. The video also showed Sheikh Adel Shehato, a longtime Egyptian Islamic Jihad official who was recently arrested on terrorism charges and who also attended the 9/11 Cairo protest, as well as Murjan Salim, a senior Egyptian jihadist who has his own ties to al Qaeda.
Ashush told the crowd that the Salafist-jihadist movement led the way in "revolting against the apostate regimes." Ashush then called on those in attendance to pay respect to the leaders of the movement: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.
The Al Faroq Media video shows Ashush, Mohammed al Zawahiri, and Shehato chanting, "Take a picture, Obama, all of us here are Osama." (A similar chant was heard during the Sept. 11 protest in front of the US Embassy in Cairo.)
In a June 2012 message addressed to Egyptians, Ashush praised the true jihadists who "are still on the path" and "cannot be defeated by desires because they raise the banner high regardless of who agrees or disagrees with them." Ashush's dismissed a video claiming that the Egyptian jihadist movement supported Ahmad Shafiq, a former official in Hosni Mubarak's regime, for president of Egypt.
Ashush said that the members of the "jihadist trend" are "led by the brave jihadist Ayman al Zawahiri and all of his comrades, God protect and watch over them." The Zawahiri-led jihadists "are a good example and the model to follow because of their commitment to the principles and sacrifice of the soul and everything precious in support of this religion."
"On the path you will find the leader of the mujahidin Osama bin Laden, the brave leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and many other brave and honorable examples," Ashush said in the June 2012 message.
The following month, in July 2012, Ashush published a criticism of Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi. Ashush took issue with Ghannouchi's criticism of Ayman al Zawahiri, who Ghannouchi described as a "disaster to Islam and Muslims" and an "example of Islamic extremism." Ashush responded by accusing Ghannouchi of hypocrisy and of falling into the trap of democracy, which he claims the US uses to lead Muslims astray.
Ayman al Zawahiri, Ashush said, understands the true meaning of dawa, or Islamic proselytizing, as taught by the Muslim Brotherhood's Sayyid Qutb, a mid-20th century ideologue who is widely regarded as the intellectual forefather of al Qaeda. Ashush praised Zawahiri for his "truthfulness and dedication."
In his harsh response to Ghannouchi, Ashush summarized Ayman al Zawahiri's life, portraying the al Qaeda leader as a humble servant who was willing to cede leadership of al Qaeda to Osama bin Laden. Zawahiri is "not a man of the world, seeking a position or leadership, but rather a jihadist, who does his part wherever he is," Ashush wrote.
Ashush also attempted to credit Ayman al Zawahiri for sparking the Arab Spring, a fanciful reading of recent history. It was Zawahiri, Ashush said, who "planted the seed of rebellion against tyranny" by supporting the "Arab revolutions."
In the same July 2012 message, Ashush praised Ansar al Sharia Tunisia and its leader Abu Iyad al Tunisi, as well as "all those who work for Islam in Tunisia."
Ashush concluded his rebuke of Ghannouchi by asking God to "protect our sheikh, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, and all the mujahidin."
In another message published in July 2012, Ashush offered Salafist-jihadists in Gaza advice on how to combat "smear(s)" branding them as "terrorists." Ashush cited al Qaeda's leader, saying that "we must clarify the truth about our approach and how it represents purity, adherence to Islam, and compatibility with the view of the righteous forefathers, and as Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri called it: 'The Battle of the Book'." (Zawahiri and Ashush were referring to the Koran.)
One of al Qaeda's favorite ideologues
Given Ashush's penchant for praising Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, it is not surprising to see that al Qaeda has returned the favor. Al Qaeda has repeatedly spliced video of Ashush preaching in Egypt with clips of Zawahiri pontificating about Egyptian affairs. Zawahiri uses the clips of Ashush to reinforce his arguments.
Ayman al Zawahiri's Sept. 10 video is a case in point. Timed to coincide with the eleventh anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Zawahiri eulogized Abu Yahya al Libi, a senior al Qaeda leader who was killed in a drone strike several months earlier. Zawahiri called for jihadists to avenge al Libi. Zawahiri also claimed that while al Qaeda has suffered losses, the organization's ideology is spreading. Therefore, in Zawahiri's eyes, the US has not defeated al Qaeda.
"America realizes full well that the material power of al Qaeda cannot be compared to the material force of the Zionist alliance," Zawahiri argued in the Sept. 10 video, "but it understands that the message of the mujahideen in general and al Qaeda in particular is a warning to its end and defeat." According to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, Zawahiri claimed that al Qaeda's "message has spread amongst our Muslim Ummah, which received it with acceptance and responded to it."
Immediately after Zawahiri spoke these words, the al Qaeda video cuts to a clip of Ashush.
"And there were honorable men who offered everything dear, cheap and precious in this cause, and offered to us an example," Ashush says, according to SITE's translation. "Therefore, we find it incumbent upon us to offer them greetings on this day, the day when we move all of these Muslim masses towards the desired goal, towards the Islamic State - those men who sacrificed for the sake of Allah, and on top of them, Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy on him and may Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, accept him among the martyrs."
Sitting beside Ashush as he lionized bin Laden in the video clip were Sheikh Adel Shehato and Mohammed al Zawahiri.
Shortly after Ayman al Zawahiri's Sept. 10 eulogy of Abu Yahya al Libi was released online, Ashush published his own tribute. Ashush praised the fallen al Qaeda leader as a "hero," asking that God accept al Libi "among the noble ones, martyrs, and righteous ones for he is their companion." Ashush promised that the jihad would continue even after al Libi's martyrdom. "Carrying out jihad is a duty until we conquer Rome and transform the Churches in America to mosques, in which the Koran flourishes," Ashush said.
Since the Sept. 10 video, al Qaeda has continued to trumpet clips of Ashush.
A two-part video starring Ayman al Zawahiri that was released on Oct. 24 includes nine video clips showing Ashush and other Egyptian jihadists, including Mohammed al Zawahiri.
Al Qaeda rebranding
Ashush's message dovetails neatly with Ayman al Zawahiri's. Both have called for the immediate implementation of Sharia law inside Egypt and they have criticized the Muslim Brotherhood-led government for not aggressively seeking to impose it.
The call to be ruled according to Sharia has become a key pillar of al Qaeda's post-Arab Spring agenda, and provides the group with a wedge issue it can use to criticize other, politically ascendant Islamists.
Al Qaeda's brand has also been tarnished throughout much of the Middle East and North Africa as the organization's principal victims have been Muslims.
As a result, al Qaeda-linked groups have adopted the Ansar al Sharia (meaning Partisans of Islamic law) brand in other countries. In Yemen, for instance, Ansar al Sharia is simply an alias for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Ansar al Sharia militia groups with links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have been established in Libya. Earlier this month, the Moroccan government broke up an Ansar al Sharia cell that it said has ties to al Qaeda. And Ansar al Sharia Tunisia is led by a terrorist whose ties to al Qaeda have been recognized by the United Nations.
It is not a coincidence, therefore, that a jihadist whose vision has been endorsed by al Qaeda in its videos, and who openly praises al Qaeda's leaders, is the head of Ansar al Sharia Egypt.
 

Egypt's Coptic pope enthroned amid concern for Christian minority

Written by Reem Abdellatif
Monday, 19 November 2012
Los Angeles Times
Christians have faced church burnings and other attacks and have grown wary since President Mohamed Morsi, a former Muslim Brotherhood member, took office in June.

Pope Tawadros II, the new leader of
the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church
CAIRO — Amid months of sectarian unease, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church enthroned its new pope Sunday in an ornate, three-hour ceremony attended by top officials from the nation’s Islamist-led government.
Tawadros II, 60, was chosen the church's 118th pope this month in long-awaited elections following the death in March of Pope Shenouda III, who was patriarch for four decades. The cathedral of St. Mark, the church’s founding saint, erupted in applause when the papal crown was placed on Tawadros’ head.
Politicians, including Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, journalists and Coptic intellectuals, attended the ceremony. Tawadros did not address the congregation; instead, his written speech was read aloud by a member of the church. Tawadros pledged to work for harmony between Christians, who make up about 10% of Egypt's population, and majority Muslims.
“Pope Tawadros is a candid, honest man; throughout the ceremony, he was in tears,” said Hanan Fikry, a Coptic columnist and activist. “This shows he's genuine, and I hope he will prove to be a good leader for all of us.”
The pope's enthronement was a relief for a Christian community that has increasingly worried about its rights and freedoms under the Islamist-led government that replaced the secular regime of Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in February 2011.
The day before Tawadros was officially installed patriarch, acting Pope Pachomious officially withdrew the church from the nation's 100-member constituent assembly, which is responsible with drafting the post-revolution constitution. The church, along with women, secularists and minorities, fears the new constitution will limit civil rights and deepen the influence of Sharia law.
“Acting Pope Pachomious was still in charge this morning,” said Fikry. “He wanted to withdraw from the assembly to make sure the church's stand was known and that officials knew the Coptic Church would not allow such a narrow-minded constitution to be drafted with its name on it.”
Christians have faced church burnings and other attacks and have grown wary since President Mohamed Morsi, a former Muslim Brotherhood member, took office in June. Ultraconservative Islamists and jihadists have exploited new freedoms after the fall of Mubarak’s police state and have challenged secularists and moderate Islamists over the religious character of the country.
Morsi vowed to represent all Egyptians. But many Copts, including a young generation inspired by last year’s revolution and less inclined to let the church act as its political intermediary, are concerned that their rights will be ignored.
“The constituent assembly is acting as if nobody else exists in society. Its formation itself is faulty, it is bias and dominated by only one segment of Egyptian society,” said Fikry, referring to the Islamist political factions within the constitutional assembly.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Joseph Nassralla Lies About His Part in innocenace of Muslims

‘Innocence of Muslims’: Egypt Issues Arrest Warrants For 7 Men And 1 Woman Living in The USA, Interpol To Follow Up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
LA TIMES: Egypt’s general prosecutor has issued arrest warrants for seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor and referred them to trial on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that has sparked riots across the Muslim world.
The prosecutor’s office says the seven men and one woman, all of whom are believed to be outside of Egypt, are charged with harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information. The office says they could face the death penalty.

A statement from the prosecutor on Tuesday says Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian Copt living in Southern California and believed to be behind the film, is among those charged. So is Florida-based Pastor Terry Jones, who has said he was contacted by the filmmaker to promote the video.

Nakoula, who lives in Cerritos, has denied involvement with the film to his bishop. Authorities said he and his family are in hiding at an undisclosed location. Nakoula was questioned by federal probation officials early Saturday morning and escorted from his home to a “voluntary” interview. Another associate of the film, Joseph Nassralla, issued a statement posted on the website of anti-Muslim blogger and activist Pamela Geller.

Joseph Nassralla is the president of Media for Christ, which is the name of the organization that filed the film permit. He said he offered the charity’s broadcast studio for 10 days of filming but had nothing further to do with the movie (LIAR), which depicted the prophet Muhammad as a buffoon and sexual deviant. The low-budget anti-Islam film has stirred anti-American protests throughout the Arab world.
BBC NEWS REPORTS: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted fraudster living in California who has already been questioned by police there, is among those facing charges, the EGYPTIAN prosecutors office said. It also said the international police agency Interpol would be notified of the warrants. A request will also be filed with US judicial authorities.

EGYPT INDEPENDENT NEWS: Public Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud referred eight people to the Cairo Criminal Court on Tuesday and ordered that they be taken into custody on charges of producing a film that defames the Prophet Mohamed. Among those named by Mahmoud are Morris Sadek and conservative American pastor Terry Jones. Also charged is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud also called on the US authorities to arrest them and extradite them to Egypt. The seven US-resident Egyptians are Morris Sadek, Adel Riad, Nabil Bissada, Esmat Zaklama, Elia Bassily, Ihab Yaacoub and Jack Atallah.
On June 6, 2010, D-Day, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer SIOA (Stop The Islamization of America) held a Rally at Ground Zero to protest the building of a mega-mosque 600 feet from Ground Zero. Among the were many speakers, Robert Spencer introduces two Coptic Christian human rights activists, Nabil Asaad and Dr. Esmat Zaklama, also Morris Sadek and Joseph Nassralla have been at numerous Pamela Geller 9/11 rallies in NYC..
***I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM IN ARRESTING AND SLAPPING THE CUFFS ON THAT LUNATIC TERRY JONES IN FLORIDA, NEED TO GET A COPY OF THE ARREST WARRANT.
FOX News Correspondent Pamela Geller Involved With Anti-Islam Film, She Played You All Suckers. Pamela Geller’s Blog Solicited Funds For a anti-Muhammad Film in Feb 2012. WTH, the movie “Innocence of Muslims” would have been completed by Feb 2012 but lots of cash would be needed to promote and distribute the film in Islamic countries.
LIVE LEAK: Yesterday, while compiling evidence for a report demonstrating conclusively that the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Media For Christ was the most significant force behind the production of the anti-Islamic trailer video “Innocence of the Muslims” which, after being posted on Youtube, has helped incite riots throughout the Islamic world, I came upon the following February 12, 2012 post, on the website of Atlas Shrugs — the blog of Pamela Geller, the anti-Islamic activist who cofounded the group Stop Islamization of Nations and helped incite and organize the nationally-notorious June 6, 2010 protest against the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan one of the speakers at the protest was Joseph Nassralla,head of Media For Christ.
Titled “A Movie about Muhammad: An Idea whose Time Has Come”, the Geller post contained a solicitation for funding for a movie about Muhammad. SEE http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2012/02/a-movie-about-muhammad-an-idea-whose-time-has-come.html
Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs post introduced the financial solicitation with, “Ali Sina, renowned ex-Muslim author, founder of www.FaithFreedom.org and SION Board member, has a brilliant idea, a plan, to educate and liberate those enslaved by the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth, but he needs our help” [see footnote for background on Ali Sina, including his comparisons of Barack Obama to Hitler]. Then followed Ali Sina’s solicitation.
Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota Fl at www.wbipi.com

Friday, November 9, 2012

Media for Christ group got permit for movie believed to be 'Innocence of Muslims'

 

Media for Christ group got permit for movie believed to be 'Innocence of Muslims'

By Wendy Lee with Sharon McNary | September 14th, 2012, 1:37pm

Listen Now

[1 min 10 sec]

sinahi tenurche/YouTube

A screenshot from a trailer for controversial anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims."

Listen Now

[1 min 10 sec]
The organization that received the film permit for a movie believed to be the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” was Duarte, Calif.-based nonprofit advocacy group Media for Christ.
Karen Herrera, deputy city manager for the City of Duarte, told KPCC that Media for Christ received a permit last year for a movie called "Desert Warriors" through Film LA, an organization that gives film permits for the County of Los Angeles. Herrera said she was told that information from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department.
People involved in the film believe “Desert Warriors” later became “Innocence of Muslims.”
Meanwhile, the website The Smoking Gun reported Friday that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, another man connected to the film, became a government informant after his 2009 arrest for bank fraud.
Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih is the president for Media for Christ, which identifies itself as a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual aid and humanitarian assistance. Nassralla has been introduced at speaking events as a Coptic Christian and human rights activist from Egypt.
Last year, Nassralla participated in a demonstration asking for Sheriff Lee Baca to resign over his praise of the Council on American Islamic Relations, an Islamic civil liberties group.
“I fled to America with my family because of the violence directed against me for my Christian faith,” Nasralla said in an announcement published on Jihadwatch.org. “Sheriff Baca must be fired, and the County must apologize to all of us who have suffered at the hands of the Muslim brotherhood.”
KPCC made efforts to reach Media for Christ on Friday. Calls to the nonprofit’s office were not answered.
Permit confirmed
Paul Audley, president of Film LA, confirmed to KPCC on Friday that the permit was issued on Aug. 18, 2011. He referred further questions to the County of Los Angeles, which said it would not release the film permit due to safety concerns.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has also emerged as another local man involved in the film. Nakoula told the Associated Press that he was in charge of the film’s logistics.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched Friday to the Cerritos cul de sac where Nakoula lives to provide security. Several media trucks staked out the Nakoula residence, but no one has entered or exited the home.
Nakoula has a criminal past and was convicted for drugs and engaging in identity theft, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times also found an actor who received a check from Nakoula’s address for participating in the film.
It is unclear how "Innocence of Muslims" was funded. Media for Christ had revenues of more than $1 million last year, according to tax records.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

question about Innocence of Muslims movie

Dear Mr. Sadek:

       I am writing a sympathetic article about the Innocence of Muslims movie from a different angle than the ones I've seen in the media.  
Sincerely,
 Gamaliel Isaac

“Disgusting and Reprehensible” said Hillary Clinton when referring to the YouTube  clip “Innocence of Muslims”  “We absolutely reject it’s content and message” she said hoping that her words would calm the raging Muslim world.  It is “a crude and disgusting video” Obama  told the United Nations and  “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”.  “Innocence of Muslims is a stupid hate film” wrote numerous  bloggers.   Nakoula the author of the movie now sits in jail.  In countries all over the Muslim world there have been riots protesting  Nakoula’s movie.  Pakistani Government minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour put a $100,000 bounty on Nakoula’s head.  An Egyptian Muslim cleric has called on American Muslim youth to kill Nakoula, and everyone involved in the video, including actors, actresses and anyone who has promoted Innocence of Muslims. Americans Muslims have threatened to chop off Nakoula’s head.  Richard Gere , told journalists he was open to shooting any movie that helped present Muslims in a more positive light.

This movie is hard to get hold of but it’s trailer is still available on YouTube despite pressure from the Obama administration on google to remove it.

The trailer starts with a constable telling a doctor “our prophet had 61 wives and 11 at the same time.”  According to  Islamic texts Muhammad did have many wives. 
The clip continues with the Doctor telling his daughter to close the clinic because of an angry mob on the street.  A Muslim says to burn the place and a woman is killed by a member of the mob.  
Muslim mobs have attacked Christians throughout the Middle East but have they attacked medical clinics?  A good place to find the answer is the religion of peace  web site.  The most recent example of an attack on a hospital prior to October 4, 2012 (the date this article was written)  took place in Iraq on January 15, 2011.  The most recent attack on a Christian doctor by Muslims took place on July 26, 2012 in Egypt.  The doctor was blinded because he asked Muslims to stop firing weapons up in the air  in celebration.  What about the murder of a Christian woman in the movie?  The most recent murder of a Christian woman by Muslims was on September 23, 2012 in Nigeria. 
In the movie trailer the police arrive and the master sergeant says “Freeze do not take any action until everything is over.” 
Lack of intervention by Muslim police when Christians are attacked is well known. 
In the next scene the doctor tells his daughter “The Islamic Egyptian Police arrested 1,400 Christians, tortured them and forced them to confess to killings”. 
There have been numerous incidents across the Arab world where police  have arrested Christians for infractions such as insulting Islam though often the role of police is to stay away while Arab mobs attack the Christians.   In one incident On 31 May 2008, monks and Christians close to the Coptic  Monastery of the  Saint Fana reported that monks' cells and a church belonging to the monastery had been attacked by a group of roughly sixty armed Arabs.

A subsequent attack left one Muslim killed, four Christians wounded, and three monks being briefly kidnapped, requiring hospital treatment upon their return.  (Al-Misri al-Yawm of 1, 2, 3 and 8 July 2008 , al-Usbua of 7 June 2008, al-Dustur of 2 July 2008 (Egyptian newspapers )The reason the  three kidnapped monks required medical treatment was because they  were tortured by the Arabs, The clashes were followed one day later by a demonstration of around 300 Coptic youth in Mallawi who blamed the government for "inaction in the face of repeated attacks by Muslims against their community."
Monks of the monastery criticized local police, stationed approximately 6 km from the monastery, for arriving at the monastery several hours after having been informed of the attack.
Not only do Egyptian police not protect the Copts the Egyptian  military attacks the Copts.  Activists marched to the state-run TV station in Cairo, chanting and demanding reforms. Instead of protection, however, the military regime responded with brute force. “Security” forces mowed down hundreds of Christian protesters with guns and tanks, killing dozens and injuring hundreds more.
Hundreds of thousands of Copts have already been forced to flee their homes.   Was it reprehensible of Nakoura to point out the plight of the Copts in his movie?
In the next scene in the trailer two men discuss hiding the disgrace that Muhammad was born of an unknown father.
Muslims believe the father of Muhammad was Abdallah but Muhammad was the wrong age to have been Abdallah’s son since Muhammad was 2 and his father had died six years previously.  This age discrepancy is from several Islamic sources. 
In another scene in the movie Muhammad’s wife Khadijah orders  him to sit on her lap. 
 According to  Ibn Ishaq’s book, The Life of Muhammad  Kadijah did a test to see if the spirit who came to Muhammad was an angel or the devil.  According to Ibn Ishaq the author of Sirat Rusal Allah the biography of Muhammad, she told Muhammad to sit on her lap and then disclosed her form and asked if Muhammad could still see the spirit.  When he said no she said that the spirit must be an angel and not the devil.
In the next episode in the movie Hadijah’s cousin says he will help Muhammad.  He says “ I will make a book for him. It will be mix between some versions of – from the Torah and some versions from the New Testament and mix them into false verses.”  The cousin dies and Muhammad is upset because he’s lost his inspiration.
The Koran makes reference to Christian and Jewish doctrine.  Biblical scholar Dr. Robert M. Price wrote:
"The Koran was assembled from a variety of prior Hagarene texts … in order to provide the Moses-like Muhammad with a Torah of his own...."
 Islamic expert Dr. Gerd-R. Puin similarly concludes:
"My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate...."
Islamic texts even quote al-Nadr a person who did not believe in Islam as saying regarding Muhammad “ He is spouting ancient legends that he has gathered from the mouths of men more learned than he."  

The author or authors of the Koran must have learned those doctrines somewhere.  The movie suggests that Khadija ‘s cousin Waraqa bin Naufil may have been the learned source of Islamic doctrine.  Waraqa had been converted to Christianity in the Pre-lslamic Period and used to write about the Gospel in Arabic.  According to Islamic texts when Waraqa died  the Divine Inspiration was paused (stopped) for a while so that Allah's Apostle was very much grieved. Nakoula calls the advisor to Muhammad “the master” in the movie.

In the next scene the master tells Muhammad that in the next raid to kill the men and capture the women, loot and sell the children. 
Islamic text support all of this.  According to the Koran Muhammad started his military career by  launching raids against the Quraysh and looting their caravans.  Two months after his first successful raid  Muhammad led over 300 men against a large Meccan caravan which was making its way home from Syria.
Muhammad told his followers:
 
"It is likely that Allah may give it to you as booty." (Ibn Sa'd, Vol. II, 9.)
 
Notice that he made it's God will to attack and steal and kill. In the next scene the master tells a married woman to wait for him in her tent.  A girl asks “Isn’t it shameful for a woman to expose herself to a man she does not know?” and the master answers that “Have you not heard what God has said in the Quran. The Master may desire whom he wants and shall be given whom he wants.”
According to the Koran (33:50), Allah made it legitimate for Muhammad to have sex with any woman who “offered” herself to him/  Muhammad permitted all the infidel woman that they could capture, as concubines (Koran 4:3).

According to (Sahih Bukhari 5.236) when Muhamamd was 51 years old he married  a six year old child, a marriage he consummated when she was 9 years old.  Muhammad explained that God wanted him to do so:

"...the Prophet said to her (Aisha), 'You have been shown to me twice in my dream. I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and someone said (to me). 'This is your wife.' When I uncovered the picture, I saw that it was yours. I said, 'If this is from Allah, it will be done.'"

According to the Muslim historian Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari (839-923),  one of Muhammad's many sons, Zayad married a beautiful wife by the name of Zainab and Muhammad wanted her.   One day Muhammad was talking with Aisha (one of his wives) when "a fainting overcame him." Then he smiled and asked, "Who will go to Zaynab to tell her the good news, saying that God has married her to me?" He then recited the revelation Allah had just given him, scolding him for being concerned about what people might think and thus refusing to marry Zaynab. (Qur'an 33:37)In the next scene in the movie an elderly woman says:
My age has exceeded 120 years and in all my young life ‘I haven’t seen such a murderous thug as Muhammad’. He kills men, captures women and children, robs the caravans, breaches agreements and treaties. He sells the children as slaves after he and his men have used them. And what’s more, he does this all in the name of God. What God is this? That he’s such an oppressor and so unfair to the people.
Perhaps the most famous example of Muhammad engaging in the behavior described by the woman in the movie was his actions toward the Jewish tribe of the Bani Quraysa.  He accused the Jewish tribe of the Bani Quraysa of wanting to betray him and had a convenient communication from the angel Gabriel who ordered him to attack them.  He went to them, put them under siege for 14 days. Finally they surrendered. So Mohammed killed all their men, enslaved their women and children [Saheeh Muslim - 1769].  Ibn Ishaq gave the details:

The apostle went out to the market of Medina and dug trenches in it.  Then he sent for the men of Qurayzah and struck off their heads as they were brought out to him in batches until 600 to 700 of them were dead.

The Jewish women and children were enslaved and Muhammad took one of them, a fifteen year old girl named Rayhana bint Zayd ibn Amr as a personal slave.In the movie, the elderly woman, is torn apart by camels tied to opposite ends of her  body after saying this.

This scene is based on the murder of Umm Qirfah a leader of the Fazarah tribe.  According to  Tabari Vol.8:Page.96

Allah’s Messenger sent Zayd to Wadi Qura, where he encountered the Banu Fazarah. Some of his companions were killed, and Zayd was carried away wounded. … After he recovered, Muhammad sent him with an army against the Fazarah settlement. He met them in Qura and inflicted casualties on them and took Umm Qirfah prisoner. ..  Zyad bin Harithah ordered Qays to kill Umm, and he killed her cruelly. He tied each of her legs with a rope and tied the ropes to two camels, and they split her in two.In the next scene we hear:
Let us take the other treasure. Cut off his arms and his legs and then his head and do it in front of his beautiful wife Sophia.

[Human Exterminator]
(laughs) As you command Master.
This is probably based on the story of Safiyya a 17 year old girl of "incomparable beauty" (Ibn Saad, al-Tabaqat, pp. 120-123) whose husband Kinana knew where the treasure of his tribe was hidden.  In order to get Kinana to reveal where the treasure was the Muslims lit a fire on his chest but Kinana died refusing to reveal it’s location.  Muhammad killed Safiyya’s  father himself along with the Jewish men of Qurayza.  Muhammad forced Safiyya to be one of his wives and raped her.The inescapable conclusion of this analysis of the movie is that it closely resembles events described in Islamic texts.  If one says as Secretary of State Clinton did, that it is a disgusting and reprehensible movie one is really saying that Islam is a disgusting and reprehensible religion.