Egyptian Burial Site with 1 Million Mummies Stuns Scientists

Thursday, 18 December 2014

An ancient cemetery in Egypt contains 1 million bodies, according to a team of archeologists who discovered the burial ground. What the site represents remains a mystery, as the scientists are still puzzled about where exactly all the people came from.

“We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It’s large, and it’s dense,” said Project Director Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University (BYU). Muhlestein presented his findings at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, held in Toronto in November, Live Science reported.

Archaeologists from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, have been exploring a mysterious cemetery in Egypt for about 30 years. They excavated about 1,700 mummies within the project in Egypt so far. But there is still much work to do.

According to the archaeologists many of the mummies date back to the times when Egypt was a Roman province, from the 1st century BC onward.

Scientists say a nearby village seems too small to produce all these large burial sites. A small pyramid is situated near the cemetery. But it was built more than 4,500 years ago, about 2 millennia before these million mummies were buried.

People buried at the cemetery, which is now called Fag el-Gamous (Way of the Water Buffalo), did not belong to royalty, concluded the researchers. There were no coffins. And the internal organs of the deceased were rarely removed. Continue reading “Egyptian Burial Site with 1 Million Mummies Stuns Scientists”

Egypt sentences man to 6 years in prison for ‘Liking’ Christian Facebook post

Thursday, 26 June 2014

An Egyptian man was convicted and sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison along with a fine of $840 dollars for violating Egypt’s blasphemy laws, which make illegal any criticism of the Islamic religion.


The International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that Kerolos Shawky, a Christian man living in southern Egypt, was initially accused of violating the Islamic blasphemy laws in article 98 of the Egyptian penal code, which prohibits “ridiculing or insulting heavenly religions or inciting sectarian strife”, but as the ICC notes, the law is almost always used to go after religious minorities. Continue reading “Egypt sentences man to 6 years in prison for ‘Liking’ Christian Facebook post”

Live virus used in polio vaccine can evolve and infect, warns TAU researcher

” Can act like wild poliovirus and continue the threat of contagion ”  November 7, 2011 _ Requested Re-Post from our HRR Site

Health professionals and researchers across the globe believe they are on the verge of eradicating polio, a devastating virus which can lead to paralysis and death. Despite successful eradication in most countries, there are still four countries where the virus is considered endemic — and many more in which the virus still lurks.

Dr. Lester Shulman of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Israeli Ministry of Health has spent years tracking isolated cases of live poliovirus infections, often discovered in countries that are supposedly polio-free. When the live-virus version of the vaccine, called Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) evolves, he says, it can act like wild poliovirus and continue the threat of contagion.

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Continue reading “Live virus used in polio vaccine can evolve and infect, warns TAU researcher”

Current Black Market Prices for People and Organs

EEV: This list helps brings the reality of human exploitation a little closer to home. These are generalized estimates, based on few sources.

Click dollar figure to see original post and source information. Last update: October 9, 2013.


Click dollar figure to see original post and source information.


Egypt detains Turkish citizen on charges of espionage -report

Source: Reuters – Sat, 14 Sep 2013 03:45 PM

Author: Reuters

CAIRO, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Egypt has detained a Turkish citizen on suspicion of spying and collusion with the Muslim Brotherhood, the state news agency MENA said on Saturday.

The arrest could be a new source of tension between Ankara and Cairo whose relations have all but broken down since Mohamed Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with Turkey’s ruling AK Party, was ousted from the Egyptian presidency in July.

Rasit Oguz, a 46-year-old Turk, was arrested in the city of Ismailia northeast of Cairo on Aug. 28 while taking photographs of military establishments, security sources said.

MENA said delegates from the Turkish mission in Cairo were following up on his case and had visited him in detention.

Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of Mursi’s removal, calling it an “unacceptable coup”.

It recalled its ambassador in August after a violent crackdown on Mursi’s supporters. He returned to Cairo this month but Egypt said it would not reciprocate until Turkey stopped its “interference”.      (Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


Egypt’s Coptic Christians forced to pay taxes to Muslim Brotherhood

4:32 PM  09/11/2013

The Muslim Brotherhood has started implementing a tax on the nearly 15,000  Coptic Christians in Egypt’s Dalga Village, the Washington Times reports.

Those that do not convert to Islam will be forced to pay the tax, or will be  killed.

The tax, known as a “jizya,” is a direct reference to a verse in the Quran  that states, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who  do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who  do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture –  [fight] until they give the jizya willingly while they are humbled” (9:29).

And it’s not just happening in Egypt. It’s happening in surrounding areas,  too.

The Christian Science Monitor gives a  few examples of the way the tax is being implemented. The news outlet wrote on  Sunday that a photo shop owner in Baghdad was given three choices: convert to  Islam, pay the $70,000 jizya tax, or get killed along with his family.

He fled to Jordan with his wife.

Another man from Mosul, Iraq recalled a phone call he received telling him  to pay the jizya, or he or his son would die. He, too, fled to Jordan, the  Christian Science Monitor reports.

The Times reports that as many as 40 Christian families have fled the Dalga  village since the tax was enforced. Many people who have not been able to pay  the tax have been attacked.

Read more:

Muslim Brotherhood leader Gomaa Amin is in hiding in London

The new spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is living in hiding in London in fear of state-sponsored assassination, it can be disclosed.


Mohammed Badie, 70, the Muslim Brotherhood's previous spiritual leader, was arrested last Tuesday morning in Cairo.

Mohammed Badie, 70, the Muslim Brotherhood’s previous spiritual leader, was arrested last Tuesday morning in Cairo. Photo: REUTERS

By , and Edward Malnick

9:00PM BST 24 Aug 2013

Gomaa Amin is understood to have been made head of the Islamist organisation last week following the arrest of his predecessor in Cairo by Egypt’s military rulers.

Mr Amin, 79, had flown to London about two months ago for medical treatment and as a result escaped detention when the army seized power in a bloody coup.

He is now residing at an undisclosed address from which he is trying to orchestrate the Muslim Brotherhood’s response to the coup.

The presence of Mr Amin in London is a potential headache for British authorities who may be obliged to provide protection for such a senior and controversial figure.

The Muslim Brotherhood supports a caliphate, a unified Islamic state under Sharia law, and has been accused of fuelling religious tensions in the Middle East, particularly with the Christian minority.

Attacks on Christians in Syria and Egypt are highlighted in a new interview with Lord Sacks, the outgoing Chief Rabbi, who spoke of his grave concern for the religious minority.

“I think this is a human tragedy that is going almost unremarked,” Lord Sacks says in an interview with the Telegraph.

“I don’t know what the name for this is, it is the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing. We are seeing Christians in Syria in great danger, we are seeing the burning of Coptic churches in Egypt.

“There is a large Coptic population in Egypt and for some years now it has been living in fear. I think sometimes Jews feel very puzzled that Christians do not protest this more vociferously.”

Lord Sacks’s comments – while not directly aimed at the Muslim Brotherhood which describes itself as a non-violent organisation – will turn the spotlight on the Brotherhood’s Egyptian leaders, who appear to be making the UK their base in exile.

There will may be concern that Mr Amin’s residency in London will attract militant Islamists. In the 1980s and 1990s, Britain largely operated an ‘open-door’ policy allowing extremists to live in exile in London to escape persecution from authoritarian regimes in the Arab world.

So-called ‘preachers of hate’ including Abu Qatada, Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri Mohammed used London as a base to radicalise young Muslims, who went on to commit or attempt terrorist atrocities both here and abroad.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood say it is wrong to liken the group to other Islamists which support al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.

The Muslim Brotherhood, through its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party, has instructed lawyers in London to investigate whether Abdulfattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian general at the head of the army, who deposed Mohammed Morsi, the country’s democratically-elected president, has committed crimes against humanity.

The team of lawyers includes Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, the former director of public prosecutions, and Michael Mansfield QC, who brought the private prosecution against the killers of Stephen Lawrence.

Legal actions may be brought at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague or else through a private prosecution in London.

If successful, Egypt’s new military rulers may face having their assets frozen in the West and even possibly arrest should they try to visit the European Union or other countries signed up to the ICC.

Mr Amin is understood to be heavily involved in bringing the case although lawyers refuse to identify individuals over fears for their safety.

Tayab Ali, a partner at human rights law firm ITN Solicitors who is head of the legal team, said: “It is really dangerous for Muslim Brotherhood members in exile in London.

“Nobody anticipated how extreme General Sisi’s interim government has been. It appears to be trying to exterminate the Muslim Brotherhood and wipe it out. Nobody will argue that the lives of the senior leadership are in danger and that includes those in London.”

There has been confusion over who is running the Muslim Brotherhood since the security crackdown. Mohammed Badie, 70, its previous spiritual leader, was arrested last Tuesday morning in Cairo.

His position appears to have been taken by Mr Amin, a deputy leader almost a decade older. Mr Badie defeated him in elections to the senior position in 2010.

The Muslim Brotherhood has refused to confirm the identity of its new spiritual leader but, an Arabic news website, reported that an emergency meeting had taken place following Mr Badie’s arrest and Mr Amin given the role. It is not clear if he is an interim leader.

Mona al-Qazzaz, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokeswoman in the UK, described Mr Amin as a senior leader who had arrived in London earlier in the summer.

She said: “He is one of the senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and he is here in London. He was here for medical checks two months ago.”

Mr Amin, a father of three, has been an official member of the Muslim Brotherhood since 1951 and for many years has been pursued by the Egyptian authorities.

He was jailed for six years between 1965 and 1971 for opposing the government of Gamal Abdel Nasser and was later put on a wanted list following the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981 – part of a mass round up of Muslim Brotherhood leaders – prompting him to live in exile in Saudi Arabia for four years

He was a vocal supporter of the Arab Spring and actively voiced calls for Sunni Muslims, who predominantly support the Muslim Brotherhood, and Shiites to unite against “a single enemy who [is] American Zionist”.

The scale of support for the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK is unclear but it is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 Egyptians living in London voted for the party through ballot at the Egyptian embassy in London. The majority of the 6,000 Egyptian citizens in London voted for alternative parties in the elections last year.

Egypt: Mubarak to be released in the next 48 hours / Former president will get his military rank back, says lawyer

19 August, 19:18

(ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will be released from detention within the next 48 hours. The announcement was made by one of his lawyers, Fareed El-Deeb, confirming that the prosecution has acquitted him of all corruption charges except for alleged bribes received from a publisher. Prosecution sources contacted by ANSA have confirmed that the former leader will be released ”this week”.

Mubarak “will get his military rank back” as general, and “will be released within the next 48 hours, to then go either home or to a military hospital”, ANSA was told by the former Egyptian president’s lawyer, Fareed El-Deeb. “He has not been convicted, and so he has a right to be released from prison. He will get his military rank back, and an appeal has been lodged for the Al-Arah case. In any case, he has already given the money back,” El-Deeb told ANSA. The former leader “will leave the Tora jail and will go either home or to a military hospital”. ”The judges will be the ones to decide,” his lawyer added.

Mubarak – noted the sources – was charged in connection with four different legal proceedings. The most serious is for failing to stop the killing of protestors in 2011, for which he was handed down a life sentence: a decision later annulled. A retrial will be held but with no requirement for him to be held in detention while proceedings are underway. There are also three cases for alleged illicit gains, graft and the payment of bribes attributed to the director of the state-run daily Al-Ahram, which has the widest circulation in the country. The sources say that the first two have already passed the statute of limitation, as the charges were not made official within 18 months of when the former president was taken into detention. The last case does not seem to warrant continuing his detention, as it is simply an administrative procedure.

Egypt’s Mubarak cleared in case, held on remaining charge

Хосни Мубарак

Photo: EPA

Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak has been granted conditional release in one of the cases against him, but will remain in custody on charges in an additional case, judicial sources said Monday.

0His lawyer said he would appeal against the fourth and final case that the former president is facing, in a bid to secure his release, a source said.

0Farid al-Dib, Mubarak’s lawyer, is expected to argue that his client paid back the $600,120 (449,570 euros) worth of gifts he received from his minister of information – the issue at the heart of the fourth case.

0Since April, courts have ordered Mubarak’s conditional release in two of the four cases against him – one involving corruption, and a second for allegedly killing protesters.

0On Monday, he was granted conditional release in a third case, and will now seek to be cleared of charges in the fourth, the judicial sources said.

0The former president, 85, is on trial with his former interior minister Habib Adly and six police commanders on charges related to their rule before the 2011 uprising that toppled his regime.

0On Saturday, a court adjourned his trial on charges of killing protesters until August 25 in a brief session that Mubarak did not attend.

0He is facing the charges for a second time after a first trial that ended in him being sentenced to life was overturned by an appeals court on the basis of procedural errors.

0Voice of Russia, AFP

Muslim Brotherhood Supporters Burning Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt


Leah Barkoukis | Aug 15, 2013

Leah Barkoukis

As the violence in Egypt intensifies, Coptic Christian churches have also been the target of attacks by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. In the past two days alone, there were nearly 40 incidents:

Egypt’s MENA agency said supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi set fire to the Prince Tadros church in the province of Fayoum, where three similar attacks occurred on other churches the day before.

Ishaq Ibrahim from The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights group, documented as many as 39 incidents of violence against churches, monasteries, Coptic schools and shops in different parts of the country on Wednesday. Violence across Egypt in the past two days has left at least 578 dead and 4,200 injured, according to Health Ministry figures.

Looking to crack down on church-related attacks, Egyptian authorities on Thursday referred 84 people in Suez, some Muslim Brotherhood protesters, to military prosecutors on charges of murder and burning churches, the MENA news agency said, Reuters reports.

And some media, as Andrew McCarthy over at NRO points out, are disingenuously reporting what’s really going on, claiming that these actions are reprisal attacks.

But the Brotherhood was not ousted by the minority Copts. To be sure, the Copts far prefer to take their chances with a largely secular, technocratic government backed by the armed forces than the rampant persecution they endured while the Brotherhood was running the show. But it is the army, not the Copts, who ejected Morsi. AFP tries to obscure this by recounting that “the Coptic church backed Morsi’s removal, with Patriarch [i.e., Pope] Tawadros II appearing alongside army chief General Fattah al-Sisi as he announced the military coup.” As I observed in writing about the coup in the August 5 edition ofNational Review, however, Pope Tawadros was hardly alone — General Sisi also gathered by his side significant Islamic supremacist leaders: Grand Mufti Ahmed al-Tayeb of al-Azhar University and leaders of the Salafist al-Nour party (in addition to prominent secularists).

In a country with a population of 80 million, Christians only make up roughly 8 million—and this is far from the first time they’ve been victims of Muslim attacks. Violence really picked up, however, after the July 3 coup that took out former President Mohammed Morsi. Pope Tawadros II urged Egyptians to prevent bloodshed just days before Wednesday’s violence.

The Coptic Defense League has posted photos and videos of the attacks on its Facebook page.

Foreign interests in Egypt: ‘UK, US, and Qatar might be behind the violent clashes’ – expert ( Lehmann International Services )


египет протест каир разгон демонстраций братья-мусульмане полиция


Photo: EPA

Dozens of people are reported to have been killed in Egypt, as security forces moved in on Wednesday morning to clear two protest camps in Cairo. Christof Lehmann, Consultant in politics at Lehmann International Services from Denmark, gave the Voice of Russia his comment on the situation.

0The government is breaking up the protest camps as it did promise but yesterday it was reported that the government was still contemplating the possibility of peaceful resolution to the conflict. What do you make of the latest government move to break up the camps? Was it a wise decision?

0I think it was a very wise decision, but first let me tell you that I have been talking with eye-witnesses this morning and the ammunition that was used was used by snipers and it may very well be foreign element who have been shooting at protesters too to stir up violence. It was a wise move because over the last days there have been several attacks against Christians in North Sinai, Minya, and Sohag, in the Sinai Peninsula and there is an attempt to create sectarian violence in the Sinai, and getting on the US, and as the Egyptian Ambassador said, we can very well expect Egypt being targeted for Balkanization.

0You mentioned foreign forces that are possibly responsible for the sniper shooting during these demonstrations but do you have any indication as to who these foreign forces exactly were and who might stand behind them? What kind of motives could possibly exist?

0We have very good indications who may stand behind that because there have been infiltrations by the Hamas movement and cooperation between the Hamas militants and Muslim Brotherhood elements, and some Salafists, but they are more supported by Saudi Arabia. But the Muslim Brotherhood and the Hamas movement is actually cooperating very closely with the government of Qatar, and one other reason that Qatar is interested in stirring up this violence especially in the Sinai Peninsula is that there has been accord in 2012 about creation of the free-trade zone in the Sinai and cooperation between Qatar, the Morsi administration at that time and Hamas.

0What do you think Qatar’s final plan really is, what do they want to achieve if they are involved?

0Qatar foreign policy is prolongation of the long arm of British Empire. So, we could see an attempt to create instability what military strategists would call creator’s chaos in Egypt in an attempt to establish NATO control over the Suez Channel for example.

0So you think this could actually have the UK behind this?

0It is very likely to have the UK, the US and Qatar, and to a certain extent also Saudi Arabia behind this.

0If that is what exactly is going on, how can we expect the situation to further develop?

0That depends on how the interim government and the Egyptian military is managing this situation now and if it succeeds at stopping the violence before it gets all over the country, they could be successful at saving the nation of Egypt.

0Do you think it hasn’t gone past the point where it can be peacefully saved?

0Yes, I think it can be peacefully saved because the Egyptian military is quite self-confident and quite defiant against the US. The US has tried to stab the Egyptian people in the back with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Anti-American (Obama) music video from Egypt goes viral [VIDEO]

EEV: This is posted not just because it is anti-American. It is posted to fully comprehend the firestorm this administration has unleashed for its unwavering support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was democratically elected, but that does not give any political official the right to supersede the countries constitution. The Egyptians did not see this as a coup, but as a liberation from the rapid onset of Tyranny. A concept that our current administration has a tough time comprehending. You know Constitution, Bill of rights, that sort of stuff 🙂


By Sarah Hofmann 10:02 AM  08/06/2013

Egyptian performance artist Sama Elmasry released a music video entitled “You  Obama, your father, your mother” that has began going viral.

“Your father, your mother” is translation of a traditional insult in Egyptian  Arabic, according to Buzzfeed.

In the video, Elmasry tells President Obama to support the terrorists in the  Muslim Brotherhood and calls U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, “old  bitch woman.”

Elmasry has released a number of protest videos against the Muslim  Brotherhood. This is the first one specifically against Obama and U.S. policies  linked to Morsi.

Read more:

Egypt denies Turkish PM Gaza entry

Реджеп Тайип Эрдоган

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Photo: EPA

Egypt’s new authorities have denied Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan entry to the Gaza Strip, the local media reported on Sunday.

 According to the Al-Youm Al-Sabia Internet portal, Cairo has notified Ankara that “the visit will not take place.” In particular, it is noted that Egypt “does not want to see Erdogan for his support of Muslim Brotherhood at the expense of the Egyptian people.”

 The arrangement about Erdogan’s visit was reached during the rule of President Mohamed Morsi who was overthrown by the army on June 3 in the wake of mass popular demonstrations against the power of the Islamists. After that Ankara sharply criticised the Egyptian military, calling the removal of the elected head of state illegitimate, which naturally sparked discontent of the appointed civil authorities of Egypt. Cairo advised the Turkish side to take a balanced position and not to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs.

 Talks about the prospects of Erdogan’s tour of Gaza, where he can get only through Egyptian territory, began after March 22, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologised for the seizure in May 2010 of the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, which intended to break the blockade of Gaza, bringing there a humanitarian cargo for the Palestinians.

 Initially, the visit was planned for late May, but then postponed several times, in part because of the political situation in Turkey.

 Voice of Russia, TASS

Opera head sacked under Mursi is Egypt’s culture minister

EEV: Not evil, but make me smile 🙂



Source: Reuters – Mon, 15 Jul 2013 04:11 PM

Author: Reuters


(Refiles to clarify status of government)

CAIRO, July 15 (Reuters) – The former head of the Cairo opera, who was sacked by ousted President Mohamed Mursi’s Islamist government, has been named Egypt’s new culture minister by the country’s new military-backed interim government.

Ines Abdel Dayem was fired as head of the Cairo Opera House by Mursi’s culture minister in May.

Her sacking, along with an Islamist parliamentarian’s call for a ban on ballet, prompted performers and cultural figures to stage a sit-in at the culture ministry lasting several weeks.

Dayem, a French-educated flautist, announced on Monday that she had accepted the post of culture minister in the interim government being set up by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.

Beblawi has selected mostly liberals and technocrats for a cabinet to run Egypt under an army-backed road map after the military’s overthrow of Mursi on July 3. (Reporting By Shadia Nasralla and Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Roddy) = hpbreaking


Kosovo lobbyist behind attack on Egypt army


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The man who’s behind the attack on the Egypt army in front of the Republican Guard building where President Mohamed Morsi is detained, is Safwat Hegazi, Islamic preacher and one of the most important Kosovo lobbyists in Egypt, Belgrade-based Danas daily reads.

He received all delegations of Kosovo Albanians that were visiting Egypt, including here the Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhai, daily reads.

Safwat Hegazi, known as radical Islamist and Morsi’s great supporter, visited Kosovo in 2011 together with representatives of Egypt parties, civil society and media.

Egypt has recognized Kosovo’s independence on June 26, 2013.

Safwat Hegazi is an Egyptian self proclaimed imam and television preacher who is on the list of “Individuals banned from the UK for stirring-up hatred”.

How the CIA Helped The Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrate the West

EEV: Posted at request, in regards to U.S. historical support of the Muslim Brotherhood.



by Jerry Gordon (August 2011)

Muslim Brotherhood and founder Hasan al-Banna

In April of 2007, then House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer had an encounter with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood representatives in Cairo. Fox News reported:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliament leader, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, twice on Thursday — once at the parliament building and then at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan.

U.S. Embassy spokesman John Berry would only confirm that Hoyer, who represents Maryland, met with el-Katatni at U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone’s home at a reception with other politicians and parliament members.

[. . .]

But Berry said U.S. government policy does not bar meetings with Brotherhood members of parliament and Hoyer’s talks with el-Katatni were not a change in U.S. policy toward the group.

“It’s our diplomatic practice around the world to meet with parliamentarians, be they members of political parties or independents,” Berry said. “We haven’t changed our policy with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization.”

This encounter with the Muslim Brotherhood, who controlled upwards of one fifth of the seats in Egypt’s Parliament as so-called independents, was not sanctioned by Bush Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. She had allegedly refused to meet with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Representatives. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, founder of Z Street commented to us in an Iconoclast blog post:

The Muslim Brotherhood is evil incarnate: This is their motto: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was founded by fundamentalist Egyptian school teacher, Hasan al Banna in 1928. He advocated violent Jihad and the replacement of secular governments with a worldwide totalitarian Caliphate governed under strict Islamic Shariah law. Banna became a devotee of Adolf Hitler, who was himself an admirer of Islam and militarist Jihad conquest. Despite Banna’s assassination by Egyptian authorities under King Farouk in 1949, the MB succeeded in establishing branches throughout the Middle East, such as Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Jordan and Syria. There are even branches in Europe and America. The Hamas Charter of 1988 seeks the obliteration of the Jewish State of Israel. Among MB fronts in the US are:

  • Council of American Islamic Relations;
  • Islamic Society of North America;
  • Islamic Circle of North America;
  • Muslim Students Association;
  • Muslim American Society;
  • International Institute for Islamic Thought; and,
  • Muslim Public Affairs Council.

These MB fronts were identified as unindicted co-conspirators in the Federal Holy Land Foundation trial with convictions in 2008,  involving the funneling of upwards of $36 million to Palestinian MB affiliate Hamas in Gaza. Uncovered in the HLF trial was a 1991 strategy plan of the MB in the US to overthrow our Constitution and form of government via ‘stealth Jihad’ and replacing it with a Shariah–ruled Caliphate.

The Arab Spring and US Relations with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

President Obama at al-Azhar University Cairo, June, 2009 “A New Beginning” Speech

With the election of President Obama in November 2008 and his Muslim Outreach initiative, exemplified by his Cairo “A New Beginnings Speech” at al Azhar University, the Obama administration extended a welcome to the MB. Investor’s Business Daily noted the ensuing chronology of events, punctuated by the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt during the Arab Spring of 2011 that swept the heartland of the Muslim ummah.

2009: The White House invites ISNA’s president to President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies, even though the Justice Department just two years earlier had blacklisted the Brotherhood affiliate as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial — the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.

2009: Obama delivers his Cairo speech to Muslims, infuriating the Mubarak regime by inviting Brotherhood leaders to attend.

2009: The White House dispatches top presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett to give the keynote speech at ISNA’s annual convention.

2009: Obama appoints a Brotherhood-tied Islamist — Rashad Hussain — as U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which strongly supports the Brotherhood.

2010: Hussain meets with the Brotherhood’s grand mufti in Egypt.

2011: White House sends intelligence czar James Clapper to Capitol Hill to whitewash the Brotherhood’s extremism. Clapper testifies the group is a moderate, “largely secular” organization.

2011: The Brotherhood’s spiritual leader — Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi — is given a hero’s welcome in Tahrir Square, where he raises the banner of jihad. Qaradawi, exiled from Egypt for 30 years, had been calling for “days of rage” before the rioting in Egypt. Before Obama’s Cairo speech, Qaradawi  wrote an open letter to the President arguing [Islamic] terrorism is a direct response to U.S. foreign policy.

2011: The Brotherhood vows to tear up Egypt’s 30-year peace treaty with Israel. Since Mubarak’s fall, it has worked to formally reestablish Cairo’s ties with Hamas and Hezbollah.

2011: Obama gives Mideast speech demanding Israel relinquish land to Palestinians.

2011: White House security adviser gives friendly speech at Washington-area mosque headed by ISNA’s new president.

2011: Justice Department pulls plug on further prosecution of Muslim Brotherhood front groups identified as collaborators in conspiracy to funnel millions to Hamas.

What is not well known is that the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood to the west was facilitated by the CIA during the Cold War Era as part of an anti-Soviet, anti-Communism initiative during the Eisenhower Administration. The creation of an Islamic Center in Munich, involved an ex-Nazi Turkologist, and former Nazi Muslim veterans from the Soviet Muslim satellites which were captured by advancing German forces during WWII in the Caucasus and Crimea. The CIA funded Hasan al Banna’s son-in-law to advance the MB cause via the World Muslim League.  This resulted in an MB beachhead in the US launched from the Munich Islamic Center.

The Muslim Brotherhood Mosque in Munich

In an interview in the New English Review, Sam Solomon had this comment about the functions of a Mosque:

A mosque is a seat of government. A mosque is a school. A mosque is a court. A mosque is a training center. A mosque is a gathering place, or social center. It is not a place of “worship” per se as understood and as practiced in Western societies.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ian Johnson illustrates that conclusively in his investigative book, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, CIA and the Rise of The Muslim Brotherhood in the West. Johnson earned his Pulitzer for a Wall Street Journal series about the Chinese religious group, Fulan Gong.  He has been a long time resident in Germany and until early in 2010, was the Berlin Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal. His book is about how an accidental discovery of a map in a “Londonistan” extremist Muslim bookstore, where he had been a regular customer, triggered five years of research into the MB mosque in Germany that led to his book. Johnson notes the accidental discovery:

Wandering the aisles, I noticed a peculiar map of the world. [. . .]Famous mosques decorated the edge of the map- the Grand mosque in Mecca, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the wondrous Blue Mosque of Istanbul and the Islamic Center of Munich.

Johnson goes on to note:

Almost all of the Brotherhood’s activities in the West originated among the small groups of people who ran the Mosque. Munich was the beach-head from which the brotherhood spread into Western society.

But he notes the cautionary aspect of this tale:

The parallel between the 1950’s and today are striking. [. . .]. Now like a half century ago in Munich, western societies are seeking Muslim allies . . . Munich shows the danger of doing so without careful reflection and scrutiny.

To which we would add the dangers of an intelligence community thoroughly mis-informed about basic Islamic Jihad doctrine. A doctrine that most post WWII administrations in Washington have evaded acknowledging as the primary threat facing this county and the West in the 21st century.

Watch this You Tube Video by author Ian Johnson at the New American Foundation discussing his book, A Mosque in Munich.

Gerhard von Mende, ex-Nazi Turkologist

The mosque in the Munich saga begins with the seminal role played by ex- Nazi Turkologist and antisemite Gerhard von Mende, an ethnic German, born in Riga, Latvia. He held a PhD in Soviet Studies and Economics from Berlin University and ultimately became a full professor there. Von Mende was a talented linguist, spoke Turkish and several Central Asian variants, Arabic, Russian, French, English and even Norwegian, his wife’s native language.  Von Mende also wrote blatant antisemitic tracts. Johnson notes this from a von Mende book, The Peoples of the Soviet Union:

“Bolshevism has given a push to the expansion of those Jewish circles, which reject all alliances except for a blood-defined cliquish confederacy . . . It seems that the main danger of Judaism for other peoples lies in the fact that it is a unit not comparable to a nation, but in its unity it surpasses the unity of some nations.”

Johnson notes that von Mende engaged in such screed because:

“. . . his reason for hating Jews was exactly his reason for embracing Soviet Muslims. He rejected Jews because of their extra-national links, yet he advocated the use of Soviet Muslims precisely because of their lack of allegiance to the Soviet state.”

Von Mende, while at Berlin University, wrote extensively about Muslim irredentism in the Soviet Caucasus, Crimea and Central Asian republics, the latter referred to as Turkistan. Pre-war books by von Mende predicted the rise of independent Muslim states if a “severe shock” to the Soviet Union occurred either by invasion, akin to the failed  German attack  during WWII, or what occurred in the wake of the fall of the Soviet empire and its break up in 1991. When Nazi Germany launched Operation Babarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia in June, 1941, von Mende joined the Hitler-era Ostministerium – the bureaucracy for administering the occupied territories in the East – to build an initiative aimed at cultivating irredentist Muslim movements in overrun Soviet territory. Von Mende was one of the mid-level bureaucrats who participated in the Wannsee conference in January 1942. The Ostministerium oversaw the implementation of the Final Solution of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews. Despite SS engineered overhauls in 1943 of the Ostministerium, von Mende survived to become overall head of the Foreign Peoples Division, with overall responsibility for dealing with irredentist Muslim communities in Soviet areas overrun by the German army.

In the initial Nazi invasion of Russia hundreds of thousands of Soviet Muslim soldiers were captured. These Muslim Soviet POWs were initially maltreated. A German officer and Uzbek ex-pat living in Germany, Veli Kayum, entered the camps and enlisted their aid in forming fighting military units to combat their former Soviet masters. Kayum ultimately becomes head of a Turkestan National Liberation Council. Another Uzbek and von Mende protégé, Baymirza Hayit, became  liaison to the German High Command. Several hundred thousand former Soviet Muslim POWs joined this effort and formed Waffen SS units akin to those in the Balkans, like the Bosnian Handshar or Dagger Division. One such Caucasian unit had regular German uniforms with a distinctive patch (Biz Alla Bilen – “God With Us”).  These Soviet Muslim cadres in German units were used in the unsuccessful relief of Stalingrad and as special ops units in Operation Zeppelin. That operation involved the parachuting of Soviet Muslims into Russian territory equipped with maps and radios as pathfinders and possible saboteurs of petroleum complexes in Grozny and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Other former Soviet Muslim POWs become functionaries at the Ostministerium in Berlin and were organized into national liberation desks engaged in propaganda broadcasts –a model for post WWII CIA-funded efforts at Radio Liberty. One of those who figures in post-WWII activities with the CIA funded Radio Liberty is Tatar, Garip Sultan, who held the Tatar liberation desk at the Nazi Ostministerium. Sultan was promoted to military governor of the Tartar provisional government by the Nazis. One of von Mende’s initiatives bore significant results when over 20,000 Tatars joined Waffen SS auxiliaries after the Nazis took the Crimea. Von Mende reached out to Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini and asked him to consider taking the post of Mufti for the conquered Crimea. Von Mende wrote Husseini:

“The Islamic world is a whole . . . German action towards Moslems in the east must be such as not to prejudice Germany’s standing among all Islamic Peoples.”

Hitler, when queried about the Waffen SS formation of these Soviet POW Muslims, considered them as “safe.”  As we know from the biography of his munitions chief Albert Speer, Hitler was an admirer of Islam and Jihadism. However the rollback by Soviet forces in 1944 put a stop to that effort.

With the collapse of the Nazi eastern front, von Mende arranged for Muslim units to be transferred to the Western front so as to fall into British and US hands. These units were fighting for the national liberation of their Muslim homelands and attempting to practice their faith. He thought might appeal to the Americans in particular.

HIs thinking may have been the result of an encounter with fabled OSS agent “Ruppert” during the late stages of WWII in Germany when he interviewed von Mende about the anti-Soviet Muslim national liberation activities and contacts at the office he headed in the Ostministerium. Von Mende sought possible refuge by crossing into Switzerland, only to be returned to Germany as the War in Europe came to a close. In October, 1945 Von Mende made contact with the British who appeared to be interested in his Ostministerium network because of the Promethean League members who were anti-Soviet émigrés. Some Muslim units interviewed by US Army CIC evaded return to ultimate imprisonment and death in a Soviet Gulag under the terms of Yalta agreement. As Johnson notes, perhaps upwards of a few thousand of these ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers end up in Displaced Persons Camps near Munich, the largest city in the American sector of post-war Germany. Von Mende, despite his Nazi background, was interviewed by the CIA, given the code name Capriform and received a position at the University of Munich, as cover. The CIA was very interested in inserting agents into Soviet territory. Ultimately, however, the CIA rejected his suggested approach to information gathering and covert propaganda warfare. Nevertheless, von Mende ultimately thrived by running an independent consultancy in Dusseldorf until his death in 1963. That consultancy was supported initially by British Intelligence and later, with the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, by BND Intelligence, Refugee Programs and the Foreign Ministry to monitor Muslim émigrés. Those new émigrés included wartime Caucasian and Central Asian Muslim Waffen SS alumni. Among them were Garip Sultan, Ibrahim Gacoglu, and Nurredin Namangani, an Uzbek Imam of an SS division who survived a term in a Soviet gulag. Some became involved in CIA covert anti–Soviet activities during pilgrimages to Mecca.

Namagani figures prominently in the failed attempt by these ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers to take control of the Munich Mosque as sought by von Mende. His legacy lived on in the CIA-backed Radio Liberty in Munich with its national liberation desk organization based on his Ostministerium experience, replete with members from the ex-Muslim soldiers’ network. Several of these former Nazi Muslim soldiers were employed by CIA operatives at the American Committee of Liberation’s (Amcomlib) Munich–based Radio Liberty.

President Eisenhower with the Princeton Islam Seminar Delegation at the White House, July 1953.   Said Ramadan is the second on the right.

Enter Said Ramadan the son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood Founder, Hassan al-Banna

Johnson notes that at one point AMCOMLIB CIA officers Eric Kuniholm and Robert Dreher, the latter based in Munich, provided funding for Dr. Said Ramadan. Ramadan with the connivance of  Haj Amin Al Husseini spread the political Islamic doctrine of the MB via the World Muslim League. The League was co-founded by the Grand Mufti, al Husseini, and Ramadan. The core of the MB doctrine was the restoration of the Caliphate which had ended with establishment of modern Turkey in 1924. The Caliph would enforce strict Islamic Law in the ummah – the community of believers. Ramadan married one of daughters of Egyptian MB founder Hassan al-Banna, who was assassinated in 1949 by Egyptian authorities under King Farouk. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the MB founder, thought Ramadan could “have been the foreign Minister of the MB. He was an eloquent orator and spoke English. He had many contacts overseas.” Ramadan and the Grand Mufti held a meeting in Karachi during the World Muslim Congress in 1951. Ramadan was then elected as a secretary of the Congress. Ramadan was also with the Grand Mufti in the Jerusalem-based Islamic General Congress. Among his colleagues in the MB was Sayyid Qutb, the MB’s principal modern theorist and author of the tract Milestones. Qutb propounded the view that those who disagreed with these Islamic principals were apostates and therefore subject to a death.

Despite viewing the West as degenerate, Said Ramadan viewed Soviet Communism as the foremost enemy of Islam. In this he was following the line laid done by the Grand Mufti. As early as 1946, the US War Department observed that the Mufti had informed his followers that Communism violated Koranic doctrine. That made him an influential Muslim anti-Communist. However, the Mufti was viewed as tainted goods by the CIA given his Nazi-past and sojourn in Berlin as Hitler’s house guest during WWII. Ramadan, on the other hand, had so such baggage. The stage was set for an encounter with President Eisenhower at a 1953 Princeton University Islamic Colloquium. Johnson noted:

Abbott Washburn deputy director of the US Information Agency . . . recalled the high priority that Eisenhower gave to religion in his personal life and in geopolitical strategy.

Washburn sent a note to Eisenhower’s psychological warfare whiz, C.D. Jackson. That [the Princeton Islamic Colloquium] might achieve a hoped for result that the Muslims will be impressed with the moral and spiritual strength of America. These individuals can exert a profound and far-reaching impact upon Muslim thinking. Their long-term influence may well outweigh that of the political leaders of their countries.

As articulated in a confidential memo by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the hope was “this psychological approach might make some important contributions to both short and long term US political objectives in the Moslem area.” The objectives were to “guide and promote the Islamic Renaissance,” meaning the MB. (However, the MB had a political rather than a cultural objective.) That led the US government to reach out to US-Saudi oil conglomerate ARAMCO to underwrite the travel grants for this Princeton program. In July 1953, the US Embassy in Cairo invited Ramadan to the 10-day Princeton program. Ramadan and other participants then traveled to Washington for a photo-op with President Eisenhower in the White House. The CIA subsequently did an analysis of Ramadan at the Princeton conference and concluded that “Ramadan seems to be a fascist, interested in . . . power. He did not display many ideas except for those of the [MB].”

The CIA Encourages Support of the MB in Eisenhower’s Second Administration

Dr. Said Ramadan, Circa 1960

The encounters with Ramadan at Princeton in 1953, despite skepticism, nonetheless encouraged the Eisenhower Administration during his second term to provide support for the MB. This was viewed largely as a response to Soviet influence in Egypt under Nasser. In a letter to Presbyterian Church leader Edward Elson, Eisenhower wrote:

“I assure you that I never fail in any communication with Arab leaders, oral or written, to stress the importance of the spiritual factor in our relationships. I have argued that belief in God should create between them and us the common purpose of opposing atheistic communism.”

The real motivating factor was th possibility of jihad against Communism. Eisenhower spoke about this in a memo summarizing discussions with the CIA covert ops chief, Frank Wisner who figures in Obama’s Arab Spring scenario in 2011, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The memo notes:

The President said . . . we should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect. Mr. Dulles commented that if Arabs have a ‘holy war’ they would want it to be against Israel. The President recalled, however, that [King Ibn] Saud . . . had called on all Arabs to oppose Communism.

The ad hoc Working Group on Islam, including officials from the US Information Agency, State Department and the CIA created an “Outline of Operations.” The major push was to back the “reformists,” meaning the MB, versus so-called “reactionary groups.”

The CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination was the paymaster for this plan. They relied on Dreher the CIA agent at AMCOMLIB in Munch to set up the flow of funds to Muslim émigré groups. The focus in the mid-1950’s was on the series on non-aligned Nation Conferences at Bandung in Indonesia. The CIA used Said Shamil, a wealthy Dagestan Muslim, to badger delegates with petitions against Soviet suppression of Islam. Another émigré accomplice was Rusi Nasar, an Uzbek who had previously gone on  pilgrimages to Mecca for AMCOMLIB and who directly attacked the Soviet delegation at the Second Bandung conference.

But the emphasis was on supporting Ramadan, a major figure in the Muslim ummah.

In the late 1950’s, a West German intelligence report surfaced that accused the US of being involved in securing Ramadan’s Jordanian passport, while Swiss intelligence said he was a US agent.

Ramadan’s base had clearly shifted to Europe. In 1959 he left the Sudan, and made Geneva his permanent home.

Ramadan, with covert CIA help, reached the pinnacle of his influence with the assumption of leadership of the World Muslim League in the 1960’s. In 1963, he gave King Saud the official proposal to found the League and was granted a diplomatic passport as Ambassador-at-large for the League. Ramadan, however, rejected Saudi funds and ended up traveling the world on a Pakistani passport.

Ramadan was always contemptuous of US intelligence. As one report noted:

Ramadan held no hatred for the American people, only amazement at the incompetence of the American intelligence community and its seemingly endless reliance on corruption to get what it wanted.

Ramadan’s Role in Taking Over the Munich Islamic Center for the MB

Ramadan, while continuing to be a person of interest to the US, had problems given his virulently anti-Israel views. He told US diplomats in Rabat, Morocco in 1956 that “Jews must be expelled from Palestine,” a precursor of the MB affiliate Hamas Charter of 1988.

With an attempted 1954 assassination plot by the MB on the life of Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ramadan fled Egypt for Saudi Arabia. He and other MB conspirators were charged with treason and stripped of  their Egyptian citizenship. Jordan gave him a diplomatic passport and even “sent him to West Germany as Ambassador-at-large.” Ramadan eventually received asylum status in Switzerland. Given his new home in Geneva, Ramadan completed his doctorate in Islamic Law (Shariah) at a German University while traveling around the Muslim ummah on behalf of the World Muslim Congress.

On Christmas Day in 1958 he met with the ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers and several Muslim students seeking to establish an Islamic  Center in Munich. According to Muhammad Abdel Karim Grimm, a German convert and Muslim activist, “the students were all well-educated, they had all learned the lessons of Hasan al-Banna.”

Mahdi Akef Supreme leader of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

While first welcomed as a respected figure in the Muslim ummah, Ramadan fomented infighting over who would lead the Islamic Center in Munich. That resulted in the seizure of control from von Mende’s ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers by Ramadan and a group of Muslim students. The students in turn were replaced by a succession of MB figures including Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian businessman, who headed the Islamic Center for over 30 years from his base in Lugano, Switzerland. He was assisted by Egyptian businessman Youssef Nada who secured funds mainly from Libya (both pre and post Gaddafi takeover) to complete the construction of the Munich Islamic Center which opened in 1973. Mahdi Akef, current supreme leader of the Egyptian MB. headed the Munich Islamic center for four years from 1984 to 1987.

Ramadan’s Assassination Plots in Egypt and Washington  

Ramadan wasn’t finished by any means.

In 1965, Ramadan was once again involved with MB underground teams in Egypt from his base in Geneva plotting to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser. This time the plot was foiled by a tip from King Hussein’s Jordanian intelligence service. An MB operative in President Nasser’s personal Honor Guard was poised to assassinate him. News of the plot resulted in Egyptian security detaining more than more than 6,000 conspirators. Perhaps in revenge for this attempt by the MB, Nasser had MB theoretician Sayyid Qtub executed in 1966.

Although Ramadan was a neo-Salafist Sunni, that did not, dissuade him from reaching out to Shia Mahdists like Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as they shared many of the same objectives, including the destruction of Israel.  Because of his trips to Washington, DC. Ramadan made the acquaintance of disaffected African American ex-military who had converted to Islam. These Muslim converts engaged in a series of actions against Iranian ex-pat supporters of the late Shah who were planning a counter-coup against the new Islamic regime in Tehran.  Ramadan thought this information might of use to Khomenei who was preparing a revolution in Iran from his base in Paris. The Ayatollah convened his Islamic Council in Paris, whereupon upwards of $5.0 million was provided to recruit African-American converts to his cause. An Iranian naturalized American citizen, Bahram Nahidian, who was a rug merchant and supporter of the Ayatollah in Washington, DC became Ramadan’s recruiter of these converts for operations against supporters of the late Shah. An Afro American Islamic convert, David Belfield, a.k.a. Dawud Salahuddin was recruited for the assassination of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’e, a counter-coup plotter and coup organizer. Tabatabai’e was shot at point blank range by Salahuddin disguised as a US postal worker at Tabatabai’e’s residence in Bethesda, Maryland on July 22, 1980. Salahuddin fled the US to Geneva, where Ramadan gave him temporary refuge. Despite initial objections by the Iranian Embassy in Switzerland, Salahuddin was cleared and fled to Tehran where he obtained sanctuary under Ayatollah Khomenei.

Professor Tariq Ramadan Son of Said Ramadan and Grandson of MB Founder Hasan al-Banna

One of Ramadan’s two sons is controversial professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University in the UK. The younger Ramadan was denied entry to the US by the Bush State Department because of his charitable contributions to Hamas, an MB affiliate. Federal court decisions in 2008 led to Tariq Ramadan being granted a visa.

Said Ramadan died in Switzerland in 1995.

The Munich Islamic Center Spawns MB Affiliates in the US

Youssef Nada, Egyptian Financier of MB in US

The Munich Islamic Center has spawned a number of MB affiliates in America. After a Lugano, Switzerland conference in 1977 at which exiled MB preacher and spiritual figure Egyptian Yusuf Qaradawi attended, they created the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) to nurture and spread the neo-Salafist doctrine of Qutb and others. After a 1978 meeting in Saudi Arabia, the MB leaders decided strategically to locate the IIIT in the US. Initially the Institute was opened in Philadelphia, lead by Dr. Ismail Faruqi, who was on the faculty at Temple University. Later the IIIT would move to its present site in Fairfax County, Virginia.


International Institute                     Islamic Society of North America Of Islamic Thought

Two attendees at the Lugano meeting were Dr. Jamal Barzinji and Ahmed Tontonji. Barzinji signed the incorporation papers for the opening of the IIIT in the US in 1980. Another MB functionary was Dr. Hisham Altallib. He became a voting member of the Munich Islamic Center in 1978. The trio of Tontonji, Barzinji and Altallib, after study in Britain, left for the US in the 1960’s. In 1962, Tontonji formed the oldest MB front in the US, the Muslim Student Association. The first MSA National chapter was formed in 1963 at the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which launched ISNA. The National MSA has grown to more than several hundred chapters on high school, college and university campuses throughout the US and Canada. Perhaps the most notorious of which is the Muslim Student Union at U.C. Irvine in Orange County, California whose members were indicted for disrupting the speech of Israeli Ambassador to the US, Hon. Michael Oren in February, 2010.

The Lugano trio of three Iraqis, Totonji, Barzinji and Altallib, settled in Indianapolis. They were joined by benefactor Nada who lived there between 1978 and 1982. They used Saudi money to build a national headquarters on a 42 acre site in the community of Plainfield, Indiana. There they created several MB fronts: the North American Islamic Trust, used to provide Shariah compliant mortgages for mosque construction and expansion, the Muslim Student Association and the largest Muslim advocacy group in the US, the Islamic Society of North America.

As noted in the Militant Islam Monitor the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Northern Virginia chairman Ahmed Tontonji is:

“… an Iraqi-born citizen of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a key target of Operation Green Quest. Totonji was also named as a defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by more than 600 relatives of people who died in the 9/11 attacks.
He acted as a co-founder and officer of the Saudi-founded/Saudi-funded (and now defunct) SAAR Trust. Additionally, he served as Vice President of the Safa Group and the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). Officials have linked the non-profit IIIT to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda…”

In Conclusion

What we have learned in this cautionary tale of early US involvement with the MB during the Cold War era,  is how myopic this country’s leaders have been about the international political agenda of the Ikhwan. Hopes to use the MB in a “holy war” against Soviet Communism backfired. Consider too the feckless nature of the CIA during the secret war in Afghanistan with Saudi partners against Soviet forces, the so-called Charlie Wilson’s War of the 1980’s. That effort was spawned by National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski under President Carter in 1979 and was another anti-Soviet attempt to use a “holy war,” along with billions from the US, the Saudis and the corrupt Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence service, to weaken the USSR. After the Soviet 40th Army retreated from Afghanistan in 1989, al Qaeda, followers of the MB Islamic doctrine of Qutb, arose to afflict us with global Islamic terror. The Bush Administration while feigning refusal to meet with the MB in Egypt, nevertheless cultivated the successor to the World Muslim League founded by Said Ramadan, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a virtual Caliphate composed of 57 Muslim nations. In 2007, President Bush appointed the first special envoy to the OIC, giving it embassy status in Washington, DC. In the wake of the Arab spring in Egypt, the Obama Administration has reached out to the Egyptian MB that might become the ruling party if, as expected, their new Freedom and Justice Party receives a plurality in the coming elections this fall.

What is that careworn French expression? Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,  “the more things change the more they stay the same.” Said Ramadan must indeed be smiling at these developments. However remote, the enticement of a worldwide Caliphate, long sought by the Muslim Brotherhood, now looms large, threatening the West and the Muslim world, as fanatics regain a concrete goal upon which to fasten their grandiose schemes.

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The picture that proves Secretary of State John Kerry HAS been out on his boat while Egypt plunges into chaos – after his spokesman denied he been sailing in Nantucket


  • New pictures show Kerry on kayak as he  celebrates July 4 holiday
  • Secretary of State’s aides retract denial  that he had been sailing

By  Jessica Jerreat

PUBLISHED: 15:55 EST, 5 July  2013 |  UPDATED: 16:53  EST, 5 July 2013

John Kerry’s spokesman  has admitted that the  Secretary of State did go sailing off Nantucket as the Egyptian President was  ousted from power, after pictures emerged of him out on the water on July  4.

The Secretary of State had been criticized  for taking a vacation with his family at his holiday home in Nantucket, as Egypt  plunged into crisis.

New pictures of Mr Kerry on a kayak and a  boat in Nantucket Sound on July 4 have now surfaced after his spokesman  forcefully denied he went sailing after an earlier photo was posted to Twitter. 


Rough crossing: John Kerry is seen boarding a boat in Nantucket Sound on July 4


Rough crossing: John Kerry is seen boarding a boat in  Nantucket Sound on July 4


Retraction: John Kerry's spokesman was forced to retract her denial that the Secretary of State has been enjoying water sports during the Egyptian crisis


Retraction: John Kerry’s spokesman was forced to retract  her denial that the Secretary of State has been enjoying water sports during the  Egyptian crisis


‘It doesn’t look good, and I think it sends  the wrong message,’ Republican strategist Brad Marston told the Boston  Herald. ‘If I were advising him,  I’d already have him on a plane.’

Mr Kerry had already been spotted near July 4  festivities in the center of town earlier in the day, but the latest pictures  showed him loading bags into a boat near his holiday home.

The State  Department was forced to retract  its denial that he had been sailing on Friday, conceding that Mr Kerry had taken  his grandson out on the yacht for an hour on Wednesday. 

‘While he was briefly on his boat on  Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day including  participating in the president’s meeting with his national security  council,’  spokesman Jen Psaki said.

It is a reversal of her original statement,  when Ms Psaki had said: ‘Any report or tweet that he was on a boat is completely  inaccurate.’

His aides even denied Mr Kerry was on a boat  when CBS sent them a photo of the Secretary of State on board his yacht.

With the Egyptian military ousting President  Morsi and violent deaths being reported in the country,  many people in  Nantucket were surprised to see Mr Kerry at his holiday home  rather than in  Washington.

Time out: As his presidential campaign started to go wrong in 2004 John Kerry was spotted wind surfing


Time out: As his presidential campaign started to go  wrong in 2004 John Kerry was spotted wind surfing


‘I would think the Secretary of State would  interrupt his vacation and at least send a very clear signal – even by flying  back to Washington for a day or two – that on our Independence Day we are very  concerned about the freedom and democracy that we hope is instilled for some  period of time in the Arab World,’ Patrick Griffin, Republican strategist,  said.

Mr Kerry’s unexpected vacation has been  charted on Twitter after residents started noting his moves around the town,  which  could have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for a video allegedly showing his motorcade getting stuck in traffic as he arrived earlier in the week.



Despite admitting that he had gone sailing,  his aides insisted that Mr Kerry had been in regular phone contact with world  leaders and had taken part in White House meetings after the first  democratically elected Egyptian president was ousted.

An aide to the Secretary of State, who had  just returned from a 12-day tour of the Middle East, told theBoston  Globe the earlier denial had been  a result of ‘confusion’, and confirmed Mr Kerry had gone sailing with his  grandson.

According to Ms Psaki he had spoken to  leaders and diplomats in Egypt, Israel, Norway, Qatar  and the United Arab  Emirates – all while on vacation in Nantucket.

However, an aide said none of the phone calls  were made while he was on his yacht, according to ABC  News.

Mr Kerry has been criticized previously for  taking to the water during difficult political times.

During his 2004 presidential election  campaign he drew derision after being pictured wind surfing as his campaign fell  apart.

Turmoil: Opponents of President Morsi celebrate his removal near the presidential palace in Cairo


Turmoil: Opponents of President Morsi celebrate his  removal near the presidential palace in Cairo

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Obama’s Egypt policy a ‘stunning diplomatic failure’ as protestors carry anti-Obama and Morsi signs

Ted Cruz: Obama’s Egypt policy a ‘stunning diplomatic failure’

4:36 PM  07/03/2013
Brendan Bordelon

Texas Republican Sen.Ted Cruz blasted the Obama administration’s policy  toward Egypt in a  scathing op-ed in Foreign Policy magazine, slamming  the president’s stance on the Muslim Brotherhood “one of the most stunning  diplomatic failures in recent memory.”

As the Egyptian military ends President Mohamed Morsi’s rule, Cruz points out  that the ire of many people in the streets of Cairo is not reserved for the  Muslim Brotherhood alone.

“The people protesting in the streets were not only carrying anti-Morsi  signs,” Cruz writes. “They were also carrying signs with slogans like ‘Obama  Supports Terrorism’ and ‘Obama Supports Morsi,’ as well as pictures of the  American ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, with a large red ‘X’ through her  face.”

Cruz believes that the 22 million Egyptians committed to ending  Morsi’s rule are largely secular, pro-democratic people dismayed at the  religious authoritarianism slowly strangling their country.

By throwing America’s weight behind Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Cruz argues  that President Obama has alienated potential allies in the region.

“The United States is — in both perception and reality — entrenched as the  partner of a repressive, Islamist regime and the enemy of the secular,  pro-democracy opposition,” he writes.

Over the past year, the Obama administration sold high-tech military hardware to the  Muslim Brotherhood regime and sent $250 million in foreign aid to Egypt, even  while Morsy repeatedly clashed with his nation’s  judiciary and allowed Egypt’s large Christian minority to suffer at the hands of  Islamic fundamentalists.

Cruz argues that this lent Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood much-needed  strength and legitimacy.

As the movement to depose Morsi picked up speed in recent weeks, President  Obama withheld his support from the opposition, instead sending Ambassador Anne  Patterson to try to talk protesters  out of their plans.

“Some say that street action will produce better results than elections,” she  said at a Cairo seminar. “To be honest, my government and I are  deeply skeptical.”

By pursuing a “policy of strategic silence” instead of supporting the secular  democratic opposition, Cruz warns that the Obama administration has provoked  hostility towards the United States and may have missed a golden opportunity for  “meaningful change” in the region.

But questions remain over just how secular and democratic Morsi’s adversaries  really are. Human Rights Watch reports that scores  of women have been gang-raped at opposition rallies over the last several  days.

And Al-Monitor notes that Egypt’s Salafist  parties, which interpret Islam even more strictly than the Muslim Brotherhood,  hope to use Morsi’s weakness to their own advantage.

Other observers argue that U.S. aid helped the military leaders ousting Morsi  more than the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cruz concludes by encouraging Congress to  halt all aid to the Muslim Brotherhood and exhorting his fellow lawmakers to  “find the courage to speak out forcefully on behalf of those advocating secular  democratic reforms in Egypt.”

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Read more:

Egypt security slaps travel ban on Morsi, top Islamists

03   Jul 2013

Egyptian security forces on Wednesday imposed a travel ban on President Mohamed Morsi and several top Islamist allies over their involvement in a prison escape in 2011, security officials said.

Airport officials confirmed to AFP that they had received orders to prevent the leaders — including Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat al-Shater — from travelling abroad


Egypt army says ready to die in “final hours” / Egypt’s armed forces have banned the president and his entourage from leaving the country


19:38 GMT: Egypt’s armed forces have banned the president  and his entourage from leaving the country, ITAR-Tass  reported. –

Source: Reuters – Wed, 3 Jul 2013 01:21 AM

Author: Reuters

CAIRO, July 3 (Reuters) – Egypt’s high command said on Wednesday the army was ready to die to defend Egypt’s people against terrorists and fools, in a response to Islamist President Mohamed Mursi that was headlined “The Final Hours”.

The post on the official Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), headed by armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said: “We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.”

Issued three hours after Mursi appeared on television to reject an ultimatum from Sisi that he share power with his opponents or face a military solution by 5 p.m. (1500 GMT), a military source said the statement made clear that the armed forces would not abandon their demands.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

Egypt: 15 of Brotherhood deputy chief’s bodyguards arrested


Brotherhood governor of Ismailiya resigns

01 July, 20:27


(ANSAmed) – CAIRO, JULY 1 – Egyptian security forces on Monday arrested 15 of powerful Muslim Brotherhood deputy chief Khairat el Shater’s bodyguards, security sources said.


Gunfire was heard near el Shater’s home, the sources added.


Also on Monday, Muslim Brotherhood-linked Ismailiya Governor Hassan el Hawi resigned, MENA news agency reported. He had been nominated just weeks ago by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi along with 16 other governors.(ANSAmed).

Mursi not consulted by army, says plans own path

Source: Reuters – Tue, 2 Jul 2013 12:13 AM


CAIRO, July 2 (Reuters) – Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi believes a statement by the head of the armed forces setting a deadline for politicians to forge a consensus risks causing confusion and will stick to his own plan for national reconciliation, his office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Noting that Mursi was not consulted in advance by the general who made the announcement, the presidency said it “sees that some of the statements in it carry meanings that could cause confusion in the complex national environment”.

“The presidency confirms that it is going forward on its path which it planned before to hold comprehensive national reconciliation … in response to the aspirations of the great Egyptian people and regardless of any statements that deepen divisions between citizens,” it said.  (Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Christopher Wilson)


Egypt’s powerful armed forces declare the nation is ‘in danger’ and issue 48-hour ultimatum to President Morsi

Feuding politicians must realise the demands of the people, or the armed forces will announce ‘a road-map for the future’

Heather Saul

Monday, 1 July 2013

In a dramatic statement broadcast on state television, Egypt’s military declared the nation was in danger after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand that President Mohamed Morsi quit and the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were ransacked.

“If the demands of the people are not realised within the defined period, it will be incumbent upon (the armed forces)… to announce a roadmap for the future,” said the statement from chief-of-staff General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It was followed by patriotic music.

He said the people had expressed their will with unprecedented clarity in the mass demonstrations and wasting more time would only increase the danger of division and violence.

The army said it would oversee the implementation of the roadmap it sought “with the participation of all factions and national parties, including young people”, but it would not get directly involved in politics or government.

Hours before the announcement, protesters in Egypt stormed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters, looting, setting floors alight and ransacking the building. They breached the walls of the six-storey luxury villa in the early hours of Monday morning.

They carted off furniture, files, rugs, blankets, air conditioning units and portraits of President Morsi. One protester emerged with a pistol and handed it over to a policeman outside.

Footage on local TV networks showed smashed windows, blackened walls and smoke billowing out of the fortified villa in the Muqatam district in eastern Cairo. A fire was still raging on one floor hours after the building was stormed. One protester tore down the Muslim Brotherhood sign from the building’s front wall, while another hoisted Egypt’s red, black and white flag out an upper-storey window and waved it in the air in triumph.

It was not immediately clear whether the Brotherhood supporters holed up inside fled. One witness account spoke of the gunmen running out of the building under the cover of heavy gunfire but another said they had fled through a back door.

Morsi’s critics view the Brotherhood headquarters as the seat of real power in Egypt, consistently claiming that the Islamist group’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and his powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shater, actually call the shots behind Morsi. Morsi and Brotherhood officials have denied this and say they have tried to give opponents a greater voice, only to be spurned.

Organisers of anti-government protests which also saw millions of Egyptians flood the streets over the weekend have since issued Morsi an ultimatum – to step down by Tuesday afternoon or else their campaign would be increased even further.

By Monday afternoon, four cabinet ministers – for tourism, environment, parliament and telecoms – had reportedly resigned, according to an unnamed cabinet official.

The ultimatum issued Monday by Tamarod, the protest organisers, increases pressure on Morsi a day after the opposition’s massive show of force on the streets when millions packed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the streets outside the presidential palace and main squares in cities around the country on the anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration.

The main rallies in Cairo were largely peaceful, but violence soon  broke out in several parts of the country, often when marchers came under gunfire, apparently from Islamists. Health Ministry spokesman Yehya Moussa told state television that at least 16 people were killed and more than 780 injured.

Tamarod, Arabic for “Rebel,” issued a statement giving Morsi until 5pm (1500 GMT) on Tuesday to step down and pave the way for early presidential elections or else it would bring the crowds back out, march on more palaces and launch what they called “complete civil disobedience”.

Some uniformed policemen marched among protesters in Cairo and Alexandria, chanting “the police and the people are one”, and several senior officers addressed the Tahrir Square crowd. The army has sent reinforcements to bases on the outskirts of Cairo and other cities across the nation. Its chief, Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sisisi, had given Morsi and the opposition a week to work out their differences — a deadline that passed yesterday.

Morsi has remained defiant and said that he will not quit, arguing that street protests must not be allowed to remove an elected president, or else the same could happen to future presidents. Yet he has offered no concessions. His Islamist supporters, some of them hard-liners who belong to formerly armed militant groups, have vowed to defend him.

They have already demonstrated a willingness to unleash deadly force when protesters approached their positions, as clashes erupted across multiple cities on Sunday.


U.S. evacuate staff of embassy in Cairo

Египет Каир протест протесты митинг

© Photo: «Voice of Russia»

American authorities have advised their citizens not to visit Egypt, and are evacuating the staff of the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

 Earlier, it was reported that an American citizen – a stringer, who worked for the U.S. news agency – was killed during the riots in Alexandria. More than 160 people were injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi.

 One dead in clashes in Egypt’s Alexandria – state media

 One person was killed and more than 70 injured in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria on Friday as clashes raged between supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, state media reported.

 “One citizen died of his injuries from birdshot,” the official MENA news agency said, adding that the 70 injured had been taken to hospital.

 Offices of Egyptian Islamist party torched

 Two offices of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, were torched on Friday as rival rallies were held across Egypt.

 FJP offices were set alight in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and in Aga in the Nile Delta province of Daqahliya, security officials said.

 Television footage showed plumes of smoke rising from the building in Alexandria as pro- and anti-Morsi protesters clashed.

 The offices in Aga were ransacked and then burned, the officials said.

 A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad al-Haddad, in a Twitter message accused remnants of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party of attacking the offices.

 Tens of thousands of Islamist protesters gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City neighbourhood to defend Morsi’s legitimacy, while thousands of his opponents took to the streets in several parts of the country.

 The unrest comes ahead of mass protests planned against Morsi on Sunday’s first anniversary of his becoming president.

 Clashes erupt in Egypt’s Alexandria

 Violence broke out on Friday between supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria, leaving at least 10 people injured, a security official said.

 “The clashes erupted between the two sides and at least 10 people were injured because of rock throwing,” the official told AFP.

 Television footage showed protesters running in several directions in the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria. Gunshots could be heard.

 Police reinforcements have been sent in to disperse the protesters, the official said.

 The clashes come as pro- and anti-Morsi protests were staged around the country, two days ahead of planned mass rallies to call for Morsi to step down.

 Anti-Morsi protesters flock to Cairo’s Tahrir Square

 Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday with numbers swelling, as supporters of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi held a rival rally on the other side of the capital.

 Waving Egyptian flags and chanting “Leave”, the protesters joined hundreds who had camped overnight in Tahrir – the epicentre of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and catapulted Islamist Morsi to the presidency.

 Anti-Morsi protests also took place in several parts of Cairo including the neighbourhoods of Shubra, Sayeda Zeinab and Mohandesseen.

 Outside the capital, opponents of Morsi took to the streets in second city Alexandria, in the Nile Delta city of Mansura and in the canal city of Port Said.

 The protests come ahead of mass anti-Morsi rallies planned for Sunday.

 Morsi’s Islamist supporters, who gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City neighbourhood, have vowed to remain on the streets to protect the president’s “legitimacy”, raising fears of violence.

 Voice of Russia, AFP

Egyptian President Mursi names a member of an Islamist group remembered for a bloody attack on Western tourists in the ancient city of Luxor over a decade ago as governor of that province on Sunday

Egypt’s Mursi tightens Islamist grip with governor appointments

Sunday Jun 16, 2013   |   Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi named a member of an Islamist group remembered for a bloody attack on Western tourists in the ancient city of Luxor over a decade ago as governor of that province on Sunday.

It was one of 17 gubernatorial appointments that put Islamist allies in key positions across the country as Mursi braces for protests on the first anniversary of his inauguration at the end of the month.

Seven of the new governors listed by the state news agency are members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which backed Mursi in elections that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, propelling him to power last year.

The newly appointed Luxor governor, Adel Mohamed al-Khayat, is a member of the Building and Development party. The party was established by Al Gamaa al-Islamiya, an Islamist group that was involved in attacks in Luxor that killed around 60 tourists in the late 90s, but later renounced violence.

In addition to the Islamists appointed, security officials were named as governors of the Suez and Red Sea provinces and near sensitive border areas.

Egypt has 27 governorates in all. Under Mubarak, top security officials held most of the posts.

Political analyst Hassan Nafaa said the appointments meant that “gradually, the Freedom and Justice Party wants to dominate the hinges of the country”.

(Reporting by Ali Abdelaty and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Egypt court rules upper house of parliament elected illegally

Supreme constitutional court ruling expected to widen rift between Egypt’s judiciary and Islamist-dominated government

  • Louisa Loveluck in Cairo
  •,    Sunday 2 June 2013 09.11 EDT
Egyptian security forces with riot shields outside the supreme constitutional court in Cairo

Egyptian security forces outside the supreme constitutional court in Cairo on Sunday. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

Egypt‘s supreme constitutional court (SCC) has ruled that the country’s upper house of parliament and constitution-drafting assembly were elected illegally.

The shura council is the only body in Egypt with legislative powers, following a decision by the SCC, the country’s highest court, in June 2012 to dissolve the first democratically elected parliament.

Judge Maher al-Beheiry said the shura council will continue its activities until a new lower house of parliament is elected. A date has yet to be set for elections, but President Mohamed Morsi has suggested they may take place in October.

The president’s Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice party holds 42% of seats in the shura council, and can carry a majority vote by appealing to other conservative factions in the chamber.

The ruling raises the possibility that shura council legislation may also be deemed unconstitutional. The chamber is debating a number of controversial bills this month, including a draft law that would heavily restrict the funding available to develop a free civil society.

Despite the ruling against the 100-member panel that drafted Egypt’s new constitution in December, the SCC’s verdict does not appear to put the panel’s short-term future at risk, as it is based on provisions laid out in the 2012 document.

The constitution was criticised after it emerged from a hasty all-night session of the Islamist-dominated drafting assembly. Critics argue it fails to protect freedom of expression or religious belief, and institutionalises military trials for civilians.

The SCC also appears to have ruled against arrest powers contained in Egypt’s emergency law, which has been used by successive Egyptian presidents to crack down on opponents.

Regardless of the ruling’s immediate consequences, it is likely to embolden liberal critics of the shura council and constitution, and widen the rift between Egypt’s judiciary and its Islamist-dominated legislature and executive.

The shura council has been considering legislation that would force more than 3,000 judges out of office by lowering their mandatory retirement age. Members of the upper chamber say many judges are Mubarak-era loyalists who are hostile to the country’s Islamist rulers.

There has been speculation that this legislation was being rushed through to pre-empt a judicial ruling such as the SCC’s.

According to Yasser el-Shimy, a Middle East analyst at the International Crisis Group, the ruling is a troubling sign for the relationship between different branches of the Egyptian government.

“It has appeared for a while that the boundaries of each branch – judiciary, legislature or executive – are not clearly defined, despite the introduction of the new constitution,” he said.

Shimy predicted the ruling could undermine the perceived legitimacy of the shura council as it pushes ahead with attempts to neuter the judiciary.

Ancient Egyptians accessorized with meteorites

Contact: Aeron Haworth 44-161-275-8387 University of Manchester

Researchers at The Open University (OU) and The University of Manchester have found conclusive proof that Ancient Egyptians used meteorites to make symbolic accessories.

The evidence comes from strings of iron beads which were excavated in 1911 at the Gerzeh cemetery, a burial site approximately 70km south of Cairo. Dating from 3350 to 3600BC, thousands of years before Egypt’s Iron Age, the bead analysed was originally assumed to be from a meteorite owing to its composition of nickel-rich iron. But this hypothesis was challenged in the 1980s when academics proposed that much of the early worldwide examples of iron use originally thought to be of meteorite-origin were actually early smelting attempts.

Subsequently, the Gerzeh bead, still the earliest discovered use of iron by the Egyptians, was loaned by the Manchester Museum to the OU and the University of Manchester’s School of Materials for further testing. Researchers used a combination of the OU’s electron microscope and Manchester’s X-Ray CT scanner to demonstrate that the nickel-rich chemical composition of the bead confirms its meteorite origins.

OU Project Officer Diane Johnson, who led the study, said: “This research highlights the application of modern technology to ancient materials not only to understand meteorites better but also to help us understand what ancient cultures considered these materials to be and the importance they placed upon them.”

Meteorite iron had profound implications for the Ancient Egyptians, both in their perception of the iron in the context of its celestial origin and in early metallurgy attempts.

Co-author Dr Joyce Tyldesley, a Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at The University of Manchester, said: “Today, we see iron first and foremost as a practical, rather dull metal. To the ancient Egyptians, however, it was a rare and beautiful material which, as it fell from the sky, surely had some magical/religious properties. They therefore used this remarkable metal to create small objects of beauty and religious significance which were so important to them that they chose to include them in their graves.”

Philip Withers, Professor of Materials Science at The University of Manchester, added: “Meteorites have a unique microstructural and chemical fingerprint because they cooled incredibly slowly as they travelled through space. It was really interesting to find that fingerprint turn up in Egyptian artefacts.”


The paper, ‘Analysis of a prehistoric Egyptian iron bead with implications for the use and perception of meteorite iron in ancient Egypt,’ is published in the Meteoritics and Planetary Science journal.

Notes to editors:

Images of the iron bead are available through the press office.

For media enquiries contact:

Liezel Tipper (OU) Tel: 01908 654 316 Mob: 07540 668963 Email:


Aeron Haworth (Manchester) Tel: 0161 275 8387 Mob: 07717 881563 Email:

U.S. embassy to Americans: Stay away from Giza’s pyramids

   Posted By Elias Groll    Thursday, May 30, 2013 – 6:50 PM

The American embassy in Cairo has bad news for anyone traveling to Egypt: For now, the pyramids in Giza should be considered off limits — at least if you’re visiting without a trusted guide.

Describing a pattern of increasing lawlessness at the iconic tourist destination outside Cairo, the embassy is warning that some visitors have found their cars surrounded by angry individuals, and that in some cases those individuals have tried to open the doors. Here’s the embassy’s warning about the pyramids in full, according to Graham Harman the associate provost for research administration at the American University in Cairo:

In recent weeks, the U.S. Embassy has become aware of an increasing number of incidents at or near the Giza Pyramids. The majority of these incidents are attributed to over-aggressive vendors, though the degree of aggressiveness in some cases is closer to criminal conduct. Other more serious incidents have been reported involving vehicles nearing the Pyramids, with angry groups of individuals surrounding and pounding on the vehicles – and in some cases attempting to open the vehicle’s doors. While the motive is less clear (possibly related to carriage operators wanting fares), it has severely frightened several visitors. A common theme from many of these reports is the lack of visible security or police in the vicinity of the Pyramids. U.S. citizens should elevate their situational awareness when traveling to the Pyramids, avoid any late evening or night travel, utilize a recommended or trusted guide, and closely guard valuables. Though other tourist locations have not been brought to Embassy attention, these measures are also recommended at all crowded or popular tourist sites.

Writing on his blog, Harman echoes the embassy’s warning. Don’t “even think of going to the Pyramids unless you’re on a large organized bus tour,” he says.

Turbulence at the pyramids is terrible news for Egypt, whose economy is in a tailspin at the moment. Tourism has been a source of strength for the country’s economy in the past, but it has also struggled enormously in the aftermath of the revolution, whose accompanying chaos has understandably scared off many tourists from visiting.

Here’s hoping for a turnaround.


Syria: Christians greatest victims of bloodshed, Chacour


Arab Spring betrayed, danger of Sharia, says bishop

28 May, 14:25


(By Nina Fabrizio).

(ANSAmed) – Haifa – Archbishop Elias Chacour, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Israel, said Christians had suffered the greatest bloodshed since the Arab Spring which in his view had failed.

“Arab Spring is a mistaken definition. In Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and now in Syria we are witnessing a wave of bloodshed, and we will not see a garden grow from this socalled spring,” he warned.

Across the Arab world and in the Middle East, he said “many are dying, but those who are losing the most are Christians”.

He told journalists the hopes of the people who rose up against the regimes have been betrayed by the “danger” imposed by Sharia, Islamic law.

Head of the largest Christian community in Israel – 80,000 faithful out of a total 150,000 Christians – expressed his concern particularly for Christians being forced to flee the civil war in Syria.

Chacour compared the situation to Iraq after the US “invasion”.

“We do not have precise estimates on how many have been forced to flee Syria for Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey but once there were two million Christians in the country and 160 small Christian villages that are now completely empty”.

“I wonder what the west is doing by failing to intervene.

The socalled Arab Spring is the biggest change in the history of Islam because first it was about the struggle for power in authoritarian regimes and now the people are taking action”.

Expectations have been betrayed he said.

“We were not happy with the totalitarian regimes, but we are even less so today because of the risk of Sharia,” he said.

If imposed he said it would be extremely bad and “we don’t know what would happen in the long term”.

Chacour said he had seen the bishop of Damascus “crying lika a baby” over the departure of Christians who were forced to flee the country in “miserable conditions” without food or water.




The Minoans were Caucasian: DNA debunks longstanding theory that Europe’s first advanced culture was from Africa

  • British  archaeologists who in 1900 discovered the Minoan culture believed they were from  Libya or Egypt
  • The Minoan  civilisation arose on Crete in the 27th century BC and flourished until the 15th  century BC

By  Damien Gayle

PUBLISHED: 16:13 EST, 16 May  2013 |  UPDATED: 03:49  EST, 17 May 2013

A Minoan fresco of children boxing: New DNA analysis has debunked the theory that the Minoans were refugees from North Africa
A Minoan fresco of children boxing: New DNA analysis has  debunked the theory that the Minoans were refugees from North Africa

DNA analysis has debunked the longstanding  theory that the Minoans, who some 5,000 years ago established Europe’s first  advanced Bronze Age culture, were from Africa.

The Minoan civilisation arose on the  Mediterranean island of Crete in approximately the 27th century BC and  flourished for 12 centuries until the 15th century BC.

But the culture was lost until British  archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans unearthed its remains on Crete in 1900, where he  found vestiges of a civilisation he believed was formed by refugees from  northern Egypt.

Modern archaeologists have cast doubt  on  that version of events, and now DNA tests of Minoan remains suggests  they were  descended from ancient farmers who settled the islands  thousands of years  earlier.

These people, it is believed, are from the  same stock that came from the East to populate the rest of Europe.

Evans set to work on Crete in 1900 with a  team of archaeologists soon after  the island was liberated from the yoke of the  Ottoman empire, almost  immediately unearthing a great palace.

He named the civilisation he discovered after  the legendary Greek king  Minos and, based on likenesses between Minoan  artifacts and those from  Egypt and Libya, proposed that its founders migrated  into the area from  North Africa.

Since then,  other archaeologists have  suggested that the Minoans may have come from  other regions, possibly Turkey,  the Balkans, or the Middle East.

But now a joint U.S. and Greek team has made  a mitochondrial DNA analysis of  Minoan skeletal remains to determine the likely  ancestors of the ancient people.

Mitochondria, the  energy powerhouses of  cells, contain their own DNA, or genetic code, and because mitochondrial DNA is  passed down from mothers to their children  via the human egg, it contains  information about maternal ancestry.

Findings suggest that the Minoan civilisation  arose from the population already  living in Crete, and that these people were  probably descendants of the  first humans to reach there about 9,000 years  ago.

Further, they found, the remains have the  greatest genetic similarity with modern European populations.

Senior researcher Dr George  Stamatoyannopoulos, professor of medicine and  genome sciences at the University  of Washington, said the analysis  showed these people probably came to the area  from the East, not the  South.

Minoan Palace Ruins at Knossos: The Minoan culture, Europe's first advanced civilisation, arose on the Mediterranean island of Crete in approximately the 27th century BC and flourished for 12 centuries Minoan Palace Ruins at Knossos: The Minoan culture,  Europe’s first advanced civilisation, arose on the Mediterranean island of Crete  in approximately the 27th century BC and flourished for 12 centuries

‘About 9,000 years ago there was an extensive  migration of Neolithic humans from the regions of Anatolia that today comprise  parts of Turkey and the Middle East,’ he said.

‘At the same time, the first Neolithic  inhabitants reached Crete.

‘Our mitochondrial DNA analysis shows that  the Minoans’ strongest genetic relationships are with these Neolithic humans, as  well as with ancient and modern Europeans.

‘These results suggest the Minoan  civilization arose 5,000 years ago in Crete from an ancestral Neolithic  population that had arrived in the region about 4,000 years earlier.

‘Our data suggest that the Neolithic  population that gave rise to the Minoans also migrated into Europe and gave rise  to modern European peoples.’

‘Our data suggest that the Neolithic  population  that gave rise to the Minoans also migrated into Europe and  gave rise to modern  European peoples’

George Stamatoyannopoulos, professor of medicine and  genome sciences at the University of Washington

Dr Stamatoyannopoulos and his team analysed  samples from 37 skeletons found in a cave in Crete’s Lassithi plateau and  compared them with mitochondrial DNA sequences from 135 modern and ancient human  populations.

The Minoan samples revealed 21 distinct  mitochondrial DNA variations, of which six were unique to the Minoans and 15  were shared with modern and ancient populations.

None of the Minoans carried mitochondrial DNA  variations characteristic of African populations.

Further analysis showed that the Minoans were  only distantly related to Egyptian, Libyan, and other North African populations.

Indeed, the Minoan shared the greatest  percentage of their mitochondrial DNA variation with European populations,  especially those in Northern and Western Europe.

A restored Minoan clay vessel at the Palace of Malia ruins: Sir Arthur Evans, who discovered the Minoan civilisation, proposed his theory of its origin based on likenesses between Minoan artefacts and those from EgyptA restored clay vessel at the Palace of  Malia ruins:  Sir Arthur Evans, who discovered the civilisation,  proposed his theory of its  origin based on likenesses between Minoan  artefacts and those from Egypt and  Libya

When plotted geographically, shared Minoan  mitochondrial DNA variation was lowest in North Africa and increased  progressively across the Middle East, Caucasus, Mediterranean islands, Southern  Europe, and mainland Europe.

The highest percentage of shared Minoan  mitochondrial DNA variation was found with Neolithic populations from Southern  Europe.

The analysis also showed a high degree of  sharing with the current population of the Lassithi plateau and Greece.

In fact, the maternal genetic information  passed down through many generations of mitochondria is still present in  modern-day residents of the area where the Minoan skeletons were  found.

Dr Stamatoyannopoulos said he believes that  the findings highlight the importance of DNA analysis as a tool for  understanding human history.

‘Genetic analyses are playing in increasingly  important role and predicting and protecting human health,’ he said.

‘Our study underscores the importance of DNA  not only in helping us to have healthier futures, but also to understand our  past.’

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Christian teacher to be tried in Egypt for insulting Islam


Christian teacher to be tried in Egypt for insulting Islam

Egypt’s prosecutors on Tuesday referred a Christian schoolteacher to trial on charges of insulting Islam, judicial sources said.

Dimiana Abdel-Nour, who was arrested on Wednesday, was accused by her Muslim students’ parents of insulting Islam and comparing it to Christianity by saying that the late Coptic Pope Shenouda was better than the Prophet Mohammad.

Alongside the political and economic turmoil Egypt has endured since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, tensions have risen between Muslims and Christians, especially since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in June.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 84 million people and have complained that the authorities have failed to protect them since Mubarak was ousted, giving radical Islamists a free hand.

Last year, an Egyptian court sentenced a 17-year-old Christian to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that mocked Islam and the Prophet, triggering sectarian violence.

At least three people were killed and more than 80 injured in clashes last month between Christians and Muslims at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo after a funeral service for four Christians killed in sectarian violence with Muslims.

Abdel-Nour will appear in a court in Luxor next Tuesday, a judicial source said. She was free on bail of 20 thousand Egyptian pounds ($2,900) pending her trial.


‘Missiles fired at’ Russian plane with 159 passengers onboard flying over Syria

Published time: April 29, 2013 16:14    Edited time: April 29, 2013 21:46                           

Two missiles were reportedly fired at a Russian plane with at least 159 passengers on board that was flying over Syrian territory. Russian officials admit the jet faced danger, but are not talking of a targeted attack.

The news broke in on Monday as Interfax, citing “an informed source in Moscow,” reported that a Russian passenger plane was attacked.

Syrian [officials] informed us that on Monday morning, unidentified forces launched two ground-to-air missiles which exploded in the air very close to a civilian aircraft belonging to a Russian airline,” the source told the Russian agency.

The pilots reportedly managed to maneuver the plane in time however, “saving the lives of passengers.”

It is believed the aircraft was intentionally targeted, “but it remains unclear whether the attackers knew it was Russian or not,” the source added.

However, Russian officials, though admitting the plane might have been endangered, are not yet talking of a targeted attack.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s said on its website the plane’s crew at 4.55 PM Moscow time (12.55 GMT) “detected battle action on the ground that, according to the crew, could constitute a threat to the 159 passengers on board the plane.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry is now “taking emergency measures to clarify all the circumstances of this situation, including making contact with the Syrian authorities,” the ministry’s spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich said.

The plane that was allegedly targeted belonged to Nordwind Airlines – a Russian charter air carrier – and was identified as an Airbus A320. On April 29 it was en route to the city of Kazan, in Russia’s republic of Tatarstan, from Egypt’s resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Airbus A320 specifications

Cockpit crew: 2 Seating capacity: up to 180 Length: 37.57 m Wingspan: 34.10 m Operating empty weight: 42,600 kg Cruising speed: 828 km/h Maximum speed: 871 km/h Maximum range: 5,900 km Service ceiling: 12,000 m

So far, there are no grounds to claim that the aircraft became a target of a missile attack, experts say.

It was flying over a mountainous area in Syria when one of the pilots noticed “flashes on the ground.” After that, to keep safe, it was decided to increase the height of the flight, Irina Tyurina, a spokeswoman for Russian Union of Tourist Industry told RIA Novosti.

No one was injured, and the plane was not damaged. The aircraft landed in Kazan as had been planned,” the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism told news agencies. There were 159 passengers and eight crew members on-board the aircraft.

Meanwhile, Syrian aviation authorities received no indication of the alleged attack on the Russian plane, says the director of Syrian Airlines, Ghaida Abdullatif:

We contacted the service that monitors traffic within Syrian airspace. None of the air traffic control services or other ground services at the airports in Damascus and Latakia have confirmed the information of a Russian plane being fired at“.

Russian experts have already voiced their doubts that a passenger plane can actually perform the kind of maneuvers that would allow it to avoid a missile attack.

Planes are usually attacked either from the side or from above. A pilot could not have seen the missiles ,” Vladimir Gerasimov, a Russian pilot and an expert on flight security told RT. “

A passenger plane crew simply couldn’t see what’s behind. And if something is approaching the plane from the opposite direction – the speed doubles, so there is no time to do anything, ” he added.

Danny Makki of the Syrian Youth Movement in the UK believes that the incident is no doubt a rebel attack, which could have been carried out with weapons supplied by neighboring governments or taken off the Syrian army. He thinks that the attack is an intentional one and should receive widespread condemnation, just as the attacks carried out by government forces do.
“The most likely thing that could have happened was rebel fire from missiles that could have been given by regional countries or government forces… no rebel forces would fire a missile at civilian aircraft without it being done intentionally. So it is essentially another reprehensible act that would have been committed by rebel forces, and should gain condemnation from all the states after it is clearer who actually committed it”, Makki said,
“But it does show that these are not the liberal forces which the West wanted to arm in the first place”, he added.

The civil war in Syria between the government of President Bashar Assad and opposition forces has been raging for over two years, claiming the lives of more than 70,000 people according to UN estimates. Assad says he is fighting an insurgency that has been sponsored from abroad.

Egyptian students protest mass food poisoning at university

Source: Reuters – Mon, 29 Apr 2013 10:39 PM

Author: Reuters


CAIRO, April 29 (Reuters) – Hundreds of students from Egypt’s top Islamic university protested on Monday to demand investigation and punishment of those responsible for a second mass food poisoning on campus this month.

Ninety Al-Azhar University students were hospitalized on Monday after eating at a campus cafeteria, the health ministry said. Earlier this month, some 460 Al-Azhar University students were hospitalised following a mass food poisoning on campus.

Students said the incident on Monday was a sign of neglect by officials at Al-Azhar, a thousand-year-old mosque and university in Cairo that draws students from across the Sunni world.

An initial investigation of the first food poisoning incident by the toxicology unit of Ain Shams hospital in Cairo blamed contaminated food.

“Those of you who are silent about this, why are you silent?” the students chanted on Monday. They blocked a road in front of university in the Cairo neighbourhood of Nasr City.

Protests on issues ranging from national politics to local grievances have become more common in Egypt since the overthrow two years ago of autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

Ibrahim El-Hodhod, the deputy-president for educational and student affairs at Al-Azhar, said a committee had been formed to investigate the incident, state news agency MENA reported. El-Hodhod visited the hospitalised students on Monday, MENA said.

An emergency meeting by the university’s management would be held on Tuesday to look into the case, MENA said.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil visited the hospitalized students on Monday and ordered the interior ministry to immediately investigate the mass food poisoning, according to a statement from his office on Monday evening.  (Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed and Ali Abdelatti; Editing by Paul Simao) = hpbreaking

Coptic Christians under siege as mob attacks Cairo cathedral

Alastair Beach sees gunfire exchanged as armed gang descends on funeral of five  Christians killed in recent sectarian clashes

Alastair Beach

Monday, 8 April 2013

Hundreds of Christians were under siege inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral last night as security forces and local residents, some armed with handguns, launched a prolonged and unprecedented attack on the seat of Egypt’s ancient Church.

At least one person was killed and at least 84 injured as Christians inside the walled St Mark’s cathedral compound came under a frenzied assault from their assailants in the main road outside.

The fighting erupted after a mass funeral for five Copts who were killed during violent clashes in a north Egyptian town on Saturday. A Muslim man also died in the clashes, which happened after an Islamic institute was daubed with offensive graffiti.

Following yesterday’s service thousands of Christians poured out on to the street and began chanting slogans against Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian President and long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Late last night President Morsi issued a statement in which he said he had spoken to Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic church, and had given orders for the cathedral and citizens to be guarded. He said protecting the lives of Muslims and Christians was a state responsibility and added: “I consider any attack on the cathedral as an attack on me, personally.”

The man killed in the clashes outside the cathedral was named by the state news agency, MENA, as Mahrous Hana Tadros, a Christian name. MENA said 11 of the 84 injured were police officers.

Earlier, witnesses described how they were attacked by locals from Abbasiyya, the north-east Cairo neighbourhood where the cathedral is located. After being hit by rocks from the roofs of nearby buildings, the mourners were reportedly forced back into the cathedral compound.

Wael Eskandar, an Egyptian blogger who attended the funeral, said he saw people being showered with broken bottles from the roof of an apartment block opposite. After being attacked, he said, the people “started racing out of the side street and destroying the nearby cars”. He added that he was not sure if those attacking the vehicles were mourners. As night fell the streets around St Mark’s were echoing to the sound of gunshots and exploding tear gas canisters. Young men on either side of the 18ft-high compound wall exchanged a continuous hail of rocks and broken masonry. Others hurled Molotov cocktails and let off fireworks.

The security forces positioned outside the cathedral launched volley after volley of tear gas into the compound. Some of the thousands of onlookers gathered in the road cheered as the canisters rocketed towards Christians perched on the walls overlooking the main street.

One young man, his right hand clasped around a shiny steel handgun, clambered on top of a petrol station alongside the cathedral and blasted a single round at those trapped inside. He was helped down by a friend who was also carrying a handgun, before they both jogged off through a nearby line of riot police who had been watching the young man take aim. Soon afterwards there was a flash from inside the compound as a young man stepped up on to the perimeter wall and fired a weapon towards the thousands of onlookers below.

A second later a number of people recoiled as they were hit by birdshot. Handguns and other weapons, many of them homemade, are becoming a more common feature of the violence which has regularly convulsed the country since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

“Only God can save us from what is happening right now,” said Mina Zakaraya, a 25-year-old Coptic seminarian who was positioned inside the compound. At the cathedral’s rear entrance, panicked young men ushering people inside demanded to see the cross which most Copts have tattooed on their wrist.

“I’m worried about the situation in Egypt,” said Makram Girgis as he sat on the steps leading up to the imposing cathedral building.

“The Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups here want us to leave. They don’t accept Copts. But this was our country, ever since the time of the pharaohs.”

One dead in clashes after funeral of Egypt Coptic Christians

07  Apr  2013

One person died Sunday in clashes at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral after funeral prayers for four Christians during which angry Copts chanted against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, an official said.

Fighting between Christians and Muslims meanwhile erupted anew late Sunday in a town north of Cairo where sectarian violence had killed five people two days before, police said.

The bitter clashes underscore the simmering tensions in a divided Egypt that has seen violent confrontations between Morsi’s main Islamist allies and a wide ranging opposition.

They also highlight sectarian tensions that have been brewing for several years.

Egyptian Coptic Christian women mourn during the funeral service for four Christians killed in sectarian clashes, at al-Abbassiya Cathedral in Cairo on April 7, 2013. One person was killed on Sunday in clashes outside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral following the funeral prayers, an Egyptian health ministry official told AFP.

Witnesses to the Cairo clashes said they began when mourners were pelted with stones by residents of the area as they left the cathedral, symbol of the Coptic community which has long complained of discrimination and marginalisation.

Black-clad riot police intervened, firing tear gas at the cathedral, witnesses said, but not before one person had been killed.

“There is one fatality in (Cairo’s) Demerdash hospital,” health ministry official Ahmed al-Ansari told AFP.

Hani Sobhi, a young Copt, explained that live television coverage of the funeral service had been the spark for the latest violence.

Egyptian Coptic Christians carry the coffin of one of the four Christians killed in sectarian clashes in Al-Khusus earlier this week, during the funeral at al-Abbassiya Cathedral in Cairo on April 7, 2013.

“Inside the cathedral we chanted ‘down with the Brotherhood rule’ and that was aired live on television. At the exit (of the cathedral) the people were ready and waiting for us,” he said.

There were scenes of chaos outside the cathedral in the central Cairo neighbourhood of Abbassiya where Coptic bishops had been calling for peace and calm after the killing of the Christians on Friday.

Loud blasts could be heard, as clouds of smoke rose up into the sky and people ran in several directions.

Rows of Abbassiya residents hurled rocks and bottles at the cathedral and were met in kind from people inside the church complex.

The mourners had been planning to carry the bodies of the Christians out of the cathedral to the presidential palace as a protest against the violence, one of them said.

Egyptian riot police stand by during sectarian clashes outside the Egyptian Coptic Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbassiya neighbourhood on April 7, 2013.

“There were tensions with police and the residents of the area were hostile to us and sided with the police,” another Christian, Sami Adli, told AFP.

“They were running after Christians. Police fired tear gas at the seat of the Pope. What kind of state allows such a thing? The Copts won’t let this pass,” said a very emotional Adli.

“The government wants this. The only solution is for the army to intervene,” said a man in his 50s who did not give his name.

A group of volunteers arrived at the church with medical supplies, an AFP reporter said.

In a statement, the interior ministry said “a number of mourners began to damage cars in the area which led to confrontations with residents of the area.”

Sunday’s service was being held for four Christians killed in sectarian clashes on Friday. One Muslim was also killed in the violence which flared in Al-Khusus, a poor area in Qalyubia governorate, after a Muslim in his 50s objected to children drawing a swastika on a religious institute.

The man insulted Christians and the cross, and an argument broke out with a young Christian man who was passing by, escalating into a gunbattle between Muslims and Christians in which assault rifles were used.

The incident sparked rioting during which a church was partially burnt and a Christian’s home torched, while a pharmacy owned by a Copt was ransacked.

Clashes in the town erupted again on Sunday evening, police said.

“There are clashes between Christians and Muslims, and some youths are also clashing with police,” a police officer in Al-Khusus told AFP by telephone.

Christians form between six and 10 percent of Egypt’s population of nearly 83 million people.

The country’s Coptic Christians and Muslims have clashed on several occasions since the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Cairo cathedral clashes: 1 dead, 29 injured

Cairo cathedral clashes: 1 dead, 29 injured

Photo: AFP

One person was killed on Sunday in clashes outside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral following funeral prayers for four Christians killed in sectarian violence, an Egyptian health ministry official said.


 “There is one fatality in (Cairo’s) Demerdash hospital,” Ahmed al-Ansari said.

 Cairo: Clashes after funeral of Coptic Christians

 Clashes broke out on Sunday outside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral after the funeral prayers for four Christians killed in sectarian clashes, witnesses said.

 They said the mourners who were chanting against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were pelted with stones as they came out of the cathedral.

 Voice of Russia, AFP


Egypt’s fundamentalist rulers crush lives, hopes of women: Age of marriage to be lowered from 18 to 13 maybe 9

The good old days?: An Egyptian woman holds a poster of ousted President Hosni Mubarak during a demonstration outside the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo on Monday.  The court says it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case launched by supporters of Mubarak who challenged the legality of his removal from power two years ago.
The good old days?: An Egyptian woman holds a poster of ousted President Hosni Mubarak during a demonstration outside the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo on Monday.  The court says it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case launched by supporters of Mubarak who challenged the legality of his removal from power two years ago. | AP

Women of all classes alienated in wake of Arab Spring protests

by Tracy Mcveigh

The Observer

  • Online: Apr 03, 2013
  • Print: Apr 03, 2013
  • Last Modfied: Apr 03, 2013
CAIRO – The ambush came from the left, from a side street which led up the hill to Mokattam Mosque. A rush of hundreds of men running down on the march of antigovernment protesters, bringing a sudden clatter of rocks landing all around, the crack of shots fired and the whizz of tear gas canisters. Sticks, stones and metal bars flew through the smoke in both directions, and screaming women and men ran back the way they came.Dozens of manned police vans remained parked about a kilometer away. The only sirens came from ambulances that drove through the crowds and past burning vehicles to take some 40 injured people to a hospital.One angry woman with a bleeding mouth, eyes streaming from the tear gas, pulled off her headscarf and stood yelling at the other side, the supporters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood. “You are not Islam! You are not Egypt! Where is my freedom?”

So go most Fridays in Cairo over the past few weeks as liberal Egyptians have shown their virulent opposition to President Mohammed Morsi as he has awarded himself new powers and pushed through a deeply contentious new constitution. Several buildings of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group behind Morsi, have been burned. In post-Arab Spring Egypt, the revolution continues. But it’s women of all classes who have found themselves most alienated — written out of the jostling for power and subjected to a skyrocketing number of sex assaults, rapes and harassment.

Women who stood shoulder to shoulder with men during the 2011 Tahrir Square protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak found their position in society undermined almost immediately. The parliamentary quota for women was removed without debate and a promised female vice president failed to materialize, amid what political commentator Moushira Khattab called “a radical antifeminist sentiment.” Morsi threatened but stopped short of decriminalizing Egypt’s practice of female genital mutilation, carried out on almost three-quarters of Egyptian girls, making it clear he would not tackle an issue he called “a family matter.”

The new constitution has swept away recognition of women’s rights and left the door open to the legalization of perhaps Egypt’s most crippling social issue — underage marriage. Draft legislation that will allow the legal age of marriage to be lowered from 18 to 13 has been drawn up while clerics within the Muslim Brotherhood have indicated that marriage at the age of 9 for girls is acceptable.

“They see women as, No. 1, objects of sex and, No. 2, to clean their floors. This is what the Egyptian ‘brotherhood’ is all about,” said Fatma, 24, an engineering graduate. The women keep close together, arms linked and eyes alert for the men flying down the side of the demonstration on motorcycles grabbing and screaming at females. “They want to marry us at 9 years old. Are these really the kind of men we want to run our country? Pedophiles?”

Political progress has been slow, with parliamentary elections scheduled for April now postponed with no new date. Frustrations have built.

“They are like a pack of dogs, tearing out the weakest first, raping and harassing the women and the girls, getting rid of them, and then fighting among themselves to be pack leader,” said Aya Kadry, 62.

Hundreds of tower blocks are being built around Cairo, extending the Arab world’s largest city leg by leg into the desert. This is where the vast majority of Egypt’s women are already living the constrained lives that the educated and middle-classes fear will be imposed by a radical government. Child marriage is common, the norm among the poor. Doctors are bribed to sign documents asserting a 14-year-old is 18 but most people don’t have the money so marriages go ahead without registration. Underage girls then have children who, essentially illegal, cannot have their births registered. Without papers those children cannot attend school, encasing a whole new generation in poverty.

In the poor district of Ezbet Khairallah 10 women are sitting around a metal cash box, holding the weekly meeting of their savings and loans group. Set up by the charity Plan Egypt, it encourages women to squirrel away a few coins when they can and to discuss problems.

“We do not really have time to talk to our neighbors, there is a great burden of things to do in the home and for some of us our husbands do not like us to go out of doors, although we have convinced them we should meet for this social fund because it will help all the family,” said Seham Ahmed, 38, who is taking the opportunity to show the group how to make a basic liquid soap.

“I was married at 14,” she said, thumping a stick round a battered bucket and most of the women around her nod. “Pulled out of school one day and married that night. I hope my daughters can wait a little while but it’s quite difficult for girls who are not married at an early age to find a good man later and there is a lot of pressure. And fathers want girls gone because it is one mouth less to feed.”

Asmaa Mohamed Fawzy is 21. She was engaged but her family allowed her to break it off when her best friend died in childbirth aged 16. “I liked having the ring but I was only 15 and didn’t know any better. When Aya died it was a miserable tragedy and I’m very lucky that my mum agreed with me I should not get married. I get teased and bullied. They shout I am not pretty enough, why am I the ugly one, but I do not want to die or to have children who cannot go to school. It is probably too late for me now and I’m sad I won’t have children.”

Her mother, Naghzaky Abdalla, 47, also endures being shunned by her neighbors. “When her friend died I, too, made up my mind. We only have one so we can afford to protect her. A neighbor had died at 15 of bleeding: the doctors wouldn’t treat her because she was married illegally and they don’t want to get involved. The girls’ bodies are not ready for childbirth and they are not ready for sexual relations, which makes their husbands impatient with them,” she said. “Three girls in our street stay indoors now for ever because their husbands divorced them. If they cannot prove they were married and they are not virgins then they cannot get married again so they are shunned.”

Gihan, 45, a community activist with strong views, is fervently for the lowering the age of marriage to 13 in law. “We must do this,” she said. “Because all the unregistered children who cannot go to school need to be helped. These girls are denied health care, their children are denied a future. They have already decreased the legal age of work from 14 to 12 and I think this age too should be lowered. When Mubarak listened to international pressure and raised the age to 18 it changed nothing here. If you decree a legal age then you simply criminalize and marginalize. Men leave their wives before they turn 18 and their children are seen as being born into prostitution. We will raise awareness and stop child marriage this way.”

The stench of human waste coming from the river in another poor Cairo district, Manial Sheiha, is overpowering.

Nawal Rashid opens her door but remains on one side of the deep concrete threshold that she cannot cross — or allow visitors to cross — without her 70-year-old husband’s permission. He is at work. Her 3-year-old son plays behind her and she insists she married at 18 — which makes her 21 now — but her neighbors all say she was 14. “I accepted the older man to help my family as there were four other children and my parents are very poor. I am quite content and happy to have sacrificed myself for my family.”

Next door is Etab, 19. She has two children and has returned to stay with her despairing mother Nearnat, 42, her aging father and her three siblings.

“We thought by marrying her we would get her a better life,” said Nearnat. “Now she is divorced because he was a bad man. She refuses to get married again because then her ex-husband would take the children and now her younger sister is begging me not to go ahead with her marriage. I regret that my daughter was married young because now if she leaves the house her reputation will be ruined. The community all tease me.”

Outside in the street a group of young men explain why they want to marry young brides. “Children need to have their rights but also you want to marry a girl who is much younger so she will stay young and beautiful when you are old. Also, you can control her better and make sure she is not one of these girls who goes around wanting to be harassed,” said Abdel Rahman, 17.

His friend, Youssef, 20, agrees. “There are many girls who just want to be harassed, walking around in the streets with their eyes uncovered,” Youssef said.

Their views are not a surprise to Mona Hussein Wasef, 26, who works for Plan Egypt in Cairo.

“For 18 days we were in Tahrir Square, side by side, men and women, educated and uneducated, rich and poor. Never have I felt so much solidarity. I was Egypt, we were all Egypt, fighting for freedom, shoulder to shoulder,” she said.

“Now we have never been so far apart, men and women. In such a short time, such a gulf,” she said. “Now we are fighting just for the right to walk down the street without being assaulted. It is so hard, so shocking. To see the rights we had being ripped away and lost in the power struggle. To see us go backwards.”

Egyptian mosque turned into house of torture for Christians



Egyptian mosque turned into house of torture for Christians

Islamic hard-liners stormed a mosque in suburban Cairo, turning it into  torture chamber for Christians who had been demonstrating against the ruling  Muslim Brotherhood in the latest case of violent persecution that experts fear  will only get worse.

Such stories have become increasingly common as tensions between Egypt’s  Muslims and Copts mount, but in the latest case, mosque officials corroborated  much of the account and even filed a police report. Demonstrators, some of whom  were Muslim, say they were taken from the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in  suburban Cairo to a nearby mosque on Friday and tortured for hours by hard-line  militia members.

“They accompanied me to one of the mosques in the area and I discovered the  mosque was being used to imprison demonstrators and torture them,” Amir Ayad, a  Coptic who has been a vocal protester against the regime, told MidEast Christian News from a  hospital bed.

Ayad said he was beaten for hours with sticks before being left for dead on a  roadside. Amir’s brother, Ezzat Ayad, said he received an anonymous phone call  at 3 a.m. Saturday, with the caller saying his brother had been found near death  and had been taken to the ambulance.

“He underwent radiation treatment that proved that he suffered a fracture in  the bottom of his skull, a fracture in his left arm, a bleeding in the right  eye, and birdshot injuries,” Ezzat Ayad said.

Officials at the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque said radical militias stormed the  building, in the Cairo suburb of Moqattam, after Friday prayers.

“[We] deeply regret what has happened and apologize to the people of  Moqattam,” mosque officials said in a statement,  adding that “they had lost control over the mosque at the time.” The  statement also “denounced and condemned the violence and involving mosques in  political conflicts.”

The latest crackdown is further confirmation that the Muslim Brotherhood’s  most hard-line elements are consolidating control in Egypt, according to Shaul  Gabbay, a professor of international studies at the University of Denver.

“It will only get worse,” said Gabbay. “This has been a longstanding  conflict, but now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in power, it is moving forward  to implement its ideology – which is that Christians are supposed to become  Muslims.

“There is no longer anything to hold them back,” he continued. “The  floodgates are open.”

Gabbay said the violent militias that allegedly tortured Ayad work  hand-in-hand with police and may, in fact, be beyond the control of increasingly  unpopular President Mohammed Morsi. While he may benefit from roving bands that  attack demonstrators, they also undermine his claim of being a legitimate  leader.

“Egyptian society is split over the Morsi regime, and it is not just a  Coptic-Muslim split,” Gabbay said. “The less conservative elements of the Muslim  society are increasingly uneasy with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Christian Copts  are an easy target, but they are not alone in their mistrust of the  Brotherhood.”

Experts agreed that the Copts, who comprise roughly 10 percent of the  nation’s 83 million people, are not alone in their opposition to the Muslim  Brotherhood, which took power in hotly contested elections following the 2011  ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak. Moderate Muslims and secular  liberals are increasingly uncomfortable with the Islamization of the government.

Sheikh Ahmed Saber, a well-known imam and official in Egypt’s Ministry of  Endowments, has blasted Morsi’s justice ministry for allowing persecution of  Copts.

“All Egyptians in general are oppressed, but Christians are particularly  oppressed, because they suffer double of what others suffer,” Saber told  MCN


Mursi warning stirs fears in Egypt opposition

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 16:32 GMT


* Mursi warns of steps to “protect this nation”

* Stirs fears among opposition of a crackdown

* Warning follows protest outside Brotherhood HQ

By Tom Perry

CAIRO, March 24 (Reuters) – Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi threatened on Sunday to take unspecified steps to “protect this nation” after violent demonstrations against his Muslim Brotherhood, using vague but severe language that the opposition said heralded a crackdown.

In remarks following clashes outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on Friday, Mursi warned that “necessary measures” would be taken against any politicians shown to be involved in what he described as violence and rioting.

“If I am forced to do what is required to protect this nation, then I will do it. And I fear that I might be on the verge of doing it,” Mursi said in a statement. He did not elaborate.

Mursi has faced increasing anger since the Brotherhood propelled him to power in a June election, and several spates of protest have turned into violent riots.

Mursi’s opponents accuse him and the Brotherhood of seeking to dominate the post-Hosni Mubarak era and resorting to undemocratic police powers two years after autocrat Mubarak was brought down by popular protests.

The brotherhood accuses its secularist opponents of stirring trouble to seize power they could not win at the ballot box, and says the relentless civil unrest is wrecking efforts to salvage an economy driven to its knees by uncertainty.

“They are very scary comments,” said Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front (NSF), an alliance of non-Islamist parties formed late last year to oppose Mursi.

“I can see language that is heading towards taking some suppressive measures,” he added.

Dozens of people were hurt on Friday when several thousand supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood fought near the Islamist group’s headquarters.


Dawoud said the NSF was not behind those protests, but added that some of its members may have decided to take part.

Mursi said everyone had the right to peaceful protest, but “what is happening now has nothing to do with the revolution”.

“I urge all political forces not to provide any political cover for acts of violence and rioting. I will not be happy if investigations prove the guilt of some politicians,” he said in the remarks, which were published on his Twitter account.

“Some are using the media to incite violence and those whose involvement is proven will not escape punishment,” he added. “Anyone who takes part in incitement is a partner in the crime.”

He also spoke of attempts to portray the state as weak but said these had failed: “The apparatus of the state are recovering and can deter any law breaker,” he added.

Exactly what new steps Mursi is considering became the subject of speculation.

In late January, he declared a state of emergency rule in three cities near the Suez Canal to combat a wave of violence there. A declaration of a state of emergency elsewhere is unlikely, said Yasser El-Shimy, Egypt analyst for the International Crisis Group, adding arrests were more probable.

“My impression is that Mursi and the Brotherhood in general have had it with the violence that is taking place and they are running out of patience,” he said.

“This is definitely the strictest he has spoken regarding the rioting,” he added. “Now Mursi feels there is enough public opinion on his side to justify taking stricter measures.”

One recent source of tension between Mursi and the opposition was his call for parliamentary elections based on a controversial election law. The vote, due to begin in late April, has been postponed by a court ruling and it is now not clear when it will happen.

Mursi’s political supporters and opponents signed a document agreeing to renounce violence following riots in late January.

Mursi’s opponents say they are committed to peaceful protest and have also accused the Brotherhood of using violence and inciting tension in the street. The Brotherhood says the opposition has done little to rein in its followers.  (Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy; Editing by Peter Graff)

Pharaoh jinx: Egyptian preacher warns of TV ‘magicians’

Mar 18, 2013 17:41 Moscow Time

фараон Рамзес третий фараон Рамсес Древний Египет

© Photo:

A prominent Islamic preacher has warned Egyptians against watching TV news, saying they were broadcast by “Pharaoh’s magicians.”

In this week’s sermon, Safwat Hegazy condemned Egyptian dailies and magazines that had been blaming Hamas for killing Egyptian forces and called on Gaza Palestinians not to “believe what is published in newspapers.”

“Pharaoh [Ramses II] had only one Haman but now there are 1,000 Hamans in Egypt,” the cleric said in reference to Haman, a Biblical character who along with Pharaoh is believed by Muslims to have rejected Prophet Moses’ call to worship the God.

Members of Egypt’s Islamist groups have recently spoken out against the many TV news talk shows and hosts that appear to be against the country’s Islamist rule.

“Quality assurance in Egyptian media is direly needed across the board,” said Dr H.A. Hellyer of the Brookings Institution. “If anything, the state media has simply switched allegiances, and pro-Islamist independent media has hardly been leading the way in non-polarizing news,” he added.

Voice of Russia, Al Arabiya

Heavy fighting in front of Cairo’s Muslim Brotherhood office

Mar 17, 2013 01:28 Moscow Time

египет протест египет беспорядки египет каир

Photo: EPA

Violent clashes between police and a group of protesters broke out Saturday night at the headquarters of the “Muslim Brotherhood” in Cairo.

According to local media, the riots were sparked by an attack of activists of the Islamic association on journalists.

Opponents of the “Brotherhood” threw Molotov cocktails at a police patrol on duty at the HQ, with the police retaliating with tear gas. However, their efforts to contain the crowd failed, and the fire engine was unable to reach the blazing vehicle.

Egypt has recently witnessed increasingly frequent attacks on local media, which authorities accuse of distorting reality. Journalists are accused of “emphasizing the negative news, while ignoring real achievements of the revolution.”

Voice of Russia, TASS


Egypt’s Islamists warn giving women some rights could destroy society

Fri, 15 Mar 2013 01:59 GMT


* U.N. racing to agree women’s rights declaration by Friday

* Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood urges rejection of document

* States failed to agree a 2012 women’s rights declaration  (Corrects second paragraph to show Mursi has resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood, and corrects third paragraph to make clear it was Mursi who was elected in June, not the Muslim Brotherhood)

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Reuters) – Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood warns that a U.N. declaration on women’s rights could destroy society by allowing a woman to travel, work and use contraception without her husband’s approval and letting her control family spending.

The Islamist movement that backs President Mohamed Mursi gave 10 reasons why Muslim countries should “reject and condemn” the declaration, which the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women is racing to negotiate a consensus deal on by Friday.

The Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party propelled Mursi to power in June, posted the statement on its website,, and the website of the party on Thursday.

Egypt has joined Iran, Russia and the Vatican – dubbed an “unholy alliance” by some diplomats – in threatening to derail the women’s rights declaration by objecting to language on sexual, reproductive and gay rights.

The Muslim Brotherhood said the declaration would give “wives full rights to file legal complaints against husbands accusing them of rape or sexual harassment, obliging competent authorities to deal husbands punishments similar to those prescribed for raping or sexually harassing a stranger.”

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice last week touted at the commission – a global policy-making body created in 1946 for the advancement of women – progress made by the United States in reducing the rate of violence against women by their partners.

“All 50 states in our union now have laws that treat date rape or spousal rape as just as much of a crime as rape by a stranger,” Rice said. “We cannot live in truly free societies, if women and girls are not free to reach their full potential.”

The contrasting views show the gap that needs to be breached in negotiations on the declaration, which this year is focused on urging an end to violence against women and girls. The commission failed to agree a declaration last year on a theme of empowering rural women due to similar disagreements.


Egypt has proposed an amendment, diplomats say, that would allow countries to avoid implementing the declaration if it clashed with national laws, religious or cultural values. But some diplomats say this would undermine the entire declaration.

The Muslim Brotherhood warned the declaration would give girls sexual freedom, legalize abortion, provide teenagers with contraceptives, give equality to women in marriage and require men and women to share duties such as child care and chores.

It said the declaration would allow “equal rights to homosexuals, and provide protection and respect for prostitutes” and “equal rights to adulterous wives and illegitimate sons resulting from adulterous relationships.”

A coalition of Arab human rights groups – from Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Tunisia – called on countries at the Commission on the Status of Women on Thursday to stop using religion, culture, and tradition to justify abuse of women.

“The current positions taken by some Arab governments at this meeting is clearly not representative of civil society views, aspirations or best practices regarding the elimination and prevention of violence against women and girls within our countries,” said the statement issued by the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies.

Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile and head of U.N. Women, which supports the commission, said the commission was unable to reach a deal a decade ago when it last focused on the theme of women’s rights and ending violence against women.

“Ten years later, we simply cannot allow disagreement or indecision to block progress for the world’s women,” Bachelet told the opening session of the commission last week. “The world is watching … the violence needs to stop.”  (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Egyptian opposition refuses to meet with Kerry: Tells Kerry ” democracy is not just slogans but rules for all “

Sabbahi compares U.S. support for FJP to that of Mubarak

01 March, 19:27

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO, MARCH 1 – Two leaders of Egypt’s opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), Hamdeen Sabbahi and Mohamed ElBaradei, will not be attending the meeting with U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry. The head of U.S. foreign policy will be arriving in Cairo on Saturday evening for a two-day visit.     The announcement was made by Sabbahi, former presidential candidate and leader of the Nasserist left, in an interview with the television network ONTV. ”We will make our decisions with our own minds, and Kerry must understand that our decision to boycott the elections is exceptional, since democracy is not just slogans but rules for all.” Sabbahi said Kerry should address ”the unjust power that barricades itself behind an unbalanced constitution and young people exposed to bullets”.
He urged the U.S., which ”supports democracy, to address the totalitarian regime and not the opposition”. ”Washington is satisfied as far as its interests go with the Muslim Brotherhood in power, since there is no difference between the power of Mubarak and that of Morsi,” he stressed.
During his visit, Kerry will meet with Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Defence Minister Abdel Fatah Sisi, Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby and representatives of Egyptian civil society. (ANSamed).

2 dead, hundreds injured in Egypt clashes

Mar 4, 2013 02:06 Moscow Time

2 dead, hundreds injured in Egypt clashes

Photo: EPA

Two police officers died and more than 400 people were injured in Sunday’s clashes in Port Said, Egypt, when hundreds of local residents protested the authorities’ decision to move to another prison 39 people accused of involvement in a riot by football fans that flared up at a local stadium a year ago when more than 70 fans from Cairo were either killed or died in the ensuing stampede.

In January 21 people, mostly local football fans, were sentenced to death. The decision sparked a wave of violence in Port Said where some 50 people died in two days of rioting.

This time round a crowd of protesters tried to storm into the local police headquarters, but were held back by police and army units.

Voice of Russia, TASS

Missile shipment intercepted in Egypt

Feb 28, 2013 01:00 Moscow Time
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синайский полуостров египет блокпост

A large shipment of anti-tank missiles was intercepted on Wednesday by Egyptian Security Forces on the outskirts of Cairo.

According to local media, 60 rockets complete with warheads, were found in two trucks near the entrance to “October 6th,” a town on the outskirts of the capital Cairo.

The dangerous goods arrived from the north-western province of Matruh and were being transported by smugglers through the desert away from the highways.

According to police officers the cargo arrived in Egypt from Libya.

Voice of Russia, TASS

Egypt insists food supply secure as wheat imports dive : selling bread (less than 1 U.S. cent / loaf ) since last overthrow

By Yasmine Saleh and Sarah McFarlanePosted 2013/02/24 at 10:59 am EST

CAIRO/LONDON, Feb. 24, 2013 (Reuters) — Egypt’s wheat imports are sharply down this year as it endures economic and political crisis, but state and private buyers insist they still have funds to keep the nation supplied with its staple bread.

Egyptian officials and traders acknowledge the government’s problems with a rising budget deficit and falling currency reserves, but say the state is allocating priority financing for wheat imports. They are also pinning some of their hopes on an increase in domestic production.

Foreign traders and financiers remain skeptical, pointing to a big drop both in wheat stocks – to about three months’ supply from over seven last October – and in the number of grains ships arriving at Egyptian ports.

This, they believe, is evidence that the state grains supplier, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, (GASC) is facing problems in maintaining imports.

“It’s an ongoing concern that the political and economic turmoil is making it a challenge for GASC to import wheat,” said Karel Valken, global head of trade and commodity finance at Rabobank.

Egypt has a history of bread riots but maintained supplies of heavily subsidized flat loaves – which sell to the poor for just 5 piastres (less than 1 U.S. cent) – throughout the popular uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The man who until last week organized Egypt’s state wheat purchases, Nomani Nomani, dismissed any suggestion that the government had failed to produce promised funding or guarantees to ensure that shipments could go ahead.

“The state has not at any point reduced its payments or failed to deliver to us financial guarantees,” Nomani, who now advises the supply minister, told Reuters on Sunday.[ID:nL6N0BO1GE] As vice chairman of GASC, Nomani was arguably the most powerful man on the global wheat market as Egypt is traditionally the world’s biggest importer of the grain.

President Mohamed Mursi’s government faces daunting economic problems. The Egyptian pound has fallen more than 8 percent since the start of January, and foreign currency reserves have tumbled to $13.6 billon in January from $36 billion before the fall of Mubarak.


The pound’s drop is putting a heavy strain on the government budget as it has pushed up the cost of state subsidies on energy and food, much of which is purchased in dollars.

At the same time detailed negotiations for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund have yet to get underway, and Egyptian politics are in turmoil due to disputes between the ruling Islamists and opposition parties over a new constitution and parliamentary elections due to start in April.

Nevertheless, private traders discount talk of delivery disruptions, payments problems or shortages so far.

“If you’re asking about any delays in shipping schedules due to contractual liability performance on GASC’s side due to a shortage of foreign currency, the answer as of today, as we speak, is no,” said Hassan Abdel Fadil, chief executive of Egyptian trader Venus.

“It’s obvious to the entire world that there is pressure on the dollar in Egypt, but so far they’ve been doing well,” Fadil told Reuters on Saturday.

“There is a good local supply, both on the private side and on the GASC side. People keep talking about shortage of stocks – no, it’s not true, neither on the private nor on the GASC side.”

Nevertheless, the figures are striking. GASC has bought 235,000 tons of wheat since January 1, about a third of what it purchased in the same period a year earlier.

And dry bulk vessels over 50,000 deadweight tons (dwt) – the kind of ships used to carry wheat – are arriving in sharply reduced numbers.

Altogether 30 have called at Egyptian ports from the country’s main wheat supplier countries in the January to February period. This is down from 59 vessels in the same period last year, ship-tracking data from maritime intelligence publisher IHS Fairplay showed.

Egypt normally buys strategically to ensure it has wheat stocks equal to at least six months’ consumption in its silos. By contrast, the government said last week that it has stocks to last until May 29, or just over three months.

The cabinet said this would rise to about four months under current international contracts, but this falls well short of the almost seven months’ cover in October last year.


Such figures encourage a belief that the dollar shortage is forcing Egypt to import less and make up the shortfall from reserves.

“We’ve done some business there in the last few weeks and didn’t have too much trouble getting paid, but our normal buyers now are saying they are going to live on the stocks they have on hand for the next little while,” said Wayne Bacon, president of grain trader Hammersmith Marketing, which is involved with private importers. “They’re waiting to see if they can get any foreign currency to pay for things.”

Egypt faces a huge task in feeding its people. Most of its territory is desert, and what little land that can be cultivated by using the waters of the Nile is under heavy pressure from development. With its population of 84 million growing fast, buildings are springing up on agricultural land.

Nomani, who left his job at GASC saying only that he had been promoted, said measures to boost domestic production were paying off at a time of difficulty for state finances.

“We have proper planning. We were aware of the conditions the state is going through, and we made a list of factors to rely on for securing our essential supply of wheat, including offering attractive incentives and prices to local farmers,” he said.

Nomani expected local wheat production to increase by “at least 500,000 tons in 2012/2013, if not more, raising the amount of local wheat to 4.2 million tons”.

This would mark an impressive rise from 2.6 million in 2010/2011, but overall needs are greater.

Egypt imports about half the 18.8 million tons of wheat it consumes a year, with business split roughly evenly between private importers and GASC. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had estimated Egypt’s imports at 9.5 million tons in 2012/13.

Nomani said the government had budgeted 11 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.6 billion) for domestic wheat purchases this financial year, which runs from July to June.

Nevertheless, the state is short not only of dollars but also domestic currency. The budget deficit in the last six months of 2012 was 5.1 percent of economic output, up sharply from the previous year.

Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby predicted the deficit could hit 10 percent of GDP in the financial year to June – a level Egypt cannot afford without outside help.

Cairo’s main hope is completing the IMF deal that was agreed in principle last November but put on hold during street violence the following month.

Admitting that foreign direct investment had all but dried up, Araby said the government planned to invite an IMF mission to Cairo within a week.

The funds are sorely needed. Egypt suffered bread riots in 1977 when the state tried to curb subsidies, and a dive in the pound in 2003 forced up the food subsidy bill by 40 percent. Riots erupted again in 2008 over high food prices and low wages.

“I don’t think they can afford to jeopardize their subsidies at the moment,” said Hammersmith’s Bacon. “They’re going to have to find funds to finance their wheat and sugar purchases because there’s just too many people in the country who can cause a lot of trouble if they don’t.”

(Additional reporting by Alexander Dziadosz in Cairo, Jonathan Saul in London and Valerie Parent in Paris; writing by Veronica Brown in London and David Stamp in Cairo; Editing by Will Waterman)

Egypt wants extradition of former PM

Feb 21, 2013 20:36 Moscow Time
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ахмед шафик египет

Photo: EPA

Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Office has requested that the Interpol arrest and extradite Egypt’s former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, news reports said on Thursday.

The decision comes two days after Shafiq was referred in absentia to Cairo Criminal Court over corruption and money laundering charges.

Shafiq, who rejects all the accusations, left Egypt for the United Arab Emirates after losing the presidential race in 2012.

Voice of Russia, TASS


Egypt to start rationing subsidised fuel in July

Mon, 18 Feb 2013 22:22 GMT


CAIRO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Egypt will implement its delayed plans to ration subsidised fuel through a system of smart cards at the beginning of July, the country’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources said on Monday.

Egypt’s government is in the process of reforming subsidies in order to cut its budget deficit and secure a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which is crucial to support its ailing economy.

“We are working, as part of the programme, to implement it at the beginning of the new financial year (in July),” Osama Kamal said, when asked about the smart cards, in an interview broadcast on Egyptian channel CBC.

The quotas, to be implemented through a system of cards allowing drivers a limited amount of subsidised fuel, were due to start in April, just as the country is set to hold parliamentary elections.

On February 12, the minister said that the smart cards would be implemented between April and July.

The Islamist-led administration that took office in July vowed to push through a reform of subsidies, which swallow as much as a quarter of the state budget, to lower its deficit but is reluctant to hurt voters.

It eliminated subsidies on 95-octane gasoline, the highest grade available, late last year, prompting many motorists to switch to subsidised lower-octane fuel.

Egypt, which has endured two years of political instability since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF in November.  (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Jason Webb)


Saint Valentine: Egyptian Salafists say it’s a sin

Anyone in red or giving heart-shaped balloons is going to hell

14 February, 18:23

(ANSAmed) – CAIRO, FEBRUARY 14 – Saint Valentine’s is a Christian feast and therefore ”haram”, a sin, according to Egypt’s main Salafist movements. Jamaa Islamiya and Salafists in Suez put up posters calling for the abolition of St. Valentine’s, warning women not to wear red and street sellers not to sell heart-shaped balloons. Lovers’ presents, flowers and stuffed animals are also on the Salafist sin list.

”St. Valentine is a Western invention and it has nothing to do with religion,” according to an Egyptian Salafist movement spokesperson, Khaled. In Alexandria, unknown militants distributed flyers warning against ”the wrath of God” and saying people who indulged in anything Valentine-related were going to hell. On Twitter, some fundamentalists threatened sinners with 80 lashes, because St.

Valentine is ”against sharia”, or Islamic law.

A branch of Sunni Islam, the Salafist movement calls for a strict and puritanical approach to religion, with some elements espousing violent jihad against civilians as a legitimate expression of Islam. (ANSAmed).


Egyptian police go on strike

Feb 14, 2013 02:02 Moscow Time

Египет полиция полицейский

Photo: © Ibrahim/cc-by

In Egypt thousands of police officers went on strike on Wednesday demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Mohammed Anwar Ibrahim they believe is too closely associated with the country’s ruling Moslem Brotherhood party

The walkout was sparked by an online video showing several policemen and senior officers guarding the presidential palace clubbing down a demonstrator during Monday’s protests timed for the second anniversary of the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Voice of Russia, IF