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EGYPT - Climate of fear creeps back to Egypt - En

Since July 3rd and the removal of Mohamed Morsi, mass arrests of members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been carried out all over Egypt. The Egyptian military and media supporting the regime’s policy accuse the Brotherhood of terrorism. Opponents of the new government have to be more and more discreet or risk arrest. Reuters news agency states that at least 900 people have been killed since the two pro-Morsi camps were dispersed on August 14th.
From : Reuters, 08/21/2013


By Michael Georgy and David Stamp

A climate of fear that kept Egyptians compliant during the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak is creeping back into daily life, less than three years after the revolt that toppled him.

Ordinary people like Mohamed, who runs a tiny Cairo shop selling mobile phone accessories, now lower their voices if they oppose the army's overthrow last month of their first freely-elected president, Mohamed Mursi.

"It is about the principle that we stood in line and voted freely for the first time and this happens," whispered Mohamed, who declined to give his second name. "People who speak about justice now do not dare to say it out loud, in case people accuse them of being terrorists."

While activists critical of the army-backed government are obvious targets for intimidation, now ordinary Egyptians also avoid the noisy, boisterous discussion of politics that was common between the fall of Mubarak and that of his Islamist successor on July 3.

From mass arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders to the re-appearance of plain clothes enforcers on the streets of Cairo, a chill wind is blowing down the Nile.

Many Egyptians lambasted Mursi's Brotherhood for economic incompetence and trying to grab excessive power during his year in power. But now the language is much more serious: the government accuses the Brotherhood of "terrorism" as it tries to crush the movement by rounding up hundreds of leading members.

At least 900 people have been killed since security forces broke up two pro-Mursi camps on August 14. Allies of the Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest and best-organized Islamist organization, put the toll at 1,400.

A muted public response to Wednesday's court ruling that Mubarak should be released from jail has added to a sense that the authoritarian order is making a comeback, threatening the freedoms that were the main dividend of the uprising that began on January 25, 2011.

Media are now dominated by those backing the army's line that it removed Mursi in response to popular protests demanding his departure that began on June 30... Read more...

Pharos’ Watch
  • EGYPT - Interview with Prof. Richard Jacquemond - Fr

    From : Le Monde (France), 10/17/2013

    The almost-unanimous rallying of the Egyptian intelligensia to the military coup d'etat and its silence in the face of the bloody repression of pro-Morsi demonstrations since 14 August raise a number of questions. In an interview with newspaper Le Monde, Richard Jacquemond, a specialist and translator of modern Arab and Egyptian literature, professor at the University of Aix-Marseille and researcher at the Institut de Recherches et d'Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman, IREMAM (a National Centre of Scientific Research), provided an enlightening view of the political struggle in Egypt between various old and new factions, and their "alliances of convenience" since 28 January 2011. Questioned as to whether writers dare to go against the dominant line of thought, Jacquemond replies that virtually universal silence does not equate to acquiescence. The Egyptians have been living in a climate of fear since the return of the "Moubarakian police state", which is not restricting its attentions to just officials and sympathisers of the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • EGYPT – Seen by Dominican Jean-Jacques Pérennes - Fr

    From : Secours catholique (France), 09/17/2013

    Jean-Jacques Pérennes, Director of the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies (Ideo), has witnessed the two “revolutions” which have shaken Egypt since 2011. In response to an invitation from institute partner, French charity Le Secours Catholique, he offers his impressions of the current situation in the country where he has lived for 14 years.

  • EGYPT - Human Rights Watch reports mass attacks on Churches - En

    From : Human Rights Watch, 08/22/2013

    The Human Rights protection NGO has confirmed 42 Churches have been attacked following the violent dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo on August 14th.

  • EGYPT – The context of the current crisis according to the Pew Research Center - En

    From : Reuters, 08/21/2013

    Based on the results of a recent study by the Pew Research Center, specialist researcher in religion for the American research organisation Brian J. Grim gives us five key statements to help us understand the current situation in Egypt. Using statistics, he states that the current armed conflict crisis is related to religion. The researcher underlines the importance of governmental restrictions on religion which were tightened under the Morsi government but also existed previously. He shows the existing correlation between these restrictions and the levels of social hostility recorded in the country. While the largest in the Middle East, Egypt’s Christian population should not be overestimated as is often the case and, according to the researcher, accounts for approximately 5% of the population. As a Muslim-majority country, Egypt has a particularly low tolerance of religious pluralism according to Grim.

  • EGYPT - Reprisals against the Copts - En & Ar

    From : Al-Ahram & Maspero Youth Union, 08/17/2013

    The Arabic Egyptian daily newspaper Al Ahram has just published a report by Maspero Youth Union, the Coptic youth movement, on recent attacks against Churches and Copts carried out between August 14th and 16th by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. According to the report, sixty-one Churches, six Coptic schools and fifty-eight houses were targeted in several Egyptian provinces.

  • EGYPT - Al Azhar strongly condemns recent attacks on Shia in GIZA - AR

    From : Al Azhar, 06/24/2013

    In a press release dated 24 June 2013, Cairo-based Al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam's most prestigious institutions, strongly condemned the murder of four Shias in Abu Muslam, a small village in the Giza governorate. Al Azhar noted that such crimes are among the greatest sins in Islam, and are punished by the law and banned by Islam and the Constitution alike. The press release highlighted the sacred nature of blood and emphasised that the murders were contrary to the customs of Islam, Egypt, and Egyptians, who "oppose murders committed on the grounds of religion, dogma, or ideas." The institution called on the authorities to immediately open an investigation, to "severely punish" the guilty parties, and to ensure that the sovereignty of the law and public order are maintained.

  • EGYPT - Bloody violence against Shias - Fr

    From : Slate Afrique, 06/24/2013

    The news magazine Slate Afrique reports murderous attacks on Shi’ite Muslims in Egypt, on Sunday 23 June 2013. The events took place in a small village of the Giza governorate, Abu-Muslim. Among the victims was one of the most renowned Egyptian sheikhs, Hassan Shehata, who was accused of propagating Shi'ism in Egypt. In a majority Sunni country, certain Salafi sheikhs have been inciting hatred against Egyptian Shi'ite citizens, states the magazine.

  • EGYPT - The Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies turns sixty - Ar

    From : Wataninet, 06/10/2013

    Watani , the private Egyptian weekly, reports on the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies (IDEO) held in Cairo on 9 June. In honour of the occasion, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Thawadros II and the advisor and representative of the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, Dr Mahmoud Azeb, along with other major Christian and Muslim personalities, showed their recognition for the contribution the Institute and its library have made to research, study, publishing and objective knowledge of others. Speakers emphasised the considerable efforts made by generations of Dominican priests who have loved Egypt and devoted their life to closer understanding between Christians and Muslims. "The Institute stands behind Al Azhar and all the churches in their efforts towards an Egypt which is home to Islamic-Christian dialogue, where Christians and Muslims alike are open to a message founded on key shared values", concluded the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar’s representative.

  • EGYPT - Copts and Muslims join forces to combat inter-religious tensions - Fr

    From : Common Ground News Service (CGNews) via JOL Press, 05/03/2013

    In an Egypt racked with strong inter-religious tensions, the group Salafyo Costa, established by a Muslim, Mohamed Tolba, and a Copt, Bassem Victor, is successfully uniting Salafists and Copts through joint activities. They are working together to combat distrust and fear of each other, born of ignorance. This article, published in French on the JOL Press global news website, is also the personal story of two independent journalists living in Egypt.

  • EGYPT – Election of Grand mufti of Al-Azhar: towards greater independence from the political sphere - Fr

    From : Pharos Observatory, 02/25/2013

    For the first time in modern history the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar, the leading interpreter of Islamic law, was elected on 11th February 2013 by an electoral college made up of high level theologians and doctors of fiqh (Islamic law). The Grand Mufti was until now directly appointed by the President of the Republic.

  • EGYPT – Young atheists share their ideas on the web - Fr

    From : Courrier international, 12/20/2012

    Courrier International reissued an article from the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masri Al-Youm on the atheist “community” who increasingly venture to express their ideas on the web. However as a journalist points out, “in Egypt, atheist propaganda can be seen as a blasphemous, defamatory or contemptuous act in relation to religion and as such an offense punishable by law.”