An angry Egyptian mob has lynched the teenage son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, accusing him of killing a man over Facebook comments critical of the Islamist movement, said security sources on Saturday.
The violence that took place on Thursday in the Nile Delta was the latest in a spate of vigilante killings in the region amid growing lawlessness since the 2011 revolution that toppled former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Yussef Rabie Abdessalam, 16, pulled out a gun and opened fire indiscriminately, killing a passerby and wounding another after a heated argument with a man who had openly criticized the influential Brotherhood on the Internet, sources said.
His action sparked fury in Qattawiya, a village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, where Abdessalam’s father, Rabie Abdessalam, is an official at the local branch of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood from which President Mohamed Mursi hails.
An angry mob surrounded Abdessalam’s house seeking revenge, but the family refused to give Abdessalam up and hurled stones from inside the house at the protesters.
Dozens rallied around the Iranian ambassador’s house in Cairo in protest of Iranian tourism in Egypt, briefly clashing with security forces on Friday.
The Salafi protestors clashed with the Central Security Forces protecting the house after attempting to break into the ambassador’s house.
CSF troops stationed at the house launched teargas canisters to the crowd of Salafi protesters who responded by throwing back rocks. The clashes subsided only a few minutes later.
Protestors chanted against Iran and adherents of Shia Islam, the second largest sect of Islam. “Egypt will not become Shia, oh ambassador of Iran,” and “Listen, Muslim Brotherhood, we do not want relations with Iran,” were amongst the prevalent chants.
Egypt and Iran agreed on a new tourism exchange treaty back in March that saw the arrival of Iranian tourists to the country for the first time in over 30 years last week. Salafi groups and figures have condemned the move, labelling it an aid to the “Shia flow” into the country.
The protestors demanded cutting off all relations between Egypt and the “Iranian entity” and declared that Shia Muslims were not welcome in Egypt. They also demanded the expulsion of all Iranian tourists from the country.
The Muslim Brotherhood has proven to be the most organized movement associated bith the “Arab Spring.” They have taken over 50% of the seats in the new parliaments in Egypt and Tunisia. In Libya they have done less well getting only a fifth of the votes.
However, the Justice and Construction party, Muslim Brotherhood, in Libya is planning for the next round. They are organizaing for the effort now. Outside Tripoli, the capitol, the Brotherhood is opening offices in many small towns and organizing the vote for the next election.
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has threatened to take unspecified steps to “protect this nation” after violent demonstrations against his Muslim Brotherhood 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 anyone shown to be involved in what he described as violence and rioting.
The main problem is that the opposition is so splintered with too many opposition groups and candidates running for elections. No way they can match the Brotherhood organization as they fight among themselves.
As Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government slides toward the financial cliff, what’s the right policy for the United States? That’s becoming an urgent question, as Egypt’s financial reserves decline and the country nears a new breaking point.
The economic facts are stark: Egypt’s official foreign currency reserves in February were $13.5 billion, which would cover a little less than three months of imports. But U.S. officials say that accessible, liquid reserves total only $6 billion to $7 billion. Already, imports are harder to find, including the raw materials needed by Egyptian manufacturers. The Egyptian stock market tumbled 5 percent early this week, sensing danger ahead.
And what is the government of President Mohamed Morsi doing to halt the economic decline? Not a lot. Morsi has been dithering for a year in negotiating a roughly $5 billion rescue package from the International Monetary Fund that Egypt desperately needs. He has stalled because he’s wary of public anger at the reforms the IMF demands, including reductions in subsidies, which take 25 percent of Egypt’s budget. (Debt service and public-sector employment account for another 50 percent.)
The wolf is two or three months from Egypt’s door, top U.S. officials believe. Meanwhile, the country is facing increasing political turmoil, with riots Tuesday in Port Said that left 50 wounded. Morsi’s government sent a new proposal to the IMF last week, but it may fall short of the IMF’s reform targets, further delaying action.
Welcome to Phase 2 of the Arab Spring, which we might call the “reality check.” The U.S. and its allies made a bet two years ago that if the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt, it would be forced to deal with the responsibilities of governing — such as negotiating loans with the IMF and adopting economic reforms to woo investors. These economic realities are now enveloping Morsi. But so far he hasn’t shown the leadership the U.S. had hoped.
So what are American policy options, as Egypt nears the brink?
Speaking with noted Islamophobic radio personality Tom Trento, Guandolo claimed that Brennan had “interwoven his life professionally and personally with individuals that we know are terrorist and he has given them access” to top officials in the federal government and “brought known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions,” according to Salon. It was an eyebrow-raising description of Brennan, given that the former national security advisor is under fairly harsh criticism from the political left for his role in the drone killings of radical Muslim jihadists.
In a sense, this latest claim was different only as a matter of degree, not kind. As head of the Virginia-based Strategic Engagement Group, Guandolo has spent years on the lecture circuit, publicizing his fear that radical Islam has infiltrated the government. In 2011, for instance, a National Public Radio report focused on Guandolo’s false claim that a Jordanian-American professor had links to terrorists and his allegation that many American mosques were complicit in a seditious Muslim Brotherhood plot to dismantle the Constitution. Last summer, he and his organization came under fire again after holding training sessions for law enforcement officials in which he claimed that Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,” according to several news reports.
Guandolo also has worked with many of the most vociferous Muslim-bashing ideologues, including ACT! for America’s Brigitte Gabriel, who in 2011 sounded very similar to Guandolo in an interview with The New York Times: “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department.”
Guandolo’s new claim regarding Brennan doesn’t seem to be backed by a shred of evidence, beyond repeating a widespread rumor — which was briefly part of Brennan’s Wikipedia profile before being taken down — that Brennan converted to Islam while he was stationed in Saudi Arabia. But that didn’t stop a number of right-wing blogs and websites from joining in, including WorldNet Daily (WND), which featured the “news” under the tabloid headline “Shock Claim.”
A conspiracy theory circulating in the Arab world holds that the Muslim Brotherhood is secretly allied with the Jews, the Anti-Defamation League said.
“It would seem that no allegation made against Jews and Israel is too absurd when it is used to discredit others,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement.
Protesters were shown in a television broadcast last Friday chanting “Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews, the Brothers (Muslim Brotherhood) are the Jews,” according to the ADL, which explains that the slogan is meant to evoke an Islamic story of a battle between the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews in the town of Khaibar.
Also, Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan in a Twitter campaign aiming to discredit the Muslim Brotherhood recently alleged an allegiance to Israel and Jews.
“However bizarre and ludicrous, it is an increasingly popular conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood is a Jewish production to destroy Egyptians,”
When video footage from 2010 of then-Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi calling Jews “the descendants of apes and pigs” surfaced two weeks ago, it properly focused international attention on the Brotherhood’s bigoted ideology. Morsi’s comments, after all, are just the tip of the iceberg for the Brotherhood, which has long argued that Egyptian Christians should be barred from running for president, and which recently pushed through a new constitution that denies religious rights to Baha’is and Shiites.
Given that the Muslim Brotherhood is now Egypt’s ruling party and Morsi is Egypt’s president, the international community must challenge the Brotherhood on its many hatreds to ensure that they are never acted upon. In this vein, Morsi’s visit to Germany on Wednesday represents an important opportunity to force him to recant perhaps the vilest example of the Brotherhood’s intolerance: its denial of the Holocaust.
Ironically, Morsi’s visit will come only days after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which the German government first established in 1996 and the United Nations later recognized in 2005 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Although the purpose of Holocaust Remembrance Day is to raise awareness of genocides to prevent them from being repeated, the Muslim Brotherhood used the occasion in 2010 to argue that the Holocaust is “the largest swindling operation in history.”
According to the Brotherhood, American intelligence agencies invented the Holocaust “myth” during World War II “to destroy the image of their German opponents” and “to justify a massive war of destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers.” In its revisionist history, the Brotherhood further accused “world Zionists and Israel” of using the Holocaust for “the political and financial blackmail of Germany and other Eastern European countries,” claiming that reparations “didn’t go to the Holocaust victims or their heirs, but to the Israeli war treasury in the greatest funding operation for the real Holocaust against the Palestinian people.” Finally, the Brotherhood invented statistics to argue that many fewer than six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. “The German census established that the number of German Jews ranged from 600-700,000 and half-a-million remained when the war ended,” according to the Brotherhood’s Holocaust history, “And this doesn’t include the Jews who died because of natural death, road accidents, and as victims of Allied air raids.”
The ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party will compete with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in parliamentary elections, signaling a rift between the country’s two largest Islamist movements.
The Nour party’s relationship with the Brotherhood is “tense,” Younis Makhioun, the group’s recently elected head, said in an interview with the state-run Al Ahram newspaper published today. “Our views on managing the state are different,” he said.
Makhioun was elected as head on Jan. 9 after 150 members resigned to form the Watan Party. The Nour Party trailed the Freedom and Justice Party in parliamentary elections last year, winning a quarter of seats. Egypt will start procedures for legislative elections on Feb. 25, state-run Ahram Gate website said, without elaborating.
The party may run for the presidency once the term of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi ends in 2016, Makhioun said in a separate interview with the Asharq Alawsat newspaper published today.
Egyptian voters just approved a new constitution in a popular referendum, so it’s safe to say at this point that the country has undergone a regime change. The military government installed by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s “Free Officers Movement” in 1952, which continued in a crippled form for a while after Hosni Mubarak was removed from power, is now finished.
The new constitution was translated into English and published on the Internet. It’s a mixed bag. Some of it is pretty good. Parts are incoherent and far too vague for a legal document. Other sections are toxic, especially Article 2 which says—and all of us knew this was coming—that “Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation.” [Emphasis added.]
The referendum passed by a roughly 2-1 margin, which is more or less the same percentage of people who voted for either the Muslim Brotherhood or the totalitarian Salafists in the last parliamentary election.
ABC News reports that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi “called on the opposition to join a dialogue to heal rifts over the charter.”
There shouldn’t be any serious rifts. Not over a new constitution. It ought to be a consensus document, something liberals and conservatives, Muslims and Christians, and the secular and the religious can all live with.