A group of knifemen stormed a hotel in Egypt’s Hurghada on Friday evening, injuring a number of foreign tourists before security forces killed one of the assailants and injured the other, ending the attack. The police said the dead assailant’s name was Mohamed Hassan, born in 1994. According to Egyptian Streets, Mohamed was a 21-year-old student and resident of Giza. Albawaba news, as well as some Egyptians on Facebook and Twitter accounts claim that he is a member of the Ultra football fan group, where he was known as Mohamed Sheka and pointed to this Facebook page as his personal page.
According to Egypt’s Ahram, it is still unclear what motivated Sheka to stab three European tourists inside the Bella Vista hotel on the Red Sea. Some in Egypt, including many Islamists and anti-Sisi, are portraying the incident in Hurghada as “a quarrel” between youth that went wrong, not a terrorist attack. The Hotel’s statement, however, according to Ahram, asserted that the attackers carried a “fake gun” and “knives.”
Regardless of the truth behind what happened in Hurghada, Mohamed’s alleged Facebook page portrays a very disturbing profile of Mohamed. His post reflects a young guy completely brainwashed by the ideology of radical political Islam. Mohamed there asserted his loathing of Christians and his refusal to greet them at Christmas. He alleged that stories about the Prophet’s forgiveness of the infidels are doubtful and not strongly sourced. On several occasions he quoted Ibn Taymiyyahs, a medieval Islamic theologian who inspired both Saudi’s Wahhabi doctrine and radical Salafi ideologies.
Perhaps the most disturbing post from Mohamed was one with the French flag saying “Ahsan” or “good for you”, an Egyptian term used when gloating about someone else’s misery. He was also upset by how some of the anti-coup supporters, including Yemen’s Nobel laureate Tawakool Kerman and Egypt’s ex-Mofti Ali Gomaa, labeled the victims of the Paris attacks as martyrs.
In another post, he cheered a photo of an Ethiopian elephant enjoying the Nile water while an Egyptian elephant is struggling for water, insinuating pleasure with Egypt’s possible water shortage due to the building of the Ethiopian dam.
Sheka was suspicious even of the Islamism of Turkey’s Erdogan, and predicted that Erdogan will never declare Turkey, in his words, to be an Islamic Emirate. On women, he advocated the coverage of the face, claiming that covering the hair with the hijab is not enough!
In sum, regardless of the truth behind what happened in Hurghada, there is no doubt that Mohamed Sheka was a radicalized youth full of hate toward his country and the Western world, even rejecting any lenient explanations of Islamic texts. Sheka is now dead; the question, however, is how many of our youth are radicalized like him? And how can Egypt reverse such a disturbing phenomenon? I am not sure there are any easy answers to those questions.