This Week in Egypt: Week 3-2018 ( Jan 15-21)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt’s Sisi announces intention to run for second term
  • Ex-military chief of staff to run in Egyptian presidential election
  • Pence starts Middle East tour in Egypt, pledges ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ support
  • Sisi appoints his office director as acting head of General Intelligence Directorate
  • Ethiopia leader rejects call for World Bank arbitration in dam dispute with Egypt
  • Egypt rejects Turkish military operations against Syrian Afrin

 

Pence and Sisi.jpg

 

Main Headlines

Monday

 Tuesday

Wednesday

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Friday

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Sunday

Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter

 

 

 

 

Plus

Finally here are Jayson Casper’s prayers for Egypt

 

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Reblog: The Schizophrenia of Mahmoud Abbas

I strongly recommend this piece on the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. As Michael aptly wrote: The aging Palestinian leader a uniquely frustrating figure.
Enjoy…

Ottomans and Zionists

Much has already been said of Mahmoud Abbas’s vilely ahistorical and anti-Semitic speech to the P.L.O.’s Central Council on Sunday. There is no need to go through a blow by blow of the Palestinian president’s repugnant claims that European Jews marched to the ovens in order to avoid emigrating to Palestine, his ludicrous charge that Israel has nothing to do with Judaism, or his nescient reading of history in which Zionist leaders conspired with Arab potentates to make their countries Judenrein in order to boost Israel’s Jewish population. Abbas’s screed deserves unqualified condemnation, and it only adds to his schizophrenic legacy.

Abbas has been a disappointing political partner for Israel, to say the least. This is not to say that Israel has made things easy for him, or that Israeli leaders have all been champing at the bit to strike a deal and have been stymied by an unwilling…

View original post 1,044 more words

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This Week in Egypt: Week 2-2018 ( January 8-12)

Top Headlines

  • Presidential elections set for March 26-28 in Egypt
  • Egypt opens criminal inquiry over a New York Times article
  • Egypt approves cabinet reshuffle ahead of elections
  • Ex-military chief of staff General Sami Anan will run in Egyptian presidential election
  • Israel had destroyed a cross-border attack tunnel that ran from Gaza into Israel and Egypt
  • Alexandria court overturns sentence against activist Mahinour El-Masry in Red Sea islands protest case

 Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

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Sunday

Good Reports

From Twitter

Plus

Plus

Finally, here are Jayson Casper’s prayers for Egypt

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This Week in Egypt: Week 1-2018 ( Jan 1-7)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt to extend state of emergency for 3 months
  • Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik is no longer considering running for president in this year’s election
  • Sudan recalls its ambassador from Egypt amid tensions
  • Sisi attended Christmas mass at the new Nativity of Christ Cathedral in the new administrative capital
  • Egypt garners 3 CAF titles, Mohamed Salah named best African play

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

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Sunday

  • Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik is no longer considering running for president in this year’s election
  • Egypt refutes a New York Times’ report on tacit acceptance of Jerusalem move
  • Hot air balloon flights continue in Egypt’s Luxor, investigation still on going into Friday’s accident
  • Iraq waits for Egyptian company assistance in Iraqi reconstruction

Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter

Sports

  • Egypt wins National team of the Year award

Plus

Finally here are Jayson Casper’s prayers for Egypt

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Twitter Threads on Iran Protests

Here are interesting Twitter threads on the current protests in Iran that I would like to share.

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This Week in Egypt- Week 52-Last Week of 2017

Top Headlines

  • Gunman kills 9 in Egypt church attack claimed by ISIS
  • Egypt hangs 15 militants convicted of 2013 Sinai attacks 
  • Egypt security forces kill three suspected militants, arrest 10 others
  • British woman accused of bringing 300 painkiller tablets into Egypt jailed for three years 

 Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

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Sunday

Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter

Video

Plus

Finally, here are Jayson Casper’s prayers for Egypt

Posted in Diary of Aak, Egypt | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Social Islamism In Egypt

An English version of my original Arabic piece in Al-Hurra

Sheik Jackson movie

Amr Salama’s Movie’s Sheikh Jackson

In recent days, in Egypt, an Oscar-nominated film was referred to Al-Azhar, a crowd of Muslim worshippers attacked a church, and an actress became the focus of insults on social media for her comments regarding how Muezzins sound. These three incidents in Egypt over a span of weeks may seem unconnected, but they are linked. They all are alarming outcomes of a social Islamism that has infested Egypt and is increasingly bursting out in boils.

Egypt’s general prosecutor initiated an investigation against Amr Salama’s movie Sheikh Jackson after a “member of the public,” a Giza-based solicitor, submitted a complaint accusing the movie and its director of “contempt of religion.” This was put forth despite the movie being previously cleared and authorized by Egypt’s censorship committee. Rather than dismissing the complaint as nonsense and discharging the accuser of wasting valuable time in the Egyptian legal system, the prosecutor opted to interrogate the movie director Salama and refer the film to Al-Azhar to provide a verdict on the charges. When film critic Tarek El-Shenawy defended the film, many Facebook readers responded with ugly insults and replies against him, the film, and even art in general.

A few days later, 100 kilometres outside Cairo, hundreds gathered outside a church in Atfih, Giza, chanting hostile slogans and calling for the church’s demolition. Incitement against the church was allegedly coordinated via a social media campaign led by some youth, who were angry after rumours circulated that the church will hang “a bell.” The rumours was enough to spread rage and initiate an assault on the church, which led to four injuries and destruction of church property and artefacts before the police managed to bring the situation under control. Such attacks against Christians are not being conducted by terror groups, and in fact are a manifestation of wider social animosity against minorities.

In the third incident, actress Sherine Reda was attacked after she expressed on a TV interview her discontent about the unpleasant sounding and loud voices of some Muzzins (callers of prayers) of mosques in Cairo. Her interview was posted on Facebook and garnered more than twenty-one thousand comments replies, bombarding her with ugly insults and accusations of contempt of religion. Such comments blurred the difference between what is sacred in Islam, like call for prayers, with what is not sacred like the voices of those who call for prayers. Scornful abuse has become noticeably socially acceptable as long it is done in the name of defending something sacred.


Those three episodes, albeit different in content and relevance, share the same root cause __ social Islamism. For decades, Islamists has long realised that in order to dominate politically, they must first create a ripe social climate that favours their ideas. Therefore, they have focused heavily on spreading a social doctrine that encourages religious coercion, and hostility against anyone that opposes their agenda, particularly Christians, liberals, and artists.

Inevitably, this Islamist doctrine has nurtured a perturbed competitiveness among various informal Islamist groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, with formal institutions like Al-Azhar, on who is the ultimate defender of the faith. Such one-upmanship has created a climate that expands to mandating what is socially forbidden and shrinkage of what is allowed and accepted. Things like adding a bell to a church, naming a Sheikh in a fictional movie as did Jackson, and openly criticizing grating voices that occasionally call for prayers have become grave sins and an insult of Islam.

The sacredness of the faith has extended to include anyone talking about the faith, or offended in the name of the faith. This kind of allegiance even supports almost anyone attacking others under the premise of defending the faith. Even in cases that seem completely unwarranted, such vigorous outrage turn one into a hero, which is how many view the solicitor who brought the complaint against Sheikh Jackson.

Ultimately, social Islamism has transformed the once tolerant Egyptian religious scene into a wild arms-flailing octopus with poisonous venom that paralyzes minds and blocks rational thinking. The result is intense angry social irrationality that creates a fear of minorities, fails to see context in a fictional cinema scene, or even rises up in a tantrum against an opinion that the voices of some muezzins aren’t exactly pleasant to hear.

Social Islamism is Egypt’s silent killer. It garners fear, breeds intolerance, hinders creativity, and ultimately leads to radicalism. Despite the decline in the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence, other Islamist forces are still influential and are unwilling to abandon their coercive social doctrine.

It is about time for the Egyptian state to stand up against such unhealthy coercion, instead of backpedalling, tolerating and encouraging it. Egypt is not a theocracy. There is no place for theocrats to be the country’s social referees. Islam is not a weak faith that will be harmed by an imaginary bell of a church, an imaginative scene in a movie or by the opinion of an actress on what sounds good.

Egypt aspires to fight radicalism and regain its soft power in the region. To further such a goal, it is vital to support minority freedoms, the arts, creativity, and freedom of expression. A society that allows bullying under the name of religion, and allows such emotions to dominate above logic and rationality will not defeat radicals, nor facilitate the growth of its soft power.

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This Week in Egypt: Week 51-2017 (Dec 18-24)

Top Headlines

  • Egyptian security forces on Sunday killed nine suspected militants in a shootout in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya
  • IS-affiliated media outlet releases video footage of al-Arish airbase attack 
  • Britain designates 2 militant groups in Egypt as terrorist organizations
  • Hundreds of Muslims assault unlicensed church south of Cairo
  • Egyptian FM will visit Ethiopia after Nile dam talks stall
  • President Sisi to decide if he will run for second term “when appropriate”
  • Despite ISIS threat, Egypt to invest in Sinai construction 

Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

Sunday 

Reports

Good Read

  • Democracy is not the curefor terrorism. Steven Cook
  • A dangerous pilgrimage following The Flight Into Egypt: Jesus, Mary, Joseph—and ISIS. Bel Trew
  • Needed adjustments is unlikely in US aid to Egypt.Amr Kotb

From Twitter

Plus

Finally here are Jayson Casper’s prayers for Egypt

Marry Christmas and Happy Holidays

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This Week in Egypt: Week 50-2017 (Dec 11-17)

Top Headlines

  • Russia to resume flights to Egypt, halted after 2015 bombing
  • Egypt raises security level around churches ahead of Christmas
  • Egypt’s giant Zohr gas field starts production
  • Egyptian presidential Shafiq hopeful apologizes to arrested supporters
  • Egypt’s FP Shoukry: Sending an Egyptian force to Yemen is not an option
  • An Egyptian army delegation visits South Sudan to discus straining of the S. Sudan’s army

Putin and Sisi

Russian President Putin with Egypt’s Sisi in Cairo

Photo via Reuters 

Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Good Reports

From Twitter

Plus

Finally, here are Jayson Casper’s prayers for Egypt

Posted in Diary of Aak, Egypt | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Re-blog: Huge Decline in ISIS Propaganda Mirrors Losses on Battlefield

As the Islamic State nears defeat it appears that their communication apparatus may be failing as well. As the military triumphs have dwindled, the IS propaganda machine has shifted its tactics, focusing less on the utopian caliphate or on military might than ever before. The messages being put out now call for terror attacks abroad […]

via Huge Decline in ISIS Propaganda Mirrors Losses on Battlefield — Thinking Syria

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