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" … we wold like our people to know also that we love them more than ourselves and that we wish to sacrifice our souls for their honour, glory, dignity, religion and their aspirations, we work for people only for God's sake more than we work for ourselves; we are for- our belover brothers- and we will never be against you".
Imam Hassan Al Banna.
A Week of Escalations:
The MB And Al Azhar Demonstrations
Ibrahim El Houdeibi, Daily
Last week witnessed a
dramatic escalation of events between students affiliated with the Muslim
Brotherhood (MB) and the security apparatus in
The group organized a symbolic martial arts performance wearing black uniforms and head masks to express their dismay over university policies. The “show” was intended to scare away the ruthless riot police, which surrounded the university premises.
Widely criticized by leading MB figures including Chairman Mohamed Mahdi Akef, the incident was considered an error of judgment by the students and an unnecessary provocation. MB opponents, however, used it to hurl accusations at the MB of setting up a military wing, alleging that the students belonged to a secret militia.
What worries me, as much as it would worry any Egyptian, is how the incident manifested the tension and confrontation between the students on the one hand and the University administration and security forces on the other.
As an active member of the Ikhwan [MB] for a few years, and someone raised in a household that upholds the ethics and principles of the Ikhwan, I failed to make sense of the actions of these students who supposedly represent the very same principles and goals I believe in.
The goals set forth by founder of the Brotherhood Hassan Al Banna’s, his thoughts and teachings, were more concerned with reforming society peacefully through education and the Islamic upbringing of individuals. So I am confident that this behavior will be addressed seriously within the Ikhwan. Measures must be taken to ensure that such incidents will not be repeated in the future
At the same time, I reject any attempts to justify this irresponsible act as a reaction to the unjust dismissal of some students. Although the regime has banned the MB students from participating in the formal student union elections, and has expelled those who have organized the parallel “free” elections, that should never drag us out of our chosen path of reform.
Justification is unacceptable simply because I believe that one mistake does not justify another. True that the dismissal of the students was an unjustified mistake, the students should not have retaliated the way they did. They could have presented their just cause in a more civilized way. What Al Azhar students did was only damaging their case by presenting themselves in the worst possible light, and giving the tyrannical regime the pretext it needed to crack down on the MB.
Few days after the notorious demonstration, 180 MB students and 17 leaders, including Deputy Chairman Khayrat El-Shater were taken into custody. And to deceive the Egyptian people, the regime launched a media offensive propagating the false notion that the crackdown was a defensive act to prevent the recurrence of similar demonstrations across other campuses.
The regime and its security forces are well aware that most of the MB leaders arrested (including El-Shater) are not involved in any student activities, and publicly condemned them. But thanks to the emergency laws, the incident gave them a carte blanche to violate their civil rights codes and make random arrests without clear charges.
Khayrat El-Shater is a leader known for his balanced opinions, deep insight, and moderate views on issues like the relationship with the West, the succession of power and the MB’s relationship with the regime in general. He was the man who presented the MB’s stance on pressing issues in his famous article published in the Guardian “Don’t be afraid of us”; and to illustrate his moderate stance regarding the relationship between Islamists and the West he published an interview published on IkhwanWeb titled “We do not promote an anti-Western agenda.”
The Muslim Brotherhood is an institutionalized organization, which does not depend on an individual for its survival but rather on its ideology. For decades, the regime has failed to understand the resilient nature of the MB and mistakenly believed that preemptive arrests will undermine its ability to fight for reform and change. What they don’t realize is that the arrest of our leaders will only open the doors for the emergence of new leaders, further empowering the organization.
The crackdowns by the regime
will fail to derail us from our chosen reform path. We will continue our
peaceful struggle against tyranny, oppression, corruption and authoritarianism,
until we achieve our dream of a free, democratic, integral and prosperous
Ibrahim El Houdeibi is member of Ikhwanweb's editorial
HRW: Senior Leaders Arrested in Predawn Raids,
Along With More than 140 Students
In simultaneous predawn raids, Egyptian police on Thursday arrested 17 senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood and rounded up at least 140 students on suspicion of being linked to this banned nonviolent organization following a protest at Cairo’s al-Azhar University, Human Rights Watch said today. The Egyptian authorities have arrested at least 1,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood in a crackdown that began in March. Though most of these detainees are now released, representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood told Human Rights Watch they expect further detentions in the days to come. Members detained on Thursday include Khairat al-Shatir, the deputy supreme guide and chief strategist of the organization.
Human Rights Watch called on the Egyptian government to immediately release, or charge, all members of the Muslim Brotherhood imprisoned in this months-long campaign, as well as students arrested for their suspected links to the group.
“Once again, the government
is detaining members of a peaceful group whose only crime is pressing for
reform,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch’s
The arrests follow a demonstration by the Free Student Union, a group comprised mostly of students affiliated with the Brotherhood formed in November 2005 to protest alleged government interference in student union elections. On December 10, the students held a sit-in at an apartment building where they have been living since al-Azhar administrators expelled them from dormitories for their political activities. Roughly 35 of them, who wore balaclavas with “samidun” (“the steadfast”) written across them, gave a brief martial arts demonstration and performed military-style exercises. On December 14, police surrounded the dormitory and arrested at least 140 students there, although it is not clear if all participated in the demonstration. Police have not released the names of the detained students.
Photos from the demonstration raised alarm in the press that the Muslim Brotherhood was forming a militia, and police said they were opening an investigation to determine whether this was true. Senior members of the group quickly distanced themselves from the students’ actions, stressing that their organization is peaceful, does not maintain a militia, and that Brotherhood members who participated might face disciplinary action. Mahmud `Izzat, secretary general of the banned organization, told Human Rights Watch that some of the men detained on Thursday morning had personally chastised the students for their actions.
“We apologize for this skit,” the Free Student Union said in a statement released Wednesday. “This is not our way. It reflected poorly on our school and ourselves by making us look like a militia. This image is absolutely untrue. We are students. We did this skit because we felt that no one was listening … to our requests for justice in the university…. The university administration, in cooperation with the security apparatus, has denied us our rights to participate in student union elections.”
“These arrests are merely a part of the government’s continuing campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Whitson. “If there is evidence that anyone detained has committed an offence beyond belonging to the Brotherhood, the government should bring charges before an independent court and produce the evidence. If not, the authorities must release the detainees immediately.”
The most recent
arrests took place within a months-long government crackdown against the Muslim
Brotherhood. Most recently, according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Web site,
State Security officers in late November detained 21 members of the
organization in the Munufiyya governorate, northwest of
Article 86(bis) of
The Egyptian government has never convincingly justified its continued categorization of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has renounced violence since the 1970s, as an illegal organization. Human Rights Watch called on the categorization to be revoked, and for the authorities to discontinue using its illegality as the pretext for arresting its members.
List of prominent Muslim Brotherhood members arrested on December 14:
1. Khairat al-Shatir, second deputy to the
supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood
2. Mahmud Abu Zaid, professor of surgery at al-Qasr al-`Aini Medical Faculty,
3. Muhammad Baligh, professor at the Conjunctivitis Institute in
4. Amin `Abd al-Ghani, engineer
5. Ahmad `Izz al-Din, journalist, press secretary to the supreme guide
6. Mustafa Salim, accountant
7. Mamduh al-Husaini, engineer
8. Yasir `Abdu, secretary general for the Giza Merchants Syndicate
9. `Isam `Abd al-Muhsin, professor of biochemistry at al-Azhar Medical College and head of the Giza Medical Syndicate
10. Farid Jalabat, professor in the
11. Sadiq al-Sharqawi, businessman
12. Mahmud Mursi, engineer
13. Fathi Baghdadi, director of al-Masa`i schools
14. Sayyid Ma`ruf, manager at `Umar Affandi Co.
15. Salah al-Dusuqi, assistant professor of anatomy at al-Azhar Medical College
16. Jamal Sha`ban, accountant
17. Sahib Shawkat al-Malt, secretary general of the Free Students Union at
Mohammed Khairat Saad Al- Shatter
- Born in Dakahleya on
- B.Sc. of Civil Engineering,
- Master Degree in Construction Management,
- B.A from Anthropology Department, Faculty of
- Islamic Studies diploma, Islamic Studies Institute, 1999
- Diploma in Social Work and NGOs, Faculty of Economics and
- Political Science,
- Diploma in Business Administration, Faculty of
-Diploma in International Marketing, Faculty of
- Worked as an administrator in the Faculty of
- In 1981, late president Sadat suspended him from working in the university
- In 1981 onwards he established his own business in different areas and companies
- He currently runs his private group of companies, in addition to being a board member in some major banks and companies
Political and Islamic activities
- Khairat Al-Shatter started his political activities
as early as 1966 When he was a secondary school student
- He was a founding member of the general Islamic action in 1967 especially in Alexandria where he played pivotal role in establishing the general Islamic awakening (Sahwa) starting early seventies
- He has been a Muslim Brotherhood member since 1974
- He took the lead in many Muslim Brotherhoodaffairs, inter alia, Education, Human Development and Management
- He was elected member of Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau in 1995
- Al- Shatter has been to prison several times during Nasser and Mubarak eras
- In 1968 after participation in the famous students
demonstrations that followed the 1967 War, he was kept in prison for four
months then dismissed from university .Right after he was released, he was
drafted into the Army in the
- In 1992 he was imprisoned for one year in the famous Salsabeel case
- In 1995 he was sentenced to five years, along with 54 members of Muslim Brotherhood who were sentenced from three to five years; he was released in July 2000
- In 2001 he was imprisoned for almost one year in what was known as Imbaba group, a Muslim Brotherhood meeting
Al Masri Al Youm Journalist Regrets Parade Photos
“I hope that those reading this message will know to what extent I am emotionally suffering after publishing those pictures [MB students' parade]" "Since, Monday, when Al Masri Al Youm Newspaper published the news of Al-Azhar militias, I have felt sad about what will happen after; there was fear inside me but I did not know that all this would happen.”
This is part of the
testimony of Amr Abdullah, journalist who took the photos of
Yallatalaba web site interviewed the journalist through telephone and requested his testimony about the incidents, in which he said also:
When I arrived at the university dormitory, I noticed that all the university gates were heavy gaurded by police and appeared like military barracks. Then I went to the university dormitory and noticed that its gate was fully open and fully besieged by the security.
I also noticed a group of students were standing in lines wearing masks showing only their eyes, and chanting condemning the intervention of the security in the university affairs.
Then, the performance of
karate and kung fu started; in fact, I was surprised with what I saw, given
that this was not the first time to hold such performances which I heard about
before and were part of sketches about the resistance and
These sportive performances were not that strong; they were just a show-off; also, the young men did not use any kind of bladed weapons in addition to their fully avoiding any skirmishes with the security forces.
Then I reported the apology vigil and the regret that the students expressed about this performance which was overblown out of proportion.
This was everything that happened during that day; I hope that anyone i offended to forgive me; this is because I –I swear by Allah- did not mean to offende any body. I was just doing my job honestly and I didn’t support one side against the other.
Amr Abdullah- Al Masri Al Youm
Egyptian Security Beat Journalist Mohammed Abdul Quddus
In a continuous violation 0f rights of journalists in Egypt, Mohamed Abdul Quddus, the secretary general of the freedoms committee in the Press Syndicate yesterday was beaten by ten security agents because he insisted on breaking the security siege around the syndicate, and standing amid Abdul Khalek Tharwat street and chant slogans against the regime through a loudspeaker.
The syndicate’s freedoms committee considered arresting Ezzuddin as unjust measure that came under the emergency law that controls the country. It demanded Attorney General, counselor Abdul Magid Mahmoud to intervene to end the crisis, urging the journalists in all institutions to participate in a complete sit-in protest at the unjustified detentions against journalists specially that Ezzuddin isn’t related to Al-Azhar incidents or the students’ military parade for which the security services launched a crackdown on the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood and university students.
Azhar professors released
The statement said that:” Whatever injustice laid on the students, they shouldn’t have been driven to such actions that cause ambiguity over their peaceful expression, something that may affect the rightness of their cause", pointing out- at the same time- that the security services and some biased media seized this opportunity and exaggerated the mistake for which the students apologized in front of the university administration.
The teaching staff members rejected arresting some university professors with claims or without any claim, " although they are well-known for their efficiency and respect in various local, regional and international arenas”, considering this " an episode in a series which has been adopted during more than two years, without any indication these unjust policies will end".
The statement denounced accusing professors of violence or terrorism " in a way that disagrees with the what these colleagues are known for, including good manners, self-restraint and an interest in keeping the stability of the university life and keeping away from any thing that may distort its image and derail it from its sublime message of preparing a generation of young men who can be shouldered with the responsibilities of improving this nation and saving it from the abyss of backwardness and subordination".
The statement cited Dr. Mahmoud Abu Zeid " who is known among all of his sincerity and dedication to serve his faculty and university: in addition to his being a remarkable professor in his field, he supervises for a long time a number of programs in the Faculty of Medicine, that aim at improving the quality of education inside it, and adopting its academic programs in the various arenas".
The board of directors of the Cairo University teaching club declared its rejecting such a futile method in dealing with Egyptian well-reputed figures: it demanded immediately releasing the university professors as there is no excuse for the provisional detention because they are public academic and societal figures whose jobs and addresses are known, and they aren’t feared to flee appearing in front of investigators in the times that the prosecution defines; thus, it is useless to restrict their freedom and deprive their students from their knowledge and directions, specially while the university is approaching the first term exams.
The teaching club demanded also the security services to stop such repressive practices " that keeps our beloved homeland in within a circle of cultural backwardness, while all the world is witnessing increasing freedoms and human rights".
MB Bloc Calls For Parliament
To Investigate Al Azhar Events
The Muslim Brotherhood’s
parliamentary bloc denounced the regime’s latest security crackdown that led to
arresting 140 students and professors of
“ This serious escalation
against the Muslim Brotherhood over a sport performance that the MB students
organized at all-
The statement added that
what took place in
The bloc’s statement praised the attitude of the Muslim Brotherhood group that sought to contain the crisis and declared its rejection to any situation that may lead to causing fear and worry among people, and showing MB’s care for the security and the stability of the country and showing the group’s reformist approach and peaceful method.
Al-Azhar student detentions
The International Islamic Federation of Student
Organizations (IIFSO) denounced the latest arrest campaign that the Egyptian
security services launched against Muslim Brotherhood students from
The IIFSO praised the Egyptian student movement and the Muslim Brotherhood students, who struggle to restore their political rights and their public role, calling for immediately releasing the detainees of the last campaign.
The IIFSO said in a statement- a copy of which was obtained by Ikhwanweb:" We have followed up- with severe concern- the violations of freedom of Egyptian students and harassments of the Egyptian security services against the student movement in universities, including intervening in the university affairs, striking off candidates from student union elections, flagrant interventions in the election process itself, excluding some students from living in university dormitories, unjustified dismissals, to reach its peak with arresting about 200 student leaders in Al-Azhar University, topped by the secretary general of the Free Student Union".
The IIFSO confirmed that the students have the full right to exercise their peaceful activates inside the university campus, away from any security intervention, and it considers establishing freely and democratically elected Free Student Unions away from the government vented unions " as a bold cry and a practical and legitimate method of protesting at the violations committed in the student arena by the regime’s bodies that persecute the nation’s best youth while it gives hollow promises of democratization and freedoms".
Within framework of a series of measures that IIFSO
called for due to latest arrests on
The Federation expressed its full solidarity with the detained students, and called on its institutions all over the world to send messages of protest to Egyptian embassies in their countries and to Human Rights Organizations as well, to protest and to exercise pressures on the Egyptian government to make it release the detained students.
Dr. Nafeaa: Regime Rejects
All Effective Parties Not Only MB
Muslim Brotherhood cannot be eradicated
Dr. Hassan Nafeaa, head of
the Political Sciences Department, Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences,
Cairo University, wrote an article in which he reviewed the yearlong conflict
of successive regimes in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood, citing the recent
arrests which reached out to sixteen Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including MB
second deputy Chairman, Eng. Khairat el Shater as well as a host of
Dr. Nafeaa quoted part of
the statement released by the Interior Ministry to the effect that these
arrests were made at arrest warrants by the State Security Prosecution after
the police were tipped off that those leaders were implicated in riots staged
Egyptians tend not to believe Interior Ministry’s statements:
Commenting on the context of the statement, Dr. Nafeaa said that no neutral, unbiased observer can confirm or dismiss what came in the statement, adding that there is a tendency among Egyptians to dismiss statements made by the Ministry of Interior" especially that the arrests of the MB leaderships have been in full swing for years either there are reasons for the arrests or not", he said, citing the recent release of two senior MB leaders, Dr. Essam Al Arian and Dr. Mohammed Mursi, who were detained for seven months without charges and were released without clear reasons.
Nafeaa briefly traced the
history of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded by Hassan el Banna in 1928, saying
that the group sustained a lot of ordeals at the hands of all successive
regimes since it started to call for establishing a model society. The
professor attributed this collision to ideologies adopted by these regimes,
mainly the pro-West liberalism at the king's reign, pro
Reviewing the outcome of the confrontation of the group with the successive regimes throughout more than sixty years, the writer said that it is time to learn lessons from these yearlong confrontations, which he summed up as follows:
First: The Muslim Brotherhood is here to stay and no one can
eradicate it, now that the group has taken root within the political and social
Second: The unabated crackdowns on the group only invigorated power into the group; incriminating its activities made it less communicative with others, which made it continue its activities even away from the eyes of the law.
Third: Imposing restrictions on the other political parties
outside power eventually works in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood only, making
the group the only alternative for the incumbent regime, especially when the
latter lacks a national vision or project to rally the public around it, as is
the case of
The writer reinforced his assertion by inviting readers to have a look at the recent parliamentary election, when only 23% of the eligible electorate participated. He pointed out that this led to a political polarization on the part of the two parties, with the writer warning that this could lead to an appalling political vacuum, as both parties is not a party in the full sense of the word. To hammer home this viewpoint, the writer said that the ruling party doesn’t take its power from the public support inasmuch as the awe and aura of its security agencies. Likewise, he added, the Muslim Brotherhood power doesn’t reflect the public support inasmuch as the influence of religion on the Egyptian society.
According to the writer,
exchanged accusations between the ruling party and the Muslim Brotherhood make
the silent majority uncertain of both parties. " The ruling National Party
relentlessly uses the media to exaggerate the threat of Muslim Brotherhood, to
lead the people off its responsibility for the deteriorating situation and to
consolidate its monopoly of power and wealth." he said, adding that
"the ongoing persecution of the MB members will turn them into victims who
deserve to be the only alternative especially in the light of the political vacuum,
taking the country to an untold chaos and unrest, " to which the incumbent
regime seems to take us "the writer warned. Concerning his outlook for the
future of the political life in
Who is to blame for this political standoff?
After several meetings and
talks with MB leaderships, the writer said he concluded that the problem doesn’t
lie with the Muslim Brotherhood inasmuch as the incumbent regime. He lashed out
at the regime for its refusal to make room for any party enjoying public
support, citing the Al Wasat (centrist) and Karama (dignity) parties which have
for ten years struggled to get an official license allowing them to exercise
their activities. "If that is the case, why do we call on the group to go
the same way while all of us know its result?," he wondered.
However, he concluded by holding the civil society organizations responsible to seek a formula to dispel the doubts between the MB group and all political forces having a desire for reform" If we fail to eliminate the exchanged accusations between the Muslim Brotherhood and other political powers seeking change, there will be no hope for an alternative, genuine and democratic system, and in this way we, unaware, sit awaiting the coming disaster, which will inevitably come" he concluded.