I Am a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Not a Terrorist

23haddad-master768TORA, Egypt — I write this from the darkness of solitary confinement in Egypt’s most notorious prison, where I have been held for more than three years. I am forced to write these words because an inquiry is underway in the United States regarding charges that the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization to which I have devoted years of my life, is a terrorist group.

We are not terrorists. The Muslim Brotherhood’s philosophy is inspired by an understanding of Islam that emphasizes the values of social justice, equality and the rule of law. Since its inception in 1928, the Brotherhood has lived in two modes: surviving in hostile political environments or uplifting society’s most marginalized. As such, we have been written about, spoken of, but rarely heard from. It is in that spirit that I hope these words find light.

We are a morally conservative, socially aware grass-roots movement that has dedicated its resources to public service for the past nine decades. Our idea is very simple: We believe that faith must translate into action. That the test of faith is the good you want to do in the lives of others, and that people working together is the only way to develop a nation, meet the aspirations of its youth and engage the world constructively. We believe that our faith is inherently pluralistic and comprehensive and that no one has a divine mandate or the right to impose a single vision on society.

Since our inception, we have been engaged politically in the institutions of our country as well as socially to address the direct needs of people. Despite being the most persecuted group under former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule in Egypt, our involvement in the Parliament, either in coalitions with other political groups or as independents, is a testament to our commitment to legal change and reform. We spoke truth to power in an environment full of rubber-stamp parties. We worked with independent pro-democracy organizations against plans to hand the presidency to Mr. Mubarak’s son. We also worked closely with an array of professional syndicates and labor unions.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Advertisements

All of Islam Isn’t the Enemy

09thu2web-master675.jpgIs President Trump trying to make enemies of the entire Muslim world? That could well happen if he follows up his primitive ban on refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim nations with an order designating the Muslim Brotherhood — perhaps the most influential Islamist group in the Middle East — as a terrorist organization.

Such an order, now under consideration, would be seen by many Muslims as another attempt to vilify adherents of Islam. It appears to be part of a mission by the president and his closest advisers to heighten fears by promoting a dangerously exaggerated vision of an America under siege by what they call radical Islam.

The struggle against extremism is complex, and solutions must be tailored both to the facts and to an understanding of the likely consequences. Since 1997, the secretary of state has had the power to designate groups as foreign terrorist organizations, thus subjecting them, as well as people and businesses who deal with them, to sanctions, like freezing their assets. President Barack Obama resisted adding the Brotherhood to that list.

There are good reasons that the Brotherhood, with millions of members, doesn’t merit the terrorist designation. Rather than a single organization, it is a collection of groups and movements that can vary widely from country to country. While the Brotherhood calls for a society governed by Islamic law, it renounced violence decades ago, has supported elections and has become a political and social organization. Its branches often have tenuous connections to the original movement founded in Egypt in 1928.

Under State Department guidelines, the “terrorist” designation is intended to punish groups that carry out terrorist attacks. There’s no question that some such groups have grown out of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Hamas, the adversary of Israel, which the United States named a terrorist organization in 1997. Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has worked to crush the Brotherhood in his country since he overthrew his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, a former Brotherhood leader, in 2013. But there is no evidence that senior Brotherhood leaders ordered any violence or carried out any of the recent major terrorist attacks in Egypt, according to the analysts Michele Dunne and Nathan Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Egypt’s Struggle Is Against Political Islam, Christian Editor Says

AMR02_EGYPT-_0215_11BY ANUGRAH KUMAR, CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
August 24, 2013|1:10 pm

While the Western world sees the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi as a military coup, the editor of Egypt’s weekly Christian newspaper says it was a coup by the people of the country and an attempt to abort efforts towards political Islam.

Youssef Sidhom, editor of the weekly called Watani (My Homeland), told Voice of America in an interview that Egyptians were hopeful that the Islamist President Morsi would govern the nation impartially, which did not happen.

“Months and months had elapsed when they failed to do so. And there has been during the past year of the rule of President Morsi an accumulating level of bitterness and anger on (the) part of Egyptians – that the Muslim Brotherhood are only clever in taking power in their hands and ousting every other political faction,” Sidhom said.

Referring to massive protests that preceded Morsi’s ouster, he added, “Egyptians enormously went down to the streets – whether Christians or Muslims – saying enough is enough and we’re not taking any more of the rule of Morsi. And I have to admit they were very lucky that their anger, which erupted, was sided by the Egyptian military.”

The editor went on to say that the vast majority of Egyptians were happy with Morsi’s removal despite the recent bloodbath. “…On June 30, according to most of the estimations, it was an overwhelming 30 million Egyptian people going down to the streets, both Christian and Muslim. It seems that no less than 85 or 90 percent of Egyptians are very relieved to get rid of political Islam led by the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST 

Human Rights Watch urges Egypt to protect churches, end Islamist incitement

2013-635127765647108746-710Egyptian authorities must protect churches and Christian homes and businesses from attack and Islamists must stop inciting sectarian violence, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

The group said it had documented attacks on 42 churches and dozens of Christian institutions, schools and homes, as well as Christian-owned businesses across the country.

It said at least four people were reported killed in sectarian violence, three Christians and one Muslim.

Attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority have escalated since the July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The attacks dramatically increased since the August 14 dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest camps in the capital.

Human Rights Watch said authorities had failed to protect Christians from attacks, and that Islamists, including Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, had failed to properly condemn the violence and prevent future attacks.

“For weeks, everyone could see these attacks were coming, with Muslim Brotherhood members accusing Coptic Christians of a role in Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, but the authorities did little or nothing to prevent them,” said Joe Stork, the group’s acting Middle East director.

“In the vast majority of the 42 cases Human Rights Watch documented, neither the police nor the military were present at the start or during the attack,” the group said.

It said a priest in Minya province told the group he had called police and emergency services multiple times as mobs attacked his church, but no one came.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL AHRAM 

Islamic Leaders Urge Egyptian Muslims to Protect Christians Facing Violence

Gaynutdin_islamThe Russian Association of Islamic Accord, which is also known as the All-Russian Muslim Board, has called on Egyptians to protect the country’s Christian population.

Mufti Farid Salman, head of the Ulema Council of the association, called on the Egyptian Muslim population to maintain the safety of churches in the country, to protect Muslim and Christian clergy and to “severely punish the extremists who sowed the seeds of chaos and revolt,” according to Interfax independent news group.

“It is unacceptable to tolerate the continuation of this orgy of Saran followers, who have burned down several dozens of churches and have looted monasteries in the past few days in an attempt to further fan the flames of this fratricidal war, cease the efforts of those to desecrate, destroy and loot numerous mosques and madrasahs [religious schools],” the mufti continued in a statement.

He accused the Muslim Brotherhood of using religious language to “open the gates of chaos and disasters.” He said the recent violence in the modern histories of Syria, the Palestinian territories; Sudan, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt all demonstrate the destructive impact of the Brotherhood on societies.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST 

Brotherhood alarms Christians, moderate Muslims

821753_t607CAIRO — After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like “prisoners of war” before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority. The campaign of intimidation appears to be a warning to Christians outside Cairo to stand down from political activism.

Christians have long suffered from discrimination and violence in Muslim majority Egypt, where they make up 10 percent of the 90 million population. Attacks increased after the Islamists rose to power in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that drove Hosni Mubarak from power, emboldening extremists. But Christians have come further under fire since President Mohammed Morsi was ousted on July 3, sparking a wave of Islamist anger led by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Nearly 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday, when chaos erupted after Egypt’s military-backed interim administration moved in to clear two camps packed with protesters calling for Morsi’s reinstatement, killing scores of protesters and sparking deadly clashes nationwide.

FULL ARTICLE FROM GOSANANGELO.COM

Egyptian Christians content Morsi is gone

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Reuters | 
CAIRO – The evening Egypt’s army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, Christian lawyer Peter Naggar celebrated on Tahrir Square with even greater joy than when autocrat Hosni Mubarak fell from power two years ago.

Naggar remains deeply relieved that a year of Islamist rule ended a fortnight ago and yet, as the initial excitement fades, many members of his ancient Christian minority fear Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood will not give up power so easily.

Neither is the Coptic Christian community under any illusion that the army’s installation of an interim government devoid of Islamists spells the end to its long-standing grievances, such as difficulties in getting state jobs, equality before the law and securing permits to build churches.

Still, Naggar is happy to see the back of the Brotherhood. “This is the real Egyptian revolution,” said Naggar, who had joined mass protests in Cairo on June 30 demanding that Morsi go. “The people stood up against Islamism. This is the end of political Islamism.”

Communal tensions and attacks on Christians and churches rose sharply under Morsi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president. Many Copts, who make up about a tenth of Egypt’s 84 million people, left the country where their ancestors settled in the earliest years of Christianity – several centuries before the arrival of Islam.

Islamists are staging a vigil at a Cairo mosque and regular protests to demand Mursi’s reinstatement, and it is dawning on Christians that they could yet return to power when elections are held under a military plan to restore democracy.

Some might even resort to force, they fear. Islamists have killed at least five Copts since Morsi’s overthrow, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a rights group.

“It’s an improvement that Morsi is gone but I am still not entirely relaxed,” said Roman Gouda, visiting with a friend the Egypt’s biggest Cathedral in the Cairo district of Abbasiya.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS