June 26, 2019

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  • Op-ed: The Arab world’s ‘doctor’ complex

    BY AMRO ALI Once when a Saudi diplomat I knew greeted me as Ostaz (Mr.) and I replied in kind with Ostaz, he shouted back: “Doctor!”. I was taken aback at the response. Did I miss something here? The Arab world’s social fixation with ‘doctor’ titles can really be burdensome, if at times comical. When Egypt’s TV satirist Bassam Yousef opened the floor for questions following his opening peroration, a number of Egyptian audience members started off with, “I’m doctor so and so”. Yousef remarked, “We seem to have a lot of doctors in the house today,” to the laughter…

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    Op-ed: Does Egypt deserve US aid?

    BY NOUR BAKR The notion of aid is a notoriously slippery one. The US pledged $45 million of it to the Syrian rebels, annually gives a large amount of it to Israel, and in the 1980s accidentally scribbled an “s” at the end of it to create its deadly plural form (unproven science). Days ago however, news emerged that a $450 million aid package for Egypt was blocked by a US house committee chairwoman on the basis that she was “not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance”. Now, many will be aware that under he who shall not…

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    Op-ed: Enough excuses for no ethics

    BY REHAM BARAKAT I have a friend that I hadn’t seen for a while. Since we live in opposing ends of the city, Cairo traffic makes it very difficult for us to meet, so often I check on her through mutual friends. I was shocked about what recently happened to her. She had gone to a pharmacy for a routine Vitamin D injection recommended by her doctor. Having been administered the intramuscular injection many times before, she was taken aback when the female pharmacist asked her to bare her stomach for it this time. So she asked if it was…

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    Op-ed: Egypt-US: The ‘ally’ issue

    BY NOUR BAKR “That depends on your definition of ally,” was the boisterous response of Egypt’s President Morsi when asked this week if he considers the US one. It certainly wasn’t the sniffling apology some in the US were expecting after Morsi’s initial failure to react to the attacks on the embassy in Cairo, but who can blame him? Nevertheless the apology was apparently sufficient as a brief meeting between Clinton and Morsi yesterday concluded with the US signalling with clear intent that aid to Egypt would continue unabated. As Iran’s leaders will testify, Morsi is one apparently unused to…

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    Social values, not religion, fuel Muslim protests

    BY LEENA EL-ALI Washington, DC: In the past week, Muslim-Western relations have come back under the global media spotlight after widespread protests in several Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries. Most people find the video that sparked the protests, Innocence of Muslims, to be indeed insulting to Islam and Muslims. At the same time many people in the United States and elsewhere have emphasised that it is nonetheless an inviolable expression of free speech, and have suggested that it can at best simply be ignored. Indeed, a huge number of Muslims agree. We have seen this tension play out before,…

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    Op-ed: Egypt’s reading culture dissected

    BY AMRO ALI On a conference visit to Rome a few months ago, I was taken aback by what I saw upon my arrival at the main train station, Roma Termini – out on the street was a homeless man, in torn, dishevelled clothes, reading a book. The sight in some ways entranced me. Here was a man who had lost everything in life, but had not lost his dignity to live and re-live through the written word. I found myself bleakly registering the contrast with Egyptian university graduates who will rarely pick up a book following their formal education….

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    Editorial: Another film crisis, what’s new?

    BY RANIA AL MALKY Cairo: There’s a good reason why Muslims around the world are angry and offended by the trailer of “Innocence of Muslims”, that inflammatory piece of anti-Islam propaganda which triggered an ongoing wave of aggression against US embassies in the Muslim world last week.As a Muslim, indeed as a human being who shares this earth with Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and the hundreds of thousands of adherents to a multitude of hyphenated faiths that have come to punctuate our post-modern world, my outrage at such an unjustified provocation is boundless. I will not apologize for that, nor…

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    Op-ed: Freedom, blasphemy, and violence

    BY ARYEH NEIER PARIS  Violent attacks on US diplomatic outposts across North Africa and the Middle East have once again raised the question of how to respond when Americans and other Westerners engage in provocative expression that others consider blasphemous. Though the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three members of his staff were murdered, may well have been planned, as the State Department has maintained, the killers clearly exploited the opportunity created by outrage at an anti-Muslim film produced in the US. There have been several episodes in recent years…

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    Op-ed: Libya’s jihadist minority

    BY OMAR ASHOUR DOHA: “They are armed I am not going to fight a losing battle and kill my men over a demolished shrine,” said Fawzi Abd Al-‘Aali, the former Libyan interior minister, before he “resigned” last August. He was referring to the armed Salafi groups that were accused of destroying Sufi shrines. One of the accused groups was the Ansar Al-Shariah Brigade, which was quick to support the demolition, but denied any responsibility for it. Ahmed Jibril, Libya’s deputy ambassador to London, has now accused the Brigade, headed by Muhammed Ali Al-Zahawy, of perpetrating the attack on the US…

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    Op-ed: Copts blamed, again

    BY KARIM MALAK Cairo: A deeper look into the antecedents to the US embassy clashes in Cairo Tuesday is necessary to explain the context in which the attack took place. Yet before that, it is also important to understand what’s at stake, who benefits from what and how all those details intersect. As a start, it is peculiar that the production of a film deemed “insulting to Islam” would be condemned by the US embassy. With incumbent President Obama nearing the end of his first term and gearing up for an election, this will give ammunition to the neo-conservatives. Egypt…

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