July 25, 2017

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  • Is Egypt approaching revolution redux?

    Graffiti on Mohamed Mahmoud Street just off Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square in memory of the martyrs of the January revolution.

    BY AMRO HASSAN Cairo – Hassan Abdel Salam quietly sweeps the floor outside his humble hardware shop at the infamous Mohamed Mahmoud Street overlooking Tahrir Square. The 68-year-old has been around for over 50 years, but like many of his neighbors, he has never witnessed anything more exciting, hopeful, frightening and threatening than the events of the past 30 months. The walls behind his tiny store are decorated with graffiti images of those who died there and elsewhere across the nation. He takes a profound look at some of their faces as he expresses overwhelming anxiety over what the near…

    Op-ed: Tunisia’s Islamic Wild Card

    Screen grab shows Ennahda Party leader Rachid El Ghannouchi speaks during the Islamist party's first public congress in Tunisia. The previous eight National conferences were held either in secret or in exile.

    BY ISHAC DIWAN AND HEDI LARBI TUNIS – Can political Islam be a constructive player in a truly democratic system? Tunisia is currently trying to answer that question – with implications that extend to the entire Arab world. Indeed, given that no Islamist party has ever governed democratically in an Arab country, Tunisia (together with Egypt) is undertaking an historic experiment. Several factors improve Tunisia’s chances of achieving a successful democratic transition. There is, for example, the country’s large and educated middle class and the historical moderation of Ez-Zitouna University, one of the oldest universities of Islamic theology. Moreover, an…

    In Pictures: Violent clashes mar anti-judiciary protest

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    Thousands of protesters belonging to Islamist parties, led by the ruling Freedom and Justice, gathered in front of Egypt’s Supreme Court to demand a purge of the judiciary in a scene that descended into chaos as they clashed with anti-Islamists, hurling stones and firing buckshot and Molotovs at each other, leaving over 100 wounded. Powered by Cincopa Video Hosting.  

    Op-ed: The role of religion in politics

    Screen grab shows Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking in Cairo mid-November.

    BY HISHAM EZZ EL-ARAB What can Egypt learn from Turkey? (Part I) A common phrase in Turkey, where I have been living for the past three years, is ‘yavash, yavash.’ In English it means ‘slowly, slowly,’ and in Arabic ‘shwaye, shwaye’. It is often used in conversations about Turkey’s political transitions, which have been as massive and unexpected as those in Egypt over the past century. The popular election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to a parliamentary majority, along with the unexpected success of Salafi parties, then the success of Dr. Mohamed Morsy in the presidential elections,…

    Op-ed: Libya’s jihadist minority

    The Libyan people have summarily condemned the attack on the US embassy that left four Americans, including the US Ambassador Chris Stevens dead.

    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…

    Compromise and the revolution

    Screen grab of President Mohamed Morsi's historic first speech addressing the nation.

    BY NOUR BAKR At its height, the defining mantra of Egypt’s tumultuous uprising was the famous cry “the people want the fall of the regime.” That the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), along with many remnants of the Mubarak era remain key players in the country’s politics is widely held as proof that the revolution ultimately failed. Whilst partially true, the electoral successes of the Muslim Brotherhood do not, as many have argued, completely betray the ultimate aim of the uprising. Rather the successive victories of Mohamed Morsi and the FJP signify the triumph of a compromise on…

    Maria TV: Exclusive for niqab

    Screen grab from BBC show on Maria TV where the niqab is mandatory on and off camera.

    BY HEBA HESHAM Cairo: A new TV channel run exclusively by women wearing the face veil provoked a mix of astonishment and denigration as it started broadcasting this Ramadan.”The founder and head of the channel had this idea for a long time in order to end the persecution and discrimination against wearers of niqab,” said Heba Serag El-Din, the program’s director who wore a loose, dark burgundy dress and a black scarf that covered her face except for the eyes. Serag El-Din, who studied directing at one of Egypt’s prestigious universities, was denied a job at a renowned Islamic satellite…

    A counter-revolution coalition

    Many Egyptians blame the failing economy continued protests recently led by Islamists who some believe to be part of the counter-revolution.

    BY HEBA HESHAM Cairo: In Egypt, a dictator was toppled and a civilian president was elected, but that’s not to say that the forces working relentlessly to sabotage the so-called transitional period are abating. Facts are misleadingly mixed with conspiracy theories to vilify the revolution and its supporters, while preserving the interests of the network of the the old regime and new players who want their share of the cake.Yet, observers can’t seem to agree on who exactly these forces are, some saying that the counter-revolution might not be solely orchestrated by remnants of the ousted regime. Many say that…

    Against Dictatorship 2.0

    A protester prays in Tahrir Square.

    BY AMRO ALI ​Subtlety is not a strong feature of the Egyptian landscape, whether you look at its overt religious piety, emphasis on a person’s title, the fragrance generously sprayed that heralds a person’s arrival from 15 meters away, the imposing pyramids, or Judge Farouk Sultan’s protracted defense of the “divinely-sanctioned” electoral commission before he could get around to just announcing the presidential winner. ​Yet the least subtle of any Egyptian agency has to be the league of “extraordinary” gentlemen — the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). In seizing all branches of government, ripping up the constitution and…

    Copts pave the road ahead

    Copts say their citizenship rights should be integrated with the national agenda of political parties.

    BY MAI SHAMS EL-DIN Cairo: “It saddens me to be asked to protect Coptic rights,” President Mohamed Morsi told a delegation of clergymen in the presidential palace soon after he was elected the country’s first civilian president. But the gesture did little to quell the Coptic community’s fears. After Morsi’s victory over Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafik, who arguably garnered most of the Coptic vote, fears of the dominance of the Muslim Brotherhood group to which Morsi belongs are mounting among Egypt’s Copts. To many observers, the Coptic community emerged more as an organized and politicized force than a…

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