Egypt

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Egypt is where I was born and grew up

Egyptian Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah Detained

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Alaa Abdel Fattah علاء  عبد الفتاح, a young Egyptian activist, free software advocate and blogger has been detained by the Egyptian authorities, after protesting the politically motivated trial of two judges who exposed that there was widespread fraud in the recent elections.

About Alaa and Manal

Alaa and his wife Manal run an Egyptian blog aggregator from their Drupal web site. They are known for activism on political and social issues, as well as free software.

I saw Alaa on Al Jazeera last summer, and he looked to me like an Egyptian Richard M. Stallman (the father of GNU and GPL), with his curly locks of hair.

Examples Of Rich And Influential Non-Muslims In Muslim Countries

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Some time ago, an anonymous visitor wrote a comment on an article I wrote. In response, I wrote a comment listing some contemorary and recent influential and rich non-Muslims in Muslim majority countries. This is now its own article. Here are some example from recent times:

  • Boutros Ghali, Coptic Christian Prime Minister of Egypt.
  • Boutros Boutros Ghali, his grandson, Coptic Christian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Secretary General of the United Nations.
  • Youssef Boutros Ghali, Coptic Christian present Minister of Finance in Egypt.
  • Kamal Stino, Coptic Christian Vice Prime Minister of Egypt.
  • Onsi Sawiris, Coptic Christian, and the richest man in Egypt. His family has been rich for some time.
  • Rami Lakah, another rich Egyptian Roman Catholic businessman.

Egyptian Ferry Disaster Highlights Deep Issues In Egypt

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By now, everyone has read about the sinking of the Al-Salam Boccaccio 98 in the Red Sea, 60 miles away from the port of Safaga.Reuters today had an article on the aftermath of events, and in it was this quote: 

The disaster follows a string of fatal road accidents in recent weeks, a theatre fire last year which killed 46 people and an airline crash in 2004.The ferry disaster has fuelled criticism that Egyptian safety regulations are haphazardly enforced and that not enough has been done to educate the public about the need for safety. "People have developed a culture of playing hide and seek with the authorities when it comes to safety," said Mohamed al-Sayed Said, an analyst at the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

Egyptian Parliamentary Elections 2005

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I have previously written how Gwyn Dyer has characterized the Egyptian Presidential Elections as a Cynical Farce. Now, the third phase of the Egyptian Parliamentary Elections for 2005 has closed, and similarly it is a cynical farce too.

Although the opposition made significant gains, it is not as great as what can be if the elections were really free. The offically banned Muslim Brotherhood gained a relatively big 76 seats.

Simmering Under The Surface: Copts and Muslims Clash in Alexandria

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Last month, there were clashes between Copts and Muslims in Alexandria, Egypt. It started when someone leaked a CD of a theatrical play performed inside a church said to be disdainful of Islam. Three were killed in the clashes. The government was quick to blame a conspiracy by "external entities", or the religious parties (Muslim Brotherhood), for the soon to be held parliamentary elections. The problem is that someone to blame is always sought, whether internal or external.

Notes on Compulsory Army Service in Egypt

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Many countries have some form of compulsory Army service for a certain period, including Netherlands, Israel, Turkey, Egypt and others. In Egypt, service in the army was compulsory for most of the 20th century. It is restricted to males 18 years to 35 years who do have another male brother, and is physically and mentally fit. Those who study can have a temporary reprieve until they finish their study, to a maximum of 24 or so. The duration of the service varies from 1 year (plus 3 months training) for university graduates, to 3 years for those with only elementary education. Before 1952, service could be avoided if one paid a large sum of money to the government. After 1952, and in the name of equality, this practice was abolished, and every eligible person had to serve. 

Egyptian Politics and the role of The Muslim Brotherhood

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A while back, Dr. Saadeddin Ibrahim, a political and social activist in Egypt, wrote a New York Times article on May 23, 2005, titled: Islam can vote, if we let it. In it, he raises several valid points about democracy in Egypt and other parts of the Arab region eventually bringing Islamic factions to power. In general, he says that this should not be feared, as it is not the disaster that some in the West think it is.

He draws parallels between how Islamist parties in Turkey have proven to be moderate, and the possibility of similar parties in Egypt turning out to be the same.

The Bush Administration, Egypt's Elections, and Islamists

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Geneive Abdo is a long time journalist and academic who has worked and studied Egypt's political and social changes for 20 years. She has a telling article in the Washington Post titled: Is the US ready for Egyptian democracy?In the article she rebukes the Bush administration for always casting failues as success, whether in the mess that is post invasion Iraq, or hailing the recent flawed re-election of Mubarak, while ignoring the real opposition there: the elephant in the room, the Islamic minded Muslim Brotherhood.

Shukhri Mustafa شكري مصطفى

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Shukri Mustafa (1942-1987) was an agricultural engineer who became the leader and ideologue for a radical Islamic splinter group: Al Takfir wa Al Hijra التكفير و الهجرة.The name literally means "Declaring Apostacy and Immigration", and was not the official name, but rather a derogatory name derived from them attributing apostacy to all other Muslims, and them urging members to immigrate out of non-Islamic lands. The group adopted the name "Jama'at Al Muslimin جماعة المسلمين"  meaning "[The] Group of Muslims", emphasising that they are the only true Muslims.

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