Across the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, there is a peculiarly subdued behavior amongst the ultra-conservative Muslims, also known as ‘Salafis’. Their characteristic certainty and preaching has been replaced with a somewhat stoic expression of disorientation and withdrawal.
This feeling goes deeper than the recent disqualification of Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail. It speaks of the shock therapy Salafis have undergone since last year’s revolution due, in part, to the politics 101 trajectory of their representatives.
Continue reading “The shock therapy moment in Salafi politics”
(If above video not working, go directly to link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YZ8sqJI6qY)
On a windy evening, 27 April, a momentous event occurred that received little international headline but was significant to Egypt’s future, and, by extension, the Arab world. An unprecedented debate took place between the Muslim Brotherhood, led by Sobhi Saleh, and the secular liberals, led by Amr Hamzawy.
The event was scheduled to be held in the famous Library of Alexandria. But a last minute unexplained decision shifted the event across the street to the College of Law, Alexandria University.
The venue packed over ten thousand into the theatre, with students, activists, and the general public, cramped into seats, spread on the floor, dangling off windows. Doors were forcibly shut to stop the public from entering an already over-crowed venue. Continue reading “Forget Osama, The Battle for the Arab World’s Future is Underway”
By Amro Ali:
In a bustling area of the 2,300 year-old Alexandria, Egypt, lies the middle class suburb of Cleopatra
Hammamat, meaning Cleopatra’s Baths, named after the legendary Cleopatra VII and where she once ruled. She was the last Queen Pharaoh who came to understand, albeit belatedly, that power can be vanquished at a heavy price; the rest is history. Today, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Cleopatra Hammamat is a beautiful, harmonious, and vibrant area – Muslim and Christian traders work side by side, men play their checkers in the coffee houses, soccer matches bring the streets to a standstill. And, despite the extremely difficult economic situation, Egyptians are still willing to express their renowned warm sense of humour at life’s challenges.
Cleopatra Hammamat (or Cleopatra for short) rarely made the headlines – until Sunday, June 6, when fate propelled it back onto the world map. Two plain-clothed policemen entered an internet cafe near the beach, seizing 28-year-old Khalid Saeed and smashing his head against a marble shelf, dragging him outside, and brutally beating and kicking him to the ground. Saeed pleaded for them to stop, but the police shoved him into a car in which he died en route to the Sidi Gaber police station. Afterwards, his lifeless body was brought back to the café and dumped. With Saeed’s death, a Pandora’s Box had been opened. Continue reading “Egypt’s Collision Course With History”