Egypt Arrests Al-Qa'ida Infiltrators Seeking To Revive Activities There



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The Popular Committee for the Egyptian Constitution has warned against the dangers of the religious tendency resorting to a show of force to silence the powers demanding a new constitution for the country, or controlling constitutional articles and rules to regulate the selection of those drafting the constitution in order to guarantee that no faction will monopolize the decision of Egypt's future, or that the freedoms and foundations for the building of the democratic civil state of law and citizenship will not be squandered.

The committee has issued a statement in which it considers that the control of the Islamist groups over Al-Tahrir Square in closing-the-ranks Friday by means of their slogans and their incitements against the civil state and the powers opposing them "is a confirmation of their desire to marginalize the rest of the sons of the country, a nd the beginning of their turning against the democracy that allowed them to exist and operate in the political street legitimately." The committee calls on the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces to shoulder its responsibility and stop the threat to the civil state - as the council pledged - and to rein in the extremist ideas.

Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Guide Dr Rashad Bayyumi replies to this by stressing the Muslim Brotherhood Group has been keen not to brandish any slogan that might arouse any sensitivities to the liberals. Bayyumi says: "We have to distinguish between the principal rostrum and the individual groups. The principal rostrum did not brandish any contentious slogans." Bayyumi adds: "There are several schools of Salafis. The principal group that was on the principal rostrum adhered to this; however, some of the people raised Islamist slogans, and I consider this to be some kind of openness after the severe oppression to which the Salafis were exposed, as they have suffered severe harm during the era of the previous regime."

Bayyumi explains that Islam "does not include a religious state that the secular should fear. We do not have Velayat-e Faqih. The religious state does not have any base in Islam."

With regard to raising the slogan "The People Want to Implement the Shari'ah," Bayyumi says: "No one should argue about the issue of the Shari'ah, because the Shari'ah protects the Muslims and the non-Muslims. The people who benefit most from implementing the Shari'ah are the Copts. As for those who call themselves seculars, they do not know at all what Shari'ah is or what Islam is; they talk about the Shari'ah punishments, while they do not know that these are the last thing to be implemented in Islam, and are subject to extremely strict conditions. They are extremely hostile to Islam without any justification."

Dr Najih Ibrahim, member of the Islamic Group Shura Council, has said to Al-Hayah: "Mobilizing the Islamists on closing-the-ranks Friday was a reaction, and not an action. It was a reaction to the provocations committed by the Al-Tahrir youths, such as closing the Al-Tahrir complex [Building that includes several government departments] and the main roads, and demanding the appointment of a prime minister they nominate on their own without any consultations. Moreover, they dragged us into the maelstrom of 'the constitution first,' then 'the presidential council,' and finally that attack on the military institution, the attempt to trigger a clash with the army in its barracks, and the provocation of the Supreme Military Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and calling for its downfall. All these practices are attempts to hijack the revolution." Ibrahim adds: "We wanted to convey a message to them, namely that there is a silent bloc that has opinions that are different from yours, a bloc that does not want clashes between the revolution and the army, does not want your presidential council, does not want your controlling articles, and that will not allow the revolution to be hijacked."

Ibrahim stresses that the principal rostrums in Al-Tahrir Square adhered to the agreement not to raise contentious slogans.

Dr Abd-al-Mun'im al-Shahhat, spokesman of the Salafi Trend, has told Al-Hayah: "The closing-the-ranks Friday wanted to convey a message saying that the Islamists, who want the Shari'ah rule, demand the restoration of the people's right; we do not demand a personal right, but we demand the people's right to self-determination. If there were 5,000 people who took to the street saying the constitution first, and a larger number took to the street the day before yesterday to say yes to the people's will, we demand the restoration of the democratic course to its natural path, and the arbitration of the people through the polling box."

Al-Shahhat points out that the Salafi call demands the implementation of Shari'ah before and after the referendum. He stresses that the Salafi call "has never been a party to any agreement with any side about the slogans raised on the closing-the-ranks Friday. We have told the sides that prepared the consensus statements that we have demands that are not stipulated in these statements that are devoid of any prohibitions."

Al-Shahhat adds: "I say that the liberal trend with all its symbols does not oppose the implementation of the Islamic Shari'ah, and the preservation of Article 2 of the Constitution. As for the forces that say that they withdrew from the square, we did not feel their withdrawal, because they did not leave any vacuum; these forces received us in the Square with slander and hostile chanting."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egypt: Authorities Release All Islamic Group Detainees Not Under Death Sentence

GMP20110809825001 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 09 Aug 11



[Article by Ahmad Rahim: "Egypt: Release of All Islamic Group Detainees Except Those Sentenced to Death"]

Najih Ibrahim, a leader of the Islamic Group in Egypt and a member of its Shura Council, said: "The authorities have released all of the group's detainees in prison, except those sentenced to death and one prisoner named Abu-al-Ala, who is under a 50-year prison sentence ."

Ibrahim stated that a few days ago the authorities had released forty persons under sentence from the Islamic Group, Al-Jihad , Al-Wa'd , and other Islamic movements, noting that among those released were 23 members of the Islamic Group.

He added: "All members of the Islamic group sentenced to prison have been released, except the brothers under death sentence."

Ibrahim noted that twelve members of the Islamic Group have been sentenced to death and that the group wishes to resolve their cases.

Islamic sources have told Al-Hayat that "the latest group released includes elements from Egyptian Hizballah and from Al-Wa'd and suspects in the case of The Returnees From Afghanistan." The sources noted that among those released was Ahmad al-Sayyid, who in 1992 was charged with plotting the attempted assassination of the now dissolved National Democratic Party's former secretary general Safwat al-Sharif, currently in prison. Some of the members of the cell that plotted the attempt were executed. Also released were Hasan Muhammad al-Sayyid and Abd-al-Salam Shawqi Abd-al-Salam, charged in the same case.

The sources indicated that a number of leaders and members of Egyptian Hizballah, which came into being in the seventies in Alexandria, but disappeared from sight in the eighties, were also released.

The sources stated that among the party members released -- the party espouses takfiri ideas -- were Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad Ibrahim and Qasim Ibrahim Qasim. They added that also released were detainees in the 2000 Al-Wa'd case, including the Chechnyan Umar Hujayev Mahdi and Majdi Hasan Idris. The releases also included important leaders in the Egyptian Al-Jihad Movement, including Ahmad Husayn Ajizah, one of Al-Jihad's most import leaders ; Tamir Abd-al-Salam Fahmi; Yusuf al-Jundi, one of the leaders of Al-Jihad in Afghanistan; Tariq Isma'il; and Jamal Shuhdi Abd-al-Wakil. The sources noted the release of Sha'ban Rajab, charged in the 1992 case of The Returnees From Afghanistan, the most important detainee among the members of the Islamic Group after those under death sentence, as well as Khalid Ahmad Amin, a leader in the group. Also released was Abdallah Husayn Abu-al-Ala, who was charged in the case of the takfiri organization Those Saved From the Fire (Al-Najun Min al-Nar).

Regarding the members of the Islamic Group under death sentence, Dr Najih Ibrahim said: "Their situation has not been settled yet. They have not been released, but the death sentence has not been carried out."

Meanwhile, Al-Hayat has learned that the wife of the Islamic Group leader Shaykh Tal'at Fu'ad visited Egypt a few days ago from Denmark and returned there without any security difficulties. In past years, family members of jihadist leaders were not allowed to visit the country without security approvals.

Tal'at Fu'ad was one of the most prominent members of the Islamic Group's Shura Council at the time of its alliance with the Al-Jihad Group. He played a prominent role in persuading Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman to lead the group. Charged in the major Al-Jihad case, he spent seven years in prison. He traveled to Afghanistan and founded the magazine Al-Murabitun.

He obtained political asylum in Denmark and took over the job of media promotion for the Islamic Group. He was kidnapped in September 1995 during his presence in Croatia, and his fate remains unknown.

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egyptian Islamist Hardliner Yasir Al-Sirri on Inadmissibility of Violence, US

GMP20110516001007 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 15 May 11

[Interview with Egyptian Islamist Yasir al-Sirri, director of the London-based Islamic Observation Center, by Kamil al-Tawil, from Cairo: "Yasir Al-Sirri to Al-Hayah: After the Revolution It Is No Longer Admissible to Establish Armed Cells that Use Violence in Egypt"]

An Egyptian Islamist leader, who has been living in exile in Britain since the beginning of the nineties, has revealed that he is preparing to return to his country. Islamic Observation Center Director Yasir al-Sirri says that he indeed has contacted the Egyptian Embassy in London, which told him that it received the approval to give him "travel documents for one journey to return" to Egypt.

Al-Sirri expresses his extreme happiness with the fall of President Husni Mubarak's regime, which exerted severe pressure on London in the nineties to extradite him on charges of involvement in terrorism and belonging to Al-Jihad Organization. Al-Sirri fled to Britain asking for asylum after he was sentenced to death in Egypt in 1994 on charges of involvement in an attempt to assassinate former Prime Minister Atif Sidqi. Al-Sirri rejects the Egyptian charges, and says that they were issued by military courts.

Al-Sirri says in an interview with Al-Hayah that now it is no longer admissible to undertake secret or armed action or to establish sleeper cells, or cells that use violence. However, he criticizes the "revisions" undertaken by Egyptian Islamist groups, and considers them "retreats."

Al-Sirri warns that the United States will pay the price for its killing of Al-Qa'ida Leader Usama Bin Ladin, and throwing his corpse in the sea.

The following is the text of the interview:

[Al-Tawil] What was your feeling when you heard Umar Sulayman announcing that President Husni Mubarak has stepped down?

[Al-Sirri] Overwhelming joy. I prostrated myself before God in gratitude. After that I was unable to follow up any news, because of the large number of telephone calls conveying congratulations for the event. It is a real joy to live the joy of the victory of the Egyptian people over injustice and corruption. The tone of voice of the people in Egypt has changed after their voices were no longer suppressed.

[Al-Tawil] Do you long now to return to your country after this long estrangement in exile? Have you taken any steps to facilitate this return, if you actually have decided to return?

[Al-Sirri] I long and aspire to return to beloved Egypt as soon as possible, because living away from God-protected Egypt is not a life. I need to return to my country, and my country needs me. My country has not wronged me, but I was wronged by the previous regime that has departed never to return. I have met the Egyptian consul in London, and I was surprised by a very warm welcome, which indicates the true mettle of the Egyptians, that the previous regime was the cause of the crisis, and that Egypt is still well. Therefore, we, as a people, ought to stand in solidarity and cooperate with all the state institution, be they Armed Forces, Interior Ministry, or Foreign Ministry institutions. We are of the same fabric, and it is inevitable that we stand together for the sake of the good of Egypt, and its return to be the leader and vanguard.

I was told by the Egyptian Consulate that a cable from Egypt said that there is no objection to giving me travel documents for one journey to return to Egypt, but not a passport. I thank them anyway.

[Al-Tawil] Do you now agree with the opinion that the popular revolution has proved the error of the jihadis - or some of them - who were arguing strongly that only armed force can topple the regimes you describe as apostate?

[Al-Sirri] I always have insisted out of conviction that the random operations are not beneficial. In fact the random operations distort the image of the Islamic action, and hinder the process of change. I have been calling for educating the people and making them aware in order to stage a popular revolution, or for instigating the Egyptian Armed Forces to change the regime. Previously, I have addressed several appeals to the Egyptian Army about this issue. We ought to work to promote the tolerant teachings of Islam, to get the people out of worshiping human beings to worshiping the Lord of All Creation, and to promote the principles of justice, freedom, and equality among the people.

The beloved Egypt needs the arms of its sons for construction and development; anyone who does not believe in this has no place among us, and ought to look for another planet. Egypt, God willing, and by virtue of the solidarity of our efforts does not need the US aid, nor the international aid that encroaches upon sovereignty. Let construction, development, and freedom be the motto of the stage.

[Al-Tawil] Do you see any justification for the jihadis to continue the armed action after the Egyptian authorities have responded to most of the demands of the people, particularly opening the door to free pluralistic democratic elections?

[Al-Sirri] After the revolution, all the justifications for the existence of secret organizations in beloved Egypt have ended. Every Egyptian ought to perform the duty of development jihad, and Islamic call jihad through wisdom and good example, because Egypt needs the solidarity of the efforts of all in order to rehabilitate it, advance it, and provide the means of dignified living for all the sons of the Egyptian people so that Egypt restores its status, and its leadership of the nation.

All the sons of the nation, individuals and group, ought to unite in order to make Egypt progress, restore the society to the orthodox path, and combat ignorance, poverty, and disease, because now is the time for work, and there is no scope for secret or armed action.

Perhaps it is useful to point out that the revolution in Egypt is not a revolution in the sense of comprehensive change, but it is a popular uprising, because the revolution has not been completed; the proof is that some of faces of the old regime still are there, the military courts for the civilians have not been abolished, the political prisoners still are in prison, and the same state security officers still are there, but under another name. There ought to have been an immediate operation to arrest all the members of the state security apparatus, and to put them all on trial, all of them from all ranks from the commander of the apparatus to the most junior informer, on charges of high treason. Any talk about rehabilitating them is tantamount to a patch up process; Egypt does not need patching up, but it needs the uprooting of evil, and replacing it by the good through purging and rebuilding on correct foundation for the sake of freedom, dignity, and justice.

[Al-Tawil] There are people who are afraid that the fall of the Egyptian regime - and other regimes in the Arab world - might open the door for the hard-line Islamists to exploit the situation, and try to rebuild jihadi cells that use violence. Do you think that such fears have any justification?

[Al-Sirri] The Islamists should not be used as a scarecrow to instill fear, and there are no justifications whatsoever for these fears. Let the United States together with its allies know that it is supporting the dictatorial regimes against the peoples. The Islamists should not be used to instill fear in God-protected Egypt, because the Islamists are the fortress of security for Egypt and the Egyptians. Also there is no scope at all for sleeper cells or cells that use violence. There is no justification for this, and we will be the first to stand against this if it happens.

In fact, currently no one uses this scarecrow in Egypt except a few of the left-wing political minorities or sectarian minorities, which are afraid for their personal interests, and do not consider the public interests. All ought to assimilate the spirit of the revolution, the principles of not excluding the other, and work for establishing understanding, harmony, and cooperation for Egypt's sake.

[Al-Tawil] In the past years, jihadists have undertaken revisions according to which they abandoned the use of violence to topple the regimes. What is your stance toward these revisions, especially the Islamic Group revisions, and Dr Fadl's revisions? Do you consider that those who undertook these revisions were wrong or right in the sense that their reconciliation with Mubarak's regime might harm them after that regime collapsed?



[Al-Sirri] To begin with, I am not a member of the Islamic Group, and I have not pledged allegiance to any organization in Egypt, This is the truth that not many people know, all the claims to the contrary of this are lies by the toppled regime of Mubarak, which were supported by US-British stupidity and arrogance. Personally I call these retreats and not revisions. If you do not have the ability, it is no shame to stop, step down, or resign, and leave the field for the youths from the group to carry the banner, rather than turning against the intellectual and ideological constants. I believe that these leaders have made a mistake, and if they continue and persevere with this after they get out of prison, they have already fallen with the fall of Mubarak and his regime.

As for Dr Fadl, as far as I know these have been his convictions even before he went to prison. This is written in the book "Al-Jami fi Talab al-Ilm al-Sharif."

[Al-Tawil] Have you ever imagined that at any time Mubarak personally together with most of the pillars of his regime would stand before the courts on charges of corruption?

[Al-Sirri] "Think not that Allah doth not heed the deeds of those who do wrong. He but giveth them respite against a Day when the eyes will fixedly stare in horror [Sura Ibarhim, Verse 42]." It is God's power, He saith to it: 'Be' and it is [Sura Al-Baqarah, from Verse 117]." What happened is a lesson and an example.

[Al-Tawil] Also I would like to ask you about what is taking place in Libya: Do you support the revolutionaries' seeking the help of NATO to topple the regime of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi? What is your stance toward what currently is taking place?

[Al-Sirri] I reject the interference of NATO in Libya or in any other country. There is no scope for occupation or for hirelings. It is better that the Libyan people would change the Al-Qadhafi regime by themselves, and to draw up their future by themselves. The west does not want to protect the Libyan people and help them to topple Al-Qadhafi and his devils, but the west wants first of all to destroy the abilities of Libya, and hence to topple Al-Qadhafi, in order to benefit from the project to reconstruct Libya, and to rebuild its military capabilities with what these projects will bring of contracts for tens of billions of dollars for the western companies. My stance is that the other peoples, especially the neighboring countries ought to support and consolidate the Libyan popular revolution with all possible means.

[Al-Tawil] What was your feeling when you first heard of the success of the United States in killing Usama Bin Ladin? What do you expect to happen now after his departure?



[Al-Sirri] It is enough honor and pride for Bin Ladin that he was killed in a confrontation, and not running away, he was not arrested, and he won the best of the two best things [the two best things are winning and martyrdom, and the best of the two is martyrdom]. The United States will pay the price for its reckless behavior in the way of burying Shaykh Usama, God have mercy on his soul. The United States should not blame anyone other than itself when the people deal with it in the same way. The way of burial was according to the US jungle law and not according to Shari'ah as the United States claims.

[Al-Tawil] There are fears that the disputes that take place every now-and-then between Muslims and Copts might develop into sectarian strife in Egypt. What is your opinion of the confrontations that currently are taking place?

[Al-Sirri] Law has to be applied to anyone who carries arms, or tries to attack a church or a mosque. Also anyone who detains a citizen in a house of worship - whether Islamic or Christian - has to be confronted firmly, and law should be applied to him. The houses of worship should not be turned into depot for weapons. This is the only way to bury the sectarian sedition, and to prevent the slipping into a dark tunnel.

Islamic Shari'ah preserves the right of Copts. The Copts have lived under the Muslims in security and safety they never enjoyed before Islam entered Egypt. There ought to be no fear of Islam, which protects the rights of non-Muslims. The Copts will not enjoy security under the protection of the United States or the west. The protection of the Copts is the duty of the Muslims, which is one of the rights according to Shari'ah. The rights stipulated by Islam are not mere ink on paper, but they are sacred rights stipulated by God's Shari'ah, and no one can rescind them. Ka'b Bin-Malik al-Ansari said: I heard the Prophet, God's prayer and peace be upon him, say, "If you conquer Egypt, be good to the Copts, they are linked by blood and birth." Here, the Prophet grants the Copts more rights than others. They have the covenant of God, the covenant of the Prophet, and the covenant of the collective Muslims, and it is a covenant that is worthy of observation and protection. They are linked by blood and birth more than others, because one of them was Hajar [Abraham's slave], mother of Isma'il, father of the Arabs.

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid 'Unlikely' War Will Break Out Between Egypt, Israel

GMP20110516825007 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 16 May 11

[Commentary by Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid: "Egypt, Israel and the Prospects of War"]

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