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



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Another writer on the website, Murad Muris, said Copts were getting a "clear message from the Salafists and the MB [Muslim Brotherhood] that you have to accept the application of Islamic Shari'ah ... or else flee Egypt to any of the infidel Western countries like the US or Canada". He added that the Coptic community "will not leave our precious country Egypt".

The Muslim Brotherhood's website Ikhwanonline, however, distanced itself from involvement in the clashes, saying in a statement that "The MB condemns blind fanaticism and some people's attempts to solve their problems away from the law." While not singling out any groups by name, it pointed to "external forces and internal segments whose interests have been threatened ... by the Egyptian people's blessed revolution" and said that the clashes represented the peak of these "unfortunate conspiracies".

"Thugs", former regime elements to blame - social media

Social media users exchanged angry comments and disagreed over who to blame for the violence, and posted video clips to bolster their views.

Some YouTube clips attempted to piece together how the incidents at Marmina church may have started. One 41-second video posted by "moriatte" on 7 May was filmed at night and showed a man with a beard wearing a white gown, the traditional uniform of Salafists, who said the clashes started when "Salafi brothers" went to investigate reports of a Muslim woman held by Christians inside the church". A crowd could be heard denying that the Salafists were armed.

Voices on Twitter variously blamed "thugs", the former regime, or the military council. Several people tweeted that the military council had referred 190 people to a court martial. But user mansourtalk expressed doubt about the council. "I am fully convinced that the Imbabah incidents yesterday would not have happened without the military council's consent," he tweeted.

User MagedMes blamed "retaliatory reaction by the remnants" of the former regime who he said were displeased by the prison sentence handed down to the former interior minister, Habib al-Adli.

Facebook groups reacted angrily to the violence. Several users expressed support for the army. "We trust the Armed Forces," said user Kawthar Shawali. A Facebook group entitled "the official page of the coalition for supporting new Muslims" (url: http://www.facebook.com/NewMuslimsRights), posted the military council's statement on its wall. The group had 23,470 likes at 1030 gmt on 8 May. Commenting on the incidents, user Mohamed Adly warned of "being dragged into the Christians' plan to distort this religion [Islam]". User Mohamed Fathy called for searching churches. However, other users urged wisdom and called for dealing with both sides on an equal footing.

Some users blamed foreign interference, such as Mohamed Hamoksha who said that "Israeli hands" were working to foment conflict in Egypt.

[Description of Source: Caversham BBC Monitoring in English -- Monitoring service of the BBC, the United Kingdom's public service broadcaster]

Eyewitnesses recount story of sectarian clashes in Egypt in talk show

GMP20110509950056 Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic 1930 GMT 08 May 11

The Muslim-Coptic clashes in Imbabah neighbourhood in Al-Jizah governorate (south of Cairo) was the main theme of private Al-Yawm TV live discussion programme "Cairo Today" on 8 May.

The programme's presenters interviewed over the telephone two eyewitnesses from Imbabah.

Ahmad Na'im, a salafist, told the channel that the story had begun when a woman called some Salafist Shaykhs over the telephone urging them to rescue her as she claimed she was held in a church in Imbabah by her brothers who denied her right to become a Muslim. "Two Salafist shaykhs went to the church aiming to carry out peaceful negotiations with the church's pastors... A person from the church responded harshly saying 'we want to ignite the situation," said Na'im.

Na'im said: "Immediately after that, shooting with live ammunition started from inside the church." "Muslims had to defend themselves... I have to say that Muslims in Egypt are the ones who are oppressed not the Copts. Have you ever heard about a priest being dragged to the State Security Investigation Department headquarters to be tortured? This never happens to Copts. It only happens to Islamists," he stressed.

Usamah al-Ma'zuz, a Copt from Imbabah, told the channel that he did not know why "these problems always happen to us. What did we do to the Salafists form them to attack us?" Al-Ma'zuz told the channel's presenter the same story that Na'im recounted, but with one important difference, namely that the Muslims were the ones who started shooting and that the Copts reacted with sticks and their bare hands without using live ammunition.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]

Egypt Christians protest in Cairo after church attack

EUP20110510960015 London BBC News Online in English 1238 GMT 10 May 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC NEWS ONLINE \ MIDDLE EAST) - Christians in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, are holding a protest vigil near Tahrir Square following an attack on two churches in which 12 people died.

More than 180 were wounded in clashes on Saturday after conservative Muslims attacked a church in the Imbaba area.

Protesters have gathered outside the country's state television, accusing the army of failing to protect them.

Egypt's army says more than 190 people detained after the violence will face military trials.

The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces called the move a "deterrent" against further violence.

Egypt's justice minister Abdel Aziz al-Gindi has warned that those who threaten the country's security will face "an iron fist".

Fire bombs

He spoke after an emergency cabinet meeting convened by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, who postponed a visit to the Gulf to hold the talks.

Mr Gindi said the government would "immediately and firmly implement the laws that criminalise attacks against places of worship and freedom of belief", which would allow for the death penalty to be applied.

Continue reading the main story

In pictures: Egypt's Christians and Muslims clash

Saturday's violence started after several hundred conservative Salafist Muslims gathered outside the Coptic Saint Mena Church in Cairo's Imbaba district.

They were reportedly protesting over the allegation that a Christian woman, named as Abeer, was being held there against her will because she had married a Muslim man and converted to Islam.

The calls for this protest followed the appearance on a Christian TV channel of Camilia Shehata, a woman who Islamists had claimed was also being held against her will after converting to Islam. She denied this in the TV interview.

Witnesses said the confrontation began with shouting between protesters, church guards and people living near the church.

Rival groups threw firebombs and stones, and gunfire was heard.

The church and one other, as well as some nearby homes, were set alight, and it took hours for the emergency services and the military to bring the situation under control.

Christian leaders have declared three days of mourning for those who died in Saturday's violence.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered outside the main state television building, calling for the removal of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who leads Egypt's ruling military council.

When they were met by a group of Muslims, fights again broke out and the two groups pelted each other with stones.

The Christian mourners have now gathered outside state television for a second day. The BBC's Jonathan Head, in Cairo, says the protesters are angry with the army for failing to protect them.

Military authorities are promising tougher measures against anyone who attacks a place of worship, but such promise have been made before, to little effect, says our correspondent.

Egypt is experiencing a security vacuum since the departure of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, with the discredited police staying out of communal conflicts.

Hard-line Salafi Muslim groups were rarely seen in the days of Mubarak, but now they are now able to mount aggressive demonstrations against perceived threats to Islam, straining community relations, our correspondent says.

Sectarian clashes

On its Facebook page, the Egyptian army announced: "The Supreme Military Council decided to send all those who were arrested in yesterday's events, that is 190 people, to the Supreme Military Court."

It added that it should act as a "deterrent to all those who think of toying with the potential of this nation".

The statement also said that a committee would be set up to assess the damage caused by the clashes and "restore all property and places of worship to how they were".

Saturday's clashes were not the first outbreak of communal violence since President Mubarak left office in February following weeks of popular protests.

During the protests in Cairo, many Christians and Muslims had protested alongside each other and protected each other during prayer times.

But in March, 13 people died in sectarian clashes in another neighbourhood. Last month, demonstrators in the southern city of Qena cut all transport links with Cairo for a week in protest over the appointment of a Christian governor.

[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

Egyptian Salafist Calls For Delaying March To Apply Islamic Law

GMP20110619950020 Cairo MENA Online in English 1647 GMT 19 Jun 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Cairo, 19 June: An Egyptian Salafist leader Sunday [19 June] called for delaying a one million-man march, set for Friday, the 1st of July, in Tahrir Square in central Cairo under the rubric "One-Million-man March to Apply Shari'ah or Islamic law."

In a statement, a copy of which was obtained by MENA on Sunday evening, Shaykh Yasir Burhami, the Salafist leader in Alexandria, explained that some would say the march was only attended by a few demanding the application of Islamic Shari'ah, which, he added, could be harmful to the very call for applying the Islamic law.

So, he urged the postponement of the demonstration pending a consensus by Islamic scholars on the viability of the one-million marches, especially as people in Egypt have started to question their credibility as a means of expression.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Scholar Abu-al-Mundhir Al-Shinqiti Issues Fatwa on Seeking Knowledge, Jihad

GMP20110622140003 Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic 21 Jun 11

[Fatwa attributed to Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti; date not given: "Should I Travel To Seek Knowledge or Wait for an Opportunity To Perform Jihad?" -- The fatwa was observed on 21 June]

May God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you

May God bless you and grant you a place in Paradise, O our honorable scholars. God is our witness that we love you for His sake.

It is no secret for Your Eminence that the countries of Muslims are witnessing blessed revolutions that are considered to be a relief for those who have chosen to follow the path of obeying God. Praise be to God that we implore for Him to set the stage for opening a front in any of the countries witnessing revolutions. Although we are in the lookout for that opportunity to come, God willing, God has opened a door for travelling to seek knowledge in the Land of Quiver [Egypt] from the scholars of Alexandria. However, I am hesitant about accepting [to go] so as not to miss the opportunity of performing jihad in the cause of God in case it became possible.

Therefore, I seek your opinion, may God bless you. I would like to know if I should go to seek knowledge as God may use us to spread the truth or I should reject and do my best to learn alone using the books and audio tapes that are available online.

May God bless, guard, and protect you and lead your steps on the right path.

May God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you.

Question by: Abu Jihed [name as published]

Answer by: The Shari'ah Commission of the Minbar [Al-Tawhid wal-Jihad]

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Praise be to God.

May God's prayers be upon His noble Prophet and upon his household and all his companions.

You should have mentioned your place of residence, my honorable brother. This is important to have a clear picture of the situation.

Anyway, it is always necessary to seek knowledge and prepare for jihad in the same time. Some people today want to separate between knowledge and jihad. This divides Salafism into two categories, which are scientific Salafism and jihadist Salafism.

I swear by God that scientific Salafism is of no importance if it is not jihadist. Likewise, jihadist Salafism is of no importance if it is not scientific. Lawful jihad is based only on scientific fundamentals. In addition, knowledge is of no value unless it promotes jihad. Thus, any believer devoted to goodness, must be scientific jihadist Salafist Muslim. This means that you should be on the lookout for any opportunity to be recruited for jihad whenever possible and you have to be ready for that.

It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Messenger of God, prayers and peace be upon him, said: "One of the best of livelihoods that people can have is that of a man who holds the reins of his horse in the way of God, hastening on its back, and whenever he hears the sound of war or alarm, he flies to it looking for either the killing or the death that he will find there."

Be always ready to be recruited so as to be among the encamped, even if by intention. Jihad is destined for who intends it but fails to go for it. This is evident in what Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Anas Bin-Malik, may God be pleased with him, who said: "God's Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, returned from the battle of Tabuk and when he approached Medina, he said: 'Some people have stayed behind in Medina but they were accompanying you in every ravine and valley you travelled through.' They said: 'O Messenger of God, [were they accompanying us] while they were in Medina?' He said: 'Yes, an excuse prevented them from coming.'"

In addition, whoever truthfully seeks martyrdom, God will bestow him with the rank of martyrs. This is evident in what Muslim narrated on the authority of Sahl Bin-Abi-Umamah Bin-Sahl Bin-Hanif from his father from his grandfather. Muslim reported that Prophet Muhammad said: "If someone asks God Almighty for martyrdom with true sincerity, God will raise him to the level of martyrs, even if he dies in his bed."

In the same time, one should strive to seek the available knowledge, and to use all the available means to reach this end. This is to comply with the saying of the Prophet, may God's prayers be upon him: "Strive for what benefits you, seek God's assistance, and do not deem yourself incapable."

The audio lessons are of use and great impact. Many knowledge-seekers have benefited a lot from it.

God knows best.

Praise be to God Almighty.

Answer by:

Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti

Member of the Shari'ah Commission

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic -- Large repository of radical Salafi religious material; serves as official website for Jordanian Salafi cleric Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who was once the religious mentor to deceased Al-Qa'ida in Iraq leader Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi; URL: www.tawhed.ws]

Egyptian Salafist Nur Party Undecided Over Presidential Race

GMP20110624950022 Cairo MENA Online in English 0952 GMT 24 Jun 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Alexandria, 24 June: The Salafist Al-Nur (The Light) Party is still undecided about which candidate it will be supporting in the coming presidential race.

"We don't intend to run in the coming presidential elections and we still have not got our mind set on the presidential candidate that would be worthy of our support," according the nascent party's spokesman Yusri Hammad.

"The sure thing is that we will lend our support to any candidate who will express the ambitions of all Egyptians," he said.

"We are open to joining any coalition and cooperating with any political power that seeks to serve the good of this nation and abides by the sublime religious principles that call for love and tolerance."

"For us in Al-Nur party, one of our major objectives is to follow closely the performance of the head of the regime and help him with our advice. Another objective is fighting corruption which is key to the change of the community," he said.

The party rejects violence in all its forms, he asserted.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Egyptian Liberal Groups Withdraw From Suez Protest After Salafists Took Over

GMP20110729950016 Cairo MENA Online in English 1058 GMT 29 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Suez City, 29 July: A number of political parties and the Suez revolutionary coalition announced they would not partake in the protests in the Arba'in Square after Islamist and Salafist groups rejected to coordinate with them.



The Islamists and Salafists also started attacking liberals and seculars in statements distributed in Suez.

Those groups have taken many steps to ensure that the largest possible number of their members join the protests, like distributing their preachers among the mosques to encourage the people to head to the main squares.

Meanwhile, Ali Amin, a senior leader at Al-Wafd Party, said a large number of parties decided not to join the protests after religious groups insisted to hold slogans that repulsed them.

Anyone wandering in Suez's streets will see the eyesore banners of the Salafists and other religious groups, calling for establishing a religious state, Amin said.

The Suez revolutionaries and political youth are now attempting to travel to Cairo to partake in the protests in Tahrir Square.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Egypt uprising: Islamists lead Tahrir Square rally

EUP20110729960009 London BBC News Online in English 1840 GMT 29 Jul 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC News Online \ Middle East) - Tens of thousands of people have packed Cairo's Tahrir Square, after the first call by Islamist leaders for nationwide demonstrations since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February.

Many protesters - dominated by Muslim Brotherhood supporters - are calling for an Islamic state and Sharia law.

Correspondents say the rallies will be a worrying development for secularists.

The Brotherhood is the most organised political force in Egypt, although it was not prominent in the revolution.

Tensions have been running high between Egypt's Islamist and secular groups, who are at odds over the transition to democracy in the Arab world's most populated country.

Turning point?

Liberal groups first want guarantees of a constitution that will protect religious freedom and personal rights, whereas Islamists want speedy elections and a recognition of Islam - in one form or another - in the new Egyptian state.

Now, the Islamists want their voice to be heard and are showing their muscle for the first time since Mr Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood can turn out huge crowds by rallying its supporters at mosques, it does not necessarily represent the majority of Egyptians and is predicted to win around 20% of the vote in an election, our correspondent says.

There was little sign of any secular groups at Friday's rally, he says, adding that it will be interesting to see how they re-group after today's events.

Since early July, the mainly secular protesters had camped out in Tahrir Square - the epicentre of protests that toppled Mr Mubarak - to denounce the ruling military council over the slow pace of reform.

Islamist groups had for the most part stayed away from the sit-in. Last week, they held their own demonstration and accused the Tahrir protesters of going against the country's "Islamic identity", the AFP news agency reports.

But with Islamists and the more conservative Salafist groups now filling Tahrir Square, it could mark a turning point in Egypt's post-revolution period, our correspondent says.

[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

Egyptian Salafist Group Denounces Al Arish Attack, Denies Involvement

GMP20110802950015 Cairo MENA Online in English 1106 GMT 02 Aug 11

Egyptian Salafist group denounces Al-Arish attack, denies involvement

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, Egypt, 2 Aug: The Salafist group in North Sinai deplored on Tuesday a recent attack in Al-Arish that left 25 dead and injured.

Addressing a conference on the recent incidents in the city, senior leaders of the group denied any involvement in the attack. Political activist Mustafa Azzam said the rally organized by the group on Friday before the attack was peaceful.

Dr. Ammar Salih Judah, another activist of the group, recalled that it combated thugs during the security vacuum at the height of the 25 January revolution.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Second night of Israeli strikes on Gaza after rocket fire

EUP20110805960007 London BBC News Online in English 1630 GMT 05 Aug 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC News Online \ Middle East) - Israel has carried out a second night of air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians say one of the targets was a training facility for the military wing of Hamas, and smuggling tunnels along the Egypt border were hit.

Medical sources say five people were injured in the attacks.

The Israeli strikes took place hours after Palestinian militants fired rockets at an Israeli town situated 30km from the Gaza-Israel border.

Recent weeks have seen an increase in mortar and rocket fire from Gaza after months of relative calm.

Israeli army sources say that since Wednesday Grad rockets were fired near the towns of Kiryat Gat, Ashkelon and Lachish. They landed in open areas and no-one was hurt.

However on Monday, an Israeli Bedouin woman was lightly wounded by shrapnel when a rocket fired from Gaza exploded near Ashkelon.

The last major escalation of violence in and around Gaza followed an incident in April when an Israeli school bus was hit by a missile fired from the Palestinian territory. An Israeli teenager later died from his injuries.

Israel responded to that attack with a series of air strikes that killed at least 19 Palestinians. It was the deadliest violence since Israel's 22-day devastating assault on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009.

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