Archive

2006

Temporary end of Alexandria events after two killed and dozens arrested

17/4/2006

Abdel Muez Mohamed

After three days of fighting, the clashes between a number of Copts in Alexandria and security forces have ended. The calm that prevails in the popular Asafra neighborhood came after violent events that led to the killing of two individuals, one Muslim and one Copt, as well as the more than 33 citizens injured and the 55 arrested, most of them Copts.

Security forces dispersed the sit-in that was organised by a group of Coptic youth in front of the Saints Church (note: aka Two Saints Church) located in the Asafra neighborhood. The youth rejected appeals by the security forces to break up their sit-in and to hand over the weapons and swords in their possession, particularly after the serious injury of a sound technician from one of the satellite agencies after he was attacked by Coptic youth who caused chaos and confusion in the area. They chanted slogans inciting racism and strife. They were confronted by a group of Muslim children in a similar demonstration. The Copts threw stones at them and the children responded equally, at which time the security forces found it appropriate to intervene as to not reach the point of bloody clashes between the two parties. [The security forces] shot teargas and rubber bullets and dispersed the sit-in by force. They arrested the troublemakers of the strife from the two sides. At that time the demonstrations of the Muslim crowds that were denouncing the events left, the protesters chanted slogans like “The crescent lives together with the cross” and “One national unity” which pushed dozens of Copts to join the demonstration, which had a great effect in calming the atmosphere.

A number of elders from the neighborhood and the governorate attempted to hold a reconciliation session, and they demanded that the Muslim Brotherhood representative in the district, Mustafa Mohammed Mustafa, join the session for his prominent role in calming down the situation and to restrain it.

The General Prosecutor renewed the custody of the accused in the assault on three churches last Friday for 45 days pending investigation. In his statements to the General Prosecutor, the accused has confirmed that he attacked Mar Girgis Church at around nine o’clock in the morning. There, he stabbed three individuals in the Church’s courtyard. After that he boarded a tram from the al-Hadara quarter to the Misr train station, where he took a cab to the Al-Qidiseen Church, concealing the knife that he was carrying, and there he stabbed three others. When he was finished with the second church, he cleaned the used weapon, and boarded a microbus to the Holy Virgin Church in the Gianaclis quarter and tried to break into the church. He managed to escape even though security chased him. He then boarded a tram to attack Mar Girgis Church, which is located in the Sporting neighborhood. At the scene, security forces managed to arrest him as he shouted “Let me go to kill five or six others!” according to the story we were told by a judicial source.

This was originally published in Arabic on Ikhwan Online

Translated by JS.

Death of a Muslim in fighting in Alexandria and fears of renewed clashes 

16/4/2006

Abdel Moaz Mohamed

An Egyptian Muslim citizen died on Sunday of wounds sustained during clashes between Muslims and Copts during the funeral of a Copt killed in an attack on three churches in Alexandria on Friday.

Ikhwanonline’s correspondent said the Muslim who died today lived next to Al-Qidiseen Church in the neighborhood of Sidi Bishr, which recently saw unfortunate events, and his death was the result of a Coptic woman throwing a stone at his head, which led to a serious and fatal injury.

The correspondent added that there is a case of motivation and willingness for the prevalence of friction in circles of the Copts, where a large number of Copts came out of the church on Street 45 in the neighborhood of Al-Asafra on Sunday, carrying swords, knives, switchblades, and sticks, and they beat a news agency photographer.

He added that a state of pandemonium would have prevailed in the area if it were not for security personnel. Skirmishes took place between a number of Copts and police as Copts chanted slogans such as, “with our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Christ.” But after negotiations that lasted for more than three hours, security leaders managed to convince the clergy of the church to calm down the rebels.

Clashes broke out between Coptic demonstrators and Muslims at the funeral of the slain Copt who died in Friday’s attacks, and mourners from the funeral of the Copts say a barrage of stones rained on them from balconies during the funeral.

A Muslim store worker today told Al-Jazeera that some Copts assaulted the store where he works using a cross, and other eyewitnesses mentioned that Coptic demonstrators entered the church in Alexandria chanting slogans against Muslims and the Egyptian regime.

The clashes in which security forces intervened injured 22 people, including three security officers, seven Copts, and 11 Muslims, as well as the Muslim who died today from his wounds.

The tensions began when a mentally ill man, according to the statement from the Ministry of Interior, named Mahmoud Salah Eddin attacked three churches using a sword and sharp objects last Friday, killing one Copt and injuring six others in an attack that has been met with several condemnations from internal and external forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

However the Coptic Church and numerous Copts rejected the official version that came from the Ministry of Interior, which held the mentally ill man responsible for the attacks in the three churches that resulted in a death and several wounded.

During the previous two days, Alexandria was the scene of numerous escalating events and peaked yesterday, Saturday 15/4/2006, and with the funeral of Noshy Atta Guirguis, at a time in which a number of demonstrators attacked passersby and buildings, and imams in Alexandria called for calm on loudspeakers.

Witnesses said that the funeral procession, which was going from Al-Qidiseen Church to the cemetery, threw stones at buildings on a street adjacent to the church, while clashes with sticks between Muslims and Copts and a car was burned, and the immediate intervention of security personnel divided the funeral procession into two in order to surround the demonstrators involved in the clashes.

The skirmishes between the two sides began to intensifty after it appeared that some youth were throwing a barrage of stones at the demonstrators, and violent anti-Muslim and anti-government slogans were heard coming from inside the church.

This was originally published in Arabic on Ikhwanonline

Attacks on a mosque and continuing clashes in Alexandria

16/4/2006

Abdel-Moaz Mohamed

Clashes between Copts and some Muslims intensified in the governorate of Alexandria (north of Cairo), against the backdrop of the killing of one Copt and injury of many others after a mentally ill man attacked them last Friday.

Copts organised a large march during the burial of the deceased Copt and chanted religious slogans that provoked a number of Muslims. This intensified the crisis in the midst of the complete failure of security forces to control the situation.

The confrontations, during which anger mixed with other matters, resulted in an attack on the El-Wahed El-Ahad Mosque during which Coptic protesters threw rocks at it, leading to damage to many parts of it. They also threw Molotov cocktails at it and a number of Copts set fire to a large number of cars. Before midnight a jeweller’s was attacked and the perpetrator of this attack is still unknown.

The confrontations resulted in a many injuries to policemen who Copts threw stones and Molotov cocktails at.

In the two days leading up to this Alexandria had witnessed a number of escalating events that reached their peak on the morning of Saturday 15/4/2006 during the funeral of Noshy Attalah Gerges when a number of protesters attacked passersby and installations leading to a number of mosque imams in Alexandria to call for calm over microphones.

Eyewitnesses said that stones were thrown at the funeral procession going from the El-Qedeseen Church to the graveyard from buildings in the street near the Church while there were clashes with sticks between Muslims and Copts in the street. A car was torched and security forces intervened immediately and divided the funeral procession into two parts in order to surround the protesters taking part in the clashes.

Scuffles between the two sides gradually increased after some young people threw a hail of stones at protesters. Fierce chanting against Muslims, the government and Mubarak were heard coming from inside the churches.

The Coptic Church and many Copts rejected the official version of events given by the Interior Ministry and which held a mentally ill man responsible for the attacks against three churches and results in one death and numerous injuries.

For his part, Dr Mohamed Selim El-Awa, Secretary General of International Union of Muslim Scholars condemned these attacks and expressed his condolences and sympathy to the victims’ families, and warned against being dragged into sectarian strife that will only benefit Egypt’s enemies. El-Awa called on the government to work towards preventing the repetition of such attacks.

The United States of America condemned the attacks on the Coptic Churches in Alexandria. Washington urged both Copts and Muslims in Alexandria to show understanding and calm.

The State Department spokesman Shawn Mccormick said, this type of act is unacceptable. We will call on the Egyptian government to continue its efforts to defuse the situation and provide effective security to all places of worship and invite people of all religious creeds to refrain from more acts of violence and incitements.

This was originally published on Ikhwanonline.

Bahaism: colonialism’s stepdaughter rears its head again

13/4/2006

–       9 rukoa during prayers and fasting for 19 days and pilgrimage to Acre!!

–       Al-Azhar has decreed that followers of the religion are infidels and affirmed that they are not Muslims

Investigation by Ali El-Noweshy

While the calls for more freedom are increasing in Egypt, some people who call themselves Bahais are trying to get the state to agree to their religion being mentioned in official documents in addition to attempts to obtain judicial verdicts from the administrative judiciary establishing their right to do so.

The Civil Affairs Authority had refused to issue ID cards to the Bahais recording their religion in both personal ID cards and birth certificates, even where they have Egyptian Bahai parents and grandparents with ID cards or birth certificates proving that they are Bahai.

In a new attempt at pressure some Egyptian Bahais met the secretary general of the National Council for Human Rights in Egypt and presented to him their demand that they be allowed to issue official documents with their religion recorded in them or that the religious field be left blank. The National Council refused to issue a recommendation to the Civil Affairs Authority that his demand be realised.

Bahais have sought recourse to human rights centres, some of whom, such as the Al-Karama Centre and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, have responded to their pressure and demanded that the government respond to their demands.

In 2002 the United Nations Human Rights Commission called on the Egyptian government to end discrimination against Egyptian Bahais on the grounds that this is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which became binding after [Egypt] acceded to it in 1982.

In 2004 decree number 46 was issued which restricted the religious field on ID cards to members of the heavenly religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam or allowed it to be left blank. Bahais say that as a result of this decree they have been deprived of their right to issue official documents unless they accept stating their religion as one of the three religions.

Rejected beliefs

Bahaism is not a divine message and is not a [legally] recognised religion like the [legally] recognised religions. It is an esoteric Gnostic movement no different from fads that appear every day and disappear. Only human rights organisations that give no value to religion and hold that freedom of belief is above everything and above religions themselves recognise it.

Bahaism as an idea is a mixture of several religions and philosophies that offers nothing new to mankind, rather it serves Zionism and colonialism. All the principles of this heresy [bed3a] are against Islam, the most important of which is the doctrine of incarnation, meaning that God appeared and was embodied in the person called Ahmed El-Ehsany and then in the person of the Bab and then in other persons who claimed this calling after him. Baha’ullah was the first to claim that he is the Bab before claiming that he is the Mahdi before he then claimed a personal prophecy and after that a public prophecy before he then claimed he was God.

All this is false and against Quranic provisions, for God is above place and thus He is above embodiment.

Bahais deny the day of judgement and claim that heaven is spiritual life and that hell is spiritual death.

Some claim to have received a revelation and that some of them are better than the Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him, and that they have written books that oppose the Quran and that their books are more miraculous than the Quran and that Bahaism supercedes all the religions.

They have approved teachings that breach Islamic principles, such as:

–       Prayer is 9 rokoas

–       They face Acre during prayer

–       They abolished pilgrimage to Mecca and made it to Acre

–       They consider the number 19 to be sacred and [translator’s note: this sentence ends abruptly and its meaning is unclear]

This was originally published in Arabic on Ikhwanonline.