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Egyptian-American arrested in US after calling Brotherhood leader a ‘liar and a murderer’

Salma Abu El-Magd arrested after interrupting speech by Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian in New York, released after four hours in custody

Ahram Online, Sunday 9 Dec 2012
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An Egyptian-American activist has been arrested in New York after interrupting a lecture by Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian.

El-Erian, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood and vice-chairman of its Freedom and Justice Party, had been invited to talk about Egypt's draft constitution at the El-Nour Islamic School.

In a YouTube video of the incident, El-Magd said she lost her temper when El-Erian started praising the constitution.

“He said the US constitution had been changed many times and we could do that in Egypt,” El-Magd said. “Then he started talking about his beautiful constitution and how it would be a role model for the Middle East and Arab World.”

El-Magd said she interrupted the lecture at this point and called El-Erian a “liar and a murderer.”

Brotherhood supporters then attacked her and her husband, she said, and a man wearing an orange pullover hit her on the head.

A video shot by an audience member shows a hysterical El-Magd being thrown out of the hall.

“Get your ****** hands off me,” El-Magd screamed. “Get your people under control and tell them not to touch me.”

Once outside, El-Magd and other Egyptian activists began chanting against El-Erian and the Brotherhood. She was then approached by a police officer who informed her that she was under arrest.

“What [will you arrest me] for,” asked El-Magd. “I have every right to protest. This is my constitutional right. I am an American citizen.”

After she was put in the police car, a policeman explained that he had asked her repeatedly to leave and she had refused.

She was released after spending four hours in custody.

El-Magd said she had also confronted El-Erian before the lecture began: “When he got out [of the car], I told him, you murderer, you are a murderer of Egyptians, your hands are soaked with blood.”

Egypt’s draft constitution was finalised on 30 November and will be put to a national referendum on 15 December.

El-Erian had travelled to New York to attend a United Nations Summit.

The talk was organised by members of the Egyptian community living in New York.

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