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Egypt revolutionaries to steer clear of Friday's anti-Brotherhood rally
Most Egyptian political groups will refrain from participating in planned Friday protest against 'Brotherhoodization' of state, linking event with counter-revolutionary forces
Salma Shukrallah, Friday 24 Aug 2012
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Mohamed Abo Hamed
Former MP Mohamed Abo Hamed

Two controversial Egyptian figures, anti-revolution television presenter Tawfiq Okasha and former MP Mohamed Abu-Hamed, were the first to call for mass protests aimed at "toppling Muslim Brotherhood rule" on Friday, 24 August.

The call was at first perceived as a feeble attempt by a former regime loyalist – Okasha – to make a comeback of sorts. It was quickly transformed into an anti-Brotherhood protest, however, when it was picked up by others whose fear of the Brotherhood was heightened after President Mohamed Morsi retired Egypt’s military rulers earlier this month.   

On 12 August, Morsi not only removed Egypt’s military leaders, but also cancelled Egypt's 17 June constitutional addendum. Issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the addendum had significantly curtailed the president's executive prerogatives.

Meanwhile, the calls against the Brotherhood have been vociferously criticised by both Islamist and revolutionary forces. The attacks, however, may have gone too far, say some, after Al-Azhar Sheikh Hashem Islam made statements that seemed to condone violence against those protesting Egypt's Islamist president.

"Whoever joins the 24 August uprising will stand in opposition to the 25 January Revolution," said Islam. "They will be committing high treason against their nation, God, his prophet and Muslims."

He added: "Stand up against them. If they fight you, fight them back… if they kill some of you, the martyrs will go to heaven; and if you kill them, this will be righteous."

Islam’s statements, made at a political conference at the Egyptian Diplomatic Club on 15 August, triggered an uproar among revolutionary circles. Actor Sameh El-Serity and leftist activist Karima El-Hefanawy, both present at the conference, said that, despite their disapproval of the planned 24 August demonstrations, such statements served to threaten basic freedoms.

Prominent reform campaigner and Constitution Party founder Mohamed ElBaradei, for his part, responded to Islam's statements with fury. "If such religious clerics aren't put on trial, we will fall into the trap of fascist rule cloaked in religion," he declared on Twitter.

Muslim Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein, too, quickly commented on Islam's religious edict, stressing that every citizen enjoyed the right to stage demonstrations – as long as said demonstrations remained within the confines of the law and did not damage public property.

"However," he added, "calls to stage protests... and damage public property on 24 August are illegal."

Despite frequent assurances from organisers that the planned demonstration would be peaceful, rumours have circulated that Friday's protest would target the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters.

On the popular Salafist satellite television channel Al-Nas, an unknown caller told host Khaled Abdalla (who is also known for his controversial statements against anti-SCAF protesters) that the 24 August protest was a "Christian conspiracy" funded by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.  

Abu-Hamed, a main organiser of Friday's planned protest, met with Geagea earlier this year, praising him as an "inspiration." Geagea has long been accused of orchestrating the massacre, together with Israel, of thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in Lebanon's Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in 1982. Geagea was also found guilty of assassinating several Lebanese political figures during the country's long civil war.

Abu-Hamed has denied accusations that the planned protests would feature acts of violence. The event's primary demands, he says, are the rejection of the "Brotherhoodization" of state institutions, and that the Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party reveal the sources of their funding to the public.  

A group calling itself the "Front of Azhar Members for a Civil State" on Wednesday declared that it, too, would join the planned protests. Movement member Sheikh Mohamed Abdalla Nasr told independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that his group was participating in the scheduled event to voice its rejection of Brotherhood domination of state institutions and the perceived monopolisation of political powers by the president.

Others not participating in the 24 August protest had earlier expressed similar concerns over the president's ostensible monopoly of political power. ElBaradei, who welcomed Morsi's move to end military rule in Egypt, nevertheless warned against leaving both legislative and executive authorities in the hands of the president. He also called for a new constituent assembly to be drawn up to serve as a temporary legislature until new parliamentary elections are held.

Fears of Brotherhood control over state institutions had been articulated earlier, when several Egyptian writers and journalists left their columns blank on 9 August to protest perceived attempts by the Brotherhood to control state-owned publications.

Activists also voiced alarm after several editors-in-chief were accused by Brotherhood lawyers of "insulting the president." Among those accused was Abdel-Halim Qandil, co-founder of Egypt's Kefaya protest movement.

Most revolutionary groups, meanwhile, continue to reject the planned 24 August demonstration. According to the Revolution Youth Union, the protest is being planned by counter-revolutionary supporters of defeated presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq.

"These calls are not at all related to the January 25 revolution or its demands," read a statement released by the union. "These are supporters of the counter-revolution who call for reinstating military rule and the old regime and should therefore not be heeded."

That being said, several of the groups that plan to take part in the protest claim to oppose both military rule and the Brotherhood. The Egyptian Coptic Coalition, for one, has said it would participate in Friday's protest to demand a civil – i.e., non-religious – state.

"We're not seeking to topple President Morsi, but to accomplish the January 25 Revolution's demands and defend the civil state," read a coalition statement, which went on to condemn the Brotherhood's "domination" of the constitution-drafting process and state media.

Independent daily Al-Shorouk has reported that the Brotherhood – along with other Islamist parties such as the Salafist Nour Party and the Jamaa Al-Islamiya – is planning its own counter-demonstration to coincide with Friday's scheduled anti-Brotherhood protest.

According to the Facebook page dubbed "The Second Revolution to Dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party," which currently has some 17,000 supporters, Friday's demonstration will take place in Cairo's flashpoint Tahrir Square and in front of the Presidential Palace in the capital's Heliopolis district.





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canoworms27
24-08-2012 08:39pm
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Question
What did one expect? Egyptians traded one dictatorship under the banner of secularism, for one of religion...talk about a culture shift! but still the same results... oppression!
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10



billy bob thornhill
24-08-2012 06:57pm
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Did Crucifictions really happen on Aug 8th?
Did the Muslim Brotherhood block off the Palace grounds and crucify some opponents?
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9



ABDRABOH RASHID
23-08-2012 08:44pm
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A misconception
Firstly,I am afraid that you are misconcepted to call those who called for that so called revolution,revolutionaries.Unluckily ,they are bunch of opportunists who are working hard on hindering,failing the Islamists chances of succeeding in having a new,free,prosperous Egypt .Most of them are anti-islamists,but they are anti-islam.They pretend thatthey are democratic,liberals but they cant stand having those legally elected just because they are Islamists .They call for freedom of speech, frankly they arent ,they endorse and back the freedom of trnishing the presidents reputation. A bunch of rioters,aiming at spreading chaos ,just to prove the islamists unability to rule .
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Mona Abdel Aziz
23-08-2012 05:33pm
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Jahiliya
SHeikh Islamists crossed the redline and expressed his ignorance of Islam. SHiekh Islam need a crash study in basic tenants of merciful, tolerant Islam. You are encouraging mayhem and murder and should be prosecuted under the law. Allah AKber
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7



Paul
23-08-2012 05:28pm
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Islamic CUlt
Brotherhood group has long criminal record and should not be trusted in governing Egypt. They hijacked Islam by interferring in ALlah (SWT) Law and his judgment based on freedom of choice. How can you develop Islamic Law for traffic? How can anyone start multi-million dollar projects on good faith? Hamas is smuggling drugs under the banner of Islam. How can we allow Egypt to go back to Jahelya. Allah AKber.
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6



M V L
23-08-2012 04:34pm
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Mother Theresa
As she said: "Do not ask me to protest against the war but I will march for peace." In the same manner rather than protesting against the Brotherhood march for those fundamental and universal liberties and rights that are proper or should be proper to man.
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Kariman, Helwan
23-08-2012 04:15pm
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Kafer!
The call for killing by Mr. Islam proved he is not even a muslim; but common criminal encouraging mayhem and disorder. The Prophet was kind and understanding to his opposition and even non-muslims. You crossed the red line and deserve punishment now; not after death by Allah (SWT). Allah AKber.
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Amourah AHmed, Aswan
23-08-2012 04:12pm
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Jahiliya
Prophet Mohammed (SAWS) never claimed to be army commander or nation leader; but "the worshipper of Allah (SWT)". Brotherhood cult has hijacked Islam basic concepts of judegment and justice by ALlah for their lust to power. They have long history of criminal record and assassination. They belong "Kahwarj" of Islam. DO not beleive what they say; but what they do or did.
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Adel Mahmoud, Giza
23-08-2012 04:06pm
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Never Again
We revolted against military dictatorship not to replace it by another-much worse-religious dictatorhsip to threaten you in life and after death. Brother hood is a cult and wrongly assume Allah (SWT) role in judging people and tell them what to do. TO me they are not true msulims.
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Omar
23-08-2012 04:03pm
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Islamists?
We need a formal definition of who can be called Islamists? We are muslims by faith; but do not beleive in Brotherhood sghould control the country and create a new Religious Dictatorship. We will never allow another dictatorship. Allah Kabeer Ya Beni Misr.
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Hector M.
25-08-2012 08:22am
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To Omar
Omar, who asked you to believe in MB, It does not matter you like it or not to MB. MB is elected by majority of Egyptians, you are a minority who opposed MB. So shut up and let the elected officials rule, and make the decisions for the country.

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