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Prominent Egyptian Salafist promises to replace US aid with donations

Well-known Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan said he supports initiative that will end American 'humiliation' of Egypt

Ahram Online, Wednesday 15 Feb 2012
Hassan
Hassan's initiative to replace US-aid with local donations has received wide media coverage due to his popularity among many Egyptian
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Influential Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan has called for the replacement of the $1.3 billion annual US military aid to Egypt with local donations.

Hassan presented his initiative on El-Nahar television channel last weekend, reacting to threats by some American politicians to cut military aid to Egypt.

Tensions between Cairo and Washington escalated following the former’s decision to refer 43 civil society workers, including many Americans, to a Cairo court on charges of violating laws regulating the operation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Egypt is one of the main recipients of US aid worldwide. Since the 1970s, US annual assistance to Egypt has played a significant role in the country’s political discourse, as it is linked to the peace accords with Israel.

The military assistance comes in the form of arms and services, including maintenance.

Hassan, a well-known preacher, explained that his initiative is a response to American “humiliation” of Egypt.

"If America wants to cut military aid, very well; Egypt isn't less than Iran which is self-dependent when it comes to producing its own military equipment,” Hassan told El-Nahar television channel. “The Egyptian people will not be broken anymore.”

Hassan, who has devout followers across Egypt, claimed he will be able to collect LE6 million (approx. $1 million) through donations.

Two Islamist presidential candidates, Mohamed Selim El-Awwa and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, expressed their support for Hassan’s initiative.

Aboul Fotouh, who broke from the Muslim Brotherhood earlier in 2011, said on Tuesday that US aid is not granted for charity but rather serves US interests.

He added during a press conference at the Journalists’ Syndicate that he supports Hassan’s initiative completely. Aboul Fotouh explained that he does not oppose foreign aid to Egypt, but interference in the country’s affairs from donors is not acceptable.

Similarly, El-Awwa announced his support for the initiative to prevent interference in Egypt’s internal affairs, according to several publications on Tuesday.

Last Thursday, Egypt’s ruling military council released a statement stressing that Egypt is a country with a rich heritage that cannot be pressured or blackmailed into doing someone else's bidding.

The council also added that Egypt's relations with the US and others countries were governed by the common interests of both parties, and that "Egypt does not bow to the domination of anyone."

President Obama’s 2011 budget sets aisde $1.5 billion of aid d for Egypt. Accordingly, Egypt ranks fourth on the list of US aid recipients; coming after Afghanistan ($3.9 billion), Pakistan ($3.1 billion) and Israel ($3 billion).

Out of the amount earmarked for Egypt, $1.3 billion is specifically for “peace and security.”

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zakki
17-02-2012 10:40am
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aid
Egyptians fom the streets will now donate their money to military generals? I thought they have protested against military :) And they will do it every year? Silly...
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zakki
17-02-2012 10:39am
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aid
Egyptians fom the streets will now donate their money to military generals? I thought they have protested against military :) And they will do it every year? Silly...
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zakki
16-02-2012 10:59am
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silly words
Local donations for military? I think Egyptians protests are against military. Donations from where? America just pay that crazy Egyptians dont attact Istrael again. They have nothink else from poor and uneducated country like Egypt.
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Free Lady
16-02-2012 10:10am
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Stop begging and start working
Egyptians don’t need to collect donations to run their country. It’s a very rich country with a lot of natural and human resources. We need to put people to work. Then simply establish a world-class taxation system. Then we can bailout Americans.
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Ahmed Abdelkader
15-02-2012 07:37pm
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The real loss .
On the other hand,Egypt has enjoyed prosperity for years despite all Mubarak's corruptions mainly because of the US aid to the military (1.3 Billions) and the open market with the west in general . And let us not forget the US support to the uprising of 25, January,2011 which went against the likes of Saudi Arabia,Kuwait,the Gulf states and even some major US politicians who called for Mubarak's support and aid to maintain stability as they called it. It is easy for anyone to accuse others,but to deny their help could be regrettable. The relation between Egypt and the US is beneficial for both and any one who think otherwise,doesn't have their interest in mind. LET EVERYONE CALM DOWN AND LOOK AT THE CHALLENGES THEY ARE FACING. Let us hope cool heads prevail on both sides and please remember inflaming the public might get you fame and big headlines BUT will not feed any one or stop the economic bleeding in the country.
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Mark Croy
15-02-2012 04:41pm
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EGYPT IS OLDER THAN AMERICA AND OLDER THAN ISLAM
The people will soon grow tired of such nonsense..."donations", lol...from where? The Saudi Monarchy which has bought Mr. Hassan? The United States has acted badly in relations to Egypt for 30 years, but if the people of Egypt think the Salafists have a vision of the future they do not...they will mire Egypt in sectarian clashes and economic disaster. As for the military aid, we agree in America it needs to go and be replaced by assistance to real Egyptian patriots and not Saudi Monarch lackeys..this man works for others, not Egypt.
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Ahmed M Ibrahim
15-02-2012 01:20pm
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US aid
The annual US aid is a pittance when compared to the enormous benefits that the US gets from Egypt's friendship.Moreover the losses suffered by Egypt because of unnecessary US intervention amounts to more than 100 billion dollars since Jan.2011. Who is going to make good this enormous loss?
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didi
15-02-2012 11:14pm
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US aid
I would like to know where these numbers come from. I think complete nonsense and I agree with Ahmed abdelkader that these politians are seeking fame using the anti american stand up to the big america for attention and fame.
Ahmed Abdelkader
15-02-2012 07:30pm
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The real loss !!
On the other hand,Egypt has enjoyed prosperity for years despite all Mubarak's corruptions mainly because of the US aid to the military (1.3 Billions) and the open market with the west in general . And let us not forget the US support to the uprising of 25, January,2011 which went against the likes of Saudi Arabia,Kuwait,the Gulf states and even some major US politicians who called for Mubarak's support and aid to maintain stability as they called it. It is easy for anyone to accuse others,but to deny their help could be regrettable. The relation between Egypt and the US is beneficial for both and any one who think otherwise,doesn't have their interest in mind. LET EVERYONE CALM DOWN AND LOOK AT THE CHALLENGES THEY ARE FACING. Let us hope cool heads prevail on both sides and please remember inflaming the public might get you fame and big headlines BUT will not feed any one or stop the economic bleeding in the country.
Boris
15-02-2012 04:43pm
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huh?
US gets absolutely nothing from Egypt. Egypt, as everybody knows, has no product whatsoever to offer an economy as advanced as American.
Mark Croy
15-02-2012 04:42pm
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JUST WHERE DO YOU GET SUCH FIGURES?
This is interesting...where do you get such numbers?
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