HUNDREDS of university students staged campus protests on Tuesday against Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip and Syria. A peaceful rally at Ain Shams University ended with an appeal to Arab heads of state to respond to the latest Israeli attacks.
The rally was followed by hundreds of students shouting anti-Israeli slogans. The angry students warned against "the presence of enemy forces at the doors of Egypt" in the border town of Rafah, where Israeli forces had staged two raids since last week. Israel said it was targeting tunnels in Rafah, which straddles the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
The students also expressed solidarity with Syria, which was hit by an Israeli air raid on the night of 4 October, saying "tomorrow, it will be our turn" to be attacked in Egypt. "We leave it up to God to avenge us," they chanted, burning US and Israeli flags.
On Saturday, students from Helwan University also protested against Israeli attacks and against the US-led occupation of Iraq. Moreover, an estimate of 3,000 people staged an anti-Israeli and anti- American demonstration after Friday prayers at Al- Azhar Mosque.
Under the Emergency Law in force since 1981, public protests are banned, though they are tolerated on university campuses and outside mosques.
THE EGYPTIAN Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) said that Mahmoud Gabr Mohamed, in detention since 4 October, died from police torture. Mohamed was arrested at his home in the Sayeda Zeinab district and held three days at the local police station before he died last week.
His body was returned to his family on 7 October, but the family was not informed of either the reason for his arrest or the cause of death, EOHR said. The coroner's report said his body suffered numerous blows; it concluded that he died "of criminal causes", the organisation said.
EOHR has recently alleged 22 cases of torture in Egyptian police stations, five of which allegedly resulted in the detainee's death.
Under Egyptian law, police officers found guilty of torture face up to 15 years in prison.
ON THE occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, due to begin 26 October, more than 100 Egyptian religious scholars and preachers will travel to various countries in a bid to spread the message of Islam.
The envoys are "the delegates of an enlightened and tolerant Islam" who will challenge "the lies and allegations directed against this religion", Minister of Religious Endowments Hamdi Zaqzouq told reporters.
He said that the group will travel to North and South America, as well as Europe, Southeast Asia, Sudan, the Palestinian territories, Eritrea, Spain, Italy, Australia and Sri Lanka to share their message and preach Ramadan sermons.
Zaqzouq added that the initiative sought to "reassert Egypt's pioneering role in spreading true Islam".