Sir-- Re 'How serious is Al-Qaeda?' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 4-10 November) the Muslim Brotherhood has done a 180 degree U- turn. In a new strategic tact the MB has openly and forcibly condemned Al-Qaeda for its threats against the Coptic Church, accompanied with a 48-hour deadline demanding the release of two non-existent converts to Islam.
For the Muslim Brotherhood to now come out and condemn any threat to the church is a clever, pre-meditated, strategic, self- serving exercise in damage control, and a very desperate bid to stem the growing tide of worldwide opposition and denunciation of the Brotherhood.
The story of these two women, both wives of priests, is a sordid story that has been amplified by the media throughout the Islamic Middle East. The end result has been weekly mass demonstrations and threats against the Coptic people, Pope Shenouda III, and at least one bishop by radical Islamists in Egypt. The demonstrations have been dominated by cursing, insults, threats and directly attacking Pope Shenouda.
If we examine the current climate in Egypt, we note this is an election year. The Muslim Brotherhood is desperate to repeat its performance in the 2005 elections. Sectarian division and playing the anti-Coptic card was a strategic move by the Brotherhood to gain notoriety, exposure and support in the upcoming election. Thankfully they have fallen on their own sword. Their absurd double standards are now highlighted by their condemnation of the same issues they fabricated and propagated.
They have apparently now seen the light and are taking the highly ethical road of being tolerant and protective of the Coptic Church. In the wave of worldwide condemnation against the threatened attacks of the Coptic Church, the Muslim Brotherhood had no other option but to join the bandwagon of condemnation and likewise condemn the attacks. It is such a shame they did not exercise this influence at their own instigation after the fabricated allegations were first aired. It is even more shameful they did not yield this influence after the first barbaric demonstration was conducted following Islamic Friday prayers months ago. These demonstrations were conducted without respite on a weekly basis throughout Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood has never ever come out and spoken in support of the Coptic minority in the past. It simply was not in its interests.
It should be noted that the majority of those demonstrating are hard-core supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and do not necessarily express the views of the majority of the 80 million Muslims living in Egypt.
Baseless on Brazil
Sir-- Re 'Dilma at the helm' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 4-10 November) I suggest you conduct more accurate research about Madame Dilma before writing such an ambiguous article in a newspaper which might be the only source of news for ordinary people about our new president. You are saying that she admires Chavez but based on which comment or idea? And using the words of the PT Party to describe Brazil does not say good things about your understanding of our country.
Round and round piracy
Sir-- The world and the navies don't get it: don't they realise that long after Somalia was neglected and only after the navies appeared and interfered in the Horn of Africa did real piracy develop and surge? Now the situation has reached a new all-time high: over 500 people held captive. The world holds Somalia hostage and the Somali pirates the world.
Sir-- My mother has lived and taught school in Cairo for eight years now. She loves everything about it. Her enthusiasm for Egypt has resulted in at least 50 visits from friends and relatives. My husband and I have been five times -- we love it, too.
Last year, she and a friend rented an apartment from an Egyptian man. No one had lived in the apartment in years and they did quite a bit of work in the beginning to get it livable (it had no toilet or kitchen sink). They lived there during the last school year and enjoyed it -- everything was fine. In June before going on a visit to the States, they paid the man in advance for rent through October. Within a week of them leaving, the man had the police seal their apartment and then he filed a suit against them claiming all the contents of the apartment belong to him. They were back in Cairo at the end of August and have tried everything to get the man to drop the lawsuit.
This is very bad for Egypt and Egyptian tourism. The apartment doesn't have any real valuables; just their treasures that they've collected travelling in Egypt and throughout Africa. They also have some personal pictures that are not replaceable and are meaningful to them.
We've always been impressed of how safe we feel in Egypt. Mom has never had anything taken from her except a package of tissues one day in front of Tulun Mosque, but it was returned. Crime shouldn't happen in Egypt.
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