Friday,15 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1289, (31 March - 6 April 2016)
Friday,15 December, 2017
Issue 1289, (31 March - 6 April 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Editorial: Sinai and strife

Al-Ahram Weekly

All roads have signposts. Some tell you where you are headed. Others set speed limits. Still others warn of hazards to avoid. The war in Sinai also has signposts. They bring you up to date with how the situation stands there and the progress being made by the Armed Forces and police in the battle of honour and dignity against terrorism.

An occasional scan through Muslim Brotherhood satellite TV stations, websites and social networking pages is good for one’s health and mental development. It is a necessary exercise to reassure yourself that you are well and that the organisation and its folks are as stupid and spiteful as ever, and that they are still driven by a thirst for revenge against Egypt and the Egyptian people.

It serves as a useful reminder that they do not deserve our sympathy and that it is not worth giving a moment’s thought to those occasional “initiatives” aired by certain individuals with certain interests, calling for unconditional “reconciliation” with this bloodthirsty group.

If, during your quick tour through Brotherhood TV programmes, websites and Facebook pages, you observe a rise in the stridency of the attacks against the Egyptian army, an increased frenzy in disseminating lies and rumours about the situation in Sinai, a spate of reports about popular anger in Sinai or terrorist advances, and translations of stories from obscure foreign newspapers carrying rumours about the army’s performance, then you will recognise another signpost.

Such spikes in the spurious reports and rumours on Brotherhood websites and media are proof that the strikes that the army has been delivering in North Sinai have become too much for the terrorists and that the army is making progress in hunting them down and overwhelming them, which is why they turn to their Brotherhood friends to notch up the type of propaganda that they believe will alleviate the pressure.

In tandem with this, there will be a rise in the vehemence of religious rhetoric on jihadist websites. You will also find more fabricated news reports, ostensibly citing Sinai people and tribal leaders, suggesting that people there are angry at the practices of the army and police or even suggesting that they are betraying the security forces.

Their purpose is obvious. They are determined to sow strife at all costs — strife between the people of the Sinai and the security forces and the army, and strife between the people of Sinai and the rest of the Egyptian people. The scheme has become familiar to us all.

People throughout Egypt only have to see the sacrifices the people of Sinai are making, especially in the face of the threats and intimidation they face from the terrorists, to realise that they stand side by side with the nation in its battle. One only has to look at the number of Sinai people who have died in the battle against terrorism, and the numbers of those who have taken incredible risks and who were murdered for cooperating with the army, to realise that the people of Sinai are not, even remotely, traitors to their country.

Which is not to say that treachery does not exist. It exists in those areas where the people are not performing their role in the fight against terrorism. It exists in the failure of the Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), which has left most of the mosques in North Sinai without imams and preachers from Al-Azhar, or the ministry, to fight extremist ideas, according to the chief of Sinai tribal sheikhs, Eissa Al-Kharafin. The crisis is here, with that ministry.

Evidently, its minister is unaware that the war against terrorism cannot be settled by bullets alone, and that right-thinking people are needed to cleanse the minds of young fanatics of extremist ideas, for why else would the ministry withdraw from the confrontation and fail to fulfil a crucial role in support of the efforts of our soldiers?

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