Egypt Police, Pro-Reform Activists Clash

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Egyptian riot policemen clash with pro-reform activists Saturday July 30, 2005, during a protest in central Cairo against President Hosni Mubarak. Arabic slogan read as 'No for Mubarak, 24 years of Oppression'. (AP Photo) Posted by Picasa

Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt — Police and government supporters beat pro-reform activists with batons, sometimes kicking them as they lay on the ground, during a protest Saturday against President Hosni Mubarak's announcement that he would run for re-election for a fifth time.

The vote is the first in which Mubarak — in power for 24 years — will face an opponent, and his government has said it will serve as a launching pad for greater democracy. The United States also praised the elections, though Mubarak opponents are more skeptical.

On Saturday, several hundred men and women were gathering to begin their march toward Cairo's main square when men in plainclothes descended on them, swinging billy clubs and assaulting the demonstrators.

Burly government supporters surrounded activists sprawled on the pavement, kicking them in the head and ribs and tearing at their clothes. Others lifted protesters in the air by the arms and legs, hauling them off to police trucks. One elderly man wandered in a daze, his head bleeding.

"Down with the rule of the dog Mubarak," one young man yelled as he was being clubbed.

The Interior Ministry said the demonstrators had gathered illegally and, after refusing warnings to leave, threw stones at police. Security forces dispersed the gathering, arresting 20 people, who were still being held, the ministry said in a statement. Others were detained and released.

Protesters denied any stones were thrown.

Most major opposition groups are boycotting the Sept. 7 election, calling Mubarak's move to open the vote to multiple candidates a sham. The 77-year-old Mubarak is expected to win easily.

There was similar violence in May during a constitutional referendum, when government supporters attacked and sexually assaulted several women during a reform protest.

That violence brought criticism from the United States, which has been pressing its ally to ensure the September election is fair and democratic.

During a June 20 visit to Egypt to press for reform, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned the referendum assaults, saying the Egyptian government must "make certain that people can associate and can peacefully petition."

Leaders in Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party have been promising to reporters — as recently as Thursday — that such violence would not be repeated.

But the assault Saturday was swift and heavy. The opposition had called for the demonstration to take place in Cairo's Tahrir — or Liberation — Square, the most prominent square in the capital, near the NDP's headquarters.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw up to 20 people being beaten. Two reporters from Associated Press Television News were also beaten. Activists ran, some weeping. Others staggered away from being assaulted, their pants and shirts torn open.

One activist, Karim al-Shair, was seen being dragged by his hair.

"I was running fast, but I was surrounded by about 15 people who started beating me hard and they tried to take off my clothes," al-Shair, 24, told AP afterward.

Samar Mohammed, 27, said the attackers tore off her headscarf and knocked her and a number of her friends to the ground. Under the pile of people, "I wasn't able to breath and when they saw I was almost fainting, they took me away and told me to leave," said Mohammed.

It was not known whether the attackers in plainclothes were members of the security forces or civilians, although they worked with riot police, who were lined up blocking the square and sometimes joined in the beatings.

"It's very clear that the orders today are slaughter," said another activist, Wail Khalil. As he spoke, a large man in a white T-shirt and a gun came up with several men, surrounded Khalil and took him away.

Among those arrested were Ayman Barakat — the lawyer for Ayman Nour, Mubarak's most prominent opponent in the upcoming election — and George Ishaq, a 66-year-old leader of the Kifaya movement, one of the most vocal anti-Mubarak organizations. Both were later released, as were several other Kifaya leaders.

"What happened today erases all the reform promises Mubarak made" in his speech Thursday, Ishaq told AP at the Journalists Syndicate, where many of the protesters fled. "This despotic regime is so intolerant, it has gone over the edge, but we're going on with our movement."

© Copyright 2005, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/31/2005 05:37:00 AM 0 comments


Monday, July 25, 2005

Boys crying on the way to the gallows Posted by Picasa

Getting the death ropes ready to suffocate the kids... Posted by Picasa

Goodbye, young kids... Posted by Picasa

( - July 20, 2005) Iranian authorities hanged two boys for homosexual acts with another boy (allegedly 13) in the city of Masshad. At the time of the crime the two boys were both in the early to mid teens, one sixteen and the other believed to have been a juvenile. However they had been in prison awaiting execution for between fourteen months and two years (depending on which media account you read).

Before the execution they were brutally beaten 228 times each for allegedly having had been involved in theft and having had possession of alcahol at the time of the crime.

The prosecution claimed that the 13 year old had been raped at knifepoint but in Iran rape is often used as a smokescreen to justify gay executions. It is likely that the charges of alcahol use and theft were thrown in order to deter any sympathy for such young "offenders".

The executions went ahead despite the fact that Iran is a signatory to the 1994 convention banning the death penalty for minors. Roholla Raz-zadeh, the defending attorney, explained, “We did protest, but the Supreme Court accepted the death penalty imposed by the lower court.”

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran the city of Masshad had witnessed widescale popular unrest against the new government just a few days earlier. It is not known yet whether there is any link between this and the timings of the executions.

A Government official expressed anger that the age of the victims had been leaked but insisted that they deserved to be hung. However he gave directions to the Iranian media not to reapeat this mistake.

“Even if certain websites made a reference to their age, journalists should not pursue this. These individuals were corrupt. Their sentence was carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right.”

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/25/2005 10:51:00 PM 1 comments

Bomb blast near Pyramids; no wounded

(Jerusalem Post) Only a day after multiple bomb attacks in the Egyptian Sharm e-Sheikh resort killed over 90 people, a man detonated a bomb several kilometers from the Pyramids of Giza on Sunday, police said.

The man was critically wounded, but the blast caused no other casualties.

Investigators were trying to determine whether the man was heading for the nearby tourist area of Kerdassa, a bazaar of souvenir shops near the Pyramids, a senior security official involved in the investigation said.

The device, which the man was carrying in a sack, apparently went off accidentally in the neighborhood of Kufr Tuhurmus, several kilometers (miles) from Kerdassa, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe.

Security has been hiked up in many parts of Cairo after a string of simultaneous bombings in the Red Sea resort of Sharm e-Sheikh killed 90 people early Saturday.

Two car bombs, apparently driven by suicide attackers, detonated at the hotel in Sharm's main strip of Naama Bay and three kilometers away at a minibus lot in the Old Market, an area frequented by Egyptians who work at Sharm's resorts.

A third blast, from a bomb hidden in a sack, went off about the same time near a boardwalk along the beach where tourists often stroll at night.

The force of the explosion was so strong it blew out windows a kilometer away, and sent hundreds of hysterical tourists and Egyptians running into the streets.

Egypt has arrested over 70 people for questioning over the bombings.

Egypt's interior minister said investigators were looking into whether there were links between the Sharm blasts and the bombings last October in Taba, which killed 34 people, including 13 Israeli. Both attacks were perpetrated despite the massive presence of Egyptian security forces in Sinai, a strategically important area bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Local investigators were also examining the possibility that foreigners carried out the blasts that leveled the reception area of the luxury Ghazala Garden Hotel in Sharm e-Sheikh's popular Naama Bay district and ripped apart a coffee house crowded with Egyptians in the nearby Old Market.

Most of the victims were Egyptian, but a number of tourists were also counted among the dead, including two Britons, two Germans, an Italian and a Czech.

Sana Hussein Agbariya, from the Israeli-Arab village of Musmus, who was lightly wounded in the attack, was the only Israeli casualty reported; some 10,000 Israelis were in Sinai when the attack occurred, but most were vacationing further north.

An Israeli Embassy representative visited Agbariya in the Egyptian hospital where she was taken for treatment. She was taken back to Israel soon after by ambulance, and by Saturday evening she arrived at the Taba border crossing, where Magen David Adom ambulances took her to Yoseftal Hospital in Eilat, MDA reported. She was later released.

Both an al-Qaida-linked group and a previously unknown, apparently local group, claimed responsibility for the well-coordinated attacks.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak vowed to hunt down the culprits. Mubarak flew into Sharm e-Sheikh and went directly to inspect the scene at the hotel. Heavily armed security forces guarded Mubarak as he walked past the bomb-ravaged complex and spoke with officials.

"This cowardly, criminal act is aimed at undermining Egypt's security and stability and harming its people and its guests," Mubarak said during a live, nationally televised broadcast.

"This will only increase our determination in chasing terrorism, cornering it and uprooting it."

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called Mubarak Saturday evening and expressed the country's condolences over the deaths in the blasts.

Sharon told Mubarak that compromises must not be made with extreme Islamic terrorists and that they must be fought with all means possible.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Mubarak thanked Sharon for his call and said that Egypt and Israel would continue to cooperate in fighting extremists.

Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres issued a statement saying that "the entire world must fight together against terrorism. Our heart is with the Egyptian people and President Mubarak during their time of pain over the loss of so many innocents."

President Moshe Katsav also expressed condolences.

US President George W. Bush also phoned Mubarak to offer his support. "Standing together with the rest of the civilized world, we will win the conflict against this global scourge," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/25/2005 08:00:00 PM 1 comments


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Okay, I know it's somewhat too late now but i'll do that anyway. I got two emails today about an anti-terrorism protest on the sidewalks on October 6 Bridge planned for starting at 5:30 pm TODAY (check date above)! Please read Karim el Sahi's related blog entry for more details...

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/24/2005 10:49:00 AM 0 comments

Toll continues to rise in Egypt blasts

Saturday, July 23, 2005

( An Egyptian security source has put the toll from a series of bombs in Sharm al-Shaikh at 83.

The toll continued to rise throughout Saturday after a cafe and two luxury hotels in the Red Sea resort were attacked in the early hours.

The deaths occurred in two car bomb blasts and another explosion, possibly a third car bomb. A rescue official said at least 136 people were wounded, but that figure could reach 200.

Medical sources have confirmed to Aljazeera the toll may continue to rise as many of the injured are in critical conditions, Samir Omar Aljazeera's correspondent reported.

Foreigners among dead

British people, Dutch, French, Spaniards, Kuwaitis and Egyptians were among the casualties, police sources said, but the vast majority of dead and wounded are Egyptian. Earlier reports had Qataris among the dead, a statement later refuted by the Qatari embassy in Cairo.

Shaken tourists spoke of mass panic and hysteria as people fled bomb after bomb, with bodies strewn across the roads.

A rescue official said many of the wounded were Egyptian workers who had gathered at a cafe in the old market where the first blast struck. The blasts occurred on what is a national holiday in Egypt, Revolution Day.

He said 17 of the dead were burnt beyond recognition by the explosions.

A team from the Dutch embassy in Cairo was heading to the resort after rumours that Dutch tourists were among the casualties, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.

Britain announced that some of its nationals were among the dead, and a similar ambassadorial team was being sent to the scene.

After his visit to Sharm al-Shaikh hospital, the British ambassador to Egypt told Aljazeera two British people were transferred to Cairo by helicopter for medical treatment.

Rescue operation

Rescue teams continued searching for survivors and bodies under the debris, Aljazeera correspondent Husayn Abd al-Ghani reported.

The Red Crescent fears some victims are still stuck under the debris, he said.

The Egyptian security authorities have stepped up security measures inside and outside Cairo International airport following the explosions.

Israel has offered to send army rescue teams to assist in the clear-up operation, but is not planning to order the repatriation of the 10,000 nationals estimated to be holidaying in the Sinai resorts.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has ended his holiday and arrived at the resort to examine the situation.

Serious injuries

The blasts came within minutes of each other shortly after 1am (2200 GMT), at a time when many tourists were still out in bars and markets in the popular and hitherto safe resort. The blasts appeared to be co-ordinated.

A police source said one bomb appeared to have exploded near the bazaar in Sharm al-Shaikh itself, with at least three more in the luxury hotel strip of Naama Bay about 6km away, popular with divers and holidaymakers from Europe.

A tourist bazaar, the Ghazala Gardens Hotel and the Moevenpick Hotel were the targets there, he said. One witness said a taxi rank was also hit. Earlier reports put the number of explosions at seven.

The Ghazala Gardens hotel was destroyed, as were four cars parked in front of it, by the explosion, Abd al-Ghani reported.

Glass shrapnel was scattered at the explosion site, while the cafe in front of the hotel was also destroyed.

Car bomb

According to South Sinai Governor Mustafa Afifi a car broke into the Ghazala Gardens Hotel's compound and exploded in front of the building, collapsing the reception lobby into a pile of concrete. Egyptian tourist hotels always have police guards at the gates.

"Many of the injuries are very serious and they are in critical condition," said a doctor at Sharm al-Shaikh International Hospital.

Fire and smoke billowed over Sharm al-Shaikh after the first explosion there, one resident said.

Residents said the blasts shook homes 10km away and blew out windows closer to the blasts.

The Muslim Brotherhood Movement issued a statement denouncing the explosions, Aljazeera's correspondent in Egypt reported.

Witness report

Alaa Hasanayn, a member of the Egyptian People's Council and a witness, told Aljazeera: "I saw people flying in the air, others burning, and a car entering the reception hall of the hotel as if it was parking there."

"This can be referred to disagreement of Arab countries' on combating terrorism," he added.

Hasanayn said he believed the explosion was a "terrorist and suicide" operation.

"I'm one of the first people who saw the incident as I was at the hotel at the explosion time," he said.

Israel blamed

"This explosion is not related to Islam or Christianity at all. It is related to Judaism," Hasanayn said.

He believes that Israel stands behind the explosions.

"I frankly believe that Israel stands behind the operation, as those killed and injured are mostly Arabs, particularly Egyptians," he said.

"The hotel and the market place are frequented by simple Egyptians, not foreigners," he added.

Bomb after bomb

Charlie Ives, a London policeman on holiday after dealing with the aftermath of bombings in the British capital, said he and his wife tried to get away from the scene of a first bomb only to witness a second one four minutes later.

"The whole area was quickly covered in debris. There was a huge ball of smoke that mushroomed up, it was mass hysteria," he told BBC World television.

Tourist Fabio Basone told the BBC the front of one hotel had been completely blown away, with car and shop windows blown out. "People were trying to run in any direction to get away, but were not clear where to go," he said.

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/23/2005 04:12:00 PM 2 comments

A different type of terrorism...

Friday, July 22, 2005

I'm not really sure what I'm feeling now toward Sayed el-Qimni. Is it disappointment at his submission to a low, dirty threat? Or is it sympathy with him?

Sayed el-Qimni is (was?) very critical of Islam. He was an enlighted freethinker. He thought he could speak his mind on paper and publicize his thoughts. It all seemed okay to him.

Last week, though, something happened that drastically changed that; He received an email from the Islamic Gihad (Jihad) Group of Egypt ordering him to consider all his previous work trash, and threatening to murder him if he didn't.

Sayed el-Qimni submitted to their threat. He wrote a publicity declaring all his previous work trash, as if it never existed, and declared that he would no-more continue writing. All his sharply-critical books and articles in the Egyptian magazine of Rozal Youssef are now nothing but a sum of crap, to him (or, more understandingly-speaking: the terrified him).

Afterall, no-one can blame him for not wanting his life taken away for him and his children being fatherless.

What happened is a terrible, sad shock to freethinkers everywhere.

First it was Theo van Gogh, and now it's Sayed el-Qimni. But, for now, this question remains unanswered: Until when will freethinkers face the threat of death by the hands of low, dirty closed-brained people?

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/22/2005 09:09:00 AM 1 comments

The Arab Lie vs. Real Identities

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I think that its time for that Arab illusion to vanish really. If we are to have an affiliation with other countries this should not be built on illusion (i.e. the Arab illusion). By the way, Lebanese and Syrians are not really Arabs either.

Some people long ago created that Arab lie and believed it: WE WANT TO DESTRTOY that lie, and restore each country's original, real identity. Actually Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Lybia, Sudan, Syria, Palestinian Authority, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and many other "arab" countries are really not arab whatsoever!

Egypt is mostly Eastern Hamitic, according to statistics (Hamitic races in Egypt include Egyptian , Berber, and other). Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia are also mostly other Hamitic. Lebanon, Syria, and PA are Phoenician. Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan are African countries. All those countries are illogically forced to identify as Arab, the identity of the people of the Arab Peninsula. Isn't that terrible?! Why don't we even join an Pan-North-African Union or something? Or maybe a Big Middle East, as Bush calls it?

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/09/2005 01:40:00 PM 21 comments

London 2012! Tel Aviv 2016?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Alan D. Abbey,

A regional Games: Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Jordan make 'Pie-J'

Good morning, everyone. This is Katie Cantevrstop of the Today, Tomorrow and Forever Show. In just a few seconds we will be going to CNNBCBS correspondent Ran Dather in London, where everyone is eagerly awaiting the imminent announcement by the IOC on where the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be held.

As everyone knows by now, there are three finalists - New York, Paris, and the joint Palestine-Israel-Egypt-Jordan bid people are calling, "Pie J." You've all heard and seen the clever Web and cellphone ad campaign with the catchy slogan, "Pie J is not Pie in the Sky." It's quite hard to believe, but Pie J is definitely the favorite. Ran?

That's right, Katie, bookmakers right here in London have Pie-J as a 5-2 favorite, over New York at 6-1, and Paris the longshot at 9-1.

Insurgents in 'Bigger Apple'

For those of you who have been living under a rock in the last year, here's a quick rundown of the three bids: New York, having failed to secure a stadium in 2005, which led to the demise of its bid for the 2012 Games, acquired the neighboring state of New Jersey last year in a hostile takeover to make sure it, in fact, would have adequate stadiums for the Games. The IOC never officially commented on the move, but sources in the IOC say the ongoing guerilla warfare between New York officials and insurgents on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River crossings make it less than likely the Bigger Apple, as it is now calling itself, will be selected.

Paris, having come in a disappointing second in 2005 in its bid for the 2012 Games, has continued to press the IOC, claiming that it has been rejected so many times it would do anything to get the Games, including offering French couture items to all IOC members and their significant others.

But problems have crept in since Mohammad Dhargabeja of the new Parti Islamique de France was elected prime minister last year. The International Association of Women Athletes has said new French laws prohibiting women from being seen on the streets after dark, and requiring all women to wear burkas covering them from head to toe would make it impossible for them to compete.

And longtime sponsors, from IBMSoft to Coca-Pepsi Cola, have complained they would be unable to entertain corporate executives and clients because of the new French law requiring that men and women sit separately in all public locations, including restaurants and corporate skyboxes.

The mayor of Paris, Jean-Jacques-Jules et Jim LeBeral, has failed so far, it seems, in his bid to secede from France and be declared a ward of the European Union, which would have negated some - but not all - of the new Shaaria-type laws. In fact, EU president Ahmed le Pepin (Abu Muesli) of the Federal Islamic Republic of Belgium has so far successfully resisted Paris's overtures, going so far as to return still wrapped the present of three women named Monique that LeBeral sent from the City of Lights.


So, perhaps it isn't surprising that Pie J is the front-runner, especially since the new high-speed mag lev train connecting Amman, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Cairo has significantly reduced travel time among the four capital cities.

Pie J has also been remarkably successful in getting approvals for building new stadiums and repurposing ancient sites for modern uses. Who wouldn't be thrilled at seeing Olympic Table Tennis on the top of Masada, or attending the bicycle races at the new Petra Velodrome, which locals call the Petradome.

Pie J has also lined up promises of significant corporate sponsorship, especially since the creation of the Middle East Economic Union has reduced costs for software development and online product distribution nearly to zero. Yahoogle has promised to broadcast the Games on all of its distribution platforms, including its new 5G 3-D cell phones.

Well, I think the big moment has finally come, Katie. Here's IOC president Peter Ubermensch.

"Ladies, gentlemen and artificial persons, welcome. Thank you for coming today to hear our decision. The IOC is very proud to announce that Pie J is truly no pie in the sky dream. The 2016 Summer Olympics Games will be held for the first time in four countries at once: Palestine, Israel, Egypt and Jordan. To quote the ancient philospoher, 'If you will it, it is no dream.'"

Alan D. Abbey is Editor and Managing Director of Ynetnews

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/08/2005 05:04:00 AM 1 comments

Excerpts from...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

(alternative views on Islam)

Muhammad said: "Lying is wrong, *except in three things: the lie of a man to his wife to make her content with him; a lie to an enemy, for **war is deception; or a lie to settle trouble between people" (Ahmad, 6.459. H).

*Islam is the only religion that implies in it's scriptures that it's ever permissible to lie.

**any non Muslim land is considered Dar ul Harb a land of war

The name of this concept is taqiyya.

(Quoted from, "Does Islam permit lying?")

posted by Matthew Schauki at 7/02/2005 03:05:00 PM 1 comments