The Ministry of Religious Endowment has entered into partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Youth to begin a national campaign to fight the “spread” of atheism amongst youth in Egypt. The director of the mosques at the Ministry of Religious Endowment, as well as the driver of the campaign, has said, concerning how they received information on the “spread” of atheism, ““Both the ministries of awqaf and youth have based their estimations on a TV show in which atheists have a significant representation, in addition to Facebook and Twitter accounts where the number of followers have largely increased, which means that they are now publicly announcing their atheism.” [Al Monitor]
Gender & Sexuality
As Eid approaches, Egypt is reminded of the mob sexual assaults that took place during large scale protests in 2013 at the same time, and the recent mob assaults in June. Several anti-harassment groups have announced plans to deploy first-responders to areas frequented by Eid celebrants, and are working to raise awareness before the holiday about the legal penalties of sexual offences. The group “I saw harassment” for example, released a statement, “Cheer up, take to the streets and confront harassers with the law,” the group said in the statement, addressing women. “Don’t allow anyone to violate your rights including the right to walk in safe streets.” [Gulf Times]
Rights & Freedoms
Activists on social media have circulated photos of a young man who was tortured and beaten to death by police officers at the El-Raml police station in Alexandria. Eslam al-Sayed was arrested at a cafe near his home on “suspicion that he possessed a cigarette lighter that looked like a pistol.” Police stated that al-Sayed committed suicide at the police station, while witnesses state that al-Sayed fell to the ground after being assaulted by a policeman who beat him with a wooden stick–and suffered from other injuries while in custody which were not witnessed by passerby. ANHRI lawyer said, “Eslam’s body showed clear signs of brutal torture, including bruises and two wounds in his thigh and leg.” [Cairo Post] Read More…
The World Bank approved a loan of $500million from the US to Egypt in order to fund natural gas supply to 1.5million homes in 11 governorates across the country. The loan is expected to “help reduce the consumption of gas cylinders by connecting more houses to the main natural gas network. The loan should mainly target impoverished and underserved communities.” [Mada Masr] Read More…
An Egyptian aid convoy has reached the Rafah border crossing, with its final destination being Gaza. The convoy plans to deliver medical supplies to Gaza, and are waiting for the Palestinian Red Crescent to receive the aid–totalling 2.3million EGP worth of medical aid donations. The convoy, which is comprised of volunteers, was allowed to send two representatives to deliver the aid at the border crossing, while the rest were sent back. [Ahram]
Egypt Independent:Nour Party accuses government of trying to delay elections
In this article: The Nour party has asked that all political parties pressure the government to finish the process of diving electoral districts before they start to form coalitions. The Party has also demanded an amendment to the elections law, deeming it unconstitutional, while also accusing the government of delaying parliamentary elections and “leaving the parties’ work in vain.”
Al Jazeera: Peter Greste appeals against Egypt conviction
In this article: The three Al Jazeera journalists who were sentenced to 7-10 years in prison for aiding a terrorist organization will appeal their verdicts, according to the family of Peter Greste, one of the three jailed journalists alongside Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. “Today we wish to announce we intend to appeal the verdict through the formal channels offered by the Egyptian legal system,” Greste’s younger brother, Mike Greste, told reporters in Brisbane. Their conviction has sparked a global media storm of solidarity with the journalists and repeated calls from various governments to immediately and unconditionally release the journalists, to no avail.
In this article: A pro-Muslim Brotherhood group called for widespread protests this Friday all over Egypt. A pro-Morsi demonstration in Giza was dispersed by police using teargas on Haram Avenue. Other demonstrations were dispersed in Imbaba, and Heliopolis, where protesters blocked Gisr El-Suez street with burning tires. Other protesters marched in Ain Shams.
In this article: Tom Rollins discusses the wave of protests by “ordinary Egyptians who were angered by economic policies at odds with the better life that June 30 had promised last year.” Though the protests have been on the small side, criticism of President Sisi in the media has increased. However, there are no major threats to “bring down the government”–a testament to the government’s “ability to pursue controversial economic policies without risking mass unrest.” Now, instead of seeking revolution, Egyptians want economic security–which will be Sisi’s greatest challenge.
Egypt faces an impending national security threat from the transformation of eastern Libya into a hotspot for jihadist groups and organized crime
In this article: Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya three years ago, the country has become a veritable security threat to its neighbor, Egypt. Ahram breaks down the most salient threats to Egyptian national security from Libya: 1) the “transformation of eastern Libya into a regional incubator for jihadist groups”; 2) an increase in organized crime in eastern Libya; 3) the rise in frequency of attacks against Egyptian workers in Libya–particularly truck drivers; 4) “the prospect of the secession of eastern Libya.”