The Voodoo of fighting terrorism while cradling Islamism 

Following every terror attack in Egypt, secularists, myself included, engage in long conversations on the necessity of combating Islamist ideologies [Islam as a religion and constitution] for the sake of our country’s national security. We also urge the state to allow Muslim reformers to speak freely without fear of getting thrown in jail and to prevent government senior officials, especially in the ministry of Islamic affairs and Al-Azhar, from promoting extremist, fundamentalist, and Islamist ideas. High on adrenaline, we tend to forget that most Muslims in Egypt actually put Islam high above the Egyptian state: they are Muslims living in Egypt not Egyptians who believe in Islam. It is one of the reasons why some Europeans are rightly concerned about the increasing numbers of Muslims in Europe alongside declining birth rates. Islam, unlike Christianity now, supersedes the state. Sharia courts and FGM in England come to mind.

Islamists in Egypt, including the ones in the government and Al-Azhar and Salafists, hold great sway over the minds of Muslims, particularly younger ones. Islamism gives these men of God the moral and executive authority to mobilize millions of youths towards a particular goal should the situation arise and the need for action is true enough. If Sisi challenges the core ideas that enables Islamists to control Egyptian Muslims without a meticulously calculated plan implemented incrementally, the outcome can be devastating for him and Egypt. Islamists will not watch helplessly as the rug is pulled from under their feet and the authority they worked years to achieve evaporates. Sisi is surely well aware of what happened when Saddam Hussein and his party tried secularizing Iraq in an economy much better than Egypt’s. Islamists have the know-how and texts to label him an enemy of Islam if they sense he is sincere about delegitimizing the authority they derive from the interpretation of Islam they promote, preach, and write literature for; they also have the capability to turn millions of youths against him and Christians, like some of them do now but on a mass scale. It is delusional, for example, to think that Salafists believe in anything but an Islamic State, they are just currently relaxed because the government allows them to freely, absolutely freely, propagate the ideas ISIS is putting into action and instill them in the minds of children.

Islam Beheiry, who had been jailed for criticizing extremist interpretations of the Quran and Hadith, says Al-Azhar University’s curricula must be updated to remove all hard-line stipulations derived from the Quran and Hadith such as the ones on fighting infidels and hating non-Muslims or discriminating against them. According to Beheiry, former head of Al-Azhar Mohamed Sayed Tantawi had actually taken this step before the current Grand Imam Ahmed Eltayeb rescinded it. Sisi, on more than one occasion, called on Al-Azhar scholars to actively combat extremist texts, not Islamism, but was met with deaf ears time and time again. And while it is true that Sisi’s authority is unchecked and he can pretty much get away with anything, when it comes to religion, if his vision of reforming and modernizing Islam, which neither denotes nor connotes rejecting the principle of Islam as a religion and state constitution, is not fully aligned with the Islamists and Salafists inside and outside his government he can find himself up against a volcano of terrorism and disobedience.

Taking small but real and effective steps, and cementing them, towards a secular Egypt is the only viable way. Sisi, however, still seems reluctant to take it. Sisi and many Egyptians seem to think terrorism can be fought without challenging Islamism, but if the statement Islam is a religion and state constitution is true, does it not follow that Men of God should rule or fight until power is in their hands?!!

Sisi is fucking with us

In the wake of Charlie Hebdo’s attack and the new cartoon mocking Prophet Muhammad, President Sisi has mandated Prime Minister Ibraheem Mehleb to ban any publication that derides religions or is sexually provocative. The mandate is based on a law passed in the 1930s. I do not know if this applies to the freaking INTERNET or not. A few weeks earlier, Sisi had urged the sheikhs of Azhar, which teaches the ISIS ways, to reform religious speech to pave the way for eliminating fanaticism. I think Sisi is fucking with us, he believes Islam is a religion and a constitution; he just does not want the bombs of terrorism. He does not understand that when the state allows and uses religion in politics and life soldiers of god are born, men convinced we should live according to their holy books and men, fanatics willing to wage battles against the infidels using elections and/or militancy. Sisi is another moderate Muslim, change is beyond his comprehension.

Political Fiction : Project Azhar Down

The Egyptian state’s religious institution, known as Al-Azhar, teaches the texts inspiring and guiding ISIS*. President Sisi has hinted that he knows it and rejects it. He did nothing more. In a recent Prophet Muhammad Birth Celebration, Sisi gave a word urging Azhar Sheikhs and Egypt’s religious preachers to refrain from extremism and try to be in harmony with the rest of the word. Some minutes later during the same event, Head of Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb also spoke and defiantly insisted that Azhar teaches nothing but the pure holy word of Allah. Is Sisi afraid of Azhar? Are his hands tied when it comes to correcting Azhar fanatic and fundamentalist methods? Who or what is keeping his hands tied? Do the bigots of Azhar believe ISIS is putting true Islam to action? Azhari Sheikhs have recently refused to declare them infidels.

Many Muslim reformists were announced infidels by Azhari Sheiks, Farag Fouda was targeted and killed because of one of their fatwas.

Egyptians revere Azhar, but they also absolutely abhor ISIS, and a sweeping majority of them don’t know that Azhar is ISIS, even when provided with evidence, they are reluctant to open there eyes and see Azhar for what it is. Dogma is bad.

Soldiers and policemen are killed daily on the borders and in cities. Do we have the luxury to let Azhar continue with spreading cancerous extremism? Do we have the economic prosperity to let Salafists preach poisonous hate speech to indoctrinable minds as they please? Do we have the audacity to let reformers like Islam Beheiry and Ibraheem Eissa strain their voices calling on deaf ears? Is time on our side?

The war against the dark forces of Azhar and Salafism is neither easy nor without sacrifices.

Project Azhar Down

Study in Azhar will be indefinitely suspended.

A committee will be formed comprising religious reformists (REFORMISTS NOT MODERATES), secular intellectuals (NOT SECULARS WITH THEOCRATIC TENDENCIES- yes we have those), and men of science (NOT UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS).

The committee will study current Azhar curricula, remove ancient rotten books not in line with the human civilization, and suggest new religious texts that suit the time we live in and encourage tolerance and acceptance of criticism. Quran will be reinterpreted to fit modern life and support multiculturalism, because people are adamant to live by this book. Hadiths will revised to eliminate madness and violence. This committee will be in charge of Azhar.

This is a huge and demanding project, but I think it is of national security importance. Men working in this committee will all be in agreement on  the modern state system we seek. The new Azhar will be in control of all mosques and religious organizations of any kind, religious intolerance will be fiercely fought and hate speech will be penalized. Criticizing religion will be legal to offset fanaticism.

Before commencing with the project, Sisi will make an appearance on national TV to explain to the people how the old Azhar was spreading terrorism. He will announce the state’s new intention to end extremism once and for all. His tone will be decisive and subordinating, people will know they are going against the state if they stick to fundamentalism. Azhar will become a tool under the state’s titanium fist.

Religious reformation is Sisi’s to be or not to be, and some Egyptians’. One of the books included in Azhar curricula, the Jihad chapter is page 506

Connecting the dots between the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, US

<em>The following is a translation and transcription of Ibrahim Eissa’s interview with Dr. Samir Ghattas, head of the Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies.

On December 8th 2012, former president Morsi’s aid Essam el-Haddad flew to the US and met with Obama’s Administration national security advisor at the time Thomas E. Donilon. While the meeting was ongoing President Obama joined in and had a thirty minute conversation with Haddad. Morsi’s spokesman Yasser Ali said the visit did not concern any domestic affair. A delegation from the CIA and NSA arrived in Cairo one month later and called for a meeting with Haddad and Muslim Brotherhood’s strongman Khairat el-Shater. The Americans wanted the Brotherhood to engage in unofficial talks with Al-Qaeda over securing US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan on behalf of the Obama Administration. US intelligence suggested two names for the job of contacting Al-Qaeda; Ayman al-Zawahiri’s brother, Mohamed, and Zawahiri’s cousin Mohamed Rafaa el-Tahtawi.

Egyptian authorities monitored the first phone call between Ayman el-Zawahiri and Tahtawi on January 20th 2013, Tahtawi put Morsi through to Zawahiri and the two spoke for a few minutes. Zawahiri’s Thuraya phone number was provided by the CIA. The communication resulted in the first meeting between the Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda which took place in Libya on February 7th 2013. Mahmoud Ezzat, Mahmoud Ghozlan, and Hadaad represented the Brotherhood while Abu-Anas el-Libi, Sofian bin-Qemmo, and Ibrahim Sofian- Bin-Laden’s driver in Afghanistan- spoke for Al-Qaeda.

In exchange for seeing to the Americans’ request Al-Qaeda demanded that
the Muslim Brotherhood regime release all imprisoned jihadists in Egypt, allow jihadists who fought in Afghanistan and Albania’s group to return to Egypt, create a safe haven for these jihadists in Sinai, and pay for their weapon deals. The Brotherhood agreed and all demands were met.

Mohamed el-Zawahiri confessed to receiving 15 million pounds from Khairat al-Shater to buy arms for the Sinai “fighters”.

Al-Qaeda also wanted the US to release Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman but the supplication was refused because that would encourage Israel to ask for freeing Jonathan Pollard.

Morsi, who had remained in contact with Zawahiri, strived to keep the Army off the backs of Al-Qaeda affiliates in Sinai, despite growing concerns, and prevented various operations against jihadist strongholds there. Sinai became home to Al-Qaeda friends from all colors. Then came June 30th revolution and removed the Brotherhood regime.

Fighting terrorism depends largely on gathering information. At first, Sinai bedouins declined to give the Army any leads on terrorists. Jihadists had their guns pointed to their heads and had already killed several Sinai residents who considered collaborating with the Army. The Army had to launch excessive preemptive strikes to better its position in the peninsula before gaining the bedouins’ trust. And it did.

The bedouins are now not only cooperating with the Army but surrendering the military-grade weapons they had stockpiled during the past three years.

With Morsi out of the way and the bedouins providing solid intelligence, the Army moved from preemptive strikes to eradicating the master minds orchestrating the wave of terrorism haunting Egypt since June 30th revolution.

Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are well-stationed around Egypt in Libya, Gaza and Sudan. Bitter, they are flexing all their muscles to avenge their downed invaluable ally the Muslim Brotherhood. But they are up against the Egyptian people, police and Army forces, and a charismatic leader named Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.