Egypt's Former President, Muslim Brotherhood Member Morsi Given Death Sentence in Jailbreak Case

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The Harassment Was Bad But What My Father Did Was Worse

Still from a Public Service Announcement in Egypt.

Still from a Public Service Announcement in Egypt.

Elliot Friedland

At the end of April Clarion Project spoke with leading Egyptian women’s rights lawyer Reda el-Danbouki. We asked him about the situation women face in Egypt, which was ranked the worst place to be a woman in the Arab world in 2013.

He told us that women face harassment and worse on a daily basis, but are reluctant to go to the police.

By way of explanation, he shared a personal story of a close friend of his, Lamar aged 25, who was abused in the street and found the police to be on the side of her harassers rather than helping her. They dragged her father down to the station and proceeded to intimidate and insult her until she left the police station in tears.

ReadWhy Women in Egypt Don't Go to the Police When Molested here.

We got back in touch with Reda and Lamar to ask her some more questions about her life. Not only did she answer our questions, but she told us what has happened to her since.

In helping bring us Lamar's story, Reda told us that her story brought him to tears.

(Lamar’s name has been changed for her protection.)

How did it make you feel to be disbelieved by the authorities whose job it is to protect you?

Lamar: I went to the police and I imagined that they would help me, but I found that they have solidarity with harassers. They also harassed me themselves.


How often do women get harassed just walking the streets? Have many of your friends had similar experiences?

Lamar: Women are being harassed every day, every hour and every minute. I am being harassed by my co-workers and sometimes even by my manager. I am being harassed on public transportation, on the streets, while coming back home and even by my neighbors. My friends suffer the same problem.


Who do you feel in Egypt cares about these issues that you can turn to and talk with?

Lamar: The only ones who care about this subject are civil society organizations, and of course I can also talk to Reda el-Danbouki.


Why did the police bring your father to the station? 

Lamar: The police insisted that my father will come in order to humiliate me and force me to withdraw the complaint even though I am perfectly capable of filing a complaint and I have the right to do so.


Is harassment more common at certain hours of the day and in specific places?

Lamar: There is no specific time for harassment. It happens everywhere and all the time.  


How does the legal system deal with cases of harassment if they reach court?

Lamar: If a case gets to the court, most of the time molesters are found not guilty. It is like the judges encourage molestation. In very rare, rare cases you have verdicts against them.


Why do you think harassment is so widespread in Egypt?

Lamar: Harassment and molestation is widespread in Egypt because we live in a patriarchal society. They think that we women are their property, it’s like we are the food they eat or just a fruit they buy. We are merely bodies in their eyes, they see us only as breasts and behinds. They don’t see our minds and they don’t care about it.  


What do you think can bring about change in Egypt and stop this rampant harassment?

Lamar: Things can be changed in Egypt if we prepare the women and empower them. This has to come from the decision-makers. We also need to have a female police force that will deal with these issues, meet with victims of harassment and help them.

The youth civil society organizations have the ability to stop it, but most of them are working without any support. They desperately need more money and to have broader reach.


After answering our questions Lamar  told us what has happened to her since she last spoke with Reda el-Danbouki to tell him about her harassment. This is what she said:

For the last two days my father has been beating me severely, and he doesn’t allow me to leave the house. I called the police and told them that I was imprisoned, that my father beats me and also gave them the address of the house, but the police didn’t respond. One senior police officer told me “you must have done something bad and that’s why he beats you.” He didn’t help me at all and he slammed down the phone. 


Wed, April 15, 2015 Top Muslim Cleric: Don't Need Wife's Consent for Sex

A man may have sex with his wife without her consent, according to a new fatwa from Deputy Head of the Dawa Salafists Yasser Barahimi.

The senior Egyptian-based cleric made the ruling in response to a question posted on the Dawa Salafi website I Am The Salafi.

The questioner wanted to know “why is the woman always obliged to adhere to her husband’s requests at any time and under any circumstances? Doesn’t sharia take into account a woman’s mental state as a human being, regarding her desire to have sexual intercourse?”

Responding, Barahami said this does not “insult or devalue” the woman. She needs to fulfil her Sharia obligations. Her mood must not get in the way of her spouse’s desires.

“He too has needs and it’s possible that if his needs won’t be fulfilled he will be damaged,” he said. “Love is not an issue here.”

If a woman displays her love it contributes to a happy marriage and the longevity of the relationship, he added.

The fatwa was roundly condemned by Reda Eldanbouki, the lawyer who led the first female genital mutilation (FGM) trial in Egypt.

“I’m talking about a beast (Brahimi) who thinks with his nether regions. Imagine it’s your daughter being raped by her husband and he forces her to have intercourse against her will. Would you stay silent under such circumstances? Would you talk with him calmly or would you scream? “

Eldanbouki, who chairs the non-profit Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness, said Barahimi ought to take better note of the Quran. “He forgot the words of (Allah) “and He placed between you affection and mercy.”

Both Lebanese and Iraqi lawmakers advanced legislation in 2014, which legally permitted marital rape.

Tue, December 9, 2014 Egypt Uses Ferguson to Hit US Over Brotherhood Policy

Police use tear gas during the first wave of the Ferguson unrest.

Police use tear gas during the first wave of the Ferguson unrest.

Ryan Mauro

While Islamists have exploited the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, Egypt has been using the protests to hit back at America for criticizing Egypt’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

An Egyptian government commission reviewing the Muslim Brotherhood recently concluded that the Brotherhood deserves most of the blame for the bloodshed that occurred during the overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist and member of the Brotherhood of. The study also faulted the military and police.

In August, when protests began after Michael Brown was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement urging “restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion.” The language was very similar to that of the White House when it repeatedly condemned Egypt and called for the release of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners.

Egyptian officials have continued in this same theme.

The former vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Tahani al-Gebali, said that international human rights groups, including an Egyptian fact-finding group, should be allowed to monitor the situation in Ferguson. Again, the comment mirrors those used by the Obama Administration about the U.S. monitoring the Egyptian crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood protesters.

When Gebali was asked by Al-Monitor about the apparent comparison she was drawing between Egypt’s crackdown on the protesters and Ferguson, she explained that it was a response to the American position on Muslim Brotherhood.

“The situation was different in Egypt, as there was a revolution and a change of rules. As a result, the U.S.’ leaning toward the Brotherhood, which was toppled by the revolution, created doubts about the intentions of U.S. organizations,” she said.

Manal Al-Tibi of the National Council for Human Rights said her organization would not get involved in the Ferguson situation and that Egyptians calling for a fact-finding mission are just trying to make a point.

“[They are] definitely playing political games, to transmit a retaliatory message to the U.S. system and human rights organizations as a response to their repetitive criticism of the human rights situation in Egypt lately,” she said.

U.S.-Egyptian relations have been rocky since the U.S. opposed the popularly supported overthrow of Morsi and banned the Muslim Brotherhood. The new Egyptian government responded by embracing Russia.

In an August 2013 interview with the Washington Post, Egypt’s then military commander (and current President)  El-Sisi said, “You left the Egyptians, you turned your back on the Egyptians and they won’t forget that. Now you want to continue turning your backs on Egyptians? The U.S. interest and the popular will of the Egyptians don’t have to conflict.”

“The title of the article should be ‘Hey America: Where is your support for Egypt? Where is your support for free people?’...What I want the American reader to know is that this is a free people who rebelled against an unjust political rule, and this free people needs your support.”

El-Sisi said the Muslim Brotherhood ideology is “based on restoring the Islamic religious empire” and is an international organization in 60 countries. He explained that “Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Other Muslim partners in the Middle East have expressed disappointment with the U.S. on the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State and Iran.

The United Arab Emirates recently banned the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, along with some of its Western affiliates like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society and  Islamic Relief.

The UAE defended its decision amid criticism by powerful Islamist groups in the U.S. and Europe. In response, a senior UAE official said the outcry in the Western world shows the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliates.

Similarly, over the summer, prominent Iraqi leaders criticized the U.S. Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, an enemy of both Sunni and Shiite Islamists, said U.S. policy “has been without a compass” and “in disarray,” especially by “siding with Iran.”

The Iraqi ambassador to the U.S., Lukman Faily, likewise said the impression of America as an unreliable ally would force his government to be “in an uncomfortable position in seeking support from whoever is available on the ground.”

“A lot of people in different positions in government, in addition to the people of Iraq are asking us, would the U.S. support a democratically elected government in this war on aggression by an international terrorist organization? That is a serious question for the U.S. to answer,” Faily said.

U.S. policy towards Iran is especially concerning for Sunni Arab partners.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain described U.S. policy towards Iran and Egypt as suffering from “schizophrenia” and warned that the countries in the region would see the Russians as more reliable partners.

The Saudis have likewise complained over these issues, with the intelligence shift envisioning a "major shift" away from the U.S. so the country is more independent. This could mean nuclear weapons construction, as senior Saudi officials have said they will do if Iran’s program progresses too far.

Nuclear experts said in February that they are seeing indications that Saudi Arabia is gathering the necessary technology and expertise. The Saudis are also widely believed to have financed the Pakistani nuclear weapons program so they can have access to the bombs if necessary.

The Egyptian use of Ferguson to needle the U.S. is a snapshot of a broader trend across the region where aspiring partners against Islamist terrorists, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran view the U.S. as a naïve and unreliable friend without strategic sense.


Ryan Mauro is’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.

Imprisonment, Torture in Egypt: The Case of a Christian Convert

Bishoy Armia Boulous's Egyptian identity card

Bishoy Armia Boulous's Egyptian identity card

Raymond Ibrahim

According to attorney Karam Ghobrial (“Gabriel”), his client, Bishoy Armia Boulous, a Muslim convert to Christianity, remains illegally incarcerated and has “vowed to starve himself to death.”

Bishoy, more notoriously known as Mohammed Hegazy, is the first Egyptian ever to try legally to change his religious identity from Muslim to Christian on his official ID, prompting much shock and outrage in Muslim-majority Egypt.

Ghobrial further cited that Bishoy’s detention—in the execution room no less—is illegal, prompted solely by malicious charges against him, all of which stem from his original attempt to formally change his religious identity.

In the words of his lawyer: “Bishoy is imprisoned in the execution room in violation of the law.  Trumped up charges against him have not been proven and he is being treated even worse.  He has not seen the light [of day] since being released from Minya’s misdemeanor court.”

Bishoy was arrested in July 2014.  Then, the judge in Minya cited “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information” as the reason for sentencing the apostate, who in the weeks before was documenting political unrest in Egypt brought on by numerous Islamic attacks on Christians.   He was eventually released, but then immediately scooped up again by State Security acting on behalf of Cairo, now under the charge of insulting the Islamic faith.

Bishoy’s lawyer further said that “the [current] judge is behaving in a prejudiced manner in this case because Bishoy had public announced his conversion to Christianity.”  He stressed the “need for attention to this case, and escalating it, so everyone knows what this convert is being exposed to.”

Bishoy has been imprisoned for nearly six months, without any action being done in his case.  He is being held on charges of “contempt to the Islamic religion” and reportedly spreading “false news” about the existence of State Security “torture chambers” where Muslim converts to Christianity are detained and tortured.  Bishoy apparently refuses to recant this claim (quite possibly because he himself is now experiencing it first hand).

As lawyer Karam Ghobrial maintains, it is clear that the real reason his client is being tortured in prison—where he is being held illegally under ever morphing charges—has to do with what made Bishoy Armia, formerly Mohammed Hegazy, notorious in Egypt in the first place: his audacity not only to convert to Christianity, but to try formally to change his religious identity from Muslim to Christian on his ID card, prompting much enmity for him in Egypt.

In short, Bishoy is just another prisoner of conscience, just another born Muslim who wishes to be Christian—but whose actions have been deemed offensive to the state.  His story occurs with great frequency all around the Islamic world.  In nearby Iran, for example, Iranian-American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini—also seen as an apostate agitator—continues to rot in prison.


Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013). He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum. Mr. Ibrahim's dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Egyptian parents —has provided him with unique advantages to understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets.

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