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The author denounces in strong terms the public flogging of a Sudanese woman for wearing a pair of trousers. He describes footage of the incident as symbolizing "backwardness, ignorance, and racisim."
She was lashed on "the face, the thighs, the posterior, and the stomach" with the flogger's demeanor suggesting "he was about to have an orgasm."
"Videos of Sudanese whippings and Afghan stonings represent scenes that belong in the Middle Ages and the age of witch hunts," Muntasir writes.
During its monthly meeting, the Islamic Research Academy denounced the U.S. State Department’s report on religious freedom in Egypt, calling it an unwelcome and inappropriate intervention in Egyptian affairs. Azhar Grand Shaykh Ahmad al-Tayyib said that the Academy will release an official response next Monday after a meeting on the matter. Azhar spokesperson Muhammad Rafā‘ah al-Tahtāwī said that the meeting will include the leaders of Egypt’s biggest churches so that the response represents all Egyptians.
The Academy also discussed a doctrinal question from Nigeria concerning the punishment of theft in light of Nigeria’s increasing poverty level. The Academy responded by saying that, even though punishment of theft is one of Islam’s fundamental laws, it should be dealt out according to the severity of the crime. A fatwá was issued that effectively lessens the punishment of theft depending on the circumstances.
The Academy also denied ties with Muhammad Subhī al-Sharqāwi, a school owner in the United Kingdom who claims to be an Azhar representative and Muftī.
Samīr follows up his article from last week in which he stated that the American reports on religious freedom issued between 2000 and 2005 are more important than the one issued on November 17th.
He explains how the former reports explained the main ideas adopted by the Egyptian government to deal with various local issues, while the latter is merely observational. The former, says Samīr, advocates Lord Cromer’s 100 year old idea of Egypt consisting of a number of religious groups, making it almost impossible to become a secular state. He calls the idea a “time-bomb” that was planted in the early reports.
Samīr also talks about the report’s history and how it was born from the United States Religious Freedom law. He then discusses the differences of this year’s report, including how Egypt's status on the religious freedom “watch list” was not mentioned for the first time since 2004.
Finally, Samīr argues that there are many other important points that the report should have discussed.
The Islamic Research Academy, headed by Azhar Grand Shaykh Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib, has decided to put together a committee to respond to the United States Department of State’s report on religious freedom in Egypt. The academy called the report an "unacceptable interference in local affairs.” The committee will include various Azhar scholars, members of the Islamic Research Academy, and church leaders, with the intention of representing all Egyptians. In regards to the deadly protests in Giza, the academy said that its stance remains the same and called upon all Egyptians to hold on to national unity.
Key Words: Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib – Azhar – Mahmūd Hamdī Zaqzūq – Muhammad Subhī al-Sharqāwī
Egyptian Union for Human Rights Vice President Muqbil Shākir said that he completely refuses foreign supervision over this Sunday's parliamentary elections. He also called the U.S. State Department’s report on religious freedom a suspicious, Jewish attempt to disturb Egypt’s security. He claimed that the Egyptian Union for Human Rights is in charge of monitoring human rights in Egypt and that foreign reports do not concern them.
Key Words: Muqbil Shākir - United States Department of State - Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization – Muslim Brotherhood
Usāmah Sarāyā talks about the United States’ ongoing failure in the Middle East and how its war in Iraq has made the country a worse place than when it was ruled by Saddām Husayn. He says that the United States is in no position to be handing out advice, neither on democracy nor religious freedom.
Key Words: The United States of America – Iraq – Saddām Hussayn – George W. Bush – President Barack Obama – Israel – Palestine
Mustafá opens with a story about famous Egyptian writer, Anīs Mansūr. The moral of the story is that people in Egypt have been made to follow religious, political and cultural leaders blindly. He says that the average Egyptian has lost the ability to form his/her own personal opinion. He criticizes the mass protest of the United States Department of State’s report on religious freedom and accusations of it being interference in local affairs.
Key Words: Anīs Mansūr - United States Department of State
Egypt's government announced its refusal of the United States Department of State’s report on global religious freedom, considering the issue not within their purview and saying that the report is unacceptable “in principle.” The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Egypt refuses countries assuming the role of supervisor on other independent countries, stressing that each country is able to best understand and deal with its own problems.
Key Words: United States Department of State – Husām Zakī – The United Nations
Muhammad criticizes the general attitude towards the annual International Religious Freedom report issued by the United States Department of State, which was called by most people an audacious intervention in local affairs. He says that the issue of human rights is not a local issue, but a global one. Even though America is not in charge of Egypt, the Egyptian government does need to reform itself and stop complaining about being criticized.
Key Words: United States Department of State - Religious Freedom
Du‘ā’ talks about the mixed reactions amongst the ecclesial society regarding the annual report issued by the United States Department of State. The report heavily criticized religious freedom in Egypt because of the government’s alleged discrimination against Christians and Bahā’īs. The report was praised by some as an eye opener for the Egyptian government to reconsider the way it treats minorities, and was condemned by others as foreign intervention in local affairs looking to cause fitnah.
Key Words: Jamāl As‘ad – Kamāl Zākhir – Najīb Jabrā’īl