The Facebook Spring in Egypt

Ashraf Ramelah sends a new report on the persecution of Copts and the suppression of free speech in Egypt.

Social media used to incite sectarian strife against Coptic Christians in Egypt

by Dr. Ashraf Ramelah

The most recent escalation of violence against Egyptian Copts living in Egypt occurred last month (November 2020) and was sparked by Facebook posts prompting Muslim radicals to retaliate for religious comments. After reading Christian “insults” Muslim goons set out to attack Coptic villages.

Christian Copts clarifying points on social media have been victims of sectarian hunts and ambushes by ruffians looking for a trigger to pull. Counterfeit pages that scammers produce bait Christians into commenting and then charge them with insulting Islam.

Copts are often tricked into responses by Islamists who have befriended them with hidden identities — sometimes showing a Christian cross to trick the page owner. Islamists harass and instigate in a scheme to entrap. Those are only the thugs at work. Additionally, the state’s “internet police” spy on Christian Facebook pages to target anti-Islam sentiments.

In other cases, Islamic hackers steal the page owner’s identity and make incendiary statements to frame a Facebook page owner and then track the Christian victim to his home. One such incident led to the village of Al Barsha in part of Al Minya Governorate (300 km south of Cairo).

It did not matter to Islam’s vigilantes that official sources confirmed the hacking of the Al Barsha villager’s Facebook account. Nor did it matter that the Al Barsha Christian did not make the remarks. Islamists set out to harm this Coptic family and displace them from their home just the same.

Molotov cocktails were thrown, the church was targeted as well, and the security police came in to prevent further damage.

Bedouin courts handle tech platform “offenses”

Conflicts instigated and executed by Muslim fundamentalists end up in the customary reconciliation sessions known as Bedouin courts. The Christian is always forced to plead guilty when innocent and pay dearly by handing over his home, farm or business to the criminals. The mandatory “peace” agreement of these arbitration sessions always sets the Islamic criminal free and punishes the innocent Christian family. This is precisely the purpose of the arbitration court.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry blames hostile countries; acknowledges Copts as targets

Last year the Egyptian Interior Ministry warned that thousands of Egyptian Facebook accounts were fakes. It added that “great numbers of these fake pages are outside the country and sponsored, funded and managed by countries that are hostile to Egypt.” The Interior Minister’s office went on to say that “such pages are used to spread rumors aiming to generate unrest by Muslim Brotherhood terrorist groups inciting acts of sabotage and violence and spreading chaos in the country, and especially against Copts.”

According to these statements, the stalking and scamming is generated by outside enemies and followed through by inside terror elements. All of it is religious warfare. Meanwhile, what are religious leaders of Al Azhar Institute saying or doing? Islamic censorship and terrorizing due to religious discrimination on social media platforms will not stop unless leaders show the way. The esteemed center of Sunni Islamic scholarship alone holds the power of interpretation of Quranic teachings. Supremacy teachings unfortunately do not support or aid followers to achieve peace and harmony with fellow citizens.

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The Anniversary of Egypt’s Maspero Massacre

Ashraf Ramelah revisits the massacre of Egyptian Copts that took place nine years ago this fall, and consequent events since then.

On the Anniversary of Egypt’s Maspero Massacre, Christian Copts continue to give Al-Sisi a pass

by Dr. Ashraf Ramelah

This autumn marked the ninth anniversary of the brutal murders of innocent Christian Copts in a tragedy known as the Maspero Massacre, when thousands of peaceful Copts and Muslims gathered on October 9, 2011 and marched towards Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On three separate occasions around that date Egyptians protested the previous eight months of ramped-up violence against Coptic Orthodox Christians. At their third and final protest, army tanks overran the peaceful crowd, killing 30 and injuring 130, while another military division arrested and “disappeared” Christian demonstrators.

The Egyptian military had assumed power in January of that same year when the late President Hosni Mubarak stepped down eighteen days after the breakout of the Arab Spring. In Egypt’s transition to elections, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), twenty-two high ranked officers (top generals including Lieutenant Major Abed El Fatah Al-Sisi), took control of all branches of government and the media.

There was a huge surge in attacks against Copts during the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The SCAF government was negligent for unreasonable delays in locating and pursuing suspects. Their failure became the green light for even more hostile elements to open fire on Copts and the churches.

In response to this, thousands of Orthodox Christians were led by two priests to gather and parade through the streets to protest these crimes. When the dust settled on “Anger Day” (the third protest) near the Maspero Radio and Television office building, there were more than one hundred arrests of lawful demonstrators by the military. Christians were hauled away and interrogated. Many were never seen again. Some were beaten and then released.

Six years later: Egypt’s presidential campaign revisits Maspero Massacre

Six years after the Maspero Massacre during the pre-election period in January of 2018, SCAF’s nefarious connection to the Maspero Massacre was made public by an insider, Lieutenant General Samy Annan, a political figure and SCAF military general. Annan’s 2018 campaign for president against incumbent Al-Sisi leaked incriminating information against the president for being the very one behind the military’s Maspero aggression.

The information was actually leaked to the public by a staff member of Annan’s presidential campaign. This staff member was subsequently arrested, tried and jailed for releasing classified military documents to the media. Annan was arrested and sentenced to house arrest by a secret military court. His political career was ruined as his campaign and political party were terminated.

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A Syrian in Germany Confounds the Narrative on the “Civil War” in Syria

The following video features the remarks by a Syrian-German named Manaf Hassan. Mr. Hassan’s parents were actual refugees, not like the “Syrian” “refugees” that are currently flooding the country.

His talk was a part of a symposium hosted by the Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) on May 15 entitled Die Zukunft Syriens — Perspektiven eines zerstörten Landes, “The future of Syria — Perspectives of a ruined country”. As far as I can tell, the video of the full event is here, but I didn’t have the patience to watch the whole thing in order to determine whether Mr. Hassan’s remarks were actually included in the footage.

The Greens had gathered to weep over the puir wee bairns and other victims of the war in Syria, and to condemn the evil actions of the dictator Bashar al-Assad. They were plainly agitated and discomfited by what Manaf Hassan had to say, since he veered off the Narrative and said any number of things that are not permitted to be spoken in public.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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Schrödinger’s Caliph is Alive

A new video has surfaced of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Caliph of the Islamic State. Mr. Baghdadi has been reported killed on multiple occasions, but he keeps popping up again. This is said to be the first video of him to be released in almost five years.

The clip below contains a brief excerpt from the new video. A subtitled version of the full-length video of the caliph’s remarks is currently being processed, and will be available soon. In the meantime, enjoy these samples of the wit and wisdom of the Mujahid-in-Chief.

Many thanks to Ibn Al Malek for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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The Sri Lanka Bombers Pledge Fealty to the Caliph of the Islamic State

The mainstream media in the West have been reluctant to mention Islam when discussing the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed at least 359 people at churches and hotels. In fact, they have been loath to refer to religion at all, preferring to identify the victims as “Easter worshippers” rather than “Christians”.

Despite the fact that the incident had nothing to do with Islam or any other religion, a video has surfaced of the conspirators — at least some of whom were suicide bombers — pledging fealty to Caliph Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.

At the end of the video the terrorists recite “Allahu Akhbar” in unison, which intelligence analysts believe to be an Arabic phrase that means: “We fear unemployment, are concerned about climate change, experience social marginalization, and feel discriminated against.”

Many thanks to Ibn Al-Malek for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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“The Problem of Islamist Terrorism in Germany Wouldn’t Exist Without Immigration”

Hans-Georg Maaßen is the former President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany. Mr. Maaßen caused a controversy after the Chemnitz protests in 2018, in which it was said that an angry mob had “hunted” foreign-looking people. In an interview with Bild, Mr. Maaßen questioned the existence of any evidence for such “hunts”, and stated that his security agency had not in fact seen any such evidence. He was eased out of his position as a result of his deviation from the official narrative.

The video below is a recent interview with Hans-Georg Maaßen from Hungarian TV. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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A Slave-Holding ISIS Bride

An ethnic German woman (who presumably converted to Islam) is being tried over the death of a Yazidi slave girl in Iraq. The defendant traveled to Iraq with her husband, who had gone to fight in the jihad for the Islamic State. The couple acquired a little girl as slave, and later were responsible for her death.

Interestingly, the ISIS bride’s lawyer is claiming that the defendant could not possibly have been responsible for the death, since women in the Islamic State had no right to make such decisions — only their husbands could do so. Would this be called a sharia defense?

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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The Killer Children of the Islamic State

The following interview with an alleged former emir of the Islamic State was published in Sweden. If Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi really did repudiate ISIS, it’s presumably because he realized that the Caliphate was about to go down in flames, and wanted to save his own skin.

Many thanks to Tania Groth for translating this article from the Swedish daily Expressen:

ISIS saves its children’s army for war against the West

A group of children, dressed in camouflage outfits, stand with knives in their hands ready to cut the neck of their victims. The victims are adult men forced to kneel. They are murdered to the sound of the children’s cries:

“Allahu Akhbar! Allahu Akhbar!”

There are a plethora of these horrible movies on the internet, posted by ISIS propaganda centers.

But, for the first time since the Islamic State was founded in the summer of 2014, a high-ranking emir now reveals details of the IS children’s army.

“They are called Ashbal al-Khilafa. Most are children of Syrians, but there are also foreign members,” says Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi.

[Video]

In ISIS-controlled areas, all schools have been closed. Parents living there have two options to choose for their sons: Koran studies in the mosque or Ashbal al-Khilafa.

Ordinary Muslims who go to schools do not need to be members of the Islamic State. There they learn about Islam based on ISIS’ interpretation. Or they can choose Ashbal al-Khilafa camp. It is voluntary, says al-Raqqawi.

Those who go to Koran studies do it for a few hours every day. It works just like the Koran schools during the Taliban era in Afghanistan and Pakistan. You do not have to stay in camps to attend the courses.

But Ashbal al-Khilafa is something completely different.

“In Raqqa alone were built at least 15 training camps for Ashbal al-Khilafa. In each city and in every village and community that ISIS controls, such camps are established. Each camp receives between 600-800 children. There they live for six months — completely isolated from the outside world and from their parents. They are being prepared to become future soldiers — not to participate in the fighting now, but as a reserve army,” al-Raqqawi says.

The training consists of practical and theoretical parts. ISIS films circulating on the sect’s propaganda channel Amaq show how a small group of child soldiers are searching through a “bombing house” for their victims. The victims are kidnapped people who have to hide in the house for the children to find and kill. It is part of the children’s education.

“The most dangerous ones are the children who are taught to perform secret assignments.”

[Photo caption (at the top of this post): According to Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi, ISIS saves its children’s army for future war missions against the West. The pictures are from one of the ISIS propaganda films.

“These children are not used in the war now. A few are selected as suicide bombers, but the rest are saved for the coming war against the West. They are more brutal than the adult members. Several of them volunteer to participate in battles, but they cannot, they say,” al-Raqqawi

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Ginger Dutch Mujahid Killed in Syria

When I post news reports about European mujahideen who travel to the Middle East to join the jihad, I often refer to their nationality in scare quotes, because they are as much Germans or Dutchmen as I am a Hottentot. However, in this case no quote marks are warranted — the late mujahid Thijs Belmonte really was Dutch. He converted to Islam in 2005 and pursued his religious vocation by beheading infidels in Syria.

Many thanks to FouseSquawk for translation this article from De Telegraaf:

Red-haired Terrorist Thijs Belmonte killed on battlefield

Damascus: Red-haired jihad terrorist is killed on the Iraq-Syria battlefield

The traveler was once seen in a public beheading video

The Rotterdammer Belmonte was one of around 300 Dutch travelers and a prominent ISIS fighter according to the NRC, which writes that the report of his death has been confirmed.

Passport burned

Belmonte is one of the more well-known travelers to Syria. He journeyed to the battlefield in 2013 at the age of 24. The Rotterdamer converted to Islam in 2005. Belmonte obtained military training and was impressive in battle. He advised the Islamic State on who from the Netherlands could be trusted and who could not. On Facebook, Thijs burned his Dutch passport. Return home? Never!

National Terror List

The Public Ministry summoned Belmonte to stand trial for participating in a terrorist organization. He was on the national terrorist list.

Thijs’ family, according to the NRC, declines to comment. Earlier Thijs’ father confirmed that his son was in Syria.

Thijs Belmonte made the news in 2013 when a photo of him appeared. In it, he posed in chair with camouflage clothing and an AK-47 machine gun. The Rotterdammer was believed to be living in Aleppo. Belmonte spoke fluent Arabic and could partially recite the Koran.

His heavily pregnant wife later joined him in Syria. In the war zone, he answered to the name of Anwar.

“Dutch” Wives Returning From the Jihad in Syria

Speaking of returning mujahideen — what about their wives?

A lot of jihad fighters who left Europe for Syria took their molls with them, and the latter were often accompanied by their children. Additional children were sometimes born to those wives while they were in Syria.

Och, the puir wee bairns!

The Netherlands is grappling with the issue of jihadis’ wives who are stranded in refugee camps in Syria. Now it looks like the government will arrange the return of six “Dutch” wives and their children — at state expense, of course.

Many thanks to FouseSquawk for translating this article from NRC:

The Netherlands Looking Into Repatriation of Six Wives and Their Children From Syria

An arrest warrant has been issued against the women. In a letter to the Chamber, Minister Grapperhaus writes that the policy remains unchanged.

Wives and children who fled from the fighting between the Syrian Democratic forces (mostly Kurdish fighters) and the Islamic State, on 31 January

The Netherlands is looking into how, together with the Kurdish authorities, six women who went to Syria, along with their eleven children, can be repatriated. The women are suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization. That is what Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus (Justice and Security, CDA) said Friday to NOS. An arrest warrant has been issued against the six.

This active repatriation does not apply to other females [who went to Syria] and their children. On Thursday, Minister Grapperhaus informed the Chamber that the policy, with the exception of the six women, has not changed. That was confirmed by a spokesman for the minister this Friday to NRC. The government maintains that the others must make their own way to the consulate in Erbil. This is actually not possible because the women are in Kurdish camps as prisoners.

Detailed Arrest Warrant

In a January 8 decision, the court in Rotterdam demanded that the authorities make every effort to get the women out of the Al-Hol camp on the Syrian-Iraqi border. Detailed instructions on this were given. The women and their children should be brought from northeastern Syria to the border with Iraq and from there transferred to the Kurdish Autonomous Region. In Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi-Kurdish region, there is a Dutch consulate. From there, their repatriation should be arranged.

Grapperhaus told NOS:

“We have spoken with the organizations that manage the camps. We have established that if they actually transfer them to a safe area, and then to a consulate of the Netherlands, then we can take them. Mothers will then, naturally, be arrested by the Marechaussee [police] and the children can be received by Child Protection.”

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Egyptian President Appoints Two Christian Governors, Defying Islamic Sharia

Ashraf Ramelah discusses Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s recent appointment of two Coptic governors, his possible motives for doing so, and how the appointments fit into the larger picture of Islamic politics in Egypt.

Egypt: President appoints two Christian governors, defying Islamic Sharia

by Ashraf Ramelah

In Egypt, the president appoints the governors of the country’s provinces. This practice began with President Nasser after the end of the kings’ era. Last month President Al-Sisi appointed two Christian governors to two principally Christian provinces — the highest concentration of Christians in all of rural Egypt — located in Upper Egypt and West Egypt. This is monumental in a country where Islamic sectarianism dictates politics.

When Al-Sisi took office in 2013 for a four-year term, he immediately appointed new governors, all Muslim, for each of the 27 provinces, as did his predecessors — Mubarak, Sadat, and Nasser. Now in the beginning of his second term, Al-Sisi replaced two of his original governors at the end of their six-year terms with two Christians — the first time in modern history that some all-Christian towns would have a Christian administration. However, there was one earlier unsuccessful attempt at this by Egypt’s military interim government (SCAF) in 2012 after Mubarak was ousted.

This has inspired an outpouring of positive enthusiasm from Egypt’s Coptic community bringing hope and optimism where disappointment and anger was mounting against the Al-Sisi government by many. It remains to be seen as of yet if any opposition will come from the Muslim community and if their terror elements will respond with violence.

Egyptian Copts in the diaspora are also pleased with the president’s appointments. Social media commentary and op-eds indicate the feeling that Al-Sisi is taking Egypt in the right direction. There is talk about equal rights, equal opportunity and progress toward liberal democracy and leaving Sharia principles in the dust. Al-Sisi’s appointments are in striking contrast to the status quo of the erosion of rights and common decency toward the lives of Copts in Egypt in recent decades.

Before Nasser’s time, such appointments or elections were not extraordinary news but a regular matter. Prior to the coup of 1952, Copts were involved in Egyptian political life after Mohammed Ali detached the country from Turkey (at the fall of the Ottoman Empire). The Decree of Equality between citizens allowed Copts to be governors of provinces, and it was commonplace for Copts to serve as provincial governors. Under King Fouad I, Wissa Wasef, a Copt, became the president of the Egyptian Parliament twice (03/1928-07/1928 & 01/1930-10/1930).

With Al-Sisi’s recent appointments, it looks as if the president has a high regard for the pre-Nasser era. However, when all of the current governmental actions or inactions are taken into account an accurate and truer picture comes to light. Does this picture show improvement for human rights and liberty inclusive of the Coptic minority community, or are things getting worse?

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Stephen Coughlin on the Quranic Concept of War

During last week’s OSCE/ODIHR conference in Warsaw, the Counterjihad Collective organized a side event entitled “Why Does Europe Hate Speech?” The following video from the event shows a talk given by retired Maj. Stephen Coughlin on the Muslim Brotherhood’s long-term plans for jihad — both kinetic and non-kinetic — which are even now bearing fruit, both at the OSCE and elsewhere.

In his talk Maj. Coughlin discusses, among other things, The Quranic Concept of War, a book that was written in 1979 by the serving Brigadier General S. K. Malik when he was chief of staff of the Pakistani army.[1] President Zia ul Haq declared the book to be his country’s military doctrine.[2] The Advocate General in Pakistan, a man named Brohi[3], affirmed that it was law.

So it’s a significant book, and well worth paying attention to.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for editing and uploading this video:

In his book Gen. Malik writes:

So spirited, zealous, complete and thorough should be our preparation for war that we should enter upon the ‘war of muscles’ having already won the ‘war of will’. Only a strategy that aims at striking terror into the hearts of the Enemies from the preparation stage can produce direct results and turn Liddell Hart’s dream into a reality. (p. 58)

He also says, “We do not even start the fighting war until we have already assessed that the war has been won. We have already made the enemy surrender mentally.”

From pages 57 to 58, he includes the four following quotes from the Koran to make his point.[4]

I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. (Qur’an 8: 12)

Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers. (Qur’an 3: 151)

And those of the People of the Book who aided them, Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts, so that some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners [the women and the children]. And he made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things. (Qur’an 33: 26-27)

Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the Godly): they will never frustrate them. Against them make ready your strength of the utmost of your power, including steeds of war to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah any your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. (Qur’an 8:56-60)

Based on the above citations from the Koran, Gen. Malik concludes:[5]

TERROR struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means; it is an end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge. TERROR is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose upon him.

Thus his conclusion is that the Quranic concept of war is terror, with four quotes from the Koran to back up his argument. His final sentences at the end of the same chapter are very important:

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Long-Time African Immigrant in Italy: Above All Else, Close the Borders

The following lucid and articulate analysis of the current migration crisis in Italy is given by a African immigrant who has lived in the country for many years, and views with dismay the current mass influx of Africans into Italy.

Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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EU Interior Ministers Agree: The Great Migration Must Be Stopped

With Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini leading the way and Germany and Austria close behind, the interior ministers of the European Union agreed that the outer borders of the EU must be secured, and all illegal immigrants must be sent back.

At this point the whole thing is elaborate theater with no relation to reality, since Italy — which recorded the initial asylum claims for many (if not most) of the migrants who registered — refuses to take any migrants back from countries further north. Any agreement that requires migrants to be sent back to the country that first registered them would place enormous burdens on Italy, Greece, and Malta, and very little on any other countries.

Furthermore, all North African countries have refused to agree to any holding camps — “debark platforms” in the parlance of this confab — so all discussions about housing migrants outside the EU are no more than idle parlor chatter. It just won’t happen, at least not until the EU agrees to pay the asking price for establishing such camps — presumably in the many billions of euros.

Many thanks to Egri Nök for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

A little background on Italy’s situation: The boats have landing at Lampedusa for as long as I’ve been tracking the relevant news stories, going back to at least 2007. The flow accelerated dramatically in 2011, after the “Arab Spring”, and then became a tsunami after the Great Migration Crisis kicked in during the summer of 2015.

The judicial system of the EU — I can’t remember whether it was the ECJ or the ECHR — ruled that Italy could not turn the boats away, but had to rescue them. Italy demanded, pleaded, and begged for help from Brussels to cover its costs, but never received more than about a third of the required reimbursement.

As the independent smugglers’ flotilla morphed into the NGO “rescue” ferry service, Italy’s burden increased even further. The Italians dealt with the impossible situation by loosening their official procedures for dealing with “refugees” — they just gave them food and shelter for a few days, after which they received residency permits and could proceed northwards as they wished, legally or otherwise. I’ve always assumed that many thousands have passed through without being registered at all.

And now the EU, which in its infinite wisdom required the Italians to allow the migrants to land, is demanding that Italy take all those culture-enrichers back. But Matteo Salvini is in charge of migration-related matters now, and will never agree to such an outcome. So, regardless of the optimistic, heartening words being spoken into the microphones, negotiations on the fate of migrants Europe are at an impasse.

At some point the stalemate will be broken. There is too much pent-up force against the status quo for the current situation to continue indefinitely, but there’s no telling when the final resolution will come, nor what form it will take.

Video transcript:

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