Vatican Radio 

Month of prayer for Christians in Egypt

Listen to the interview... RealAudioMP3  

Christians in the Middle East and North Africa are facing increasing insecurity as their countries undergo huge changes in their political structures.

It's a time of great opportunity for all those nations caught up in the Arab Spring, and as Andrew Boyd, press officer for "Release International" says, "nobody is going to stand up and say three cheers for hardline dictators who've kept their countries repressed for years. It's fundamental that there should be a move towards democracy in these nations, but at the same time, because the lid has been taken off - nation after nation - in that world, what we are seeing is an increasing tension beteween secular factions who want democracy, and islamist factions who want to see in one form or another, a form of islamic law brought into these nations".

The Guardian home 

Egyptians v Saudi Arabia: it's all got rather messy

Putting Mubarak in the dock upset Gulf's patriarchal order. Saudi Arabia is trying to play hardball but it may not work 

Magdi Abdelhadi

Saudi King Abdullah speaks with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (right) speaks with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. 'It’s no secret that they have been terrified of the prospect of the Egyptian 'contagion' spreading to their societies.' Photograph: Reuters

While protesters were fighting street battles with the military police in Cairo last week, Egyptian officials were bowing courteously before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asking forgiveness for the unruly behaviour of demonstrators outside his embassy in Cairo.

The Guardian home 

Egypt's ruling generals deny killing protesters

Senior generals promise to cede power to new president by 30 June – a pledge regarded by many Egyptians with suspicion

Egypt's Major General Mokhtar al Molla (L) and Major General Mohammed al-Assar

Major General Mokhtar al Molla (left) and Major General Mohammed al-Assar at the news conference in Cairo. Photograph: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

Egypt's ruling generals have launched an aggressive defence of their record in power since the country's revolution last year and denied any involvement in the deaths of up to 20 protesters killed in violent clashes outside the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday.

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Egypt movie star acquitted of insulting Islam

Actor Adel Imam attends the Awards Show and Closing Night Red Carpet and Screening of 'The First Grader' during the 2010 Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Doha October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's Adel Imam, the Arab world's most famous comic actor, had a conviction and three-month prison sentence for insulting Islam in his films and plays overturned on appeal, a state newspaper reported on Thursday.

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Saudi Arabia jails Egyptian lawyer for defaming king

Egypt's foreign ministry is trying to secure the release of an Egyptian lawyer detained in Saudi Arabia on charges of defaming King Abdullah.

Ahmed al-Gizawi was arrested last week as he arrived in Jeddah to undertake Umra, the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca.

Unknown to Mr Gizawi, a Saudi court had earlier sentenced him in absentia to a year in prison and 20 lashes. He is due to receive the lashes on Friday.

Mr Gizawi's case has aroused widespread anger in Egypt.

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Appeal of Egypt's Salafist, Hazem Abu Ismail

Salafist cleric, Hazem Abu Ismail, in a crowd of his supporters in Tahrir Square Ultraconservative, Hazem Abu Ismail, became a frontrunner in the presidential race

With his signature smile and long, whitish beard, Hazem Abu Ismail, can still be seen on posters all across Cairo - on cars, roadsides and even on the walls of some schools and government buildings.

His short-lived presidential campaign, unambiguously calling for a tighter application of Sharia, or Islamic law, quickly gained appeal among ordinary Egyptians.

Egypt's military takes bigger role in constitution

File Photo: Egyptian protesters sit by a banner that reads in Arabic "The Constitution first" during a rally at Tahrir Square 27 May (PHoto- AP)

Egypt's ruling military council demand constitution be written before a president is appointed sparking fears that the short timeframe may allow them to remain in power past the handover deadline to civilian authority

Egypt's ruling military has inserted a new element of confusion even as Egypt tries to sort out turmoil surrounding its upcoming presidential elections. The generals now insist a new constitution be written before a new president is seated, a rushed timeframe that some fear may prolong their hold on power.

For weeks, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists sought to dominate the writing of the country's first new constitution since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago. But after Islamist domination of the process sparked a backlash of criticism, the military has stepped back in to take a more direct role.

Mr Cameron will express his concern for the rights of millions of Christians, especially in Egypt, where the Coptic minority say they are facing increasing persecution 


Muslims 'must embrace democracy' says David Cameron

Muslims must embrace democracy and respect the rights of Christians around the world, David Cameron will say.

British Prime Minister David Cameron  talks to journalists during a join press conference with  Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (not in picture) at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia 11 April 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron in Jakarta, Indonesia Photo: EPA


Speaking in Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic country, the Prime Minister will urge young Muslims to abandon “the dead-end choice of dictatorship and extremism” by forcing their countries to hold elections.

He will claim it would be “the greatest defeat that Al Qaeda could ever suffer,” if more rebel and follow the lead of the young Muslims who sparked the Arab Spring.

Mr Cameron will express his concern for the rights of millions of Christians, especially in Egypt, where the Coptic minority say they are facing increasing persecution. In a strong rebuke to Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood party, Mr Cameron will demand it does not “deny the rights of religious minorities who do not share their specific religious views”.


Egypt court suspends constitutional panel

An Egyptian court on Tuesday suspended a 100-member panel selected by MPs from the Islamist-dominated parliament and tasked with drafting the country's new constitution.

An Egyptian court on Tuesday suspended a 100-member panel selected by MPs from the Islamist-dominated parliament and tasked with drafting the country's new constitution.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate, Khairat al-Shater Photo: EPA

The ruling was a blow to the Islamists, who have catapulted into the centre of Egypt's political stage since the ouster 14 months ago of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

It followed complaints by political groups, secular politicians and constitutional experts over parliament's decision to give MPs half the seats on the panel.


Thanks to the Egyptian Adminstrative Court 

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Egypt court suspends constitutional assembly

Egyptian protesters chant carry banners saying: "A constitution for all Egyptians must be written by the rebels, civilian constitution is our basic right." (28 March 2012) 

The constitution will determine the influence of Sharia on Egyptian law and minority rights 

A court in Egypt has suspended the 100-member assembly appointed last month to draft the country's new constitution.

Several lawsuits had demanded Cairo's Administrative Court block the decision to form the panel as it did not reflect the diversity of Egyptian society.

They said women, young people and minorities were under-represented.

 The Guardian home

Egypt told to give military leaders 'safe exit' by western governments

Pressure applied to grant immunity, Muslim Brotherhood claims, but party insists generals will face trial over alleged killings

Muslim Brotherhood 'Freedom and Justice Party' flag

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party supporters protesting. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Western governments have been encouraging Egypt's nascent political powers to consider offering the military generals currently running the country immunity against prosecution, according to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) has been in control of the country since the toppling of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, with the junta's rule marked by continued violent confrontations between revolutionaries and security forces, including allegations that they have ordered the shooting of unarmed protesters.


Liberals, Islamists tussle over Egypt constitution

By Shaimaa Fayed

CAIRO | Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:35pm BST

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian liberals and leftists wary of Islamist dominance of an assembly drafting a new constitution said on Tuesday they would write their own, deepening a row overshadowing a major element of the transition from President Hosni Mubarak's rule.

Liberals who have quit the 100-member assembly in protest at its make-up were among those who signed a statement that pledged to write an alternative constitution to the one being drafted by the official body, which was formed at the weekend.

"We shall undertake this duty from outside the official assembly in collaboration with all the segments of society and experts that should have been included from the beginning," said the statement, released at a news conference where one speaker after another accused the Islamists of seeking to dominate.


Egyptian parliament selects constitution panel

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Islamists looked poised Saturday to dominate a key lever of power that will help determine the country's political future as parliament selected a panel to draw up the country's new constitution. Liberal lawmakers denounced the process as a "farce" and walked out in protest.

The constitution, which will be written by the 100-member committee, will determine the balance of power between Egypt's previously all-powerful president and parliament, and define the country's future identity, including the role of religion and minority rights. With so much at stake, the question of who should sit on the panel has sparked fierce debate in Egypt.

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Egypt Coptic Pope Shenouda is buried at monastery

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says there were "almost hysterical scenes" at the funeral

The funeral of Coptic Pope Shenouda III has taken place in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Gloomy economic forecast puts Egypt in the doldrums

Gloomy economic forecast puts Egypt in the doldrums


Young Egyptian students stand in front of their home after returning from school in the poor area of al-Zabbalin in Cairo (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

More than a year after the revolution in Egypt, high hopes of a better life for everyone have faded with its faltering economy. Expectations for the civilian rulers who will take over in June are high, but the cost of failure may be higher.

­The declared transition to democracy is a messy process in Egypt.

Despite the public’s great expectations, living conditions for the average Egyptians remain poor in the wake of the revolution.

Christians gather to bid farewell to Egypt's Pope

Egyptian Christians gather to mourn the death of Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, outside the Abassiya Cathedra in Cairo March 18, 2012. REUTERS-Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters) - Christians gathered on Sunday to pay final respects to Pope Shenouda III, who sought to soothe sectarian tension in his four decades atop Egypt's Orthodox Church but saw increasing flareups in the majority Muslim nation in the last months of his life.

Friction has worsened since President Hosni Mubarak, who suppressed Islamists, was ousted last year. Since then Shenouda, who died on Saturday aged 88, often called for harmony and regularly met Muslim and other leaders.


Halt ships of shame from the USA carrying weapons to Egypt

The Dutch-flagged ship is reportedly due to arrive in Egypt early next week.

The Dutch-flagged ship is reportedly due to arrive in Egypt early next week.

© Wim van der Moolen

A ship carrying a cargo of weapons with explosives en route from the USA to Egypt must not be allowed to offload because of a substantial risk the weapons will be used by Egyptian security forces to commit human rights violations, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The organization has tracked the Dutch-flagged ship, MV Schippersgracht, for the past two months. It is currently in the Mediterranean Sea and due to arrive in Egypt early next week.


Egypt acquits 'virginity test' military doctor

An Egyptian military tribunal on Sunday acquitted an army doctor of a charge of public obscenity filed by a protester who claimed she was forced to undergo a virginity test while in detention.

Army doctor Ahmed Adel, who was accused of carrying out a forced virginity test on a female detainee, speaks to the media after being acquitted in Cairo. A military court acquitted Adel on Sunday charged with carrying out a forced virginity test on Samira Ibrahim during protests last year, said a court source, in a case that has fuelled anger against the ruling generals.

Army doctor Ahmed Adel speaks to the media after being acquitted in Cairo Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

The court denied the humiliating tests even took place, despite a ruling by another court and admissions by generals quoted by a leading rights group.

The ruling further infuriated the country's revolutionary youth movements, who have said claims of the virginity tests were the first sign that the generals who took over from deposed President Hosni Mubarak 13 months ago were carrying on his repressive practices.

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Egypt unrest: Court clears 'virginity test' doctor

Samira Ibrahim 

The legal action brought by Samira Ibrahim has put a stop to virginity tests on female protesters 

A military court in Egypt has acquitted an army doctor accused of carrying out forced "virginity tests" on women protesters, state media reports.

Ahmed Adel was cleared because the judge found contradictions in witness statements, the state news agency said.

This is from Ikhwan Web, in English only, why not in Arabic???
Freedom and Justice Party Supports Role of NGOs as Essential to Democratic Process
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) today re-iterated its support for the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting the democratic process, especially in nascent democracies. Under the previous, autocratic, regime, Egypt suffered many violations of civic and democratic rights

(20 February 2012- Cairo) The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) today re-iterated its support for the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting the democratic process, especially in nascent democracies. Under the previous, autocratic, regime, Egypt suffered many violations of civic and democratic rights. NGOs played an important role during that time in exposing the many atrocities of the regime.

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