SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Egypt’s Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky resigned on Sunday ahead of a cabinet reshuffle in which he was expected to be replaced, state media reported.
Mekky submitted his resignation to President Mohamed Mursi on Saturday, said Justice Ministry spokesman Ahmed Salam. It followed a protest on Friday by Mursi’s Islamist backers demanding the “purification” of the judiciary.
A bill has been submitted to parliament which critics say would give the government too much control over the make-up of the judiciary.
Mekky, who was appointed in August, had been quoted in local media as saying he would resign if the law was passed. The Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament has yet to vote on the legislation.
Mursi said in an interview on Saturday he planned to reshuffle the cabinet.
Egyptian media had reported that Mekky would be one of the ministers replaced in the shakeup, which a presidential aide told AFP would affect up to eight ministries, including “important ones.”
Prime Minister Hisham Qandil may however turn down the resignation, as he had done in the past with other ministers.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- All divine prophets, regardless of their different degrees and ranks, are infallible and at the peak of nearness to Allah (swt), and all of them have responsibilities that surpass those of normal people to the extent that any attention they give to anything other than Allah (swt) is a great sin for them.
There have been many efforts by different Islamic scholars in explanation of Prophet Musa’s (pbuh) act and how it doesn’t come into conflict with his infallibility, and each has his own explanation.
The best explanation though, is the one that says that he hasn’t committed any sin by doing so, and the only thing that was wrong about what he did was that he could have made a better choice than what he did, yet what he did wasn’t a sin (resulting in him not being infallible). It has been stated that killing the Egyptian man (which was affiliated with the Pharaoh) wasn’t a forbidden act for certain reasons, although it would have been better if Prophet Musa (pbuh) hadn’t killed him because of the negative consequences.
The way the Quran refers to Prophet Musa’s (pbuh) action also in no way discredits his infallibility. For instance, in response to Ma’mun’s (the ruler of Imam Ridha’s (as) time) question about Prophet Musa (pbuh) saying “This is of Satan's doing. Indeed he is an enemy, manifestly misguiding” or saying “Oh my Lord! I have indeed wronged myself, forgive me!”, Imam Ridha says “What is meant by “This is of Satan’s doing” is the quarrel between the two men, not what Prophet Musa (pbuh) did, and what is meant by “I have wronged myself” is that Musa (pbuh) shouldn’t have entered the city, and “forgive me” is referring to Musa (pbuh) hiding from the Pharaoh’s men.”
In order to answer this question, a few points need to be made:
a) A brief explanation of infallibility:
Ismah or infallibility literally means to be protected or to make hold of something and in theological terms refers to a form of grace (bestowed by Allah (swt) upon anyone He desires) that makes one have no tendency to commit a forbidden act or not do an obligatory one, while being completely free and capable of doing so.
b) Some of the reasoning that proves the infallibility of the prophets:
1- One of the main reasons for sending the prophets is for them to inform the people of what is truly to their benefit and harm and to pave the way to their perfection and salvation and prosperity in this life and the next through training and purification of the soul, while such a purpose will be totally defeated in the case of them not being infallible. That is because if they were to commit sins, it is either necessary for us to follow them or not; if it isn’t, there will be no reason in sending them, because they have been sent to be followed, and if it is still necessary to follow them, that means we have to follow them in sinning, which makes no sense.
2- The sinning of a prophet, regardless of whether it is done before or after his prophethood, causes the people to dislike and not follow him.
Considering these and the many other reasons that have been mentioned for the infallibility of the prophets, it is for sure that they are infallible.
c) How aren’t some of the verses of the Quran (like the story of killing the Egyptian man) not in conflict with Prophet Musa’s infallibility?
The Holy Quran says: “And Musa entered the city at a time that people were busy and nobody noticed his arrival, he found two men; One of his followers and one of his Enemies who were quarrelling. The one who was of his people cried for help; so Musa struck his foe with his fist resulting in his death. Musa said reproaching himself:" This is on account of Satan's interference, surely he is an enemy which leads man astray quite openly."
Musa prayed:" O my Creator and Nurturer! I wronged myself, please forgive me." So Allah bestowed His mercy upon him since He is the Merciful Forgiving.”
The question is, when Prophet Musa (pbuh) says: “This is on account of Satan's interference, surely he is an enemy which leads man astray quite openly.” or when he says: “O my Creator and Nurturer! I did wrong to myself, please forgive me!”, how is this not in conflict with his infallibility? Doesn’t what he says imply that he isn’t infallible?
The story of Prophet Musa (pbuh) and the Egyptian man goes like this: One of the Pharaoh’s men forced one of Prophet Musa’s (pbuh) followers to collect some firewood, sparking a quarrel between the two. In an attempt to help his follower, Prophet Musa strikes the Egyptian with his fist in the chest, resulting in his death. What commentators of the Quran have said about Prophet Musa’s (pbuh) act is that he did the wrong thing meaning that he could have made a better choice, and as a result of this mistake, he got himself into trouble and the Egyptians wouldn’t overlook this act of his and would try to punish him for it. Yet, making the wrong choice doesn’t mean that the act Prophet Musa (pbuh) did was a sin and the disobedience of Allah (swt), all that it means is that Prophet Musa (pbuh) could have made a better choice out of the several options he had.
In the book ‘Uyunu Akhbaril-Ridha, it has been stated that Ma’mun (the ruler at Imam Ridha’s (as) time) asked Imam Ridha (as) this same question. His Excellency answered: “What is meant by “This is on account of Satan's interference”, is the quarrel between the two men, and what is meant by “I wronged myself” is that I placed myself in a situation that I shouldn’t have, and I shouldn’t have entered this city, and what is meant by “forgive me” is “hide me from my enemies” because one of the meanings of ghufran (غفران) which has been mentioned in the verse (which is usually translated as forgiveness) is to hide and conceal something (and doesn’t always mean forgiveness).”
In his book Tanzihul-Anbiya’, Seyyid Murtadha Alamul-Huda has interpreted this verse in two ways:
1- What is meant by wrong (in the verse that quotes Musa (pbuh) saying that he has wronged himself) is that Prophet Musa (pbuh) didn’t do a mustahabb act (which was to postpone the man’s death), instead he acted a bit too fast in help of his follower, thus depriving himself of the reward of the mustahabb act and was upset about this loss. That is why he scolded himself by saying that he had wronged himself.
2- What is meant by the verse that quotes Musa (pbuh) saying: “This is on account of Satan” is the quarrelling of the Egyptian, and Prophet Musa (pbuh) in no way had intended to kill him and all he wanted to do was to help his follower.
In his tafsir of Tibyan, Sheykh Tusi says: “The killing of the Egyptian man wasn’t a bad act and Allah (swt) had ordered Musa (pbuh) to (eventually) kill him, yet it was better for Musa (pbuh) to postpone his killing because of certain reasons, therefore he shouldn’t have rushed in doing so and didn’t make the best choice, and this was the reason for him asking Allah (swt) for forgiveness (note that Sheykh Tusi believes that ghufran here has been used for its usual meaning of forgiveness).
The author of the famous tafsir of Majma’ul-Bayan has also answered this question in the following manner; he says: “The Egyptian was killed for the believer to be freed from him and wasn’t on purpose so it wasn’t a bad act and was actually good.
It has been stated in the book Fat-hul-Ghadir that Musa’s (pbuh) plead for forgiveness was for the wrong choice that he had made and what he meant by saying “forgive me” was that he had wronged himself by killing the Egyptian, because if the Pharaoh was to find out about what had taken place, he surely wouldn’t leave him alone and would surely execute him. What is meant by “forgive me” that Musa (pbuh) says is: “Oh Allah (swt) conceal me so that the Pharaoh doesn’t find me”.
There is one more thing that one can ask and that is that Prophet Musa (pbuh) himself refers to his act as a sin in surah Shu’ara, verse 14 when he says: “And they also have a charge of crime against me”, doesn’t this show that what he did was a sin? The answer is that the Pharaoh was the one who believed what Musa (pbuh) had committed was a crime and sin, but was mistaken and Musa (pbuh) truly wasn’t a sinner.
Conclusion: Sin and disobedience have different levels and degrees. Sometimes one doesn’t go by religious guidelines; such disobedience is surely in conflict with infallibility. Meanwhile, sometimes something isn’t truly considered a sin and is merely a mistake in choosing the best option, yet those who have high levels of spirituality and servitude, who are very sensitive about upsetting their lord even in the least way, consider anything that might upset Him a sin, although they truly haven’t broken any of His rules.
For further information, see indexes:
1- The infallibility of the prophets in the Quran, Question 1069.
2- The infallibility of the prophets according to the Quran, Question 998.
 Mufradat Ragheb and Kitabul-Ayn under the root word عصم.
 Jafar Subhani, Muhadharatun fil-Ilahiyyat, pg. 405.
 وَ دَخَلَ الْمَدینَةَ عَلى حینِ غَفْلَةٍ مِنْ أَهْلِها فَوَجَدَ فیها رَجُلَیْنِ یَقْتَتِلانِ هذا مِنْ شیعَتِهِ وَ هذا مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ فَاسْتَغاثَهُ الَّذی مِنْ شیعَتِهِ عَلَى الَّذی مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ فَوَکَزَهُ مُوسى فَقَضى عَلَیْهِ قالَ هذا مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّیْطانِ إِنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ مُضِلٌّ مُبینٌ (15) قالَ رَبِّ إِنِّی ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسی فَاغْفِرْ لی فَغَفَرَ لَهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحیمُ (16) Surah Qasas:15-16.
 Makarem Shirazi, Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 16, pg. 42; Makarem Shirazi, Tafsirul-Bayan, vol.7-8; Sheykh Tusi, Tafsir Tibyan, vol. 2, pg. 391, Tafsir Ithna Ashari, vol.10, pg.94.
 Tafsir Nurul-Thaqalain, vol.4, pg.119; Tafsir Ithna Ashari, vol.10, pg.94.
 Uyunu Akhbaril-Ridha, pg.155, chapter 15; Nurul-Thaqalain, vol.4, pg.119; Al-Mizan, vol.16, pg. 18.
 Quoted from Majma’ul-Bayan.
 Tafsir Tibyan, vol.2, pg.291.
 Fadhl ibn Hasan Tabarsi, Majma’ul-Bayan, vol.7, pg. 164.
 Muhammad ibn Ali Shokani, Tafsir Fathul-Qadir, vol.4, pg.164.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – With nothing to declare but his wit, Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef’s fight for free speech has been buoyed on Monday by top U.S. satirist Jon Stewart, who Youssef has been internationally likened to.
Continuing Youssef’s theme of poking fun at the Egyptian president, Stewart did the same.
“I know Bassem pretty well,” Stewart said on his Monday night episode of The Daily Show, “so you can imagine I was shocked that this whole time I was consorting with a criminal!”
“If insulting the presidency and Islam here were illegal [in the U.S.], Fox News would go bye-bye!”
“Sounds like Egypt’s Mohammed Mursi’s got his hands full,” adds Stewart after a brief rundown of crises in Egypt which have peaked since the revolution, including diving tourism revenues, economic drawbacks, aging infrastructure and a spike in sexual harassment.
“Can’t wait to see how President Mursi tackles these complex and urgent issues,” he satirically says before beginning to chew over the arrest of Youssef for insulting the presidency, which included mocking Mursi for his English skills and for the hat he wore in Pakistan while being awarded an honorary degree.
“Making fun of the president’s hat and his less-than-fluent English, that was my entire career for eight years!” Stewart said, bringing up an image of a previous George Bush sketch, in which he wore a hat identical to that one worn by the former U.S. president.
“Has he [Youssef] been sabotaging Egypt’s infrastructure? Harassing Egyptian women on the streets, or unemploying the Egyptian people? What did he do?” Stewart asks mockingly.
Stewart then proceeded to show clips of Mursi insulting Jews and Zionism, with one clip showing Mursi labeling them the “descendants of apes and pigs.”
International eyes on Youssef
Turning up at the prosecutor’s office after an arrest warrant was issued from him, then placed on bail last week, Youssef has attracted support from a host of international observers, slapping him on the back for his comedic free speech.
Youssef “isn’t scared of anybody,” CNN presenter Christiane Amanpour previously said of the satirist.
“With so much political turmoil in the country, Youssef’s mission is to make Egyptians laugh, while informing them at the same time,” Amanpour added, before an interview with the comedian in December 2012.
Back then, Youssef had said the “president has been accepting [his sketches] well,” and that he even invited Mursi to the show.
“This is the best time to have a politically satire program in Egypt. We are the drama queen of the world with everything that’s happening …. Comic satire is the best way to comment on everything,” he told Amanpour.
But the presidency’s targeting of Bassem Youssef was described as a “political witch hunt” by UK-based newspaper The Independent this week after his arrest.
In an article questioning whether the comedian’s jokes “went too far,” the newspaper tied in Youssef’s arrest with another set of arrests of Mursi’s prominent opponents.
“Last week, following a series of clashes between anti-government protesters and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s general prosecutor issued arrest warrants for five prominent opponents of Mr. Mursi’s. They included the high-profile blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who was arrested in 2011 and also back in 2006 during the time of Hosni Mubarak.”
Youssef’s arrest has also raised questions over the possibility of a wider censorship of the media, a report from the UK-based newspaper The Guardian noted.
“For several months, the prosecutor-general has summoned journalists for questioning on charges of criminal defamation. But no related legal proceedings have yet been set in motion, which is why this week's developments have so alarmed the opposition,” the report stated.
With the news reaching across Europe and the rest of the world, comments from France24 on Youssef’s 15,000 Egyptian pound bail release, included a mention of his “irreverent humor” when he arrived wearing an oversized version of the hat Mursi wore in Pakistan.
“Bassem Youssef was even cracking jokes via Twitter even when he was in the prosecutor’s office,” a Cairo correspondent from France24 noted.
Youssef’s tweets via his verified Twitter account included: "Police officers and lawyers at the prosecutor-general's office want to be photographed with me, maybe this is why they ordered my arrest?"
"Then they asked me: What is the color of your eyes Bassem?" tweeted the green-eyed former physician turned satirist.
Local Egyptian press has generally sided with Youssef, as seen in daily online English-language newspaper Egypt Independent and even state-owned outlets, such as Ahram Online. News reports on comedian’s arrest have been fast and frequent, with protests from Youssef’s supporters also dominating the headlines.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Egypt’s most popular television satirist, who every week skewers the Islamist president and hard-line clerics on his Jon Stewart-style “Daily Show,” was released on bail Sunday but could face charges of insulting the country’s leader and Islam.
Bassem Youssef is the most prominent critic of President Mohammed Morsi to be called in for questioning in recent weeks, in what the opposition says is a campaign to intimidate critics amid wave after wave of political unrest in deeply polarized Egypt.
Arrest warrants have been issued for five prominent anti-government activists accused of instigating violence.
Deputy chief prosecutor Hassan Yassin denied the nearly five-hour interrogation was part of an intimidation campaign and said his department was enforcing the law and seeking to establish some guidelines on freedom of expression.
There must be guidelines for those working in the media to observe so as not violate the law
“The prosecution is the protector of social rights and we work on implementing the law. … There must be guidelines for those working in the media to observe so as not violate the law,” Yassin told The Associated Press.
Morsi last week accused private media of fanning violence and argued that it was being used for political aims.
But Yassin denied that the prosecutor’s office was operating at the behest of the presidency to go after Morsi’s critics, saying it has also interrogated and sentenced Islamists. Morsi appointed the chief prosecutor late last year despite an outcry from many in the judiciary who accused him of trampling on their right to choose the top prosecutor.
A court ruling last week declared Morsi’s appointment void, a verdict he will likely appeal.
“There is no contact between us and the presidency. … Just like we moved against someone who insults Christianity, we moved against someone who is accused of insulting Islam,” he said.
Youssef is the host of the weekly political satire show known for his skits lampooning Morsi and Egypt’s newly empowered Islamist political class. But he also mocks the opposition and the media.
The fast-paced show has attracted a wide viewership, while at the same time earning its fair share of detractors. Youssef has been a frequent target of lawsuits, most of them brought by Islamist lawyers who accused him of “corrupting morals” or violating “religious principles.”
Youssef frequently imitates Morsi’s speeches and gestures. He has fact-checked the president, and in one particularly popular episode earlier this year, he played video clips showing remarks by Morsi, made in 2010 before he became president, calling Zionists “pigs.”
The remarks caused a brief diplomatic tiff with the U.S. administration, and Morsi had to issue a statement to defuse the flap.
In his last episode this week, Youssef thanked Morsi for providing him with so much material.
Youssef has also made regular jokes about comments by Islamic clerics and presenters on Islamic TV stations, exposing contradictions between their comments and public speeches and what he considers the spirit of Islam.
Prosecutor Mohammed el-Sayed Khalifa was quoted on the website of the state-owned Al-Ahram daily that he has 28 plaintiffs in the case against Youssef accusing him of insulting Islam, mocking prayers, and “belittling” Morsi in the eyes of the world and his own people.
The plaintiffs are mostly regular citizens, according to Shaimaa Abul-Kheir, a representative of the New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists who was allowed to attend the interrogation.
In remarks to a TV presenter on CBC, the private station that airs his program, Youssef said on Saturday that his program does not insult Islam but aims to expose those who “distort” it.
“We don’t insult religion. What we do is expose those so-called religious and Islamic stations which have offended Islam more than anyone else,” he said. “If anyone is to be investigated for insulting religions, it should be all those who use Islam as a weapon and a political tool to swallow the others using religion.”
They asked me the colour of my eyes. Really
When asked if programs in Egypt should be less scathing than those of the West, Youssef said: “We will give (the West) an example of how freedoms are respected after the revolution,” he said of the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.
After turning himself in for questioning, Youssef first tweeted a series of quips from the prosecutor’s office.
“They asked me the colour of my eyes. Really,” one said.
A news broadcaster at a TV station affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Misr 25, accused Youssef of “mocking” the investigation. His tweets later were erased and he wrote that some reports from inside the interrogation room were “incorrect.”
Amr Moussa, a former presidential candidate, called the warrant for Youssef’s arrest a “provocation to Egyptians who are known for their love of what is funny.”
“There is nothing odious about criticizing the president,” he said in an emailed statement. “This humanizes the president.”
Gamal Eid, a rights lawyer, said accusing Youssef of insulting religion — as opposed to just the president — is a tactic aimed at increasing public sympathy for the investigation.
“The accusation of insulting religion would mobilize more people against him,” Eid said.
Gamal Heshmat, a lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, dismissed the opposition’s claims of an intimidation campaign as an “exaggeration,” adding that many critics of Morsi and his group are responsible for instigating violence and “offending” many in the public.
“What is the problem with abiding by the law? No one was detained and there were no extra-legal measures,” he told the AP, describing the media as “chaotic,” with numerous attacks against Morsi but few prosecutions.
“It is offensive … Let the judiciary decide,” he said.
A prosecution official said Youssef was to pay a bail of 15,000 LE (U.S. $2,200), pending the completion of an investigation. Youssef tweeted that the bail is for three separate cases.
Eid, the rights lawyer, said the release on bail means all options are open.
“The prosecution could continue investigation, put the case aside or send it to trial.”
Meanwhile, in Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, 11 people detained on Saturday including five lawyers accused of attacking a police station were released without charges.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- In the wake of a police strike and in the absence of government control, Egyptian society has been shaken recently by a spate of vigilante violence – setting off alarm bells for civilians, pundits and analysts who fear for the country's future.
On Friday, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opposition protesters violently clashed – leaving almost 200 people injured.
Images from the melee shocked even revolutionary-weary Egyptians. One photo that went viral showed a middle-aged man, bloodied and apparently screaming, being dragged by the ankle by a young man. Another video clip, aired on satellite channels, showed a man set on fire by a Molotov cocktail.
With Egypt’s General Prosecutor recently issuing a statement encouraging citizens to take the law into their own hands, and an extremist Islamic group calling for “popular committees,” or vigilante groups, to help enforce law and order, many fear there is more violence to come.
‘I thought I would die’
Mostafa al Khatib, a photo journalist for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party newspaper, was caught up in the clashes on Friday and said he was shocked by the level of violence.
“At some moments, I thought I would die,” said Al Khatib, who was hospitalized for three days for head injuries.
As the clashes heated up, Al Khatib said he fled into a mosque for protection, but then was dragged out in front of a crowd where men with knives and rocks beat him after they identified him a Muslim Brotherhood journalist. He bled from the head, fainted and woke up later in an ambulance.
“Those are not revolutionary people,” Al Khatib said quietly, recalling the events.
Unfortunately, Al Khatib was not alone.
Mahmoud Abdullah, a 22-year-old student and opposition protester, was on a different side of the clashes, but met a similar fate.
“I went to protest a woman being slapped [by a Muslim Brotherhood bodyguard] because I think every woman deserves dignity. This was meant to be a peaceful demonstration,” said Abdullah.
But that’s not what he found.
“They were ready for violence. I thought I would lose my life and die unjustly,” he said. “I found the mob attacking us, and throwing bricks at me.”
Friends managed to rescue him and drive him to hospital.
“The state is not there," he complained. He said he fears that Egypt is heading toward civil war.>A crackdown coming?
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a former Brotherhood leader, threatened on Sunday to take unspecified steps to “protect this nation” after the violent demonstrations outside the organization's headquarters.
"If I am forced to do what is required to protect this nation, then I will do it. And I fear that I might be on the verge of doing it," Morsi said in a statement.
Opposition leaders fear his vague words could spell the start of a crackdown.
Egypt's top prosecutor ordered the arrest of at least five leading political activists following the clashes.
Fears of vigilantism
Many fear a rise in vigilantism now – especially after many in Egypt’s police forces went on strike in early March.
With fewer police on the streets, the country’s General Prosecutor urged citizens to take the law into their own hands. In a statement, an official reminded citizens that a warrant is not required for arrest and that people have the right to arrest wrongdoers and turn them over to police for crimes ranging from vandalism, blocking traffic, to the ambiguous “spreading fear.”
Just a week later, the villagers of a Nile Delta town 55 miles north of Cairo meted out what they saw as justice. Two men were brutally murdered by vigilantes who suspected them of stealing a “tuk-tuk,”a small motorized taxi, allegedly with the intention to abduct a woman. Video and photos from the scene showed the men beaten and bleeding on the ground, they were then hung by their feet from the rafters of a crowded bus station until they died – all while crowds swarmed to take photos, whistle -- and in some cases -- encourage the killings.
Hafez Abu Saada, a prominent human rights lawyer and head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, fears that the “law of the jungle” is prevailing in Egypt.
“This is not the first case [of vigilante killings],” said Abu Saada. He argued that suspects must have the right to due process of law and is concerned that people will use religion as an excuse to render what they see as justice.
Abu Saada fears recent calls by some Islamists for “popular committees,” or vigilante groups, to help enforce law and order.
The Islamic Group, an extremist Islamic group that carried out terror attacks against tourists in the 90s but has since renounced violence, originally proposed the concept of popular committees for the southern governorate of Assiut after the police strike. Now they are seeking legislation by Egypt’s Shura Council, or upper house of parliament, to institutionalize a civilian police force within the Ministry of Interior itself.
Assim Abdel Majd, a spokesman for the Islamic Group, insisted that the “popular committees” would not become an Islamist militia, but that they would hand suspects over to the police. Abdel Majd defended the actions of the Nile Delta vigilantes.
“This is a problem of police being absent and the judicial system freeing people,” he said. “Those people [in the Nile Delta] took the law into their own hands but the ‘popular committees’ would hand suspects over to the proper authorities.”
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Egyptian activist Mervat Mousa, who was slapped by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood for participating in a graffiti event, told Al Arabiya that she will file a case against the perpetrator with the public prosecutor.
In a video that went viral on social media sites this week, Mousa fell to the ground after being slapped. She was among a crowd of activists and Brotherhood members clashing near the movement’s headquarters in Muqattam earlier this week.
Mousa said she and her fellow activists were taking part in a Facebook event to draw “the names of martyrs” on the street and to condemn the Brotherhood’s rule in Egypt.
“I sat on my knees and drew Jeeka’s name,” Mousa said, referring to Jaber Salah, an activist who was killed in clashes in Mohamed Mahmoud Street last November.
Although they were drawing about 200 meters away from the headquarters, Brotherhood members started physically attacking and verbally insulting them, demanding that they leave, Mousa said.
A photo was widely circulated on social media sites showing activist Ahmed Douma writing “the sheep’s barn” on the floor, in reference to the Brotherhood headquarters.
“A man came up to us and started putting sand on Douma’s writing,” Mousa said. “I told him this is unacceptable... this is a form of free expression.”
Clashes erupted later when more Brotherhood members approached the activists and told them to leave. Verbal and physical abuse were used to force the activists to do so, Mousa said.
“Three men started beating Douma, and I refused to leave him,” she said, adding that his face was covered with blood. “As a human and as a mother, I couldn’t leave Douma. I tried lifting the man who was beating him.”
The man then turned on Mousa and started verbally insulting her, she said.
“He shouted at me, asking: ‘Why are you still here’?” Mousa said. “I told him I won’t run...and then he slapped me. I didn’t want to shed a tear in front of that man. I immediately stood up.”
Violence is unacceptable and the perpetrator should be punished, el-Watan News website quoted Saad el-Katatni, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, as saying on Sunday.
However, Brotherhood supporters condemned the activists’ presence outside the headquarters, saying their drawings and slogans were “insulting.” Mousa denied the accusations .-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Al Arabiya
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A newly deciphered Egyptian text, dating back almost 1,200 years, tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before.
Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text tells of Pontius Pilate, the judge who authorized Jesus' crucifixion, having dinner with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. It also explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus — because Jesus had the ability to change shape, according to the text — and it puts the day of the arrest of Jesus on Tuesday evening rather than Thursday evening, something that contravenes the Easter timeline.
The discovery of the text doesn't mean these events happened, but rather that some people living at the time appear to have believed in them, said Roelof van den Broek, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who published the translation in the book "Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem on the Life and the Passion of Christ" (Brill, 2013).
Copies of the text are found in two manuscripts, one in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City and the other at the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Most of the translation comes from the New York text, because the relevant text in the Pennsylvania manuscript is mostly illegible. [Image Gallery: 2 Ancient Curses Deciphered]
Pontius Pilate has dinner with Jesus
While apocryphal stories about Pilate are known from ancient times, van den Broek wrote in an email to LiveScience that he has never seen this one before, with Pilate offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus.
"Without further ado, Pilate prepared a table and he ate with Jesus on the fifth day of the week. And Jesus blessed Pilate and his whole house," reads part of the text in translation. Pilate later tells Jesus, "well then, behold, the night has come, rise and withdraw, and when the morning comes and they accuse me because of you, I shall give them the only son I have so that they can kill him in your place." [Who Was Jesus, the Man?]
In the text, Jesus comforts him, saying, "Oh Pilate, you have been deemed worthy of a great grace because you have shown a good disposition to me." Jesus also showed Pilate that he can escape if he chose to. "Pilate, then, looked at Jesus and, behold, he became incorporeal: He did not see him for a long time ..." the text read.
Pilate and his wife both have visions that night that show an eagle (representing Jesus) being killed.
In the Coptic and Ethiopian churches, Pilate is regarded as a saint, which explains the sympathetic portrayal in the text, van den Broek writes.
The reason for Judas using a kiss
In the canonical bible the apostle Judas betrays Jesus in exchange for money by using a kiss to identify him leading to Jesus' arrest. This apocryphal tale explains that the reason Judas used a kiss, specifically, is because Jesus had the ability to change shape.
"Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him [Jesus], for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man ..." This leads Judas to suggest using a kiss as a means to identify him. If Judas had given the arresters a description of Jesus he could have changed shape. By kissing Jesus Judas tells the people exactly who he is. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]
This understanding of Judas' kiss goes way back. "This explanation of Judas' kiss is first found in Origen [a theologian who lived A.D. 185-254]," van den Broek writes. In his work, Contra Celsum Origen stated that "to those who saw him [Jesus] he did not appear alike to all."
St. Cyril impersonation
The text is written in the name of St. Cyril of Jerusalem who lived during the fourth century. In the story Cyril tells the Easter story as part of a homily (a type of sermon). A number of texts in ancient times claim to be homilies by St. Cyril and they were probably not given by the saint in real life, van den Broek explained in his book.
Near the beginning of the text, Cyril, or the person writing in his name, claims that a book has been found in Jerusalem showing the writings of the apostles on the life and crucifixion of Jesus. "Listen to me, oh my honored children, and let me tell you something of what we found written in the house of Mary ..." reads part of the text.
Again, it's unlikely that such a book was found in real life. Van den Broek said that a claim like this would have been used by the writer "to enhance the credibility of the peculiar views and uncanonical facts he is about to present by ascribing them to an apostolic source," adding that examples of this plot device can be found "frequently" in Coptic literature.
Arrest on Tuesday
Van den Broek says that he is surprised that the writer of the text moved the date of Jesus' Last Supper, with the apostles, and arrest to Tuesday. In fact, in this text, Jesus' actual Last Supper appears to be with Pontius Pilate. In between his arrest and supper with Pilate, he is brought before Caiaphas and Herod.
In the canonical texts, the last supper and arrest of Jesus happens on Thursday evening and present-day Christians mark this event with Maundy Thursday services. It "remains remarkable that Pseudo-Cyril relates the story of Jesus' arrest on Tuesday evening as if the canonical story about his arrest on Thursday evening (which was commemorated each year in the services of Holy Week) did not exist!" writes van den Broek in the email.
A gift to a monastery ... and then to New York
About 1,200 years ago the New York text was in the library of the Monastery of St. Michael in the Egyptian desert near present-day al-Hamuli in the western part of the Faiyum. The text says, in translation, that it was a gift from "archpriest Father Paul," who, "has provided for this book by his own labors."
The monastery appears to have ceased operations around the early 10th century, and the text was rediscovered in the spring of 1910. In December 1911, it was purchased, along with other texts, by American financier J.P. Morgan. His collections would later be given to the public and are part of the present-day Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. The manuscript is currently displayed as part of the museum's exhibition "Treasures from the Vault" running through May 5.
Who believed it?
Van den Broek writes in the email that "in Egypt, the Bible had already become canonized in the fourth/fifth century, but apocryphal stories and books remained popular among the Egyptian Christians, especially among monks."
Whereas the people of the monastery would have believed the newly translated text, "in particular the more simple monks," he's not convinced that the writer of the text believed everything he was writing down, van den Broek said.
"I find it difficult to believe that he really did, but some details, for instance the meal with Jesus, he may have believed to have really happened," van den Broek writes. "The people of that time, even if they were well-educated, did not have a critical historical attitude. Miracles were quite possible, and why should an old story not be true?"-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Fox News
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Egyptian interior minister has said daily protests, clashes and harsh media criticism have strained the nation's police forces.
Mohammed Ibrahim also dismissed a strike by policemen as minor and warned against what he called plots to cause the disintegration of the force, saying he will not allow vigilante groups to replace the police.
"From the minister to the youngest recruit in the force, we will not accept to have militias in Egypt,'' Ibrahim said on Sunday. "That will be only when we are totally dead, finished.''
His declaration followed a statement by a group that its members would take up policing duties in the southern province of Assiut because of strikes by local security forces.
Legislators have raised the possibility of legalising private security companies, granting them the right to arrest and detain.
Near daily clashes between police battling protesters denouncing Mohammed Morsi, the president, killed at least 10 people last week in different parts of Egypt.
Hundreds of police officers went on strike over complaints about working conditions and allegations that the country's government is trying to infuse the force with supporters, dragging it into the country's highly polarised politics.
"There are groups of policemen on strike. I understand them. They are protesting the pressure they are under, the attacks from the media,'' the minister said. "They work in hard conditions and exert everything they can and are not met with appreciation or thanks.''
Ibrahim said the strike is minor and is not affecting the capabilities of the force.
"I only ask all [political] forces to leave the police out of the political equation and the conflict that is taking place,'' he said.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Al JAzeera
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – An Egyptian protester has been killed in fresh clashes that erupted in Cairo following the announcement of a court ruling on last year’s soccer riot.
The head of Egypt's emergency services, Mohammed Sultan, said a protester “suffocated” after inhaling tear gas and “died in the ambulance on his way to hospital” on Saturday.
However, other contradicting reports indicated that a protester was shot dead in clashes with riot police in central Cairo. A witness at the scene said he saw the protester being brought to a mosque near Liberation Square with gunshot wounds.
Earlier in the day, Egyptian soccer fans set fire to the country’s soccer association and a police club complex in the capital following the announcement of the verdict.
Cairo Criminal Court upheld the death sentence for 21 defendants in the 2012 Port Said soccer riot trial. The court also handed life sentences to five other defendants, gave 19 lesser jail terms and acquitted 28 others.
Since March 3, at least seven people have been killed and hundreds more have been wounded in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, which has been the scene of similar violent protests since January.
Protesters in Port Said are outraged that people from their city were found guilty of murdering the 74 who were killed in a riot that broke out in their town after their team Al-Masry defeated Cairo's Al-Ahly 3-1 in a football match last year.
In January, a judge sentenced 21 local people to death for their roles in the February 1, 2012 riot, in which 1,000 people were also injured. Egyptians have criticized the verdict, describing it as politicized.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Egypt has issued an arrest warrant on Sunday against the Salafi preacher, who recently said it was “halal” (permissible) to rape female protestors, charging him with the defamation of religion, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.
Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, known as “Abu Islam” owner of the private television channel of “al-Ummah,” sparked further controversy after he attacked women and Christianity.
He is already on trial for tearing up a bible during a protest outside the American embassy in Cairo in September over a short film made in the United States that insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
The attorney general has received several complaints accusing Abu Islam of defaming Christianity through statements he had made to the Tahrir newspaper as well as on his TV channel. The latest probe came after a complaint filed by Coptic Christian activist Nagib Gibrail who accused Abu Islam of insulting Christians on a television show.
The Egyptian preacher has called to promote the segregation between women and men, saying the raping and sexually harassing women protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is justified and adding that they are “crusaders” who “have no shame, no fear and not even feminism.”
In a recent televised appearance, Abu Islam described Valentine’s Day as an event “for the Christians, a celebration for adultery and prostitution.”
Egyptian law forbids insults against religion, allowing police in the past to arrest Shiite Muslims and Christians for alleged slights against Islam.-www.shfaqna.com/English