“We are looking at any conversation, any interaction, we might find worrying or would want to keep a closer eye on.”
Egyptians’ online communications are now being monitored by the sister company of an American cybersecurity firm, giving the Egyptian government an unprecedented ability to comb through data from Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, among others.
See Egypt, the sister company of the U.S.-based Blue Coat, won the contract over the summer, beating out the British Gamma System, and the Israeli-founded Narus System. See Egypt has begun monitoring Egyptians’ online communications, according to several Egyptian government officials who spoke to BuzzFeed News.
While many have rightfully criticized U.S. President Obama’s recent assertion that the Islamic State “is not Islamic,” some of his other equally curious but more subtle comments pronounced in the same speech have been largely ignored.
Consider the president’s invocation of the “grievances” meme to explain the Islamic State’s success: “At this moment the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL—which calls itself the Islamic State.”
Systematic discrimination and harassment against religious minorities in Egypt and the surrounding region often goes unreported as it does not catch international headlines such as stories of brutality and violence. The broader picture of life for minorities in Egypt is one of daily submission under Islamic Sharia. It has rightly been called daily martyrdom.
To lose one’s life for your faith is far more glamorous than daily persevering for your faith. Yet, such is the case for the vast majority of Egypt’s Christians. Imagine waking each day to the knowledge that you do not have the same rights as your neighbors in worship, at work, in school, and even in the privacy of your home. Such is their life.
In what Secretary of State John Kerry described as a significant foreign-policy coup, the U.S. claimed, on Tuesday, that it had successfully located a moderate Syrian rebel.
Though Kerry did not elaborate on how the U.S. did so, he said that locating the rebel was “the culmination of a months-long effort.”
The Secretary of State said that the Syrian had been appropriately vetted and was deemed “moderately rebellious.”
Last week, President Obama virtually declared war on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But it is hard to reconcile the seemingly urgent need to confront the threat posed by this organization with the chosen means of doing so.
By opting to support the “moderate” Syrian opposition and running the risk of an open confrontation with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the West appears to be primarily appeasing Arab Persian Gulf allies that have turned the overthrow of Mr. Assad into a policy fetish that runs against any rational calculation of how to defeat Islamist terrorism.
Bassem Khafagi, Former Community Relations Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and A Founder of Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA) – Who In 2003 Was Convicted In U.S. and Deported – Says In His Presidential Campaign in Egypt: I Pledge To 'Complete Implementation of Islamic Law'
In statements televised on March 12, 2012 on the Egyptian Al-Nas TV, Egyptian presidential candidate Bassem Khafagi said: "[A]s a Muslim Egyptian, I am convinced of [the need to] complete the implementation of Islamic law in Egypt. I do not hide this truth in any way, because it is in keeping with the inclination of the Egyptian people." He added, "As president, I will personally assist in the completion of the correct implementation of the shari'a, by consulting the experts [in Islamic law]."
Khafagi was sentenced in September 2003 in the U.S. to 10 months in prison and deported to Egypt, after pleading guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of visa fraud. He had been charged with funneling money to promote terrorist activities through the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA). At the time of his arrest, Khafagi was also community affairs director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
According to the FBI, Khafagi was a founding member and former head of the IANA. Federal prosecutors said that the group's objective was the "dissemination of radical Islamic ideology, the purpose of which was indoctrination, recruitment of members and the instigation of acts of violence and terrorism." Federal investigators said the IANA has funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and has published material advocating suicide attacks on the United States. The IANA said it was formed to promote Islam.
Khafagi was one of four former or current students at the University of Idaho at Moscow, ID and at Washington State University at Pullman, WA who were arrested in 2003 during an investigation of a suspected terrorist-related network in the Moscow-Pullman area.
According to school records, Khafagi earned a master's degree in civil engineering in August 1988 at the University of Idaho. After working as a teaching assistant and taking postgraduate classes there, he enrolled at Michigan State University, earning a doctorate in civil engineering in 1993. He later lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., operating a business called International Media Group from his home, court documents showed; according to the documents, it was not clear what kind of business it was.
Following are excerpts from statements by Egyptian presidential candidate Khafagi that aired on Al-Nas TV on March 7, 2012: To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/3356.htm
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 4571—Egypt
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Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.