“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.
For Immediate Release
Coptic Solidarity strongly urges that the international community, through the United Nations Human Rights Council, appoint a special rapporteur for the Copts in Egypt, particularly in light of the recent evictions, property confiscations and attacks against Copts.
The Copts are the Christians of Egypt who represent about12% of Egypt’s 84 million people.
Over the past two weeks, a new and ugly campaign has been waged against Copts. At least eight Coptic families have been evicted from their homes in the al-Nahda village, Amereyah, near Alexandria, following unconfirmed accusations against a Copt of having an affair with a Muslim woman. Even though the accused quickly surrendered himself to the police for investigation, some 5000 village people, incited by Salafists and other Islamist groups, went on a violent rampage, collectively punishing the few Coptic families that live in the area, burning and ransacking their houses and their property. To make things worse, a “council” dominated by these Islamists was convened, in the presence of and approval of the area’s chief of the police. This “council” decided to evict eight families from the village. The families’ property will be liquidated by the “council.” When theses families objected to such a decision, they were told that were “free to stay at their own risk.” They have since escaped, while the remaining families live in absolute fear.
In October, the Egyptian army committed a deliberate massacre against peaceful Coptic demonstrators and supporting Muslims who had organized a demonstration to protest the repeated attacks on churches by Islamists. The well-documented Maspero massacre claimed 27 Coptic lives, including at least 10 who were crushed by armored personnel vehicles. Despite the local and international uproar that arose, the junta did little to identify, let alone punish, those responsible. Instead, and in a flagrant reversal of the facts, it blamed the Copts and started to arrest and investigate some of the leaders of the demonstration. Over the past few days, two priests and at least two youths have been accused of “incitement” leading to murder, “attacking army personnel” and the disturbance of public order. They are banned from traveling abroad.
Such alarming acts come at the same time as the newly “democratically elected” parliament begins its term, with Islamists dominating over 75% of its seats. Of the 498 elected members of Parliament, only six are Copts. When one of these Coptic members requested that the assembly investigate the above-mentioned evictions, or include the Maspero massacre in the list of issues given to a special investigative committee, his request was ignored by the Speaker.
Coptic Solidarity condemns the escalating oppression against the Copts in Egypt, which is carried out with the full complicity of the ruling Junta. As the country appears to slowly slide into a military Islamo-fascistic regime, the international community is urged to consider its policies towards Egypt.
Coptic Solidarity is a U.S. public charity organization under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.