Egypt’s newly-appointed cabinet on Thursday approved a law aimed at regulating the country’s upcoming presidential polls. The controversial 59-article piece of legislation has to be ratified by interim President Adly Mansour before it goes into effect and sets preparations for presidential polls into motion. Mansour may send the draft back for further amendments if he chooses.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the current Prime Minister of Turkey, said he would “withdraw from political life” if his Justice and Development party failed to win majority seats in Turkey’s upcoming elections scheduled to be held on March 30.
On March 6 he told reporters, “If my party does not achieve first place in the municipal elections, I would be ready to withdraw from political life.”
Qatar will not bow to demands from three Gulf states to alter its foreign policy, sources close to its government said, suggesting Doha is unlikely to abandon support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian Islamists.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar. It is an unprecedented step taken by GCC states towards a member state, and an escalation that was unexpected. But it does not come completely out of the blue. The question now is, how should this rift be dealt with.
A group of Christian youth activists that came together in the tumultuous aftermath of the Egyptian revolution, is looking to the future and hoping to build on the gains wrought in Tahrir Square by mobilizing young people to better advocate for themselves.
“One of the main things is that people started to speak,” said Mina Elkess, a 28-year-old ophthalmologist and one of the group’s leaders.
A Christian man and his son were shot dead in Egypt when he refused to pay extortion money demanded by a Muslim racketeer, who has been kidnapping Christians for ransom.
The offender went to the home of Moawad Assad, a building contractor, in Nag Hammadi on 26 January to collect the money that he had demanded three days earlier. The Christian refused to go to his car for fear of being kidnapped. Four men armed with machine guns then got out of the vehicle and opened fire on Moawad and his 26-year-old son Assad Moawad, an engineer. They were both killed instantly.
The racketeer and his gang have been extorting money from Christians and kidnapping their children for ransom for some months; eleven Christians were seized between 11 August and 24 December 2011 in Nag Hammadi and neighbouring Farshoot and Bahgoura.
A senior Christian leader in Nag Hammadi said all the incidents had been reported to the police. He questioned why the ringleader, who is well known to the police, has not been arrested and called on the authorities to protect Christians in the Nag Hammadi area, “who are continuously being subjected to terror and kidnapping”.
Elsewhere in Egypt, a mob of Muslims attacked Christians and their property in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat in Alexandria on 28 January. Two Christians and one Muslim were injured in the violence; homes and shops were looted before being set ablaze.
Muslims descended on the village after a rumour spread that a Christian man had taken photos of Muslim women. A Christian activist said that the allegation was made by a Muslim man when the Christian man refused to pay extortion money that the former had demanded from him.
The Christian’s home was looted and torched, and the homes of a further 11 Christian families attacked.
Eyewitnesses said that the perpetrators were Salafists and some were from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Reconciliation meetings were held in the village in which the aggressors demanded the forced displacement of Christian residents and refused to approve any compensation for the victims.
No arrests were made in connection with the attack.
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