Muslim Brotherhood newspaper soldiers on despite Egypt crackdown
Whenever Muslim Brotherhood journalist Islam Tawfiq files a story about the group’s struggle for survival for its newspaper Freedom and Justice, he fears his Internet address will tip off state security agents to his whereabouts.
Thousands of Brotherhood members have been arrested in a widening crackdown on the group since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3.
Reporters for the newspaper, which still appears in a tiny fraction of its previous circulation, see themselves as the last people left to tell the Brotherhood’s side of the story in a country dominated by media that back the military crackdown.
The price, the journalists say, is an underground existence, moving from place to place, communicating from Internet cafes, rarely seeing family or friends.
“The greatest form of jihad is speaking up against an unjust authority,” Tawfiq, 27, said by telephone from an undisclosed location, citing the words of the Prophet Mohammad.
The Brotherhood, which won every election after the 2011 revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, has been on the defensive since Mursi’s downfall. Security forces crushed pro-Mursi protest camps in Cairo, killing nearly 1,000 people, and forced many members underground.
Many Egyptians turned against the movement after Mursi gave himself sweeping powers and mismanaged the economy. They now revere the man who toppled Mursi, army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“Part of my goal in my reporting is to fight the coup. Not literally with weapons and blood, but with my way of fighting… as a journalist,” said Tawfiq, a slight man with a close-cropped beard who joined the Brotherhood as a boy. “My hope is for my work to be stronger then Sisi’s bullets against Egyptians.”