Thomas's Feed
Dec 1, 2011
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Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood feels its time has come

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(Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood 'The Freedom and Justice Party' participate in a march in support of the party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo November 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

After waiting 83 years, the Muslim Brotherhood finally senses a chance to be at the centre of how Egypt is governed and the Islamists hope to lead the renaissance of a nation which has suffered a steep economic and political decline.

Nov 29, 2011
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Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood wants parliamentary majority to form government

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(Women walk beside an election poster by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood "The Freedom and Justice Party'" outside a polling station in Cairo November 28, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

The Muslim Brotherhood believes a majority in the new parliament should form a new government, the head of the group’s political party said on Tuesday, a position that could set the Islamists on course for a row with Egypt’s military rulers.

Oct 10, 2011
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Palestinians to push heritage agenda at UNESCO, seek status for Bethlehem

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(Tourists walk outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem October 10, 2011/Ammar Awad)

The Palestinians will seek World Heritage status for the birthplace of Jesus once the U.N. cultural agency admits them as a full member, and will then nominate other sites on Israeli-occupied land for the same standing, an official said. Hamdan Taha, a Palestinian Authority minister who deals with antiquities and culture, said UNESCO membership was the Palestinians’ natural right. He described as “regrettable” the objections of some governments including the United States.

Apr 10, 2011
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Once-armed Islamists talk tolerance by Egyptian temple

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(Mosque (R) in part of Luxor temple/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

The Egyptian Islamist group al-Gama’a al-Islamiya preached non-violence and tolerance of tourism this week outside a pharaonic temple close to the Luxor site where its members massacred 58 foreigners in 1997.

The group which took up arms against the state in the 1990s and played in a role in Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981, gathered followers by the Luxor Temple on Friday to espouse the peaceful activism it is pursuing in the post-Hosni Mubarak era.

Apr 7, 2011
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Egyptian army must stop shrine vandals-religious affairs ministry

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(A resident looks at damage to the Sidi Abdel Rahman shrine at a mosque in Qalyoub, north of Cairo April 3, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Egypt’s religious affairs ministry has called on security forces to strike with “a hand of steel” to stop the vandalism of Sufi shrines targeted in attacks blamed on ultra-orthodox Muslims. An increase in attacks on shrines in Egypt is fuelling concern about the role that Islamists will play after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, who suppressed Islamist groups that he saw as a threat to his rule.

Apr 7, 2011
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Hardline Islamist campaign against Egyptian Sufi shrines focus fears

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(Residents inspect damage to the Sidi Abdel Rahman shrine at a mosque in Qalyoub, north of Cairo April 3, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Wielding crowbars and sledgehammers, two dozen Islamists arrived at the Sidi Abdel Rahman shrine in the middle of the night aiming to smash it to pieces. Word spread quickly through the narrow, dirt roads of the poor Egyptian town of Qalyoub. Within minutes, the group were surrounded and attacked by residents who rallied to defend the site revered by their families for generations.

Mar 24, 2011
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Egyptian Islamists won’t cap ambitions forever, Brotherhood leader says

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(Egyptians walk under a banner by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood calling for a "yes" vote in a referendum on constitutional changes in Cairo March 18, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

The Muslim Brotherhood is not planning to seek power in Egypt’s elections this year but says it will not limit its political ambitions forever and wants secular parties to get organised to foster true competition.

Mar 18, 2011
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In free Egypt, Islamic Jihad leader says the time for the gun is over

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(Abboud al-Zumar in an interview with Reuters in his home after his release from Liman Tora Prison at Helwan, south of Cairo, March 17, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Abboud al-Zumar went to jail 30 years ago for his role in killing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Now a free man, he believes democracy will prevent Islamists from ever again taking up the gun against the state.

Feb 21, 2011
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In free Egypt, Salafists regroup and speak out

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(Cairo mosques on a foggy cold day, December 11, 2010/Amr Abdallah Dalsh )

Islamists who suffered some of the toughest oppression of President Hosni Mubarak’s era are speaking out and regrouping for the first time in years, making the most of freedoms they have not enjoyed since the 1970s.  Egypt’s Salafists are resurfacing, from groups that once took up arms against Mubarak’s administration, such as the Gama’a al-Islamiya, to others only involved in peaceful preaching to advance their fundamentalist vision of Islam.

The Gama’a al-Islamiya’s return to prominence worries some Egyptians. The name hit world headlines in 1997 when its followers massacred foreign tourists at a temple in Luxor, ignoring a truce to which its leadership is still committed.

Feb 18, 2011
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In the new Egypt, Gama’a Islamiya steps out of shadows

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(Tahrir Square in Cairo February 18, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

The overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak has allowed an Islamist group that took up arms against his administration to step out of the shadows for the first time in years. The Gama’a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) this week held its first public meetings in 15 years, said Assem Abdel-Maged, a leading member of the group who has spent half his life in prison for a role in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat.

That would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago when Mubarak was still in power. Mubarak spent years suppressing Islamists he saw as a threat to his rule and survived an assassination attempt by militant Islamists in 1995.