Over 600 Egyptians are dead after the authorities moved to dismantle two pro-Morsi encampments, sparking international condemnation and the cancellation by the U.S. of planned joint military exercises. The excessive force is deplorable and plays into the Islamists’ hands, but the Muslim Brotherhood are not the modern-day Mahatma Gandhis that the media is making them look like.
The Clarion Project was sent a stream of videos, photos and eyewitness accounts from Egyptian newspapers and social media sites that tell a different side of the story.
Bloodshed of non-combatants is always saddening, but it must be understood that this crackdown was foreseen by everyone — including the martyrdom-seeking Islamists that were there and refused to leave as ordered. The large gatherings had led to bloody clashes, the blocking of travel routes, major economic problems and were, in the words of Raymond Ibrahim, “mini-emirates” where human rights abuses took place.
Egyptian writer and activist Wael Nawara explains:
“For six weeks, yard by yard, the Rabia al-Adawiya encampment expanded its borders, creeping to claim kilometer after kilometer of neighboring streets, including the Autostrade road, which connects Nasr City and the rest of Cairo to the city’s airport. Until one day, Rabia al-Adawiya was no longer a sit-in, but a sprawling town, even a city-state, with fortifications, an internal police force, complete with torture camps and border control officials. Rabia al-Adawiya came to manifest the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Parallel State.’ ”
On August 1, the Clarion Project reported on how the Islamists were using their children as political props by dressing them up in burial shrouds and encouraging them to declare their desire for martyrdom. In my segment on "Wilkow" on The Blaze, senior Washington correspondent Sara Carter explained that Egyptians who were on the scene told her that the Brotherhood supporters had purposely put women and children in harm’s way.
The Muslim Brotherhood was hoping for a confrontation that would win them international sympathy. The New York Times reports, “Gathering Thursday morning around a mosque used as a morgue for hundreds killed the day before, many Islamists waited confidently for a surge of sympathetic support from the broader public. But it failed to materialize.” [emphasis mine]
Vice President Mohamed El-Baradei was the only official to resign in protest of the use of force. He wrote, “The beneficiaries of what happened today are the preachers of violence and terrorism, the most extremist groups and you will remember what I am telling you.”
Only two non-Islamist political parties condemned the crackdown. The Times goes on to say that “most other political factions denounced the Islamists as a terrorist threat and applauded the government action.” Even the National Salvation Front, the group El-Baradei used to lead, is siding with the government.
The Tamarod movement that led the massive rallies preceding Morsi’s overthrow endorsed the crackdown, as did the Coptic Christian Church. The Tamarod movement is the most popular political party in Egypt right now with a 39% approval rating. The Egyptian military is, by far, the most trusted institution with 93% of Egyptians expressing confidence in it.
Foreign governments and international Islamists may be outraged, but the Egyptians who actually live there have a different opinion. And there is not a single account of a police officer or soldier refusing to carry out orders or defecting, as was the case when Mubarak or Morsi conducted heavy-handed crackdowns.
The non-Islamist Egyptians are obviously seeing things that we in the West are not.
The Egyptian government says that it gave protesters a chance to leave the scene and used tear gas to disperse those who refused. The security forces used loudspeakers to tell the demonstrators to leave and many did (as seen here), some even with police escort. Those that were left behind were the most hardcore Islamists. The violence began after the tear gas was used with each side claiming the other fired the first shot.
Left-wing Middle East expert Juan Cole confirms, “Egyptians tweeting from the scene said that police had encountered armed resistance from some of the Muslim Brotherhood and traded fire with them.” You can see some pictures of armed Islamists at the “peaceful” protests here. There is also a viral video with nearly a half-million views showing Islamists firing their guns.
There is video showing that the pro-Morsi demonstrators stored weapons inside flag-draped coffins that were at the encampments and video showing the bodies of 11 security personnel massacred by Brotherhood supporters at Kirdasa Police Station near Gisa. One particularly graphic video shows the dead body of one officer.
There were further gruesome discoveries after the encampments were cleared. Other videos allegedly show the finding of 20 hidden corpses at a pro-Morsi encampment at Rabba el-Adaweya Square, and the Clarion Project recently reported on the Muslim Brotherhood’s secret torture chambers which were recently exposed.
The Cairo-based Maspero Youth Union posted a video on Facebook and emphasized, “We ascertain that the sit-ins of the Muslim Brotherhood were not by any means peaceful. On the contrary, they were armed and threatened state stability and sovereignty.” The video is a collection of videos showing Morsi supporters opening fire, brutalizing an unarmed police officer, throwing a police vehicle off a bridge and setting churches and local government buildings on fire.
The New York Times confirms that Islamists responded to the clashes by shutting down a main highway, fighting with police in Alexandria, and using firebombs to damage a provincial government headquarters in Giza. The Associated Press heard from witnesses and a security official that Islamists saw a taxi cab driver with a photo of the Defense Minister and stabbed him to death. About a dozen police stations were attacked and the government claims that over 40 police officers have been killed.
The Maspero Youth Union loudly condemned the attacks on churches and posted a photo on Facebook of one in flames. The Union has a long list of churches (including one church’s daycare center), Christian-owned businesses and Christian homes that have been looted, burned, shot at and attacked in other ways. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights says it knows of 39 incidents of anti-Christian violence since Wednesday and that number is quickly climbing.
The Muslim Brotherhood is condemning violence in principle, but its preaching incites violence, especially against Christians. The Islamists attribute Morsi’s overthrow to Christians, even though Christians are only 10% of the population at maximum. For example, the Helwan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party made the following post on Facebook:
“The Pope of the Church is involved in the removal of the first elected Islamist president.
The Pope of the Church alleges Islamic Sharia is backwards, stubborn, and reactionary.
The Pope of the Church sponsors Black Bloc groups to create chaos, pursue banditry, and siege and storm mosques.
The Church mobilizes the Copts in June 30 demonstrations to topple the Islamist president.
The Pope of the Church objects to the articles of Islamic identity and withdraws from the Constituent Assembly.
The Pope of the Church was the first to respond to Al-Sisi’s call to authorize the killing of Muslims and the outcome of the authorization was more than 500 dead today.
The Pope of the Church sends a memo to the current commission to cancel the articles of Sharia.
After all this people ask why they burn the churches.
Burning houses of worship is a crime.
And for the Church to declare war against Islam and Muslims is the worst offense.
For every action there is a reaction.”
There are unconfirmed reports that the Egyptian government has promised to use the military to fix the churches damaged by the Islamist attacks.
Of course, none the Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations in America will give you the full context.
The Islamic Society of North America is demanding strong pressure on the Egyptian government and the Islamic Circle of North America wants U.S. aid suspended, as does the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council condemned the Egyptian government's use of deadly force but also said the “leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood also bears some responsibility for today’s events, given their unwillingness to work toward a compromise and find ways to move beyond the political stalemate.
The bloodshed is about to get much worse. The Muslim Brotherhood is vowing to “peacefully” bring down the regime and is calling for even larger protests. The Egyptian government officially authorized the use of live ammunition when security personnel feel threatened. And, of course, Christians who bravely go to church services on Sunday will be an irresistible, defenseless target for the Islamists seeking revenge.
If you thought Thursday was bad, then brace yourself.
Report on Brutality and Killings Committed by the Muslim Brotherhood During Clashes
(Warning: Graphic Images)
Watch Clarion Project's Ryan Mauro on the events in Egypt.