What have the Islamists done to Egypt?

22-08-2013 04:33 PM

Mervat Ayoub

Once the people of Egypt announced it loud and clear they were having no Islamist rule in Egypt, the trouble started. That was back on 30 June when more than 30 million Egyptians took to the streets to demand that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB) president Muhammad Mursi should leave

Once the people of Egypt announced it loud and clear they were having no Islamist rule in Egypt, the trouble started. That was back on 30 June when more than 30 million Egyptians took to the streets to demand that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB) president Muhammad Mursi should leave. When Mursi belligerently rejected the demand, the military stepped in, gave their famous 24-hour ultimatum for the then president to resolve the crisis or face a roadmap drawn by representatives of the various sectors of the Egyptian community for a democratic transition in Egypt—a roadmap which, predictably, did not include him.
Mursi refused to comply, was ousted on 3 July, and Egypt went ahead with its democratic transition. The Islamist president had taken good care to effectively reduce the democracy he rode to the highest office in Egypt to a sham that would be sure to serve only Islamist purposes, and he had tried to impose the radical brand of Islam adopted by Islamists on life in Egypt. But Egyptians would have none of that.
So what did the Islamists do? As Egyptians publicly rejoiced in the squares on Friday 5 July, the MB leaders vowed vengeance; “terror which Egyptians never even dreamed existed”, and pledged that attacks against Egyptians in Sinai would only stop if Mursi were reinstated.  
Despite the fact that their numbers were no match to the millions of Egyptians who rejected political Islam, the Islamists were able to plague Egypt with daily violent demonstrations. Contrary to the “peaceful and unarmed” description the western media loves to apply to them, they were armed to their teeth and savagely violent. Last week, Watani International wrote about the report by the Ibn-Khaldun Centre for Development Studies which stated that, during the period from 29 June to 2 August alone, 82 persons were killed at the hands of the Islamist Mursi supporters, and 44 were tortured, 22 among them to death. The real figures are bigger, the report said, given that these were the cases that came to their attention. The executive manager of the centre, Dalia Ziyada, told the media that the centre had hastened to publish its report in view of the horrendous truths it had uncovered.
The Islamists held two sit-ins, one at the east Cairo square of Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the other in the west at the Nahda Square in Giza. Both became centres where atrocities were committed against non-Islamists and both spearheaded violence and chaos. 
In Sinai, daily raids were waged against Egyptian police and civilians by the Islamist Jihadi and Hamas militants who had entrenched themselves in Sinai during the year of Mursi rule. Egyptian casualties mounted by the day. 
War of vengeance
The numbers at the sit-ins swelled; in case of the bigger Rabaa sit-in, the squatters made some 15,000. This was no surprise, considering that they were encouraged to go there ‘en famille’; the women and children made very good human shields. The exploitation of children, parading them dressed in white shrouds as “potential martyrs”, brought on a pained outcry form child and human rights activists.
Egyptians grumbled at the terror which emanated from the sit-ins. Pressure rose on the government to “do something” to disband these sit-ins; otherwise the State would prove to be feeble and non-decisive.
On Wednesday 14 August, the Egyptian security forces moved in on the sit-ins and disbanded them. Nahda was broken up in a matter of a few hours, but Rabaa took much more. But even before Rabaa was completely disbanded, the Islamsits started their war of vengeance against the Egyptian people. They began with the Copts, attacking, plundering, burning and destroying, churches, homes and businesses all over Egypt. Throughout Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, some 60 Coptic targets had been ruined; these included churches, homes, businesses, vehicles, schools and orphanages.
The police were also targeted with a vengeance.
The International Developmental Centre issued a report on Saturday 17 August listing the damage done on Thursday and Friday alone. Some 62 police stations had been attacked. And the list grows.
Destroying anything Egyptian
The attacks also targeted public and governmental buildings and establishments. The first two days witnessed 33 attacks during which the Islamists exercised their by now notorious strategies of road blocks and rallies, using the RPGs firearms and bombs. 
Egyptians were aghast at the repeated attempts by the Islamists to break into the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) in Alexandria and set it on fire. On Thursday 15 August, the BA security and staff confronted the assailants in the courtyard, and there was an exchange of gunfire. According to Khaled Azab, the BA’s media manager, the conference hall was plundered, and a number of acquisitions went missing. The glass façade was shattered.
An Islamist mob broke into the local museum in the town of Mallawi in Minya. The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities Mustafa Amin said that some 1050 pieces of artefacts went missing from the museum, out of a total 1980 pieces. The pieces the mob did not rob, he said, are in the main part mummies and sarcophaguses; but these they destroyed. Mr Amin warned that the Islamists’ next target once they’re done with the Copts would be the museums, since it was in their interest to ruin the national memory. 
In Deir Muwass, Minya, the locals called Watani in horror to report that 30 armed Islamists broke into the local water treatment plant and cut off the water supply to the nearby villages and towns, meaning that should a fire erupt there would be no water to put it off.
Even schools
Among the buildings set on fire were the Giza governorate building, an aesthetic old chateau, and Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering, the third floor of which was completely lost to the fire. The mob burned three fire trucks that were in the premises of the Giza governorate, to make sure the fire would not be put out before it had caused substantial damage. The Ministry of Antiquities declared its intention to contribute in restoring the building through affording technical expertise; the initial cost, according to Giza governor, lies close to EGP58 million.  
The violence acts, according to the report, covered 20 governorates. Minya topped the list; Fayoum came a close second; followed by Beni-Sweif, Suez, Qalyubiya, Cairo, Giza, North Sinai, Marsa Matrouh, Dumyat and Gharbiya. 
Even schools did not escape the MB rampage. In Minya, two of the oldest schools there were torched and ruined. One is operated by the Coptic Church; the other by Catholic nuns; both are highly respected and in demand. 
In Suez, the Good Shepherd and that of the Franciscan nuns, were also torched. The nuns were terrorised and came under attack, but were rescued by the neighbours.
In Beni Sweif, the Franciscan Primary School, today 115 years old, was plundered and set on fire. The plunderers looted all the school furniture, computers, even the toilets. 
But perhaps the most grisly of the Islamists crimes took place in the Giza suburb of Kerdasa, where a pro-Mursi mob shot dead 15 officers and set the building alight. The bodies of dead officers were dragged out, undressed, then beheaded and paraded before video cameras. Egyptians will never forget the gruesome scenes in what was not a stand alone incident, but was repeated in horrific detail in other places across Egypt.
WATANI International
22 August 2013
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