News / Middle East

Egypt's Anti-Islamists Eye Arab Foreigners with Suspicion

A girl holds Egypt's flag as she attends a sit-in protest organized by supporters of the deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Cairo, July 11, 2013.
A girl holds Egypt's flag as she attends a sit-in protest organized by supporters of the deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Cairo, July 11, 2013.
Reuters
"Beware the outsider," reads a poster stuck to a wall near Tahrir Square in Cairo. "Don't open your heart to him, you don't know who he is," another warns.
 
A week after Egypt's elected president was ousted by the military, excitement among those calling for his downfall is turning to distrust. Some are now blaming fellow Arabs from other countries for the violence that has followed.
 
Deadly clashes between ousted leader Mohamed Morsi's supporters and the army have stoked paranoia that trouble is being stirred up by outsiders, especially from Syria and Gaza, home to Islamist groups seen as close to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
 
"Syrians, Palestinians, Israelis, you can find them on every street corner. They're here to exploit the chaos," said Yusuf Al-Desouki, waiter at a busy coffee shop in downtown Cairo.
 
"Yeah!" chimed in 21-year-old customer Mohammed al-Nahsi. "I heard two Palestinians on the metro — they were hatching a plan against the military."
 
A flurry of media reports and government assertions that foreigners have infiltrated Egypt and are taking part in violence have helped sow widespread distrust.
 
Accusations of foreign meddling during domestic crises are not new and were common under ex-president Hosni Mubarak.
 
Just a month before Mubarak's government was ousted by mass demonstrations, the interior ministry blamed a January 2011 bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 24 Coptic Christians on a Gaza-based group "Army of Islam."
 
No evidence was produced, and many Egyptians believe the attack was in fact plotted by Mubarak's security forces.
 
'Making it up'

Since Morsi's overthrow, the paranoia has returned with new force.
 
Uncorroborated news reports and outspoken pundits paint a picture of nefarious foreign hands at work. Washington has also been named in the media as a conspirator.
 
Authorities have deported hundreds of Syrians arriving at Cairo Airport after tightening visa requirements, which the foreign ministry said was aimed at limiting "jihadist elements" from moving from Syria to Egypt.
 
A state prosecutor said on Sunday that five Syrians arrested on suspicion of shooting at an anti-Morsi rally admitted to receiving money and arms from the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
On Monday the interior ministry issued a statement banning foreigners from joining street protests.
 
"All those aggressors interfering in the internal affairs of Egypt can go to hell. All those defending them can go to hell too," Youssef el-Hosseiny, a popular radio and television presenter, said on his Twitter account on Thursday.
 
Media magnate Tawfiq Okasha told his television viewers on Thursday that Egyptian citizens should form a "defense army" and arrest Syrians, Palestinians and Iraqis causing trouble.
 
"We have not and we will not take a side in the political crisis on the Egyptian street," said a Syrian community group representing the émigrés in Egypt opposed to President Bashar al-Assad in that country's bloody civil war.
 
There are around 70,000 Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations living in Egypt.
 
"Our presence is temporary, lasting until the moment we can return to a free Syria," the group said in a statement.
 
Smarting from their loss of power after more than 80 years of street-level organizing, the Muslim Brotherhood says the accusations against outsiders are part of a "fear-mongering" campaign by the new government aimed at diverting attention from its own difficulties.
 
"The army wants to cast itself as defending Egypt from foreign subversion," said Gehad al-Haddad, a spokesman for the Islamist movement. "They are making this up as they go along."

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs