News / USA

    Muslim American Congressman Hails Egyptian Protests as Rebuke to al-Qaida

    Congressman Keith Ellison
    Congressman Keith Ellison

    Multimedia

    Cindy Saine

    Muslim American U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison has hailed the protests that began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt and are now radiating out to a whole list of countries.  Ellison praises President Obama for his handling of the crisis in Egypt, and says the United States must continue to be on the right side of history.

    Congressman Keith Ellison says the Egyptian protesters have delivered a stunning and stiff rebuke to al-Qaida and religious extremism.  He said al-Qaida leaders have long made false claims that America is at war with Islam, and that violence is the way to attain political goals.

    "They also say that the only way to achieve change is through violence and terrorism and murder," said Ellison. "Well the people in Tahrir Square showed that if you stick, and you stay, and you stand up for what you believe in, that you will be successful and you don’t have to harm anybody to do it."

    Ellison said the Egyptian protesters refused to be provoked into responding to violence from pro-government thugs, although some were beaten, jailed and even killed.  The Democratic lawmaker from Minnesota said the credit for Hosni Mubarak’s resignation belongs to the people of Egypt.  But he says he is also proud of President Barack Obama for laying out universal principles in his Cairo speech two years ago.

    "But I am proud of a few things, one is that President Obama, a couple of years before this revolution made comments in Cairo which were nothing short of prescient" said Ellison. "[He was] talking about people’s desire to have a voice in their own governance, freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, freedom of faith."

    Some Republican lawmakers, such as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, have accused the Obama administration of having a rollercoaster policy on Egypt.

    "First it was negotiate with the opposition, then it was orderly transition," said Ros-Lehtinen.

    Ellison said the president was right to be cautious in the beginning and was phenomenal in making clear where Washington stood in the end.

    Ellison also said concerns expressed by some Republican lawmakers about the prospect of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood group playing too big of a role  in the transition are “overblown.”

    ‘My view is that the Muslim brotherhood is a part of the fabric of Egyptian society," he said. "Democracy means that we don’t get to decide who runs that country, the people of that country decide that.  The Muslim  brotherhood, by the way, has never polled at more than 22 percent.  The population is really not calling for more religion, they are calling for bread, peace, freedom and dignity.

    Ellison said as protests for democracy spread to Iran and to a number of Arab-speaking countries, the United States should take note of which countries allow for peaceful freedom of expression.

    "And I hope the United States gets on the right side of history," said Ellison. "I believe we should reorder our priorities in the Middle East, and things like human rights and development and diplomacy ought to be our primary tools, and things like guns, bombs and warfare ought to be used as a last resort.”

    At a news conference Tuesday, President Obama drew a contrast between the protests in Egypt and the protests in Iran, which have been violently put down by the government.  The president said the United States is sending a strong message to its allies in the region that they should look to Egypt’s example and not Iran’s.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora