Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail: The hypocrite hiding under a divine beard.

It is a very usual tendency for Islamists to immigrate to secular countries that they deem as being “heretic” and “without moral values” while planning to impose the Islamic sharia in their own home countries.

As the recently disqualified Islamist Egyptian presidential candidate, Shaikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, was mourning over the death of Osama Bin Laden while giving his full support towards Al-Qaeda and describing any forms of approach towards secularism with blasphemy, his mother Nawal Abdel-Aziz who happened to have an American citizenship alongside a 9-digit social security number that granted her the same equal rights like any other American citizen regardless of faith, belief, race, ethnicity and gender.

As an American citizen, she was under the coverage of the Social Security Administration which gave her as an elderly woman a monthly pay through the Retirement, Survivors, Disability Insurance scheme that was enacted by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935.

Assuming that she wasn’t working, she might have been also granted unemployment benefits under the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act of 2009.

It is also worth mentioning that as a Muslim woman living in America, she was allowed to express and worship her faith freely which completely contradict’s her son’s plan of enacting the Sharia-based jizya tax on Coptic Christians so that they can be allowed to retain their religious beliefs.

After knowing all of these facts, a deep question keeps on pondering through my head as to why Sheikh Hazem’s mother didn’t immigrate to a country that uses the Islamic Sharia as its main source of legislation as in the case of Saudi Arabia, considering that he wanted to impose it in Egypt if he assumed the presidency?

 


Happy Sham El-Nessim!

Happy Sham El-Nessim to everyone! Here is a short overview from Wikipedia about the history of this special occasion that is celebrated by Egyptians (regardless of them being Christian or Muslim).

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Sham ennisim (Egyptian Arabic: شم النسيم) is an Egyptian national holiday marking the beginning of spring. It always falls on the day after the Eastern Christian Easter (following the custom of the largest Christian denomination in the country, the Coptic Orthodox Church). Despite the Christian-related date, the holiday is celebrated by Egyptians regardless of religion.

The name of the holiday is derived from the Egyptian name of the Harvest Season, known as Shemu, which means a day of creation. According to annals written by Plutarch during the 1st century AD, the Ancient Egyptians used to offer salted fish, lettuce, and onions to their deities on this day.

After the Christinization of Egypt, the festival became associated with the other Christian spring festival, Easter. Over time, Shemu morphed into its current form and its current date, and by the time of the Islamic conquest of Egypt, the holiday was settled on Easter Monday. The Islamic calendar being lunar and thus unfixed relative to the solar year, the date of Sham el-Nessim remained on the Christian-linked date even after most Egyptians had become Muslims. As Egypt became Arabized, the term Shemu found a rough phono-semantic match in Sham el-Nessim, or “Smelling/Taking In of the Zephyrs,” which fairly accurately represents the way in which Egyptians celebrate the holiday.

In his book, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Edward William Lane wrote in 1834:

A custom termed ‘Shemm en-Nessem’ (or the Smelling of the Zephyr) is observed on the first day of the Khamaseen. Early in the morning of this day, many persons, especially women, break an onion, and smell it; and in the course of the forenoon many of the citizens of Cairo ride or walk a little way into the country, or go in boats, generally northward, to take the air, or, as they term it, smell the air, which on that day they believe to have a wonderfully beneficial effect. The greater number dine in the country or on the river. This year they were treated with a violent hot wind, accompanied by clouds of dust, instead of the neseem; but considerable numbers, notwithstanding, went out to ‘smell’ it.

The modern Sham ennisim is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims, so it is considered a national festival, rather than a religious one. The main features of the festival are:

  • People spend all day out picnicking in any space of green, public gardens, on the Nile, or at the zoo.
  • Traditional food eaten on this day consists mainly of Feseekh (a salted Grey Mullet), lettuce, scallions or green onions, tirmis or Lupini Beans, and colored boiled eggs.

Egypt’s revolutionary music

After the ousting of former Egyptian President Muhammed Hosni Mubarak, an explosion of indie artwork and music has erupted within Egypt, mainly in cities like Cairo and Alexandria. This post is dedicated to all the great musicians that have contributed with their great music to remind us of the wonderful values that were born in the early days of January 25th 2011 and I think they would require our recognition.

Tarek Borollossy – Angry Friday
“Angry Friday” is a folk song telling the story and recapturing the events and climax of January 28th; the day that symbolizes everything that the Egyptian revolution stands for. The song was written by Digla’s lead singer Tarek Borollossy. 

 

Nagham Masry – Hereb El Khasees (The Bastard Fled)
“Hereb El Khasees” is an Arabic song made by the Egyptian Oriental-Jazz fusion band Nagham Masry. This song is a reminder of the days when Egyptians were united under a common belief/faith in Tahrir Square. 

 

Nadya Shanab – Egypt’s Waiting For Me
Egyptian female singer-songwriter living in Liverpool Nadya Shanab portrays how the unity between 85 million Egyptian was the strongest reason behind the toppling of an oppressive regime in her song “Egypt’s Waiting For Me”.

 

The Choir Project – Al Sha’ab Yoreed Hayat Al Medan (Life Of Tahrir)
The Choir Project is a musical project that invites people from all walks of life to put their hopes and concerns, their feelings and thoughts, their jokes and woes into a song. Utopia Choir, the fifth edition of The Choir Project was a workshop that took place for 5 days in Feb 2011. Life Of Tahrir was produced collectively during the workshop and it collects all the revolutionary chants that were said during the 18 days alongside the troubles that an Egyptian faced under the reign of Mubarak’s era of corruption.

 

Ahmed Mekky – January 25th 
A rap song with beautiful and touching lyrics by the famous Egyptian rapper/actor/producer Ahmed Mekky.

 

Amir Eid, Hany Adel & Hawary- Sout El Horreya (The Voice Of Freedom)
A song that was made by the compiled efforts of various Egyptian underground musicians. The lyrics portray how freedom was born within Tahrir Square.

 

Cairokee ft. Aida El Ayouby – Ya El Medan (The Square)
The collaborative work of Cairokee (a band that offers a unique blend of contemporary rock and Egyptian rhythm with Arabic vocals) and the great Egyptian vocalist who had retired from music and had come back to sing again after January 25th Aida El-Ayouby.

 

Ramy Donjewan – Resaala Ella El-Mosheer Tantawi (Message To Field Marshal Tantawi)
A rap song with excellent beats and lyrics directed to Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi that questions the stances of the SCAF about the Egyptian revolution. 

 

EKHWAN-G – Ana Ekhwangy. Ana Kalamangy (I’m with the Muslim Brotherhood. And I talk bullshit)
A parody rap song which was aired on Bassem Youssef’s satirical comedy TV show “El-Barnameg” that criticizes the Muslim Brotherhood’s political stances and contradicting statements.

 

Mohamed Mounir – Ezzay? (How?)
Mohamed Mounir is a popular Egyptian singer and actor. He is one of the best-known musicians, both in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, with a musical career spanning more than three decades. He incorporates various genres into his music, including classical Arabic Music, Nubian music, blues, jazz and reggae. His lyrics are noted both for their philosophical content and for their passionate social and political commentary. He is affectionately known by his fans as “The King” in reference to his album and play “El Malek Howa El Malek” (The King is The King)

 

Ramy Essam – Aish, Horeyya, A’daala Egtema’ayya (Bread, Freedom and Social Justice)
Ramy Essam was born in 1987 to a family in Al-Mansoura where he went to school and studied engineering. As a self taught guitarist, he started to write songs at the age of 17 inspired by young poets like Amgad Qahwagi and Mohamed Bahgat as well as Ahmed Fouad Negm who spoke up against Mubarak’s regime.
He formed the band Mashakel (Problems) in 2009 where he started to sing for a free life illustrating the simple daily problems that all Egyptians during Mubarak’s reign. During the January 25th Revolution, Ramy came to Cairo on January 30th to participate. He camped in Tahrir Square where he became a regular Cairene. He composed the crowd’s anti-Mubarak chants with his song Irhal (Leave) that later on became the protesters’ anthem.

On the 11th of February 2011 Mubarak finally got the message to Irhal and was forced to resign. But when Ramy Essam returned to the square after this historic announcement, he was identified as an thug where he was arrested and detained for four hours, during which he was beaten and tasered.
But that didn’t stop Ramy from pressing on and fighting for what he believes. After that, Ramy performed multiple songs in different places across Egypt and abroad.
Time Out London named Ramy Essam’s song Irhal as one of the 100 songs that has affected humanity.
On November 19th, Ramy Essam was a second runner up for the main prize in the 2011 Freedom to Create Prize awards.
Then on November 21st he received the Freemuse Award 2011 at a ceremony in Södra Teatern in Stockholm, Sweden.

 

Askar Kazeboon (Lies of the Military)
A rap song which is part of the Kazeboon (Liars) campaign made by a number of volunteering activists to expose the lies of the SCAF.

 

Youssra El-Hawari – El-Soor (The Wall)
In order to prevent protests, SCAF, the military government ruling over Egypt following Mubarak’s ousting, erected large walls in the city of Cairo. These walls have become a site of resistance in the form of graffiti and the like, and in this song, an even simpler expression of discontent.

 

Yasser El-Manawehly – Kella Mondassa (Chaotic Minority)
As described in his interview on Yosri Fouda’s show on ONtv, Yasser El-Manawehly is an Egyptian musician that doesn’t adhere to any political ideology, he only adheres to the music that he writes and towards the spirit of the revolution. He was born in Egypt and raised in Kuwait and later he returned back to pursue his studies where he graduated from Cairo University in 1966. Currently he trades in spare-parts of automobiles while pursuing his talent in writing music about the revolution. His  satirical lyrics alongside his strange vocal performance are things that are new towards most Egyptians.

 

Mohammed El-Nahas – Ana Mesh A’asef Ya Rayes (I am not sorry Mr. President)
Mohammed El-Nahas is a young and ambitious Egyptian musician/composer that tries to express the voices of Egyptians through his music.

 

Aly Talibab – Al-Kamal (The Perfection)
A rap song made by the 21 year old rapper from Giza, Cairo Aly Talibab. The lyrics are very poetic and they’re in formal and Egyptian colloquial Arabic.

 

Sheikh Imam – Ya Masr Koumi (Oh Egypt, Wake Up)
Imam Mohammad Ahmad Eissa or Sheikh Imam (July 2, 1918 – June 7, 1995) was a famous Egyptian composer and singer.
Imam was born to a poor family in the Egyptian village of Abul Numrus in Giza. He lost his sight when he was a child. At the age of five he joined a recitation class, where he memorized the Qur’an. He later moved to Cairo to study where he led a dervish life. In Cairo, Imam met Sheikh Darwish el-Hareery, a prominent musical figure at that time, who taught him the basics of music and muwashshah singing. He then worked with the Egyptian composer Zakariyya Ahmad. At that time, he expressed interest in Egyptian folk songs especially those by Sayed Darwish and Abdou el-Hamouly. He also performed at weddings and birthdays.
In 1962 he met the Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm. For many years, they formed a duo composing and singing political songs, mostly in favor of the poor oppressed classes and indicting the ruling classes. Though their songs were banned on Egyptian Radio and Television stations, they were popular among ordinary people in the 1960s and 1970s. Their revolutionary songs criticizing the government after the 1967 war led them to imprisonment and detention several times. In the mid 80s Imam performed several concerts in France, Britain, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria. Later Imam and Negm broke up after several disagreements. Imam died at the age of 78 after a long illness. During the revolution, Sheikh Imam’s songs began to gain a lot of popularity in all the squares of Egypt as it spoke of the struggles of most people.
One of his famous songs that I have linked is made by the Egyptian band El-Shaare’e (The Street) that is comprised of a lot of famous Egyptian musicians and artists such as the famous Oud virtouso Hazem Shaheen and singers like Samia Jaheen (daughter of the well known Egyptian poet/cartoonist Salah Jaheen).


MP Sana Saeed Questions the Muslim Brotherhood’s Funding.

The original Arabic link to this article can be found here. Translation was done by myself. 

Sana Saeed (a female member of parliament from the center-left Egyptian Social Democratic Party and a representative of the Assuit precinct)

During the interrogation of Prime Minister “Kamal El Ganzoury” and Minister of Social Affairs “Nagwa Khalil” in the Egyptian parliament; Sana Saeed (a female member of parliament from the center-left Egyptian Social Democratic Party and a representative of the Assuit precinct) asked for clarifications concerning the sources and the amount of funding that the Muslim Brotherhood receives considering that the members of the Freedom & Justice party have claimed that they are a separate political entity from the Brotherhood.

Sana was described by Al Fagr newspaper as “the MP that had entered the hornet’s nest”. The newspaper also pointed out that her questioning will not only affect the Brotherhood’s funds but it will form a danger to the organisation’s integrity because if the Brotherhood receives an official license to function as a civil organisation; then that means the Brotherhood will be denied from any political involvement – according to the Egyptian law – and would prohibit their Morshed and their rich businessmen like Khairat El Shater to exercise any political activities or to give any official statements under the Brotherhood’s name.


The SCAF and the Muslim Brotherhood have agreed on nominating Nabil Al-Araby for the Egyptian presidency.

An article that I have read from Masrawy.com written on the 17th of February and translated by me. Original link to this article in Arabic can be found here.

Nabil Al-Araby (current General Secretary of the Arab League Of Nations and a possible presidential candidate)

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces alongside the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom & Justice party and several other liberal parties have agreed to nominate Nabil Al-Araby (the current General Secretary of the Arab League of Nation) as a consensual presidential candidate for the Egyptian republic. 

And it was mentioned in several Egyptian newspapers on Friday 17th of February, through sources that they did not reveal, confirming that behind this agreement stands several GCC states that have a played a particular prominent role in calling for the nomination of Al-Araby. Sources point out that the GCC states will postpone any financial aid towards Egypt until Al-Araby has been elected as president and there are several Arab states that have objected against the idea of having an Islamist elected as president.

These sources have also mentioned that the Freedom & Justice party alongside several other liberal parties have held previous daily secretive meetings with the military junta in the past days to discuss a consensual presidential candidate that they could nominate.

From his part, Nabil Al-Araby has expressed his willingness to run as president in the event that there is mutual consent among the various political factions and people’s movements concerning this resolution. According to Al-Shorouk Newspaper, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency “Mohamed El Baradie” strongly recommends Nabil Al-Araby for the Egyptian presidency by giving claim that he is an honest and credible person that he has known for the past 50 years and Al-Araby will be highly effective for that position since he loves his country and will be willing to give a lot for it. 

Meanwhile the Salafist Al-Nour party have expressed their strong disapproval towards the nomination of Al-Araby as “Nader Bakaar” , their official spokesmen, expressed that his party will not agree on his nomination based on interviews of Al-Araby in television talk shows. The party officials have to meet him in person to discuss his presidential campaign and the things that he will be offering to Egypt in the upcoming period which will appeal to all the factions of society. 

Hazem Abu Ismail (the Salafist presidential candidate) on the other hand, has made claims that the Freedom & Justice party alongside Al-Nour are undergoing political coercion as they are being pressured by the SCAF and the United States government to agree on a consensual presidential candidate.

An Egyptian caricature depicting the possible attire of the SCAF's & MB's consensual presidential candidate.


Massacre of the Ultras in Port Said: spontaneous act of football hooliganism or was it premeditated?

Firstly, I would like to send out my condolences to anyone reading this note that may have had a dear friend or relative that was killed in the massacre that occurred last Wednesday in the Egyptian city of Port Said which, according to the recent news, left 73 people dead during the Al-Ahly and Al-Masry match.

During these past few days, I have had recent online discussions with a couple of my friends over the whole incident. The first moment that I heard the news, I was skeptical over the whole thing as I put into consideration the political stances and the high levels of participation made by the Ultras Ahlawy (the Egyptian ultras group who support Cairo based Egyptian Premier Leaguefootball club Al-Ahly) in most of the marches and sit-ins that occurred since January 25th 2011. And so I assumed the pigs that work in the corrupt Interior Ministry wanted some revenge. Many others thought otherwise and simply concluded that Egyptians (including themselves) are a mutated breed of apes with an undeveloped cerebral cortex that need to be ruled with an iron fist; sometime going as extreme as glorifying the words of former head of the Egyptian Intelligence Service “Omar Suleiman” or reminiscing about the good old days prior to January 25th 2011 when there was “stability & security” under the reign of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and the former Interior Minister Habib Al-Adly which was made possible by the safe umbrella of the three decade long emergency law. Other than that, they perceive the Ultras (whether those of Al-Ahly or Zamalek FC) as a group of football hooligans and fanatics that simply want to spread chaos within the country although approximately two years ago, the same exact people condemning the Ultras wanted to cut off diplomatic ties with Algeria over a football match that Egypt lost in (this also includes myself and I apologize to the Algerian people for my irrational behavior).

I usually have a hard time deciphering the logic that this category of people follow. Has Western colonialism left a big negative impact on the mindset of some Egyptians that they have the persistent need to belittle and undermine their own people? I really don’t know and I hope to figure that out someday. In this note, I will simply highlight some of the facts about the Ultras and the Port Said massacre hoping that I might spread some newer info which may shed some light into their relatively narrow and short-sighted minds (no offense).

Who are the Ultras? (Their Italian origins and indoctrination by Egyptian football fans): 

This movement was first established in Italy by a group of workers to denounce the commercialization of football in the 1950s. As ticket prices increased by football clubs to selectively eliminate the presence of a certain demographic of people, fans retaliated by selecting the worst seats in the stadium behind the goalkeeper to maintain their presence at the games and thus, a social movement and cause was born. Later on, it began to spread throughout the rest of Europe and finally it reached to Egyptian football fans of Al-Ahly and Zamalek FC where they formed the same exact movements, mimicing it in every single way.

The term Ultras in its analysis means ‘beyond normal’: extreme in your love and allegiance to the team and your love for freedom of organization and presence at the game. It is about the art of football support and cheering. This “art” entails logistical, artistic and financial organization amongst the fans to create banners and posters, arrange choreographed chanting, cheers and the use of flare guns, in addition to printing shirts and sweaters for all members. Banners created can oftentimes reach sizes that span entire sections of the stadium. So their primary role is not to pick a fight with fans from an opposing team. Football hooligans on the other hand usually try to be inconspicuous when they travel; usually not wearing team colors, in order to avoid detection by the police. Ultras tend to be more conspicuous when they travel, proudly displaying their scarves and club colors while arriving in masses, which allows the police to keep a close eye on their movements. There has been some reported cases of cross over acts between hooligans and the ultras, but then again, its not fair to condemn an entire movement over individual acts. Depending on the country and its culture that the Ultras movement has reached to, some Ultras may adopt themes in their art of cheering pointing out to issues prevalent in a society like racial and social issues.

Ultras Ahlawy was founded in 2007 and first appeared at a match against ENPPI on 13 April 2007 Al-Ahly, where they raised their banner for the first time. Ultras Ahlawy also support Al-Ahly basketball, volleyball, and handball teams. They are mainly made up of youth from various social levels in Egypt. After being stereotyped by the police force in Egypt as being criminals and outlaws, they decided to boycott the Cairo giants’ games after clashing fiercely with the police in a pre-season friendly match. “There is no competition in politics, so competition moved to the soccer pitch. We do what we have to do against the rules and regulations when we think they are wrong,” said an El Ahly ultra after his group overran a police barricade trying to prevent it from bringing flares, fireworks and banners into the stadium. “You don’t change things in Egypt talking about politics. We’re not political, the government knows that and has to deal with us,” he adds.

Unlike their European parallels that are heavily supported from their teams, Ultras Ahlawy depend on their members’ own financial support. Starting from January 25th Revolution and till this present day the Ultras Ahlawy have been active in several marches, protests and sit-ins. They joined in alongside youth activists, workers and Islamists to call upon the three basic things needed by an average Joe in Egypt – “Loaf of Bread, Freedom and Social Justice”. Alongside the Egyptian Social Anarchist movement and the Trotskyite “Revolutionary Socialist” movement; the ultras have always been blamed for inciting violence between the police and the protesters in the recent clashes that took place in the Cabinet Ministry and at Mohamed Mahmoud Street by a number of Islamists and former regime apologists media figures.

Facts about the Port Said massacre

The date was Wednesday, 1st of February where the match between El-Masry and Al-Ahly was held at the Port Said Stadium. There has been a lot of facebook and twitter claims that the Ultras Ahlawy were taunting the El-Masry fans. During the match, a big banner was carried held by the Ultras Ahlawy stating that “Port Said is a city that is deficient from real men”, something which obviously may have angered a great number of people (whether from El-Masry fanclub or the residents of Port Said). But by logic and common sense, even if what the Ultras Ahlawy have done was true, is it worth all these lives? Al-Ahly eventually lost 3-1 to El-Masry and any forms of grudge or hatred by their actions should have been minimized.

According to an article that I’ve read on GlobalPost; attackers used knives, fireworks and scarves to kill, maim and strangle their rival soccer fans. Others, according to eyewitnesses, threw spectators from the stadium’s highest seats and onto the concrete below.

Here is a list of facts that I found to be rather interesting:

So after all these facts, do you still think it wasn’t pre-planned? Please take a moment and think.


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