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Egypt’s Salafi challenge

By Omar Ashour CAIRO: “We want democracy, but one constrained by God’s laws. Ruling without God’s laws is infidelity,” Yasser Burhami, the second leading figure in the Salafi Call Society (SCS) and its most charismatic leader, recently said. The unexpected rise of the Salafis in Egypt’s parliamentary election has fueled concern that the most populous Sunni …


Egypt’s headless revolution

By Omar Ashour CAIRO: “The man who taught me to sacrifice my heart for Egypt is dead,” said Vivian Magdi, mourning her fiancé. Michael Mosad was killed in the Maspiro area on October 9, when an armored vehicle hit him during a protest called to condemn an attack on an Egyptian Church in the southern Aswan …


From 9/11 to the Arab Spring

By Omar Ashour CAIRO: Al-Qaeda’s operating environment today is vastly different from the one in which it launched its most notorious operation, the 9/11 terror attacks. Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda’s founder and charismatic leader, was killed by United States Navy Seals in Pakistan in May. Three brutal Middle East dictatorships were removed this year — two …


Mubarak’s last laugh?

By Omar Ashour CAIRO: August 3, 2011, will be remembered as a historic day in Egypt. Former President Hosni Mubarak was put on public trial, together with his two sons and his ex-interior minister, General Habib El-Adly. The repercussions for Egypt, indeed for the entire Arab world, will be profound. This is not the first time …


Libya after Qaddafi

By Omar Ashour BENGHAZI: Middle Eastern autocrats routinely warn their people of rivers of blood, Western occupation, poverty, chaos, and Al Qaeda if their regimes are toppled. Those threats were heard in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and — rendered in black-comedy style — in Libya. But there is a strong belief across the region that …


The son also slaughters

By Omar Ashour LONDON: “The enemy of yesterday is the friend of today….[I]t was a real war, but those brothers are free men now.” Thus spoke Saif Al-Islam Al-Qaddafi in March 2010, referring to the leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an armed organization that had attempted to assassinate his father, Muammar Al-Qaddafi, …


Libya’s Lord of the Flies

By Omar Ashour LONDON: “I am a glory that will not be abandoned by Libya, the Arabs, the United States, and Latin America…revolution, revolution, let the attack begin,” said the self-described King of African Kings, Dean of Arab Leaders, and Imam of all Muslims, Colonel Muammar Al-Qaddafi. The statement summarizes the Libyan regime’s extremely repressive response …


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