Egypt : Pro-Muslim Brotherhood media air calls for violence, vandalism
Feature by BBC Monitoring on 4 February
Some TV stations and websites loyal or directly affiliated to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) have lately been involved in open, public incitement to violence and vandalism.
This trend has been particularly clear since the fourth anniversary of the 25 January revolution which swept President Mubarak out of power. It also precedes an important international economic conference due to be held in Egypt in March.
The broadcasters involved are mainly based in Turkey, which is at loggerheads with Egypt and has hosted a large number of group leaders and sympathizers who fled Egypt following the ouster of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi in July 2013.
The encouragement of violence and vandalism by these media outlets has prompted the Egyptian government to seek to silence them.
On 29 January, a Turkey-based channel aired a statement supposedly from a “revolutionary” group, threatening to target foreign nationals and businesses in Egypt.
Presenter Ahmad Rushdi of Rabi’ah TV said that the Revolutionary Youth Leadership decided to give all foreigners, including diplomatic missions and multi-national corporations, until 11 February to leave Egypt “or risk being targeted”.
“All foreign companies operating in Egypt are given an ultimatum to withdraw their licenses and put an end to their operations by 20 February 2015, or else all their projects will be targeted by the revolutionaries.”
Reading out the statement, the presenter added that all tourists planning to visit Egypt should cancel their flights.
“All countries supporting and financially or politically backing the coup should immediately cease their support to the coup within a period of one month ... or else all their interests in Middle East will be subjected to severe attacks leading to grave consequences.”
Later, on its Facebook page, Rabi’ah TV tried to justify its position, saying that the “discussion” of any topic by the channel “does not necessarily mean that we endorse it or not”.
Direct threats have come from other pro-MB TV stations.
A recent video widely circulated on the internet shows presenter Muhammad Nasir of Al-Sharq TV making a direct call for violence.
Addressing those he called “revolutionaries” in the video, Nasir said: “Kill officers. I say it to you on the air here, kill the police officers. I say to every wife of an officer, your husband will be killed, without question. If he is not killed tomorrow, he will be killed the day after.”
Over the past months, a large number of power generators have been targeted and blown up, apparently to make things difficult for people and turn them against the government.
In another video the same presenter interviewed a pro-MB figure in Turkey called Amr Abd-al-Hadi.
“Do you think the targeting of a power generator is a qualitative or random act?” the presenter asked.
To this, the guest replied: "Actually, there was a plan suggested by a girl once that in a moment all power generators in Egypt should be burnt at once.
“I have seen a new change [in the actions by the so-called revolutionaries] to the effect that, if you [government] are protecting the police installations and so on and focusing on this, ok I will go to [and target] the investor then.”
In the same vein, an article published on the MB’s official Arabic-language website Ikhwanonline urged the group members to prepare for “a long jihad”.
Put out on 27 January, the article was headlined “A message to the ranks of the revolutionaries: ’And prepare’” and written by Faris Al-Thawrah (Knight of the revolution).
The writer quotes sayings by the late MB founder Hassan al-Banna, including “The MB will use practical force when it is the only effective means.”
He added: “Everyone should be aware that we are on the threshold of a new stage where we recall our latent power and evoke the meanings of jihad.
We should prepare ourselves and our wives and children as well as our followers for a restless, long jihad in which we should seek the status of martyrs.”
The London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on 1 February quoted Egyptian security sources as saying that the Facebook page of the disbanded Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the MB, had published a statement under the name of “Get angry” on 27 January and “incited to killing and committing terrorist acts in all governorates”.
The security sources said that “the investigating authorities have underlined that the videos and statements uploaded on the social networking sites were from outside the country.”
In response, Egypt has been seeking to stop the broadcasting of the pro-MB channels on Eutelsat.
In statements on 1 February, Badr Abd-al-Ati, the foreign ministry spokesman, said that Foreign Minister Samih Shukri had asked the Egyptian Embassy in Paris to contact the administration of the Paris-based satellite operator to close the “terrorist promotion channels”.
Spanner in the works
The MB has lost is ability to mobilize masses of people. Since Morsi’s ouster, thousands of its members have been imprisoned, mostly on charges of involvement in violence, and the group’s image has been severely damaged.
Besides, Egyptians are now more cautious, having seen the existential crises rocking other countries like Syria, Yemen and Libya. President Al-Sisi also enjoys a broad base of support among ordinary people.
With the failure to make any change in the status quo in Egypt, some MB circles appear to be seeking to throw a monkey wrench into the efforts made by President Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi and his government to fix the ailing economy.
The latest encouragement of vandalism and violence seems to be intended to portray Egypt as a chaotic, insecure country ahead of the economic conference which is hoped to bring investments in.
Source: BBC Monitoring research 4 Feb 15