PRESS ROUND-UP: Brotherhood travel, dorm bans lead local press

Sarah El Sirgany
6 Min Read

CAIRO: The plans of the National Democratic Party for the country, the status of the Muslim Brotherhood in politics and within civil society and recollections of the October 6, 1973 victory dominated editorials this week.

News about the Muslim Brotherhood led the front pages, consequently providing various topics for discussion in editorials. The security forces decision to ban MB leader Mahdi Akef from traveling to Saudi Arabia for Omra (small pilgrimage) was received differently by each paper, according to its affiliation.

In Al-Masry Al-Youm, Magdy Mehanna stressed that there is no solution to political reform without reaching a way to deal with the political Islam stream, led by the Brotherhood.

The solution, he explained, doesn t mean bans, arrests and emergency laws.

Mehanna described the travel ban, which included several MB leaders, as political not security-related. Is there a national interest behind the ban? added Mehanna.

Al Destour writer Khaled Mahmoud Ramadan says the travel ban indicates the system s concerns and fears regarding the group. Ramadan claims the ruling party is preparing a new constitutional amendment that would prevent the Brotherhood from achieving results similar to what they did in the 2005 parliamentary elections.

The travel ban, however, wasn t the only decision that targeted the Brotherhood. Al-Azhar students affiliated with the group were denied residence at the university s dorms for security reasons. Al-Masry Al-Youm columnist Hamdy Rizk, ridiculed the decision in spite of his apparent anti-Brotherhood stance. He explained that the students can t be denied their citizenship rights because of their affiliations. Alienating these students, he added, could lead them to extremism

In state-run Rose El-Yousef, it was a different story. Karam Gabr accused the MB of catching the conceit of power. He explained that after winning 88 seats on the parliament they have become a state inside a state without abiding by the laws that governs the rest of the citizens.

He added that their arrogance has prevented them from living side by side with any regime; they have turned against all Egypt s leaders starting with King Farouk. He said the Brotherhood pursue power for their own gains not for the betterment of the country.

Gabr cited the travel ban as an indicator of the group s growing conceit as they threatened to conduct a press conference at the airport if they were banned from traveling. He explained that the Brotherhood said they were banned from traveling to prevent them from attending the International Brotherhood Meetings. He added that such an announcement is an indicator of the group s arrogance since they used to keep any information related to this international gathering a guarded secret, but now Akef talks about it as if he is an emperor.

Concerning the ruling party s plans for the country, In Al-Masry Al-Youm, Soliman Gouda took a closer look to the TV interview Gamal Mubarak gave to the state-run Channel 1. Noting Mubarak s realization of the party s need to decrease its dependence on his father, the president, Gouda said there are a lot of questions that the young Mubarak needs to answer.

Gouda highlighted issues like reforming education, unemployment, general public dissatisfaction, alternative energy and investment. He said Mubarak stressed the various studies the party has on some of these issues, but Gouda wanted more details regarding the possible solutions proposed by these studies and reports.

In Al Akhbar, Mahmoud Aref took a different stance, asking opposition voices to support NDP s program in providing nuclear energy as an alternative for the current sources. Aref surveyed different opinions questions Egypt s ability in reaching such technology and the government s motives in pursuing this type of energy.

I expected that as long as the goal is the best interest of Egypt and the future generations, [the opposition] would demand the political leadership to quickly construct the nuclear plants, he added.

Noting, the heavy coverage Talaat El-Sadat s announcements got, the end of the week featured much less space given to this controversial topic. This week witnessed full page ad in Al-Ahram, in which the Sadat family (mainly late President Anwar El-Sadat s siblings) refuted Talaat s announcements that suggested unrevealed conspiracies regarding the assassination of his uncle late President Anwar El-Sadat.

In Al-Masry Al-Youm, Hamdy Rizk criticized the ad or rather its ending, which featured the signature of the residents of the Tala constituency villages. Whether the family is apologizing willingly or not, Rizk wrote, the residents of Tala aren t afraid of a tough ruling awaiting its spoilt representative [Talaat], or greedily desire forgiveness. Their opinion hasn t been survey or expressed in any form, he added.

Rizk asked El Sadat family to apologize again, but this time for unrightfully forging the will of the Tala residents and including their names in an apology forced on the family.

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