By: Naser al-Azzazi
Anger and frustration has spread throughout the Sinai peninsula in response to statements made by the former Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Muhammad Mahdi Akef in a Kuwaiti newspaper earlier this week categorising Sinai residents as “agents of the Mossad, collaborators with the country’s military intelligence, or those working with Egyptian state security forces”.
Khaled Arafat, Secretary General of the Al-Karama Party, stated that it is no surprise that those who are not interested in protecting the interests of the Egyptian people would also be happy to insult Sinai residents. The Muslim Brotherhood, he said, prioritises its own interests over national interests, and is part of an American Zionist plot to break Egypt into a series of small cantons. Emad Al-Balak, Public Coordinator of Egypt’s Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby in North Sinai, stated that such comments are intended to undermine Egyptian national unity and create discord between the residents of Sinai and the rest of the country. He said that such comments pave the way for the handing over of the Sinai peninsula to Hamas, and the conversion of the Al-Arish airport into an alternative to Gaza airport.
Egypt’s Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby released a response condemning Akef’s recent statement saying: “We reject statements made by your organisation regarding the residents of Sinai. If the Muslim Brotherhood wants to accuse us of collaborating with Israel, you should first accuse yourselves as you are the primary perpetuators of such claims, considering the correspondence held between your envoy and Shimon Peres at the Presidential Palace.”
“We…promise that one day we will overthrow your organisation, and will do so more quickly than you expect. The revolution will not end until we achieve victory,” he added.
Egypt’s Al-Dostor Party also released a response condemning Akef’s statements saying that: “The people of Sinai were shocked to hear such irresponsible statements, which could only come from the mouth of a bona fide liar, the previous Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.” The statement added: “The sons of Sinai have never threatened the interests of Egypt as the Muslim Brotherhood does on a regular basis, both secretly and in the open.”
The statement went on to say that no one from within the Al-Dostour Party would cooperate with members of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Freedom of Justice Party until an apology is presented to the residents of the region.
Abdel Qader Mubarak, a member of the Al-Sawarka tribe, said that Akef’s statements demonstrate that the Muslim Brotherhood’s true loyalty does not lie with the people of the region, and that its members do not seek to protect their interests. Rather, he said, members of the organisation prefer to stand with their hands tied while Akef takes to “verbally raping” the Sinai in foreign newspapers, accusing them of being agents of the Zionist entity. He added that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are not in fact loyal to residents of the Sinai, or to Egypt as a whole, but only to their Supreme Guide.
He blamed Egypt’s military intelligence for not making public the contributions made by residents of Sinai during the 1973 war and the years following, efforts which eventually led to the peninsula’s liberation. Mubarak went on to say that the response to such statements will be harsh and painful for all those who seek to erode the history of Sinai.
Hussein Higab, Assistant Secretary General and Official Spokesperson of the Freedom and Justice Party in North Sinai, claimed that the statements made by Akef were either fabricated or taken out of context, saying that Akef would never utter such falsities. He went on to say that the residents of Sinai are Egyptian patriots, and that there is no evidence to suggest that any are spying for foreign countries.
He further called on journalists to be diligent in checking the accuracy and credibility of statements made and credited to leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.