Youseef Sidhom | 19 September 2010
With the upcoming parliamentary elections approaching, and coverage of all that pertains to it occupying a sizeable portion of media coverage, I thought of checking my voting card in preparation. Not surprisingly, years of use had left their mark on the paper, hand written card. Let me remind the reader that in Egypt voting cards are issued in paper form and are hand written, which makes them difficult to read owing to normal handwriting flaws and because of the predictable erosion with the passage of time...
Others | 19 September 2010
One Enclave at a Time It seems almost unthinkable, but Islamist groups are, as we speak, hard at work creating Muslim states-within-states in the U.S. Indeed, this process has been unfolding for a long time across the Western world, through the creation of isolated Muslim enclaves in both rural and urban areas, as well as through the designation of "no-go zones" where governments admit to having little authority over Muslims living there, essentially leaving them to function as autonomous regions...
Youseef Sidhom | 12 September 2010
The year 2010 has seen Egypt celebrate three strongholds of progress and development in its modern history. It has been 50 years since the first spark which marked the beginning of the construction of the Aswan High Dam; 50 years on the establishment of the first Egyptian national TV channel; and 50 years since the erection of the Cairo stadium. All three national projects have positively affected the life of Egyptians in an irrevocable manner. Precisely for this reason, it is time to assess what each has achieved in terms of ameliorating the life of Egyptians. While the first two projects have had their fair share of appraisal by the media, I intend to focus on the third project...
Others | 12 September 2010
I. Overview:Islam has played an important role in the making of history and culture of the Arabic speaking peoples. While the “Muslim mind” has known periods of prosperity (according to the norms of the Middle-Ages) until the twelfth century A.D., it has also known, since that time, a course of decline, stagnation, and isolation, of which one cannot hide the features. Since the interaction of the peoples of this region with the West (since the first day of the French Campaign in Egypt in 1798), the problematic ..
Others | 12 September 2010
When a German banker and former government official spoke publicly about a unique “Jewish gene,” when he attacked Islam as a source of violence and stunted development and when he espoused genetic theories that evoked the fright of the Nazi past, the political leadership here quickly condemned him as racist and called for him to be fired...
Youseef Sidhom | 5 September 2010
I harbour no sympathy for the calls to reopen the file of constitutional amendments. It would disrespect the Constitution, which was amended as late as 2007, to reconsider it every now and then for no urgent reason. If some politicians and pundits have aspirations to introduce fundamental changes to the ..
Youseef Sidhom | 29 August 2010
Wit November only a few weeks away, competition among candidates who will then be running for the People’s Assembly (PA)—the lower house of Egypt’s parliament—is rapidly heating up. Once the running candidates are officially approved, they will be scrambling to familiarise voters in their constituencies with their respective electoral platforms, in a bid to win. The contest is expected to be a fierce one, and not without its hazards. ..
Others | 29 August 2010
I was planning to resume my articles this week on schizophrenic Muslims, who are doing much injustice to themselves and their religion. But I rapidly changed my mind when a masterpiece by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh was cut out of its frame in the Mr & Mrs Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Giza last week and simply disappeared..
Youseef Sidhom | 22 August 2010
Dr Ahmed Fathy Sorour has been Speaker of the People’s Assembly (PA)—the lower house of Egypt’s parliament—for some two decades today. Throughout this extended period he has succeeded in winning the general respect of Egyptians for what was seen as his objectivity and impartiality, as well as his utmost decency in tongue and pen. He took care never to take sides with the government or the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP); his only loyalty appeared to be for the Constitution, law and regulations. ..
Others | 22 August 2010
John L. Esposito, professor of religion and international affairs and director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, is America's best-known apologist for Saudi Wahhabism, the Turkish fundamentalist Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Islamist ideologies in general. To many, he personifies all that's wrong with Middle East studies in America today...
Others | 16 August 2010
I have often tried to imagine a scenario in which what I call the 'Islamists' will have achieved all their objectives. The scenario assumes that Osama bin Laden or someone like him get their way and proceed to impose their vision of what the Muslim world should be on the rest of us...
Youseef Sidhom | 15 August 2010
A major problem in Egypt is that the average Egyptian has an unfailing sense that official authorities have no better business but to lie in wait for any successful project or effort that the average Egyptian has achieved, ready to pounce and stamp it out at the first viable opportunity. And it takes no genius to guess ..
Others | 15 August 2010
Back in November 2001, just a week after Kabul fell to the U.S.-led invasion forces in Afghanistan and just as the city of Kunduz began to capitulate, the air filled with the steady drone of C-130 transport aircraft landing at the dusty airstrip...
Youseef Sidhom | 8 August 2010
This is the sixth year in a row that I write, following the conclusion of the annual parliamentary round, to comment on the failure of the Parliament to pass the unified law for places of worship. The lack of such a law, as any casual observer can tell, has been behind countless incidents of violence against Copts—incidents we could very well have escaped and for which our government should be held accountable..
Others | 8 August 2010
(Continuing the analytical remarks on the feelings of unease that certain issues engender among the Copts): Second, with regard to the widespread feeling among Copts that their representation in public life has shrunk considerably over the last few decades, this is borne out by official statistics. However, this ..
Others | 1 August 2010
In Praise of Justice ustice is a set of human values on which there is consensus, and which is reflected in a body of law that treats all people as equals. This concept no longer exists in Egypt. There is not a single rule in Egypt which really applies to all, from traffic offenses to bank loans to the sale of state land and property and public-sector companies. Who you are, who your father is, how wealthy you are and how close you are to ..
Youseef Sidhom | 1 August 2010
Over a series of four editorials printed last October, I tackled the practices exercised by Minya local authorities against the Copts in the governorate. A file I had received from the bishopric of Maghagha and Adawa in Minya was packed full of details that could be described as collective punishment of the ..
Others | 26 July 2010
Two-thirds of British people would support a ban on Muslim women wearing face-covering veils in public, similar to the one approved by French lawmakers this week, a poll has found...
Youseef Sidhom | 25 July 2010
Two weeks ago I wrote about the injustice commonly inflicted upon Egyptian women where inheritance is concerned. Even though the law allots a woman half the share her brother inherits, she more often than not ends up getting nothing at all of her due inheritance, especially when it involves land. The ..
Youseef Sidhom | 18 July 2010
It is now almost a year since Cairenes have found at their service taxis that are modern, clean, and outfitted with metres that determine a fair fare for any given trip. They replaced—or are in the process of phasing out—the old squeaking, dilapidated, life threatening, infamous black-and-white taxis. It was at one point circulated that these black-and-white taxis were, four years ago, among the major factors which contributed to Egypt losing to South Africa the opportunity to host the 2010 Mondiale...
Others | 18 July 2010
Does President Obama care about religious freedom? It's disconcerting that this question needs to be asked of a U.S. president, but prominent observers are sounding the alarm...