Monday, December 17, 2012

Good violence and bad violence in political clashes

Alexandria mosque clashes, Hazemon march, and the claims of burning Al Wafd party headquarter:

This is an event that got covered in a strange way both in Arabic and English media because it's an Islamic revolutionary group vs a felool party like Al Wafd. It proves my point in the double standards of both the media and the revolutionary activists community.

Hazemon is one of the revolutionary movements that holds an Islamist ideology and they are mainly the supporters and campaigners of Hazem Abu Ismael who ran for presidency and was disqualified because they said his mother had an American passport before she died (which was against the law of elections).

They announced a march from Lebanon square in Cairo Saturday at 6 pm -yesterday- to denounce the attacks that happened on one of the main mosques in Alexandria after Friday prayer. 

Although there was almost zero English media coverage on this unlike what happened with the burning of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters, we saw that there were many talking on facebook and twitter publicly about shutting up any Imam who will talk politics or try to say anything about the referendum on Saturday but I didn't expect it to be going to where it ended up and that the violence against places of worship and elderly people are considered now revolutionary acts by many people I used o respect. 

Like many, sometimes I don't really like the stuff I hear in Friday speeches and I disagree with the opinions of the Imams but I don't think attacking an old man inside a mosque and turning it into a battlefield can be justified by any sorts of disagreements.

Those of you who are talking about separating religion from politics, freedom of speech and democracy If you don't like what he's saying in the speech you can go pray in another mosque like what many have done, you can tell people not to attend prayer in this mosque and explain to them why, you can sue him in court or complain to the administration. There are many other things you can do to separate religion and politics without using violence. 

On Friday, some people tried to stop the Imam Al Mahallawy from talking politics after the Friday speech and then clashes happened outside and inside the mosque between people who came to defend the Imam and those against him. 
From the reports I have read through my friends in Alexandria who live nearby the mosque some of which wen to see for themselves, the Imam in addition to other attendees of the Friday prayer (women and kids included) were held inside the mosque for several hours until late at night while the clashes continued outside. 

All the witnesses said that the police continued to watch what happened silently and some of the thugs who instigated the violence were standing side by side with the police.
Hazemon thus decided to do this march in Cairo calling on people to keep their fights and arguments away from places of worship, denouncing violence in and around mosques, and denouncing keeping the 80-year- old Imam as hostage inside the mosque because he talked politics. They accused the police of being involved in what happened there because they could have interfered and saved the situation if they wanted to.

I knew about the march through some people I follow and know on twitter and Facebook and decided to go check it out. I interviewed the organizers and asked them why they're here and what are they planning to do. 

The crowds seemed organized and peaceful, they were mainly young bearded men and Hijabi and Niqabi women holding signs with the messages they're trying to send. 

They started marching after we left and then the police came and they used tear gas excessively. The police started attacking the march while all media outlets kept talking about Hazemon burning the headquarter that wasn't burn yet.

I read the accounts of three friends who live near Dokki district where the march headed and some friends from the march itself, they all confirmed that the headquarter was not burned by the protesters unlike what the media was saying. 

In less than half an hour from the march the whole world already identified the burners and did reports about the burning of Al Wafd Felool party (that didn't actually burn).

The reactions were very different when the mosque in Alexandria was attacked for hours, and the prayer attendees were held inside, and when the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood were burned down.

I know the majority of you will not sympathize with an Islamist revolutionary group, the MB, or a Muslim preacher speaking about politics in a mosque in Egypt but this is not about sympathy or agreeing with these people or their ideas. 

It's about what's right and what's wrong when it comes to using tactics you're not going to accept to be treated with. 

It's just sad to see the majority of activists either supporting or remaining silent about such acts only because they disagree politically or ideologically with them. 

It's not fair to continue to support the wrong acts of violence in the name of the revolution even if saying this or choosing this position will make you accuse me of being an under cover MB or against the revolution. 

I have criticized and opposed the MB since so long ago for many reasons when it wasn't too mainstream and when the opposition to the MB was only revolutionaries not Mubarak people and sell outs. 


‎"We ought not to be embarrassed about appreciating the truth and obtaining it wherever it comes from, even if its races distant and nations different from us. Nothing should be dearer to the seeker of truth than TRUTH ITSELF, and there is no deterioration of the truth, nor belittling either of one who speaks it or conveys it"

Al-Kindi, one of the most accomplished Muslim Philosopher

(Lost History, Michael Hamilton Morgan, p. 57)

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