Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clear as day ... Egypt shifting rapidly to cavemen era

Wikileaks drop at the TheTelegraph: Cable from US Embassy in Egypt to Washington DC dated Feb 4, 2009. This is a long cable of seven long paragraphs but  reading it fully one can somewhat understand that between the two evils;  the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafism's the Salafi nuts who are more dangerous.    Egypt does not stand a chance for real democracy .... not ever.
....1.(C) Summary: Increasing religious conservatism, a trend in Egypt over the past two decades, is taking on a new dimension; over the past several years, Egypt has witnessed a striking increase in Salafism, a fundamentalist Sunni movement that seeks to emulate the Islam practiced during the time of the Prophet Mohammed, and whose adherents disavow "modern" activities such as politics. Although there are no reliable statistics available to measure this shift, Salafis are increasingly visible among Egypt's lower and middle classes, in universities and on city streets. Some of our contacts characterize their rising appeal as a "major societal shift," and assert that Salafi preachers have more influence with Egyptians than the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), a group which Salafists criticize due to its engagement in politics. While there are several Salafi groups in Egypt, there appears to be no centralized leadership or infrastructure, and the various organizations seem focused on activities promoting their philosophical approach to Islam. The 10-12 Salafi-themed satellite TV channels broadcasting from Egypt have been key in its spread, as has alleged Saudi funding. Other factors cited in the Salafi upsurge include widespread popular frustration with governmental religious institutions, and a largely passive GOE approach towards burgeoning Salafi ideology. Increasingly, Egyptian political elites are uneasy about the rising popular resonance of Salafis, concerned that, although the Egyptian groups do not currently advocate violence, their extreme interpretation of Islam creates an environment where susceptibility to radicalism and jihadi ideas is heightened. As one contact opined, citing the experiences of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri and September 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta, both of whom attended Salafi mosques in Cairo, Salafism "is a bridge to extremism."

....2.(C) Strolling through Cairo and Alexandria's lower and middle-class neighborhoods, one cannot help but notice the proliferation of niqabs (full facial veils, exposing only the eyes) on women, and the mid-calf galabiyah robe and untrimmed beards favored by male Salafis, who believe such an appearance emulates the dress of the Prophet Mohammed and his wives. Only ten years ago, the niqab was virtually absent from Cairo's streets; today, an Egyptian woman wearing a headscarf riding on Cairo's metro will often be harassed by her peers for not sporting a niqab, and an unveiled woman will be the target of either derision, or earnest proselytizing as to why she must take on the facial cover. Egypt's famed annual Book Fair, once a hotbed of liberal thought, has taken a distinct conservative turn in recent years, with Salafi literature competing with the other books available. ...

....3.(C) There is consensus among a wide array of our contacts - politicians, academics, analysts, and "ordinary" Egyptians - that Salafism is on the rise, with some characterizing it as "a wave sweeping the country" and "nothing short of a major societal shift."..........

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