ISSN 2330-717X

Salafist Jihadists Seeking More Power In Egypt And Gaza – OpEd

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An Egyptian court in Cairo on Thursday officially announced their decision that the mother of a radical Muslim — viewed as one of the strongest contenders for election as Egypt’s president — is not a U.S. citizen, which would allow him to be placed on the ballot for the May 2012 elections.

Hazem Abu Ismail is a popular lawyer and Islamic cleric with a large group supporters especially members of the extremist Salafi movement, according to Law Enforcement Examiner’s Israeli source, a former U.S. police official now living and serving in Israel.

The Egyptian constitution dictated that under the current law, all candidates for the presidency, their parents and their spouses must be Egyptian citizens.

The country’s electoral commission last week said it received documents confirming that Ismail’s mother was an American citizen, effectively disqualifying him from the race. But the Cairo Administrative Court on Thursday ruled that the 51-year old Ismail’s opponents did not show enough evidence to prove she was a U.S. citizen, the source said.

This court ruling is just the latest incident that appears to contradict the U.S. White House’s positive spin that began with use of the term “Arab Spring” to describe the ouster of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak.

Salafist jihadists are extremist Sunnis who believe they are the only true interpreters of the Koran. They are beginning to concern counterterrorism experts since Salafists are gaining more and more power in Egypt following the toppling of Mubarak’s regime. What’s more, the Salafists are linked to al-Qaeda and its affiliates especially when it comes to hatred for the United States, the anonymous Israeli source stated.

In the previous election cycle, the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, won 235 or 47.2 percent of the seats in the People’s Assembly (lower house of parliament). Meanwhile, the even more radical Salafists’ Nour Party got 125 seats or 25.1 percent, according to the Israeli source.

In Gaza, Salafists consider the terrorist group Hamas to be “too moderate” in spite of Hamas’ terrorist tactics, said a U.S. police officer Charles Lankerman who studied and trained counterterrorism in Israel. According to the Israeli National Police, Salafists often launch attacks against Israel and then flee across the border back into Egypt.

“Even with these victories, both parties’ leaders instigated a demonstration in which hundreds of Egyptians flocked to Tahrir Square in central Cairo to participate in a protest calling on the military authorities to grant their demands,” said Lankerman.

Demonstrators have repeatedly called on the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Hussein Tantawi to hand over power to civilians, with some of them demanding that former President Hosni Mubarak be executed.

The protestors demanded that the ruling military council shift power to a civilian government comprised of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.

“Salafist jihadism combines a deep respect for the sacred texts with a devotion to a literal interpretation. Salifists have an absolute commitment to jihad, and their number-one target is America, perceived as the greatest enemy of their faith,” according to counterterrorism expert Neal Ahearn, a former police commander of an anti-terrorism unit.

The protesters also called for stopping military trials against civilians and forming a 50-member advisory council chaired by political activist Ahmed Harara, the medical doctor who was blinded during the civil unrest in 2011.

The leaders of the protest announced that they would stage a sit-in and stage a one-million-man protest in front of the hospital in which former President Mubarak is receiving treatment.

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he's a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

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