CiF published yet another ‘Hug a Bruvver’ article on February 15th in the form of Salah Abdel Maqsoud’s piece lauding the role played by certain sections of the Egyptian media in the recent uprising.
Maqsoud also took the opportunity to launch an attack on other sections of the Egyptian media.
“Mass walkouts were reported in numerous newspaper offices, news agencies and TV and radio stations, with workers demanding the arrest of editors and other senior personnel for their role in “tarnishing the people’s revolution”.
“As I write these words, numerous demonstrations by media workers continue outside their respective establishments, demanding the resignation of corrupt editors who sided with the former dictator who appointed them in the first place.”
Most people who read this article will, of course, know little about the ins and outs of the Egyptian press and media, and indeed why should they? An occasional eyebrow may be raised at the idea of putting people on trial for ‘tarnishing the people’s revolution’, which sounds uncomfortably Stalinist to anyone not afflicted by a Milne-style nostalgia for the heyday of far Left authoritarianism, but most readers will move on to the next article thinking that Maqsoud and his comrades are brave libertarians who triumphed against a repressive state machine.
Unfortunately, that is not the whole story. The Guardian’s profile of Maqsoud is rather coy.
“Salah Abdel Maqsoud is general secretary of the Egyptian Journalists’ Union.”
What readers are not told is that Maqsoud is also a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Here he is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi – renowned for his vile antisemitic and homophobic rhetoric.
Maqsoud also has something of a history with Makram Mohammed Ahmed, the head of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, upon whom he launched a named attack in his article.
“At his funeral, those attending mounted a protest demanding the resignation of the head of the journalist’s union Makram Mohammed Ahmed. Ahmed had infamously defended the Mubarak regime, stating that Mubarak was no Ben Ali (the former Tunisian dictator), that the regime was solid, and that the revolution was led by a bunch of Muslim Brotherhood thugs. He was prevented by members of the union of speaking at the funeral.”
According to the Independent’s Donald Macintyre:
“But when the chairman of the official journalists’ syndicate, commentator Makram Mohamed Ahmed, widely regarded as a Mubarak loyalist, decided to attend a pre-march press conference yesterday, the mourners erupted in angry shouts of “killer”. They surrounded him amid chants of “Down with Makram and down with state media”, “The mouthpiece of the regime must fall” and – by a few – “you are an agent of America and Israel“.”(my emphasis)
In the 2007 elections which resulted in Makram Mohammed Ahmed becoming head of the Journalists’ Syndicate, Maqsoud ran, and was elected, as a Muslim Brotherhood candidate.
“Commenting on the new board of the Press Syndicate, Salah Abdul Maqsoud, a fourth time elected Press Syndicate board member who claims the biggest haul of services inside the syndicate, confirmed that he will as a MB candidate extend his hands to Makram Mohamed Ahmed and he will cooperate with him as much as he can for the sake of the press community.”
“Abdul Maqsoud confirmed also that the current coalition between the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Leftist powers inside the syndicate will continue like previous syndicate rounds.”
“He also added that the syndicate will remain open for all Egyptians and all Arabs and it will be closed only in the face of the Zionists so that it helps everyone to give vent to his ordeal, cause or problem. He added along with the other MB colleague, the elected board member Mohamed Abdul Qoddous that they represent all journalists because all journalists, not only MB ones, voted for them.” (my emphasis)
Maqsoud also ran in the 2003 elections for the same Journalists’ Syndicate, and then too was elected as a Muslim Brotherhood candidate. The Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram noted in its coverage of those elections that the suitability for the post of chairman apparently included one rather significant criterion:
“Aref’s credibility was enhanced via direct comparison to Montasser’s perceived “shortcomings”. Aref had not visited Israel, and had always been involved in Press Syndicate affairs” (my emphasis)
In 1995 Maqsoud stood trial for his involvement in banned Muslim Brotherhood political activity. He is also a member of the board of consultants of ‘Al Zaytouna’ – a so-called ‘think tank’ which publishes material such as ‘The suffering of the Palestinian Child under the Israeli Occupation’ or ‘The Israeli Racism’ and holds conferences and seminars such as the one at which Dr. Daud Abdallah (a member of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated ‘Muslim Council of Britain’) ‘enlightened’ his audience on the subject of ‘The Impact of the Israel Lobby on European Foreign Policy in Palestine’.
In 2005 Salah Abdel Maqsoud was a speaker at a conference in Beirut entitled ‘Future Scenarios of the Arab- Israaili (sic) Conflict’ which reached the following conclusions, among others:
“The conference called on the governments, parties, organizations and involved individuals in the decision making process to use what has been drawn up in the conference to devise new plans and new political visions for an Arabic Islamic project that enhances the resistance to the Zionist project and its tools.
The conference recommends all Arab parties which participated in the reconciliation and normalization with Israel to re-evaluate their positions due to theirs hugely harmful impacts on the Palestinian cause and the direction of the Arab-Israeli conflict in favour of the Zionist Project.
The conference emphasized the importance of Islamic and Arab support for the Palestinian people and its Intifada, and legitimized its resistance against Israeli occupation and called to decrease the Palestinian suffering until achieving the liberation and return of refugees and all its lawful rights.
The conference refused the dilemma created by the United States and Israel policies when they mixed legitimate resistance with terrorism. The conference supports the legitimacy of resistance against occupation by all means, and condemns in discernment terrorist acts against innocent people and civilians. It calls for Arab intellectuals and politicians to adopt this view and defend it and cause the international organizations to adopt it.”
The Guardian has by now a long and ignoble history of publishing puff-pieces by and for Islamist terrorists and their sympathizers, but the past few weeks have seen barely a day go by without some sort of whitewashing of the Muslim Brotherhood – for which the Guardian appears to have taken on the voluntary role of Public Relations Consultant.
Obviously, that role dove-tails very nicely with the radical-chic politics of some of the Guardian’s senior staff and no doubt goes down very well at suitably exclusive dinner parties in Islington and Hampstead. Should the Muslim Brotherhood gain any sort of access to power in Egypt, nothing of course will change in North London. There will be no direct consequences for Guardian-reading British politicians or media types who will by then have long since fluttered on to their next fashionable cause.
And it will be those of the Egyptian people who really do seek to live under a functioning democracy rather than yet another authoritarian regime who will be left to pick up the pieces of the Western chattering classes’ meddling in realms they so obviously do not understand. Just as Western soft bigotry has sold out thousands of Muslim women, gays, children and apostates in Europe because of the fashionable refusal to stand up and be counted on subjects such as Sharia courts, female genital mutilation, forced marriages and many other kinds of abuse, the Egyptian people too may yet find themselves the victims of that pernicious post-colonial mindset.