On April 23rd Mideast Reports was able to catch-up with Dr. Nehad Heliel and her husband Dr. Ashraf Mansour, who both live and teach in Alexandria, Egypt. This is the first update from them in nearly two months, and it is worth listening to the audio (below) for your-self. They are both safe and have even registered for a political party for the first time in their lives.
If you’re crunched for time, below are bullet points and a few key quotes.
– Ashraf: “Our future is a foggy one right now…”
– The referendum did not address Article Two of the constitution that reads “Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation.”
– Parliamentary elections are scheduled for September, and Presidential ones after that.
– Nehad: “They got rid of the National Democratic Party, el7amduallah, that was as good as getting rid of Mubarak”
– 30 new political parties in Egypt. Although there are differences, they tend to group around whether they support a secular or religious government.
– Islamic Brotherhood split among 3-4 different parties, but article five of constitution still prevents them from forming on the basis of religion.
– When asked if there was a chance of fundamentalism rising in Egypt, Nehad responded, “I still don’t think it is a legitimate fear.”
– Salafiyya movement in Upper Egypt causing a lot of controversy. They tend to appeal more to the poor, especially in Upper Egypt where they are protesting the governor. At this point it does not seem to be a strong movement.
– Western fears are still pretty alarmist. Although the Muslim Brotherhood has been a bit deceitful lately, they’ve showed few signs of turning toward fundamentalism. They also have and are sticking to non-violent principles and the idea that an Islamic state is not something you impose on people, but rather foster.
– People are still overhauling a corrupt system, which will take time. For example, at the University of Alexandria, everyone from department chairs up all being removed, so that elections for those positions can be held.
– The Prime Minister appoints all the new ministers. There are two female ministers, and the parties consisting of the educated tend involve more women.
– The economy has been shaken. Nehad “I keep getting e-mails for Middlebury students who want to come back to Egypt and work, but where are the jobs?”
-There are threats of diminishing US aid.
If you liked this, you should check out the other interviews with the two:
Third Dr. Nehad and Dr. Ashraf Interview (with audio)
Second Dr. Nehad and Dr. Ashraf Interview