Saad Eddin Ibrahim stirs controversy with report on election

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Sun, 01 Apr 2018 - 06:23 GMT

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, recipient of the 2008 Danish Pundik Prize, participates in a plenary session of the Agenda for the New Millennium summit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 20, 2009 – Wikimedia/Agenda for the New Millennium

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, recipient of the 2008 Danish Pundik Prize, participates in a plenary session of the Agenda for the New Millennium summit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 20, 2009 – Wikimedia/Agenda for the New Millennium

CAIRO – 1 April 2018: After writing a third report on the presidential electoral process that took place in Egypt, even though the National Election Authority (NEA) refused his request to monitor the election, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the Egyptian-American professor who has been causing ruckus, provoked Egyptians.

“It turned from an objective report that adheres to international organizations’ standards for the observation of the electoral process to a report that borderline insults and strongly demeans all circumstances, and all that has happened in the presidential election. [This report] has been employed to direct a specific scenario,” Secretary of Foreign Affairs Committee at the Parliament Tarek Al-Kholi stated to Egypt Today.

Kholi further explained that Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and its head, Ibrahim, have been known for “defaming the Egyptian state and attempting to destroy any electoral scene.”

“I think that neither Ibrahim nor his center have any value inside the Egyptian arena. He [Ibrahim] is courting foreign parties, the ones that are supporting and funding him. He is courting them and is not speaking about the Egyptian people, which is why we shouldn’t value him in Egypt’s internal affairs,” Kholi said.

The secretary also explained that the report Ibrahim issued through the Ibn Khaldun Center was calling for making amends with the Muslim Brotherhood and for ideas of reconciliation. “He is adopting the Hillary/Obama curriculum, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood, that is in addition to the fact that Saad always serves those who are against the Egyptian state,” Kholi said.

Parliamentarian Mostafa Bakri also criticized Ibrahim’s report in a statement, which he titled, “Democracy’s Wedding Night or Tragedy?” In the statement, Bakri explained that Ibrahim only aimed to defame Egypt’s image, and direct accusations to the NEA. Furthermore, Bakri stated that Ibrahim insulted presidential candidate Moussa Moustafa Moussa in his report.

With the matter escalating further, Prosecutor General Nabil Sadeq received Sunday a notice placing Saad Eddin Ibrahim on a travel-ban. The notice was submitted by Samir Sabry, an attorney, and it entailed that Ibrahim had no right to observe the election and report on it when the NEA rejected his request.

On Saad Eddin Ibrahim

Ibrahim became a topic for debate when he embarked on a journey, with some of his students, to Tel Aviv in January where he delivered a lecture. The lecture tackled “some of Egypt’s developmental issues” and praised Saudi Arabia’s.

Having made what he believed to be purely politically analytical remarks regarding Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Cairo, Ibrahim soon faced backlash and the government’s fury. Ibrahim was asked about his opinion regarding said backlash during an interview on Feb. 11, 2007 by Alan Johnson.

Johnson asked Ibrahim why he believes his home was raided and he was arrested on June 30, 2000. Ibrahim explained that following an article that he had written for Al-Majalla where he outlined and discussed political leaderships’ habits in the Middle East, specifically Mubarak’s and the probable ascension of his son to presidency, landed him several years of trouble.

However, Ibrahim was charged with many offenses, one of which was the “defamation of Egypt’s image”. “They said I had accepted a grant from the EU without state permission; that I was using this grant for voter registration, again without authorisation; that I had defamed Egypt in my writings; and that I embezzled this grant. But as a sociologist and political analyst I know that stated reasons at best overlap with real reasons,” he stated in the interview.

Ibrahim was eventually acquitted by Cairo Court of Cassation in 2003 after an appeal. He was later charged and sentenced again in 2008 for two years.

Criticized

Following his lecture in Tel Aviv on Jan. 4, Amr Adeeb, an Egyptian TV host and journalist, spoke of Ibrahim’s nature. “Like all great thinkers, his ideas undergo transformations, and it is possible for him [Ibrahim] to support one thing and then oppose it the next day. He has the right to judge and criticize us as well, but his lecture came at a point when Jerusalem is witnessing upheaval,” Adeeb said on “Kol Youm” show, which airs on ON E channel.



In another interview that Ibrahim conducted with Tamer Amin in 2014 on Rotana Masriya, he held a similar stance. Ibrahim invited into his home an Israeli official and the host reacted with an expression of disdain. Amin asked Ibrahim why and how he could host an Israeli inside his home. “A man asked to come to my home, what was I supposed to do? Turn him away and say, ‘Get out of here, you son of a b****’?” asked Ibrahim. “What would you have done if you were in my position,” he proceeded to prompt Amin; “You would shut the door in his face, wouldn’t you?”

“Shut the door in his face? No. I would have said ‘get out of here, you son of a b****’ and then I would have shut the door in his face,” Amin rebutted.



His makings

According to his interview with Johnson, Ibrahim was influenced by third world politics as a youngster. Of the figures he followed closely were “Gandhi, Nehru, Mao, Che, and Nasser (whom I met at an early age but who later stripped me of my nationality and declared me persona non grata when I was in my twenties),” he stated. Furthermore, his uncles “adhered to different political traditions, from Communism to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the 1940s and 1950s each sought to win me to his point of view. I found that fascinating!”

When he travelled to take up further studies in the United States in 1963, he became an activist and participated in the campaigns of the time.

In an interview that was conducted by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Ibrahim outlined some of his activities in the region at the time. “The main ongoing activity for me and my center (which joins that of a number of similar organizations) aims above all to put pressure on rulers in the region to democratize and to achieve more participatory governance. Some rulers, not very many, have responded positively, but most have ignored the call or have become hostile. More broadly, I am working on the development of philanthropy, working through a new organization in Doha, the Arab Democracy Foundation. It is to be a grant making foundation, and it has the blessing and endorsement of Qatar's first lady, Sheikha Moussa, who is helping to get it off the ground. So for various reasons I am spending most of my time in Doha these days, and when I am not engaged in the Foundation I am doing research and writing, and working more broadly to encourage civil society organizations to become better established and to develop.”

In all the interviews he has conducted in the early 2000s, Ibrahim appeared to advocate Islamic politics and finding a common ground for establishing democratic Islamic regimes.

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