Category Archives: Middle East


Egypt’s Empty Promise


EGYPT, the world’s largest Arab country, is now having its second round of elections this year. Sadly, that news isn’t as good as it looks.

Just last month, President Hosni Mubarak Egypt’s leader for 24 years, won re-election – on a far-from-level playing field. Parliamentary elections are now under way – and the first round saw considerable gains by candidates affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

The Mubarak regime had billed the September presidential vote as the “launch” of a “new path of progress” for Egypt. But words and promises are cheap in the Middle East.

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Egypt’s Choice

Article published Aug 27, 2007

By Nir Boms and Michael Meunier


The freedom to believe may be considered a sacred right in some parts of the world – but not in others. Which is why Mohammed Hegazy, 24, and his wife made history in the Arab world when they became the first known Muslims to file a lawsuit against Egypt for refusing to legally recognize their conversion to Christianity. This unusual move quickly sparked a lawsuit by Muslim clerics along with death threats for the young couple. Some of these came during a live TV interview, when Mr. Hegazy was interviewed along with Sheikh Youssef el-Badry, a radical Islamic cleric. According to Mr. Badry, Mr. Hegazy deserves the death sentence for leaving Islam. Souaad Kamel, the outgoing dean of Islamic Study for girls at Al-Azhar University, stated on the air that Mr. Hegazy should be beheaded to fulfill the religious requirements. Continue reading


Democracy, Egyptian-style



Mar. 4, 2007


Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Egypt’s leading democracy activist, hangs two photographs in his modest office at the Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies in Cairo. One shows him with US Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House; the other is a portrait of Hizbullah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Continue reading


About Arabs, Numbers and Democracy: How do Arabs Really Feel About U.S. Policy in the Middle East?

By Michael Meunier and Nir Boms

In the Arab world, where divergent opinions are almost as rare as changes in leadership, and where free speech is a luxury enjoyed only by a precious few, public opinion polls tend to have interesting results. For example, the Arab-American Institute, a Washington-based think tank, recently conducted a poll that revealed an overwhelming majority of Arabs hold unfavorable views of the United States. While the results of the poll were not surprising, especially given the ongoing situation in Iraq, the motives behind it were extremely questionable.

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