April 29, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
began slaughtering the roughly 300,000 pigs in the country Wednesday as a precautionary measure against the spread of swine flu even though no cases have been reported here yet, the Health Ministry said.
The move immediately provoked resistance from pig farmers. At one largecenter just north of , farmers refused to cooperate with Health Ministry workers who came to slaughter the animals and the workers left without carrying out the government order.
“It has been decided to immediately start slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt using the full capacity of the country’s slaughterhouses,” Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly told reporters after a Cabinet meeting with.
Egypt’s overwhelmingly Muslim population does not eat pork due to religious restrictions. But the animals are raised and consumed by the Christian minority, which some estimates put at 10 percent of the population.
Health Ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman estimated there were between 300,000-350,000 pigs in Egypt.
Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza told reporters that farmers would be allowed to sell the pork meat so there would be no need for compensation.
In 2008, following fears over diseases spread by animals, Mubarak ordered all pig and chicken farms moved out of population areas. But the order was never implemented.
Pigs can be found in many places around Muslim world, often raised by religious minorities who can eat pork. But they are banned entirely in some Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Libya.
In Jordan, the government decided Wednesday to shut down the country’s five public health safety regulations., involving 800 animals, for violating
April 6, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
Egypt ordered its police on alert to foil a nationwide strike planned by pro-democracy activists for Monday.
Sunday’s order from the Interior Ministry came a day after police arrested 28 activists of the April 6 Movement, which has called for the strike to protest government restrictions on the activity of political groups.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, said it will also take part in the strike.
Plain clothes security men were deployed in Cairo’s main squares and around several government offices where the activists said they will stage their protests, Interior Ministry officials said.
The April 6 Movement gets its name from the date last year of a strike by workers at a textile factory who were demanding higher wages.
That protest prompted a brutal police crackdown.
Following that episode, the movement’s activists attempted to channel popular discontent over lack of democracy, corruption and human rights abuses through protests organised by cellphone messages and the social networking site Facebook.
However, their call last year for a nationwide strike on May 4, President Hosni Mubarak’s birthday, went largely unheeded.
The group says it has the support of 75 000 members.
April 5, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
A Cairo court has sentenced a man to seven years and his wife to three years in prison for setting up a swingers’ club, the press reported on Sunday, in a case that has angered conservative Egyptian society.
Tolba Abdel Hafez, a 48-year-old civil servant, and his wife Salwa Higazi, a 37-year-old schoolteacher, were sentenced by the Agouza Criminal Court on Saturday, the state-owned Al-Gomhuria reported.
Extra-marital sex is illegal in the mainly Muslim country where Islamic law is a principal source of legislation.
The Cairo couple, who have children, used the pseudonyms Magdy and Samira on a website and in e-mails to organise wife-swapping parties and orgies.
They were arrested in October on prostitution charges and confessed to having sexual relations with three other couples, although at least 44 couples signed up for Cairo swinging sessions via the website.
In sentencing the pair, the judge described the case as “one of the worst crimes committed,” Al-Gomhuria reported.
Rights groups have criticised the 1961 law that can be used to prosecute suspects because it defines certain sexual acts as prostitution even if no money changes hands.
April 2, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
Egyptian villagers have set fire to Bahai homes after a member of the religion said on television the village was “full of Bahais,” the latest incident to reflect religious tensions in the country.
Furious villagers rampaged through Sharoniyah, near Sohag in southern Egypt, on Monday and Tuesday, setting fire to and damaging four Bahai homes, a security official told AFP, asking not to be named.
The fires spread to two Muslim homes which were also damaged, the official said.
The villagers also threatened the village’s roughly 30 Bahais with death, the official said, after which all of them fled.
Police have detained six people in relation to the attacks are are questioning them, and additional police have been deployed in the area.
The arson attacks were the culmination of unrest that began with stone throwing immediately after a Bahai named Ahmed called a television talk show that was discussing the religious minority on Saturday night.
Ahmed, who now lives in Cairo after fleeing persecution in Sharoniyah, described the village as “full of Bahais,” which showed that Egypt’s around 2,000 Bahais are not just a minority in Cairo.
Several human rights organisations denounced the “criminal aggression” against the Bahais and called on the authorities to prosecute those responsible.
Sectarian tensions run high in Egypt, with sporadic violence erupting between Muslims and Coptic Christians. Reports of anti-Bahai violence are rare.
Clashes and killings between Muslims and Copts have broken out sporadically over the past decades in Egypt, where Copts account for an estimated six to 10 percent of the country’s 80 million inhabitants.
In March, a village north of Cairo saw three days of violent clashes between Muslims and Copts that left one Copt dead.
In October, a Copt shot at his sister and her family, killing her husband, after she converted to Islam and married a Muslim,
Bahais frequently complain of persecution in Egypt, which until recently only allowed citizens to put Islam, Christianity or Judaism as their religion on identity cards. A recent court ruling has allowed citizens to leave the religion field blank.
A column in the state-owned Al-Gomhuriyah newspaper said on Tuesday that the Bahais, whose world headquarters are in Haifa, Israel, are connected to “world Zionism.”
Columnist Gamal Abdel Rahim described the Bahai as “a deviant group which seeks to harm Islam to serve the interests of the enemies of the Muslim religion, in particular world Zionism.”
“I know very well that the villagers of Sharoniyah protect their religion and their beliefs. The proof is that the Bahai Ahmed himself admitted during the programme that he had stones thrown at him at his home because he abandoned Islam.”
Bahais consider Bahaullah, born in 1817, the last prophet sent by God, while Muslims believe the last messenger of God was the Prophet Mohammed.
Of the faith’s 12 principles including the unity of mankind, the elimination of all forms of prejudice, gender equality and independent investigation of truth, it is obedience to government that Bahais most stress in Egypt.
Egyptian Bahais do not join political parties, take part in demonstrations or hold elections for their spiritual assemblies.