NYT: Turmoil in Egypt Extends Into Countryside
Digest of parts of the nytimes.com article –
Reach of Turmoil in Egypt Extends Into Countryside
By MAYY EL SHEIKH
Published: September 15, 2013
The turmoil shaking Egypt has extended to the countryside, causing some division within communities. Mr. Abdel Aal from Aga, was a leader in the country’s biggest Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. He died in a clash of police and demonstrators.
Recently, the Egyptian government and news media, have called Islamist foes of the government traitors and terrorists.
After preparing for Mr. Abdel Aal’s funeral, the mosque’s staff turned off the lights and microphone for fear of what residents might do if they learned it was a funeral for an Islamist.
The Egyptian army’s Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi’s supporters call their Islamist neighbors “sheep” for their supposed obedience to their leaders, while Islamists shout back calling neighbors “slaves” to the government and “Christians, enemies of Islam”
When thousands of Mansoura Islamists marched through the streets in mid-July, other residents attacked them with machetes, clubs and shotguns.
Signs in the streets thank security forces for fighting terrorism.
“What terrorism?” one who had marched asked. “We are your neighbors.”
At the entrance to Aga, a sign declares, “Sheep are not allowed to live in the country of the brave.”
Many of the businesses in Aga known to be owned by Muslim Brotherhood members were ransacked.
Hostility cuts so deep that those who support the government offer little sympathy for their Islamist neighbors who face violent suppression of their demonstrations.
Some in Aga said that the ousted Mr. Morsi had applauded the police for cracking down on protests opposing his rule. Over 100 demonstrators were killed on his watch, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, an independent group.
The support for the military’s crackdown on Islamists, several residents said, is due to Islamist violence. A bomb went off in front of Mansoura’s police headquarters shortly after the takeover, killing one officer and reminding citizens of a decade of terror in the 1990s, when Islamist groups took up arms against the state and killed scores of citizens and police officers.
“I know what’s being done to the Islamists is wrong,” said Hassan Habeeb, a local official at the leftist pro-military movement of Al Tayar Al Shaaby. “But I’m still all for it because it’s necessary and because they wouldn’t have showed us mercy had the roles been reversed.”
In a street cafe here one recent afternoon, three residents applauded the crackdown on the Islamists, and approved of the assaults on Brotherhood-owned businesses.