Egyptian Students Under Siege
Questionable practices from the Egyptian regime continue against those adopting different ideologies, especially if they are not in accordance with the governments. This is evident by recent attempts to silence the Muslim Brotherhood at Egyptian Universities, with the start of a new academic year.
As soon as the academic year started, Universities witnessed verbal disagreements between the MB students and the faculty at the Universities. Many violations were perpetrated against students starting with detentions, investigation sessions and other questionable practices against MB students.
We had this interview with Abdel Rahman Mustapha, a student at the Faculty of Commerce. He spoke about the harassments he faced since the start of the academic year, “we found security trying to prevent us from welcoming the new students with signs, as we have done every year. As MB students, we have a right to carry out student activities and should not recede under pressures” he explained, “this harassment against the students is attributed to pressures being applied to the security by the University of Administration.” At the end, he assured his continuation along with his colleagues to carry out their activities because this is their legitimate right.
Another student from the Faculty of Commerce Islam Yusuf said, “University investigations are a formal procedure with no repercussions, and as MB students, we routinely face this every year.” He mocked the allegations to the investigations, like accusing them of hanging sign calling for Islamic ethics or reciting the Qur”an or welcoming new students; however he insists that they will go ahead as this is a student”s legitimate right.
Muhammad Abbas, a student at the same faculty –third year- shrugged when he heard of the 13 investigations against the welcoming students, even though MB students also welcome the Dean and the staff. He attributed this to the attempts of curtailing the influence of MB since their participation in society would change the negative image that mass media has created about the MB. “These activities reflect positively on MB, which goes against the wishes of the government.” He also noted, “the Egyptian regime with its many different methods continues to keep MB organization silent within the society, and this is quite clear in detainments against Egyptian students at the Universities to the extent of suspending them for weeks or referring them to investigations.”
Amr Hamed, the General Secretary for The Free Union of Students and also a student at the Faculty of Medicine at the Mansoura University, spoke about if the regime would succeed in curtailing the influence of MB students on other students saying, “I do not think that such attempts from the regime would succeed as they failed to counter ideologies through their own ideologies. This method adopted by the Egyptian regime can not defeat people on the ideological level and it failed at propagandizing so it resorted to aggression and intimidation. This is a failed method and the opposite affect is taking place because most of students have sympathy towards MB because of these harassments.”
He said, “although a month of Ramadan should bring tranquility; intimidation against MB students has spoiled this tranquility to the extent of using verbal abuses between MB students and Deans of University after the signs were removed. “
Arwa Al-Tawil, another student in the , Department of Media at the Faculty of Arts, spoke about the quarrels inside the Department of Islamic Civilization, between security and students on the signs. She says “such procedures are for the sake of stirring the student although they have rights to carry out student activities.” She adds, “The regime is facing a state of utter breakdown and feels threaten by anyone with an intellect. I think all attempts by the regime to exclude MB students will be a failure because the students insist on taking their rights in delivering their message”.
Ahmad Abdel Hafiz , at Dar Al-Ulum Faculty detailed the harassments saying, ‘they tore our signs and especially those related to us at night…the following day, they tore the signs of girls at 10:00 am in front of the students.” Ahmad believes that taking down the signs at night is a cowardly action and it is appalling to find a professor removing the signs of Dr. Muhammad Fathi and the deputy Ibrahim Abdullah. Arwa Al-Tawil adds at the end, “what we are doing is for Allah’s sake and no body can stand before truth. Perhaps there are periods of weakness, yet despite the difficulties, this is the end to MB message which has continued for more than 70 years.”