Second Rally Planned in DC Against Egypt’s Human Rights Abuses

Second Rally Planned in DC Against Egypt’s Human Rights Abuses

Several human rights and interfaith activists are organizing a large rally in Washington DC on Friday April 27 to protest the Egyptian government”s violations of the basic rights of its citizens and the crackdown on opposition and reform leaders.

The human rights campaign was launched by the Muslim American Society (MAS), one of the largest grassroots organizations in the US, in collaboration with several interfaith and human rights groups.

On April 2nd, the campaign organizers sent letters to congress leaders including Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), in addition to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, complaining that the actions by the Egyptian government, the second largest recipient of US aid, violate the respect for basic human rights and civil liberties that are the cornerstone of United States foreign policy. 

Meeting requests were also forwarded to Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, John Boehner, and other Congressional members.

According to MAS website, the goal of the campaign is to call the American people and public officials’ attention to Egypt“s retreat from a stated commitment for a more open and inclusive government. This retreat from democracy has resulted in a cruel crackdown on moderate Islamic activists, nonreligious political opposition to the Mubarak government, judges, journalists, and academicians.

Additionally, MAS Freedom Foundation has sponsored an April 27th rally and protest in front of the Egyptian Embassy.

Letter sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Dear Secretary Rice:

As you are very aware, recent actions on the part of the current Egyptian government have placed extreme restrictions on nonviolent, democratic dissent in that nation. Numerous critics of the Mubarak regime, both Islamic and secular, have been imprisoned without due process, and in some cases physically abused and tortured by agents of the current regime.

Notable journalists, academicians, and others who stand for human rights and democratic reforms in Egypt have been harassed and beaten because of their nonviolent demand for political and social change in their homeland.  Yet despite these systematic human rights violations, the government of Egypt continues to receive nearly $2 billion annually in U.S. foreign aid, making it the second largest American aid recipient.

We of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation share your concern that these actions violate the respect for basic human rights and civil liberties that are the cornerstone of United States foreign policy. 

We note that in your speech at the American University in Cairo on June 20th, 2005, you stated that the Egyptian government …” must give its citizens the freedom to choose, Egyptian elections must be free, (that) opposition groups must be free to assemble and participate, (and that) the Egyptian government must put its faith in its own people.” 

Our organization, and millions of Muslims in the United States, agrees.

Further, we believe that systematic attacks on peaceful dissent in Egypt will only increase the likelihood of extreme, and violent, responses to the actions of the Mubarak regime.

Therefore, we respectfully encourage the U.S. State Department to take the following actions:

(1) Call for both transparency and accountability from the government of Egypt in matters related to full respect for human and civil rights, and initiate diplomatic discussions on these critical issues, and
(2)  Fully utilize the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs of the State Department to make these violations of human rights transparent and fully known to the broader community of human rights advocates in the United States, and internationally.

It is truly our hope that the government of the United States will engage in true “transformational diplomacy” to support the institution of genuine democracy and respect for human rights and civil liberties in Egypt.

The MAS Freedom Foundation and our interfaith colleagues would look forward to the opportunity to meet with you, and appropriate State Department officials, to further discuss this urgent situation.  I respectfully request that your office contact me at (703) 998-6525 to schedule such a meeting at the earliest possible time.

Sincerely yours,

Mahdi Bray
Executive Director
Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation


Mr. Robert W. Edgar, Secretary General
National Council of Churches

Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Director, Shalom Center, Philadelphia, PA

Former Congressman Walter Fauntroy

Mr. David Robinson
Executive Director, Pax Christi, USA