Symbolic Protest In DC Against Egypt’s Human Rights Violations

Symbolic Protest In DC Against Egypt’s Human Rights Violations


Tens of human rights activists and American Muslims gathered on Friday April 27th in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Washington DC to protest the Egyptian Government”s record of human rights violations and military tribunals for political opponents.

The protest, which drew activists from around New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington DC, was hosted by the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MASFF). Some local news media and Al Jazeera English covered the event. Representatives from the interfaith coalition and antiwar movement, ANSWER, were also guest speakers.

In his speech, Mahdi Bray the director of MASFF expressed concern over the deteriorating climate of human rights violations in Egypt, the second largest recipient of US aid. He called on the government to respect the dignity and the rights of its citizens. Mr. Bray promised more activities in major US cities with larger crowds to get the attention of the Egyptian government. Protestors chanted against military tribunals for opposition leaders and called for justice.

At the end of the protest, a delegation from the protest”s organizers tried to deliver a letter expressing their concerns to the Egyptian embassy, however, embassy officials declined to receive letter.

Friday”s protest is part of a larger campaign launched by MASFF to call the American people and public officials’ attention to Egypt“s retreat from a stated commitment for a more open and inclusive government, according to statement by MAS.

Delegation meets with Egyptian and US State Dep. officials


The MAS Freedom Foundation, along with national leaders from other human rights and peace organizations, met with Egyptian embassy officials and U.S. State Department representatives in separate meetings on April 24th to express deep concerns over growing attacks on civil society dissidents and government opponents in Egypt.


Members of the delegation included Mahdi Bray, the MAS Freedom Foundation Executive Director, Ibrahim Ramey, the Human and Civil Rights Director of the Freedom Foundation, Jean Stokan, National Policy Director of Pax Christi USA, and long-time national civil rights leader and former member of congress Walter Fauntroy. 


The delegation pointed out to both State Department and Embassy officials evidence collected from numerous U.S. and international human rights organizations, as well at the State Department, all accusing the Egyptian government of systematic violations of the human rights of political opponents, dissidents, journalists, and students.


“We are especially outraged over the attempts to undermine the independence of the judicial system in Egypt, the growing use of military tribunals in Egypt, and the many reported incidents of sexual abuse, including rape, of women detained by Egyptian security forces” added Imam Bray.


The delegation also mentioned the enormous commitment of U.S. tax dollars to Egypt (now $1.7 billion a year), and the obligation of taxpayers in the United States to insure that this aid not be used to support the broad attack on human rights evidenced by the recent conduct of the Mubarak government.


The MAS Freedom Foundation is planning to meet in the near future with U.S. congressional leaders on the issue, and a high-level MAS Freedom Foundation delegation, made up of U.S. religious and civil rights leaders, may also visit Egypt later this Spring.