Tags: Middle East | Egypt Unrest | Egypt | violence | Cairo | protests

Newsmax Source in Cairo: Riots Have Nothing to Do With Religion

Friday, 28 Jan 2011 02:19 PM

By David A. Patten

A source on the ground in Cairo who supports the protesters and who joined the rally that triggered a brutal backlash from police Friday tells Newsmax that the uprising in Egypt has no link to Muslim extremism, nor any other religious motivation.

“It has nothing to do with religion, it has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood, there were no religious connotations in this revolt,” says Ahmed, an owner of a high-tech business who has lived his entire life in the Cairo region. “People were just asking for freedom and liberty after 30 years of oppression.”

Newsmax is withholding Ahmed’s full name to avoid any chance of reprisals from his speaking to the media. This morning the government of Egypt shut down all cell phone communications, and about 85 percent of the nation’s Internet traffic, in order to block protesters’ efforts to coordinate their activities. But Ahmed was still able to speak to Newsmax via a landline.

Despite the important role played by Nobel Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, whose return to Egypt encouraged tens of thousands to pour out into downtown Cairo and Alexandria to protest the 30-year rule of strongman President Hasni Mubarak, Ahmed says the uprising in Egypt is essentially leaderless.

“There are no leaders,” he tells Newsmax. “If there were leaders of the protesters, the whole revolt would have failed in Egypt. It is exactly like Tunisia. There are no leaders. If you had a leader, they would have got him, they would have discredited him, they would have told you a lot of scandals about him, and in that case it would have failed.”

The Newsmax source says he was in a Cairo mosque with ElBaradei during noon prayers, and was struck by a water cannon authorities used to try to disperse the crowd. He said he did not see ElBaradei’s arrest. The government has reportedly confined the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency to house arrest.

The revolt was inspired by the recent Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. But Ahmed insisted that no outside party or religious movement instigated the unrest.

“Credit the revolt only to the people of Egypt, who got sick of the dictatorship,” he said. He told Newsmax the outcome of the revolt is uncertain because circumstances there are changing on a minute-by-minute basis.


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