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Rev Majed El Shafie

The Hilton Hotel in Taba where Rev. El Shafie stole a jet ski to escape to Israel

Mohammed El Baradei

Rev. Majed El Shafie: Opposes the West backing El-Baradei to replace Mubarak as Muslim Brotherhood will Come to Power on His Coat-Tails

There aren’t too many people who, after being tortured and condemned to death in Egypt, have managed to escape to Israel by driving a jet-ski from Taba in the Sinai to Eilat. But Rev. Majed El Shafie, who has since obtained political asylum in Canada and now lives in Toronto did just that.
Rev. El-Shafie, who is the President and founder of One Free World International, El. Shafie Ministries (OFWI),is following the current upheaval in Egypt very closely. His organization, which monitors violations in Egypt and other Arab states against the Christian minority, has people in Egypt who are updating him on the situation on the ground.
According to El Shafie who was interviewed on February 3 by the Winnipeg Jewish Review “The Muslim Brotherhood has used the demonstrations in Egypt to advance its agenda.They are going street to street, door to door asking people to go out to demonstrate…They want a hand in the new government. They are being more aggressive, more active, are coming out in full power…”
El Shafie, 34, was born a Muslim in Cairo to a distinguished Muslim family of lawyers and judges. He was exposed at an early age to hatred toward the Christian minority in Egypt through a Christian friend. He decided to convert to Christianity, wrote a book about it and as a result became an outcast and a victim of oppression.

He began a mission to bring the Christian community in Egypt all of the same legal rights as the Moslem community in Egypt. After beginning a ministry which built two churches, a bible school and medical clinic, he established a newspaper to request from the Egyptian government equal rights for the Christian community. The Egyptian government did not tolerate this and El Shafie was arrested in 1998 and taken to the torture section of the Abu Zaabel prison in Cairo.

“I was jailed at Abo Zaabl jail and tortured for seven days and then put under house arrest for three months…After receiving the death penalty, I escaped from house arrest and hid with a Beduin family for two months in Sinai. Then I went to the Hilton hotel in Taba, [near the border with Israel] and I stole a jet-ski and landed in front of the Princess Hotel in Eilat in Israel…It was about a three minute ride on the jet-ski.” he said.

But when he got to Eilat, Rev. El-Shafie was imprisoned again, this time by Israeli authorities because the Israeli government did not know what to do in his circumstance. Legally he could not stay in Israel, but if they sent him back to Egypt, he would be executed.

“I was in Israeli prison in Israel because under the peace treaty with Egypt, they couldn’t take me in,” he said.

When asked how long he was in Israeli prison he answered, “one year, three months, 15 days, 12 hours and 24 minutes.When you are in prison you count every minute.”

Rev. El Shafie was eventually released through the assistance of the UN, Amnesty International and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem,
which managed to obtain political asylum for him in Canada, where he emigrated and became a citizen in 2006.
El Shafie, who founded OFWI in 2004, said he believes that Mubarak should leave now but he cautioned that the United States should NOT support Mohamed El-Baradei’s attempt to become the leader to replace Mubarak as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will “ride to power on his coat tails.”
He said “I am concerned that under current circumstances Mubarak’s abrupt departure will create a political vacuum which will be filled by Islamic extremists. The West appears to be embracing Mohamed El Baradei, a former head of the UN nuclear inspection agency, as a replacement for Mubarak. This is of serious concern as El Baradei, in addition to betraying heavy anti-Israel sentiment through his actions at the UN agency, is reportedly communicating with the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamic extremist movement, in order to actively involve the Brotherhood in the future political landscape of Egypt.”
Rev. El Shafie noted that Time Magazine quotes El Baradei as saying “The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian movement, has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places.” According to Time, El Baradei intends to include the Muslim Brotherhood, “an integral part of Egyptian society,” in the political process and has called the Brotherhood “a conservative group that favors secular democracy and human rights” [emphasis added]. El Baradei also told Fareed Zakaria the following: “I have been reaching out to them (the Moslem Brotherhood) We need to include them.” Many Western news outlets have adopted the claim that the Muslim Brotherhood is a conservative, non-violent movement.

Rev. El Shafie counters:

“Nothing could be further from the truth. While it officially renounces violence, the Muslim Brotherhood is the ideological parent of terrorist movements such as Hamas and Al-Qaida. Members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are behind daily forced conversion attempts, violent attacks, and torture against Egyptian Christians. The Brotherhood cooperates with Hamas in Gaza and leaders are determined to launch war against Israel. This is a very serious matter and we cannot, under any circumstances, allow the Muslim Brotherhood to increase its influence in Egypt. To do so would be to condemn the Egyptian people, from Christians and other religious minorities to moderate and secular Muslims, to a regime of oppression and religious tyranny that will make Mubarak’s repressive regime seem like a beacon of freedom.”

He believes that if the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power they “will say at the outset that they respect the treaty with Israel, but then shortly afterwards they will say they want to reform the agreement.”

They will not keep the peace with Israel. [Note: A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood said it won’t commit to maintaining a peace treaty with Israel or even recognition of Israel on CNN television Also, Rashad al-Bayoumi, a deputy leader of the Brotherhood said on Japan’s NHTV “After President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel.” ]

Rev. El- Shafie is of the view that “Even if Mubarak were to leave today, Obama still needs to work with Omar Suleiman, the new Vice-President [appointed by Mubarak] as democracy can’t occur tomorrow. The regime needs to be supported until Suleiman can reform the constitution and educate the people, and allow freedom of the media, freedom of speech and work towards a free election.”
When asked how long he felt would be needed before a free election should take place in Egypt, El Shafie answered “Five years from now there should be an election…Democracy in Egypt is an infant-it needs to learn to crawl before it can learn to walk.”

Five years is much longer than US senators have called for. The U.S. Senate has called for Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to an interim government supported by the military and to enact reforms needed to hold free and fair elections this year.

Rev. El-Shafie has family in Egypt but “is not-in communication with them since they disowned me after I converted to Christianity.” He emphasized that “The people of Egypt have been living ‘in darkness’ under a dictatorship for 30 years-You can’t expect them to adjust to light right away.

“Thirty percent of the population is illiterate-they can’t read and write their own name-you can’t give them absolute democracy in the beginning because it’s easy for them to turn to extremism. The United States [and other countries] should
support the new VP Omar Suleiman. We need slow change.
“Democracy as we know it in the West cannot simply be transplanted into Egypt, a country that has never experienced any form of true democracy. Democracy cannot survive where people cannot read their own constitution. It must be taught, nurtured, and brought to maturity so that it can flourish.”
Rev. El Shafie explained that the Muslim Brotherhood is popular with the poor illiterate people of Egypt “because they provide the basic food and necessities to them…The Muslim Brotherhood is very wealthy. They own supermarkets in Egypt and they get funds from countries such as Iran and Saudia Arabia.”
If there were elections now, Rev. El Shafie says that the Muslim Brotherhood would win because they are “the most organized group.”
Rev. El-Shafie is concerned that if democracy is brought to Egypt too quickly, “we will see the same scenario that we saw in Gaza and the West Bank in 2006, where Hamas won the elections,” or we risk “repeating the Iranian scenario where pro-democracy forces deposed the shah in 1979 but were quickly overcome by the radical Islamic ayatollahs.”
He noted, “When Egypt had elections in 2005, even though they were rigged the Moslem brotherhood won 88 out of 454 seats in the Egyptian parliament. The Moslem Brotherhood really got more than 88 seats but once they got 88 seats the regime shut down the elections completely.”
Regarding Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, Rev. El-Shafie said that the peace was not one that was really between people.
“It was a cold peace that the Egyptians entered into to get money from the Americans,” he said.
“There is no love lost between Egypt and Israel,” he added. He said Mubarak’s regime was supporting Hamas under the table through enabling smuggling of weapons from Sinai into Gaza.

There are reasons for Israel to be concerned about developments in Egypt. “There is now a whole well equipped army in Egypt [due to American support Egypt received after entering into the peace agreement with Israel]. It is a built up modernized army that that could in the future “be at war with Israel.”

Rev. El Shafie said that unlike Egypt, the Arab Gulf States are stable, even though there is no democracy there “because the people are wealthy.” He said that “Saudi Arabia has a higher standard of living than Egypt.” In Egypt, due to Mubarak’s corrupt regime, Rev. El-Shafie says that “the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer and the middle-class is disappearing. The average Egyptian salary is under $2.00 a day.”
[Editor’s note: Although Rev. El-Shafie said the US ought to work with Omar Suleiman, a day after he was interviewed it was reported that Suleiman was also inviting the Moslem brotherhood into a national dialogue, something that would have been unthinkable before protests erupted on Jan. 25, indicating the giant strides made by the Moslem Brotherhood.,

Rev. El-Shafie’s response: If it’s true that mean’s that even the new government (under Suleiman)will be playing with fire by including the Muslim Brotherhood.]