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Egypt revolution unfinished, Qaradawi tells Tahrir masses
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a leading Egyptian Islamic theologian popularized by Al Jazeera, returned to Cairo today to deliver a stirring but overtly political sermon, calling on Egyptians to preserve national unity as they press for democratic progress.
“Don’t let anyone steal this revolution from you – those hypocrites who will put on a new face that suits them,” he said, speaking to at least 200,000 who gathered for Friday prayers in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s uprising. “The revolution isn’t over. It has just started to build Egypt … guard your revolution.”
The massive turnout and Mr. Qaradawi’s warning that the revolution is not complete demonstrate that if the military drags its feet on reform, another uprising could begin. And while his sermon was nonsectarian and broadly political, the turnout was also a reminder that political Islam is likely to play a larger role in Egypt than it has for decades. (Christian Science Monitor)
Among Egypt’s missing, tales of torture and prison
Ramadan Aboul Hassan left his house one night about three weeks ago to join a neighborhood watch group with two friends and did not return. The next time their relatives saw the three men they were emerging Wednesday night from a maximum security prison, 400 miles from home, run by Egypt’s military. Some family members said they bore signs of torture, though others denied it.
While many here have cheered the military for taking over after last week’s ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and for pledging to oversee a transition to democracy, human rights groups say that in the past three weeks the military has also played a documented role in dozens of disappearances and at least 12 cases of torture — trademark practices of the Mubarak government’s notorious security police that most here hoped would end with his exit.
Some, like Mr. Aboul Hassan and his two friends, were not released until several days after the revolution removed Mr. Mubarak.
Now human rights groups say the military’s continuing role in such abuses raises new questions about its ability to midwife Egyptian democracy. (New York Times)
Suez Canal workers join broad strikes in Egypt
Hundreds of workers went on strike on Thursday along the Suez Canal, one of the world’s strategic waterways, joining others across Egypt pressing demands for better wages and conditions. The protests have sent the economy reeling and defied the military’s attempt to restore a veneer of the ordinary after President Hosni Mubarak’s fall last week.
The labor unrest this week at textile mills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical industries, the Cairo airport, the transportation sector and banks has emerged as one of the most powerful dynamics in a country navigating the military-led transition that followed an 18-day popular uprising and the end of Mr. Mubarak’s three decades of rule.
Banks reopened last week, but amid a wave of protests over salaries and management abuses promptly shut again this week. The opening of schools was delayed another week, and a date has yet to be set for opening the stock market, which some fear may plummet over the economic reverberations and anxiety about the political transition.
The military has repeatedly urged workers to end their strikes, to no avail. (New York Times)