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October 24, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 5023

Columnist In Egyptian Daily Al-Ahram Says MEMRI TV Clip Embarrassed President Mursi

October 24, 2012
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 5023

In his daily column, Dr. Osama Al-Ghazali Harb of the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram discussed a MEMRI TV clip that shows Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi attending Friday prayers on October 19, 2012, at a mosque in the city of Marsa Matrouh, nodding his head and answering "amen" as the preacher curses "the Jews." According to Harb, the clip is an embarrassment for Mursi and embodies the dilemma he faces, obliged as he is to honor the peace agreement with Israel by virtue of his office, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to take into account the majority view on the Egyptian street, which is opposed to the agreement.
Following are excerpts from the article:

"MEMRI is an acronym for the Middle East Media Research Institute. This is a Jewish institution located in Washington, which publishes and distributes free English translations of [items] from the Middle East press and media. Additionally, it publishes free analyses of and reports on these materials. That is to say, plainly, that MEMRI controls the material read by large sectors of the European and American elite regarding what is published in the Middle East press and broadcast in the media of the region's countries, particularly in terms of their treatment of the Jews and Israel.

"Over the past two days, MEMRI 'caught' a fat fish, which it is now streaming worldwide via the Internet: a television clip of President Mursi during his last visit to [the northwestern city of] Marsa Matrouh. [Mursi is seen] sitting in the front row amongst the congregants of the Al-Tana'im Mosque, listening resignedly to a Friday sermon by Sheikh Futouh 'Abd Al-Nabi Mansour, head of the Islamic Endowment in Marsa Matrouh.

"As usual, Sheikh Mansour concludes his sermon, in the presence of President Mursi, of course, with the following supplication: 'Oh Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us, and grant us victory over the infidels. Oh Allah, deal with the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder. Oh Allah, demonstrate Your might and greatness upon them. Show us Your omnipotence, oh Lord.' Of course, Mursi nodded his head, mumbling 'amen' along with the congregants after each supplication [against the Jews].

"MEMRI is now streaming this scene on the Internet and distributing it around the world with audio and video, and with English subtitles. This is very embarrassing to the president. I do not know how the honorable president would respond if asked: 'Do you agree with what Sheikh Futouh said?' If he says no, it is a problem, and if he says yes, it is an even bigger problem. I believe that no one will ask the president this question, but the case and its implications will not go over well [with Western viewers], since this matter embodies the massive gap that still exists between the official contractual obligation for peace with Israel, and the popular objection to this [peace] agreement. As part of his official duty, the president must respect the agreement, as he has stated many times, but he also cannot disconnect from the prevailing popular mood. This is a complex problem that must be dealt with more wisely. Furthermore, it is important to be well prepared for such events.

"As for Sheikh Futouh, I do not know if his honor knows that his name, voice, and image are now circling the globe [and spreading] on wide-reaching social networks, and that he is being accused, whether directly or indirectly, of antisemitism. [Publishing his words and image around the world] did not even occur to him, and he might not have even heard of it."

Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 24, 2012.

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