Military stokes xenophobia in Egypt
Cairo, Aug.1 (ANI): Facing mounting challenges and spreading unrest, Egypt's interim military rulers have blamed foreign agents for pushing protesters to demand reforms and a speedy transition to democracy.
Egyptian generals have also criticized recent offers of foreign aid and decried what they call attempts by the United States and other countries to meddle in Egypt's nascent democracy.
"It's the kind of rhetoric that resonates very strongly with Egyptians. Egyptians are very proud of being Egyptians," the Washington Post quoted Heba Morayef, a Cairo-based researcher with Human Rights Watch.
Morayef said the recent tactics are more pervasive and blunt in comparison to the xenophobic rhetoric of the past.
Egyptian activists say efforts to stoke xenophobia could be a pretext to crack down on groups that have become increasingly critical of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
"The military council is deliberately creating an atmosphere of deep suspicion and hostility toward anyone that dares criticize its performance," said Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
Military leaders have, in particular, sought to disparage the April 6 movement, one of the most active in the mosaic of groups that brought down Mubarak in February.
Army officers have asserted that the group's members received military training in Serbia and are receiving U.S. funding - allegations that the group denies and the military has not publicly substantiated.
"There are 600 organizations that applied for aid at the American Embassy here in Egypt," Major General Hassan Roweini, a member of the military council, said in a recent televised interview.
"It's all been documented by the security apparatus of the state, with names and dates and what they've been training for and the amounts they've received from abroad," he added.
Western diplomats said they are alarmed by the rising xenophobia, which they say has the potential to put Egypt's streams of foreign funding in jeopardy. (ANI)
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