Dude, You should’ve kept your mouth shut

If you were a radical Jihadist who was lucky  enough to get political asylum in Britain, might you think about laying low?  Not Hanai Sibai.  A former top leader of the Egyptian Jihad group, Sibai takes every opportunity to publicly express his sympathy for Al-Qaeda ideology.   For example, last summer, he made an appearance (from London)  on the Arab world’s most-watched political talk-show,  Al-Itijah Al-Muakis,  railing_against_the_evils of secularism.   At one point he even goes as far to say that the West calling birds Turkeys- after the name of the Muslim country Turkey, is a sign of how they don’t respect Islam ( go to 3:35 in the clip) … That’s brilliant analysis.  HT to Jihadica for pointing this out. 

The following December,  after Sayyid Imam Al-Sharif published his non-violence initiative, there were probably 40-50 op-eds in the Arabic press analyzing them.  About 49 said this is  a great thing and a major (and positive) development in the history of the Jihadist movement.  Sibai, however, wrote articles in Al-Masri Al-Youm  and  Al-Hayat  bitterly_denouncing Sayyid Imam’s non-violence initiative.   Even a lot of his friends were saying “yo, what the hell are you doing?”   I remember reading an op-ed by a conservative Jihad sympathizer saying that Sibai needs to keep his mouth shut or he is going to go the way of Abu Hamza and other prominent Euro-Jihadist clerics who pushed the limits too far and are now in jail. 

It seems this is about to happen to Sibai.  Today,   Al-Masri al-Youm,  courtesy of info provided by Montaser al-Zayat,  reports that the British and Egyptian governments are negotiating Sibai’s extradition back to Egypt  from his home of the last 15 years.   According to the article,   Egypt had been repeatedly making this request for years, but this is the first time during the Gordon Brown administration.   Perhaps something has changed the British government’s opinion now. 

For his part,  Sibai says its not fair and that this is a violation of previous agreements.  Please join me in  not shedding any tears for Mr. Sibai.   I don’t know anything about asylum law, but it seems to me that if, fleeing from a perceived threat, you are given shelter in someone’s house, you should be thankful and keep your mouth shut.  Taking the step of very publicly opposing Sayyid Imam’s revisions is blatant terrorism incitement, so in my view  he deserves whatever he’s got coming for him.

I’m just disapointed that that we won’t be able to read  FANATIC_FACEOFF_II.  Sayyid Imam is coming_out_with_a_new_book in response to Zawahiri and Sibai as the sequel to his anti-violence initiative.  Something tells me Sibai will not be responding this time around.

15 Responses

  1. […] al-Siba`i, Egyptian Jihadi and provocateur extraordinaire, is being kicked out of the U.K. and sent back to Egypt.   Hani, like Sayyid Imam, was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and […]

  2. Hrmm… ever heard about freedom of expression? Or does that only apply to natives? A person ‘lucky enough’ to get asylum needs to shut his mouth and be thankful?

  3. first, yes, considering how hard it is for people to get asylum in the West, I believe people who get it should have a degree of thankfulness. I personally know hundreds of people who are fleeing from serious conflicts that deserve it alot more than he does. I have no sympathy that his big mouth is being turned against him.

    yes there is a difference between freedom of expression and terrorism incitement. freedom of expression is what he did when he went on al-Itijah Al-Muakis and argued for his ultra-fundamentalist religous views.

    terrorism incitement is what he has been doing by loudly denouncing Sayyid Imam’s revisions whenever he gets a chance. One of the big things that Imam argues now is that it is completely 100% religously prohibited for Muslims who enter the “House of War” (thats the term he uses to take about non-Muslim countries) legally, as did the 9/11 19, to then engage in trickery, ie turn against the people who allowed them in- the Euro or American govs, by commiting terrorism. So when he takes every chance he can get to denounce the Revisions thats a security threat to the West. Thats inciting terrorism. So just as he has the freedom to express his views, so do the British government have the right to reevaluate their stance on his asylum. He has noone to blame but himself.

  4. I doubt the British government’s extradition of Seba’i bears any relevance on how they will be keeping tabs on him in the future. The decision to send him back to Egypt is not much more than a crowd pleaser, appeasing middle Britain’s over-dinner grumblings against ‘undeserving’ asylum seekers and economic migrants.

    What’s really important here is how he will be monitored in Egypt, and the continuing bi-lateral intelligence operations that ‘make our world a safer place’. It will be interesting, if now slightly disturbing to see if, and how Egypt shut him up.

    Note, the timing – that this comes just as the 42 day rule fails to pass in the House of Lords. The deportation of such a high profile figure is just a drop in the ocean (and a laughable show of bravado) when it comes to Britain’s shady and more common methods of dealing with suspected and potential terrorists.

  5. Michaela,
    It seems to me that he will be monitored very easily- by being thrown in jail. He was convicted on prior terrorism related cases. The way I understand his days of freedom are probably over- he’s going straight to jail.

  6. Rob,

    You have a very interesting line of reasoning concerning freedoms and rights. yes, there is a difference between freedom of expression and hate incitement – all freedoms do have limits. And yes, what he has said could be argued to have crossed that line.

    But where is that line? And what should be the consequence of crossing that line? Even more interesting is to ask who deserves rights and freedoms, and the relation between them. If you go too far and misue a freedom like that of expression, have you then lsot all other rights like the right to not be tortured (because he WILL be tortured in Egypt) or the right to seek asylum?

    Finally, I think it’s odd to say that some people should be thankful. Are you thankful of the government here for letting you stay here? And if so, how do you show your thankfulness?

  7. I also believe if someone asks for asylum in a country, he or she should measure how he or she expresses his or her views. And believe me, I am antiimperialist 1000% but I believe in applying the Arabic expression: لكل مقام مقال and that المقال should be accompanied by a certain أدب . The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: بشِّروا ولا تنفّروا . This basically means: express your opinion against those responsible for a مكروه in the most beautiful way possible. If you are against the British or American government for its policies then express your opinion but express yourself in a way that doesn’t anger the good citizens of the country you are living in and who might very well agree with you.

  8. Sara,
    First, it is not certain that he will be tortured in Egypt. If the British government makes that a condition of his return, they will probably stick to it. Sure, will he be treated nicely as in having a great celll? Maybe not. But I dont think he will be tortured if thats a condition of his return. He is a high profile prisoner who is not just going to disapear and never be heard from again.

    Second, you seem to be admitting yourself that he crossed the line between freedom of expression and terrorism incitement. So where is the controversy here? I would say that the line between is between freedom of expression and terrorism incitement just as you describe. Expressing extremely fundamentalist anti-secularism views is freedom of expression. Consistently going out of your way to denounce Sayyid Imam’s initiative seems to me terrorism incitement.

    There are millions of people around the world who are fleeing from serious conflict that they had nothing to do with causing. Hanai Sibai was a member of a radical terrorist group that uses violence to try and overthrow its government. 99% of his society throughouly rejects their approach and goals. I see someone fleeing from Darfur as being far more deserving of asulymn than Sibai. Sibai got it while millions of others sit in slums living in poverty, with no hope of advancing themselves. They would kill to be given the chance to get asylum in the West. And believe me i f they got it, they would go and become some of the most productive citizens of these societies and would be thourhoughl thankful. If there are limited spots, who should get them? The people from places such as Darfur, who are fleeing from serious conflicts they had no role in causing? Or radical fanatics, who have participated in terrorist groups, in causes they mostly started?

    I dont have a problem with him getting asylum. But I do feel that he should be thankful, considering how competitive it is to get asylum.

    If I was flleeing from conflcit and given asylum, I would feel thankful. And so would 99.9% of the refugees who apply for apply for and get asylum.

    I am not a refugee so I cant be thankful. But I do operate under the principle that when in a given country, I am a guest, and I have a certain obligation to act accordingly. If i was a refugee and got asylum in a Western country, I would have a certain degree of “thankfulness” that Hani Sibai clearly doesnt have.

    John,
    As always thanks for your comments. I agree.

  9. Hi Rob,
    Was going to excerpt and link to you elsewhere, but I’m afraid I can’t do that to a moderate-Muslim oriented website when you have a link to an organization like MEMRI, that is closely affiliated with the hate-mongering effort in the US right now to distribute the ‘Obsession’ DVD. It would be like linking to a white-supremacist website to justify your thesis.

    MEMRI provided alot of the video for the ‘Obsession’ movie, shares board members with EMET which tried to deflect initial criticism from the Clarion Fund over the movie by claiming a leadership role in the ‘Obsession’ project. (EMET eventually pulled out after a huge negative response to the movie developed). MEMRI was also formerly run by Meyrav Wurmser, a highly visible Likudnik/neoconservative.

    All kinds of moderate/progressive Muslims can agree to pelt this dorky jihadist with eggs, but not standing next to an outfit like MEMRI.

    I have no idea what your personal views on the ‘Obsession’ campaign are, but if you are a supporter then you would be completely discredited to me as a source of information.

  10. Salaam,
    That’s unfortunate if a simple link to MEMRI (one out of about 50 links) on the blogroll is enough for you to not link this post to your blog.

    I’m also wondering how long you have actually been reading MediaShack which takes up issues related to the Middle East, including Islam, in a serious scholarly way. MediaShack’s basic philosophy is that all sources and all viewpoints must be consulted. Just because one may or may not agree with certain views doesn’t mean that they can be ignored.

    MEMRI’s pro-Israeli agenda is clear. But at no point have I ever said that MEMRI is an objective source of scholarly analysis and its links have been used in maybe 3 or 4 out the 500 or so posts at this site. Articles from Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which sits at the opposite side of the spectrum, have been the source of at least 20 posts. I disagree with your claim that linking to MEMRI is the equivalent of linking to a white supremacist group.

    Clearly, MEMRI focuses only on the negatives of the Middle East which do exist. However, unlike the people at Georgetown or Columbia, we don’t pretend that there aren’t problems in the Middle East. Here at MediaShack we actually discuss them. And if a MEMRI translation, such as the one I linked, is helpful in getting the point across to a non-Arabic speaking audience, than I see no reason why there is a problem with linking to it.

    Oh, and I have never heard of this Obession campaign until reading your comment.

  11. Not reading here too long, so I don’t have a broad perspective on this blog’s coverage, but I’ve linked to a few of your posts before.

    The ‘Obsession’ campaign is a sore subject. 28 million DVDs were inserted into newspapers in US ‘swing’ states. Its thesis is that 2008 is like 1938 and Islam is like the Nazis only worse since there are alot more Muslims. It’s an ugly piece of anti-Muslim propaganda. I’ve got extensive coverage at my site. A good overview would be this excerpt from the London Review of Books look at the DVD.
    http://www.progressiveislam.info/showDiary.do?diaryId=707

    The campaign is ongoing, as this recent confrontation (Oct. 14) between the movie’s PR flack and a progressive rabbi shows, which took place when the flack tried to crash an interfaith press conference denouncing the movie in Los Angeles.
    http://www.progressiveislam.info/showDiary.do?diaryId=793

    The next phase of the ‘Obsession’ campaign is the new DVD “Third Jihad.” Where the first movie emphasized “the enemy over there,” the new one emphasizes “the enemy among us.”

    Heady, fearmongering stuff.

  12. ok thanks for letting me know about it. we only cover what we think is important. that it hasn’t been mentioned on this site is probably an indication that noone here considers it worth talking about.

    that being said i suggest you do a bit more research of this site’s contents before making dramatic statements that a link to MEMRI is like a link to a white supremacist organization. MEMRI has been on the blogroll for at least 6 months. You have linked at least twice before during this period and didnt have a problem then, so I dont understand your sudden concern.

  13. Your MEMRI link is buried in that invisible right-hand corner so I didn’t even know it was there. it’s still not a problem, but if it’s in a story I’m linking, then yes, it’s usually a deal breaker (depending on how important the information is.).

    I was unclear when I referenced a white-supremacist website. I didn’t mean to say that it was like a white-supremacist site, but that my readers might feel that way about it, and I respect their issues with it, given its role in the fear-and loathing campaign against Muslims right now–the point being that people stop listening.

    Elsewise, thanks for the good work you do.

  14. thanks for clearing up your issue with the link.

    my view is that Sibai’s apperance on Al-Itijah Al-Muakis in the summer of 07 and the things he said on it were an important part of the post I was trying to write. So how do I express that to the MediaShack readership who probably mostly doesnt read Arabic, and wouldnt have the time to sit down and read a whole transcript even if I did have the show transcript link available? MEMRI happened to translate the show into English. Therefore, I linked to the show and thought nothing more of it. No other reader of MediaShack, and we have lots of Muslim readers, has ever complained about it.

    anyway thanks for your comments

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