Sunday, March 20, 2011

Who Stoned El Baradei As He Tried to Vote in Egypt Referendum?

'Hired thugs' or 'Islamists'?

AFP reported that, "Islamists hurled stones and shoes at Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace laureate and a secular contender for Egypt's presidency, as he tried to vote Saturday in a referendum on constitutional amendments. ElBaradei was hit in the back by a stone thrown from the crowd of hundreds but managed to escape unhurt and slammed as "irresponsible" the holding of a referendum without adequate law and order."

Al Ahram: ElBaradei has been urging Egyptians to vote “No” to the 
constitutional amendments, while many Islamic groups have been 
campaigning for a “Yes” vote. (Reuters photo)

"We don't want you," the mob shouted, throwing stones, shoes and water at the former UN nuclear watchdog chief as he turned up at a Cairo polling station, five weeks after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by mass protests.

"He lives in the United States and wants to rule us. It's out of the question," one of them said. "We don't want an American agent," said another. ElBaradei beat a retreat to his car and left without voting at the polling station in Muqattam, a largely poor district in south Cairo.

"Members of the crowd interviewed by AFP before the assault identified themselves as Islamists without elaborating on their precise allegiance. An official from the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and most organised opposition movement, denied members of his group were involved."

Meanwhile, the New York Times' reported the incident only towards the very end of its celebratory article, 'Euphoric, Egyptians Vote on Future,' which featured interviews with Muslim Brotherhood activists: "Mohamed ElBaradei, a presidential hopeful and the former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had announced ahead of time that he would vote in a suburban Cairo polling place in the Moqattam hills. Unusually, a crowd of hundreds of people gathered. When he first alighted from the car, people in line jumped to have their picture taken. But then “hired thugs” in the crowd began throwing rocks and bottles and Mr. Baradei had to flee into his car under the barrage, said Ahmed al-Gohary, a campaign aide. They broke all the windows in his car, witnesses said."

Is the NY Times purposely evading the possibility that Islamists were responsible for the attack because it has been investing so heavily in its contention that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was nothing to fear? 

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