Muslim Brotherhood among invitees to Obama speech

McClatchy NewspapersJune 3, 2009 

CAIRO — The most sought-after tickets in Cairo this week are for Obama's speech tomorrow at Cairo University, and there's been widespread speculation about who would get invites.

Would the audience of 3,000 plus people include members of the Muslim Brotherhood? Would it include political dissidents who have challenged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 27-year rule? Would it include prominent bloggers who have exposed torture in Egypt?

The answer is: Yes.

Among those to receive invites are 10 of the 88 lawmakers associated with the Muslim Brotherhood; Ayman Nour, the Egyptian politician who spent more than three years in prison after challenging Hosni Mubarak for president in 2005; an Egyptian blogger who goes by the name Sand Monkey; Wael Abbas, another human rights blogger who has exposed torture in Egypt by posting shocking videos on his YouTube site, and Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights information.

Nour and the Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers are expected to be in the audience. So will Abbas and Sand Monkey.

“Even those who oppose Obama’s speech are going,” said Sand Monkey. “No one will miss this.”

Well, at least one person is planning to pass up the cherished invite.

Eid said he won’t be there. Why? Because another invitee is the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, and Eid said he didn’t want to be in the same room as a representative of what he called a “criminal” government.

Read Dion Nissenbaum's blog at Checkpoint Jerusalem.

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