Monday’s papers: The ongoing obsession with foreign funding, foreign hands

Many of today’s papers are still fretting about foreign funding.

Al-Shorouk columnist Salama Ahmed Salama asks why Islamic groups have not been included in the investigation into NGO funding when some of them — including, Salama says, the Muslim Brotherhood — receive donations from abroad.

State daily Al-Gomhurriya declares on its front page: “$300 million to strike at Egypt’s stability,” while Al-Nour, the mouthpiece of the Salafi Nour Party, dedicates four separate articles on the topic.

The tone is set from the beginning with the first story: “Al-Nour uncovers the suspect role of American rights organizations in Egypt.”

There follows a largely innocuous piece describing the history of organizations such as the International Republic Institute (IRI) and Freedom House — whose Egyptian offices were raided on 29 December as part of a legal investigation into foreign funding — and which emphasizes the Jewish heritage and Israeli connections of senior figures in Freedom House.

In its “blacklist of public and rights figures who have received American funding,” Al-Nour reproduces a list of names published by the America in Arabic news agency and alleges that these figures “gave information to the US Embassy in Cairo and received funding.”

Staying with the American theme, Al-Nour looks at “Suspect US attempts to incite fights between political powers.” The article reviews several articles recently published in the foreign press as evidence that “foreign institutions are attempting to create discord between the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis.”

State-run Al-Ahram picks up this theme on its front page, announcing that “amid indications of a split between Islamists and their opponents,” the Muslim Brotherhood is putting forward a proposal for a celebration to mark the first anniversary of the 25 January revolution.

The paper reports that 60 political figures met yesterday to map out what form the celebration will take, and quotes veteran activist George Ishaq as refusing “Brotherhood control of celebrations in Tahrir Square."

As activists call for what they are describing as a “second 25 January revolution,” this time against the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Al-Ahram quotes Tareq al-Zomor, media spokesperson for Jama’a al-Islamiya, as saying that “marginal forces such as the April 6 Youth Movement will not impose their divisive vision on the masses.”

Political powers are reportedly divided about what to name the proceedings on 25 January, Al-Ahram says. There have been proposals for “memory of the revolution,” “continuing revolution” and “celebration of the revolution,” with some objecting to the latter because the revolution hasn’t yet achieved its goals.

In apparent contradiction with Zomor’s statements in Al-Ahram, Independent Al-Tahrir quotes Jama’a al-Islamiya member Alaa Shetta as saying that the group "did not take part in the revolution and it will not take part in the celebration.”

Al-Tahrir says that the Muslim Brotherhood “has not yet clearly stated its position on 25 January” in a story run underneath a half-page picture of SCAF member Sami Anan and the head of the Brotherhood labeled, “The Brotherhood of the military.”

The report goes into more details about the plan the Brotherhood is drawing up for 25 January. The group will reportedly extend an invitation to political forces to put in place a timeframe for the handover of power, on the condition that during the celebration the SCAF announces it has handed over 50 percent of its powers — the power to pass legislation — to parliament.

The tone of today’s issue of Al-Tahrir is decidedly anti-Muslim Brotherhood, with three columns critical of the group.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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