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An attorney and human rights activist in Egypt says a mosque in Cairo has installed a torture chamber, and it is being used to terrorize Christians and others there.
The report comes from Egyptian Coptic Christian and human rights activist Wagih Yacoub, who said the Bilal ibn Rabah mosque in the Cairo suburb of Moqattam serves as a Muslim Brotherhood-approved torture chamber.
The Muslim Brotherhood virtually has taken over Egypt since its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, was elected president after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Yacoub says his friend, Amir Ayad, was the victim of the torture after he was snatched by Muslims in Cairo.
“They took him off the bus as soon as they saw that his identity card said he was a Coptic Christian,” Yacoub said. “Then they took him inside the mosque. There were six other people who were not Christians, but they were tortured there as well.”
Yacoub said the mosque had a sophisticated torture setup.
“They were very well organized. They had stations and one where they made people take off their clothes. The others, they passed their clothes to another group where they (the clothes) could be searched,” Yacoub said. “The people in the mosque checked the pockets and took the victims’ identification papers.”
Yacoub said his friend Ayad reported that the torturers operated in the dark so they would not be identified.
“They (the torturers) also relied on the cell phone lights so no one could recognize their faces. They (the torturers) put their (the victims’) hands behind their backs and tied up their legs,” Yacoub said. “The torturers lifted their victim’s legs up onto a chair and then they beat them with sticks badly all over their body – on their legs, on their hands, on their back, and on their head.
“For six hours they tortured my friend. When they saw his condition, they finally stopped. They released the other six, but they talked about how to get rid of my friend,” Yacoub said. “My friend says they said they wanted to get rid of him because he’s a Coptic Christian. Others said they didn’t want to be involved in a killing or a murder. It was enough to give him a permanent disability as a warning to other Christians. Other Christians may decide they don’t want this.”
At about that point, Ayad was untied.
“My friend was bleeding badly and he knew that he had little chance to survive. So decided to run away. He thought he was on the first floor, so he jumped out of the window, but discovered he was on the second floor,” Yacoub said.
“He was in bad pain, badly wounded, so he rolled around on his back and stomach. Finally he was able to stand and struggle to walk,” Yacoub said. “Then he walked to a house, got there and began screaming and yelling. He was able to give the people in the house his family’s phone number before passing out.”
Ayad woke up later in the hospital.
Open Doors USA Director of Communications Jerry Dykstra also confirmed that the situation for Christians in Egypt is deteriorating.
“The situation is growing more violent each day – especially for Christians in Egypt. Christians are not only caught up in the growing violence but are targeted by Muslim extremists and others who know believers will not be protected by the police or the military,” Dykstra said.
Dykstra said the Coptic pope denounced the government’s inaction following the recent death of four Coptic Christians.
“Coptic Pope Tawadros II spoke out against the violence and seemed to directly criticize President Morsi for his inaction in the recent deaths of four Christians and the lack of protection at the Coptic cathedral Sunday when a crowd attacked mourners after the funeral for the dead believers,” Dykstra said.
But the persecution has just intensified, he said.
“The persecution has gotten worse for Christians over the past two years since the fall of former president Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood does feel emboldened with the rise to power of Morsi,” Dykstra said.
Dystra says if there is a bright spot, it’s a growing dissatisfaction over the Morsi government.
“There seems to be a backlash mainly due to worsening economic conditions, including the rising cost of food, dwindling tourism and lack of jobs. He may have to make some compromises with Christians, youth and democratic reformers, even though he obviously does not want to,” Dykstra said.
Christian Solidarity International-USA President John Eibner says while he can’t specifically confirm the “torture mosque,” mosques used as centers for anti-Christian activity aren’t out of character for Egypt.
“There is a long history of mosques being used as centers for the political and military promotion of jihad against perceived enemies of Islam,” Eibner said.
Eibner said this connection is the result of Islamic philosophy.
“There is nothing akin to separation of church and state in traditional Islamic political and religious thought. The emphasis is on unity of what in Western political culture is perceived as separate political and religious spheres,” Eibner said. “There is no doubt that some mosques in Egypt are used for Christophobic agitation.”
Eibner said that Egypt’s current state of affairs has some of its roots in past U. S. foreign policy.
“The Islamic authorities in Egypt understand that the United States has for decades had alliances with anti-Christian and anti-Jewish Muslim extremists. Take, for example, one of America’s most important regional allies: totalitarian Saudi Arabia,” Eibner said.
“The basic condition of the U.S.-Saudi alliance is that the USA will provide military support and promote open trade on condition that the Saudis do not directly threaten other American allies, especially Israel, and cooperate in the defense of America’s regional economic interests, especially oil interests,” Eibner said.
“As long as the Saudi’s meet these conditions, the United States will not apply pressure over religious freedom and other fundamental human rights. This has been the case for decades,” Eibner said.
Eibner added that this pattern in U. S. foreign policy isn’t lost on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
“Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood leadership understands this probably calculates that they will have a free hand to pursue a radical Islamic domestic agenda provided they do not threaten directly fundamental American strategic and economic interests,” Eibner said.
“Judging from the muted reaction in Washington to the upsurge of anti-Christian violence in Egypt, their calculations may well prove to be correct. The human rights interests of non-Muslim minorities appear to have little weight in Washington,” Eibner said.
Neither the White House or the State Department have responded to requests for comment on this story or Eibner’s comments.