Egypt's ambassador to the United States discusses in this interview
how Egypt successfully cracked down on its own internal Islamist terrorism and defends the
tactics that were used. He also talks about what fuels anti-Americanism in the
Middle East. This interview was conducted mid-September 2001.
For 20 years he headed Egypt's security service. Following Anwar el-Sadat's
assassination in 1981, General Allam and the new president, Hosni Mubarak, waged a campaign against radical Islam not seen since the days of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s. It included unlawful arrest, detention without trial, and torture to force confessions. Thousands of
suspected terrorists were rounded up and jailed, among them Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was later convicted of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of bin Laden's two top lieutenants. This interview was conducted mid-September 2001.
He is an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen. Like many disaffected Egyptian
middle-class students, Sattar was attracted to the views of Sheik Omar Abdel
Rahman, who preached that the only way to establish an Islamic state in Egypt
was through a massive armed struggle, or jihad. Sattar later became a close aide
to Sheik Abdel Rahman, who was convicted of plotting terrorist attacks in the
U.S. Sattar explains why many in the Islamic world agree with bin Laden and
oppose the U.S. -- either violently or peacefully. Sattar also answers
questions about bin Laden's Egyptian allies.
This interview was conducted in 1999 for FRONTLINE's report "Hunting bin
An Egyptian dissident based in London, el-Sirri is the director of the
Islamic Observation Center. In
1994 he was sentenced in absentia to death for his involvement in a failed
assassination attempt on former Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Sedki which killed
a young girl. He denies the charges. Calling the Egyptian regime
"dictatorial," he says change can only come through a military coup or popular
uprising. He also talks about bin Laden's top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri.
This interview was conducted through a translator in September 2001.
|Why is America the Target of Militant Islam?|
U.S. policymakers, and Saudi and Iraqi dissidents, discuss the reasons for
anti-U.S. hatred in the Islamic world. Here are the views of former Senator Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), who served as chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1997 to 2000; Dr. Saad
al-Fagih, director of the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia; Edward Walker,
former assistant secretary of state for Near-Eastern affairs; Michael
Sheehan, former coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department; U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; and Nabeel Musawi, political liaison of the Iraqi National Congress.
"Islam didn't produce Mohamed Atta," writes Fouad Ajami in The New York Times Magazine (Oct. 7, 2001). "He was born of his country's struggle to reconcile modernity with tradition."
|"U.S. Has a Long Way to Go To Bring Around Egyptians"|
"Mahamoud Bahi Radwan, the principal, held court behind his battered wooden
desk at Mustafa Kamal Middle School on Monday, urging teachers seated on
plastic chairs in his cramped office to discuss Egypt joining the battle
against the forces who carried out what he called 'the slap.'" From The New York Times, Sept. 26, 2001.
|"It's That Warmth"|
In this June 2001 interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, the departing U.S.
ambassador to Egypt, Daniel Kurtzler, reflects on tensions in the U.S.-Egyptian
relationship, including differences regarding Iraq, the conflict between Israel
and the Palestinians, and the October 1999 EgyptAir crash.
|"Egypt: Stable, but for How Long?"|
This article from the Autumn 2000 issue of The Washington Quarterly
traces the history of the Egyptian government's historical reactions to surges
in political Islam, and questions the ability of Hosni Mubarak's autocratic
regime to withstand serious social and/or economic instability.
In this February 1999 interview with Atlantic Unbound, New Yorker
staff writer Mary Anne Weaver discusses her book A Portrait of Egypt: A
Journey Through the World of Militant Islam (Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
1998). "There is a growing concern," she says, "that if Egypt 'goes Islamic,'
so could much of the Arab world. Egypt is the most populous and the most
influential Arab state, and since the 1970s the Islamists there -- with growing
vigor, in growing numbers, with growing support -- have infiltrated the courts,
the universities, the schools, the arts. A number of preeminent Egyptian
thinkers and ideologues are quite convinced that an Islamic victory in Egypt is
|"Sadat and His Legacy: Egypt and the World, 1977-1997"|
This introduction by Jon B. Alterman offers historical background on the rise
of the slain Egyptian president. It describes Sadat's legacy as a series of
ongoing processes -- particularly Egypt's role in the Arab-Israeli peace
process in the aftermath of the 1978 Camp David accord.
|"Egypt: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2000"|
This U.S. State Department report cites Egyptian human rights practices as
"improving," largely due to the decline of terrorist activity by Islamic
extremists. However, it calls the government's record in relation to freedom
of expression and treatment of detainees "poor." It writes that "the dominant
role of the President and the entrenched [National Democratic Party] control
the political scene to such an extent that citizens do not have a meaningful
ability to change their Government."
|"Egyptian Islamic Jihad"|
A profile of the radical Egyptian group Islamic Jihad from the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism. It includes a history of the organization, news analyses, and a chronology of their attacks from 1988-2000.
A profile of the radical Egyptian group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyyah (the Islamic Group) from the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism. It includes a history of the organization, news analyses, and a chronology of their attacks from 1988-2000.
|"The Islamic State in Egypt is Approaching"|
In this 1997 interview with Nida'ul Islam magazine, Al-Gama'a
al-Islamiyyah representative Sheik Rifa'ey Ahmad Taha describes the
organization's aims of creating an Islamic state. He predicts that upon its
establishment, "Indeed, Israel will confront us at that time, and America will
besiege us, and the West will boycott us, in fact the entire world will attack
us as one."