Government officials have called Ezzat’s followers terrorists, and many Egyptians hold them responsible for the violence that has rocked the nation this month. Some believe the Brotherhood is arming itself and attacking security forces, burning government buildings and churches in an effort to destroy the country after the military announced Morsi’s ouster.
The government also has begun charging liberal activists who had opposed both Morsi and a return to a military-led Egypt. Nobel laureate and one-time vice president Mohammed ElBaradei, who fled to Vienna Sunday after resigning from the military-named government, was charged in a Cairo court Tuesday with “breaching the national trust.” His case will go before the court Sept. 19.
Tuesday proved to be the calmest day since Aug. 14, when security forces raided Brotherhood sit-ins calling for Morsi’s reinstatement. But it was clear the government crackdown was ongoing.
Brotherhood members told McClatchy that women are among those being held by authorities on charges of being armed, instigating violent protests and murders. But government officials have only released piecemeal details of their arrests. In some cases, they’ve denied holding the women.
Khadija Ismail, 19, is among the women being held, her mother said. Arrested Friday, she is charged with willful murder, storming police institutions, throwing rocks and blocking traffic.
Her mother, Manal Abdel Ghaffar, said she visited her daughter Tuesday at the Waili police station in the Abassya section of Cairo. Ismail is being held with at least two other women, her mother said.
“I had to beg them in the station to make me see her. I was about to kiss their feet to make me see her,” Ghaffar said. “What an injustice. How could she have done all those things?”
A McClatchy reporter visited the police station and asked if women were being held. Mohamed Roshdy, the deputy police commander there, denied he had any women in custody and offered to let the reporter to look for herself. But when pressed, he became indignant.
“That means that you don’t trust me,” he said. “Where did you learn about that? From Al Jazeera?” Roshdy described the Qatar-based satellite network as sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. “They are all lairs.”
Finally, he told the reporter to come back another day. By then, Ghaffar said, her daughter could be moved.
Amina Ismail is a McClatchy special correspondent.