Saturday, December 31, 2005

Chicago's Arab Heritage focus of Comcast Cable TV show

Jan. 1, 2005

Arab Americans and their history in Chicago is the subject of a documentary to be broadcast this month by Comcast Cable TV in 51 Chicago suburban communities. The show entitled "Arabs of Chicagoland" is based on the book of the same name published by Arcadia Publishing and Chicago author, syndicated columnist and Palestinian Arab standup comedian Ray Hanania.

The show, "30 Minutes" will provide a photographic montage of historical images of the Arab American community along with a reading from the book and a 20 minute interview with the author by NPR's award winning program "848." The radio interview was originally broadcast Nov. 22 on WBEZ 91.5 FM in Chicago.

The show, "30 Minutes," can be seen in most South and Southwest suburban communities including Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, and Orland Park, suburbs of Chicago that have large Arab American constituencies. It is available on Channel 19 on Comcast Cable every Friday night beginning at 8:30 PM.

Hanania is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writings appear in the Southwest News Herald, the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, the English language web site of Israel's largets newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the Arab American News in Detroit, the Future News of Chicago, and more than two dozen Arab and American newspapers around the country.

For more information visit

-- ET --

British Government praises release of hostages in Gaza, Palestine

London, 31 December/GNN/ --
News Release issued by the Government News Network on 31 December 2005

"We are glad that these last few days are over and we would like to expressour gratitude to the Palestinian Authority, the British Government and allgroups and individuals in Gaza and worldwide who have been supporting usand working around the clock to secure our release. We are in good healthand have been treated extremely well through the ordeal. Kate Burton plans to stay in the region and continue working with thePalestinian people. The incident was just one in the context of a severelyincreasing state of insecurity in the Gaza Strip, and Kate remains committedand passionate about working alongside the Palestinians to improve theirexternal image and alleviate the difficult conditions being suffered by the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.After these difficult few days, the family strongly requests that they beleft in peace to recover with close friends and relatives."

FCO Press Office: 020 7008 3100Press Office, Downing Street (West), London SW1A 2AL Telephone: 020 70083100 Fax: 020 7008 3734

New York Arab Comedy Festival in LA


The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival is coming to
Los Angeles from January 24-26, 2006

December 31, 2005 (New York, NY) – Today, organizers behind the groundbreaking New York Arab American Comedy Festival (NYAACF) announced that they will be taking their critically acclaimed Festival on the road for the first time ever as they travel to Los Angeles for three nights: Tuesday, January 24 – Thursday, January 26, 2006. This LA run follows the overwhelming success of the third annual NYAACF held in New York City from November 13-17, 2005 and which saw over one thousand people attend the five nights of sold out events.

The NYAACF - the only festival in the country exclusively dedicated to celebrating the humor of Arab-Americans - now comes to Los Angeles to bring its unique brand of edgy comedy to the West Coast with two nights of comedic theater shows and one night of stand up comedy. No topic is off-limits as the theater pieces comedically tackle such topics as Hollywood's casting of Arabs, Arab-Americans fear of Arab terrorists, and even lessons on how to be a “real Arab.” The stand up comedy show will present the top Arab-American comics in the country as these award winning comedians from NY and LA come together for one special show.

Created in 2003, the NYAACF is both a showcase for talented Arab-American performers and writers as well as a vehicle to dispel negative stereotypes about Arab-Americans. Given the difficulties persons of Middle Eastern descent have faced over the last several years, in this country and abroad, the Festival provides a powerful mix of unique political observations and comedic relief. In its first three years, the Festival has attracted positive media coverage for both the artists involved and the Arab-American community. The NYAACF has received positive media coverage literally around the world as it has been featured on CNN, NPR, BBC and in newspaper articles from New York to Australia. Past participants have included two-time Emmy award winning actor Tony Shalhoub, award winning actress Kathy Najimy and most recently M*A*S*H's Jamie Farr.

The LA festival will showcase the best plays, actors and comedians from the first three years of the NYAACF as these talented performers travel from New York to LA. The performers scheduled to appear in LA include, Leila Sbitani, the current host of the popular Nickelodeon show, Hi-Jinks; Actor Ramsey Faragallah who starred Off-Broadway in the highly acclaimed Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, as well as being featured in the hit movie, The Interpreter; Actor Piter Marek, who co-starred in the TNT mini-series The Grid; LA based comedians Ahmed Ahmed, who receieved the Richard Pryor award at last year's Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and Aron Kader, who has been featured on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and Fox’s “The Bernie Mac Show; Israeli-Arab actress Hend Ayoub who is co-starring in the award winning and critically acclaimed feature film "Private" which recently opened in LA; and Festival co-founders Dean Obeidallah, a comedian who was awarded this past October, The Bill Hicks Spirit Award for "thought provoking comedy" by the NY Underground Comedy Festival and who has appeared recently on CNN, NPR, and the national Air America radio network, and Maysoon Zayid, comedian and actress, who has been featured on NBC's Nightly News, MTV, and As the World Turns. The theater shows will be held Tuesday, January 24 and Wednesday, January 25 at 8:00 PM at the Hudson Mainstage Theater and tickets can be purchased through Plays411 at or by calling (323) 960-7745. The stand up comedy show will be held Thursday, January 26 at 7:45 PM at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood and tickets can be purchased by calling (323) 656-1336 or by visiting the Laugh Factory’s website:

For more information about the Festival, please visit: or call Dean Obeidallah at 917-607-4047.
New York Arab-American Comedy Festival in LA: January 24-26, 2006

Theatre Nights
Tuesday, January 24 – 8 pm
Wednesday, January 25 - 8 pm

Hudson Mainstage Theater
6539 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, Ca 90038

Theater Tickets: $20
Tickets exclusively available through
Plays411 at or
by calling (323) 960-7745.

NYAACF Play Selections for Los Angeles
(in alphabetic order by title)

“A” Date
Playwright: Lameece Issaq
Director: Shoshana Gold
Performed By:
Lamia ….. Leila Buck
Inass …… Lameece Isaaq
Miriam .... Maysoon Zayid
Ibrahim … Laith Nakli
Maher ….. Sam Younis*
Featuring: …. Maha Chehlaoui

And now a word from one of our sponsors…
Playwright: Dean Obeidallah
Director: Dean Obeidallah
Performed By:
Mustapha …. Ramsey Faragallah*
Marwan …… Waleed Zuaiter*
Mona ………. Hend Ayoub
Featuring: Neil Potter and Aron Kader

(Selected scenes from the full-length play)
Playwright: Sam Younis
Director: Abigail Marateck
Performed By:
Malek………...Sam Younis* Omar…………Waleed Zuaiter* Vijay…………..Piter Marek*
Casting Director …… Neil Potter
Sherry ……. Bethel Caram
Hi Joan
Playwright: Maysoon Zayid and the Nibras Ignition Workshop
Director: Nathalie Handal
Performed By:
Joan …. Leila Sbitani*
Dania … Tamar Vezirian
Susan …. Maha Chehlaoui
Featuring: …. Ryan Shrime

Love in Las Vegas
Playwright: Jana Zenadeen
Director: Piter Marek
Performed By:
Bride ….. Jana Zenadeen
Groom … Ryan Shrime

Playwright: Neil Potter & Bethel Caram
Director: Ahmed Amer
Performed By:
Renee ….. Najla Said
George … Joseph Kamal*

*These Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.

Stand Up Comedy Night

Thursday, January 26 – 7:45 PM
The Laugh Factory
8001 Sunset Boulevard
Hollywood, Ca. 90046

For Reservations,
Please call (323) 656-1336 or Visit

Tickets $20 each plus
2 Drink Minimum

Comics Scheduled to Appear:
Ahmed Ahmed
Aron Kader
Ronnie Khalil
Nasry Malak
Helen Maalik
Dean Obeidallah
Maysoon Zayid

Palestine Red Crescent Society Release on continued human rights violations

Press Release for the period 10-16 December 2005

During this reporting period, the Israeli Army has continued to violate International Humanitarian Law and Fundamental Human Rights, by restricting freedom of movement to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and its medical teams. Delays, denial of access and arbitrary searches had a negative impact on wounded and sick in Al-Ezariyeh, Al-Bireh, Jenin & Nablus.

Al Ezariyeh, 14/12/2005, 03:00 AM: A PRCS was stopped and denied access, at Zay’im checkpoint, while on route to transport a woman in labor from Abu Deis Suburb to Al Maqased hospital in east Jerusalem. The soldiers took the crew’s Identity cards for check. After 20 minutes had elapsed the soldiers ordered the crew to return back. The crew tried to explain to the soldiers the urgency to transport the woman to hospital. The soldiers ignored their request. The woman in labor was allowed to enter into Jerusalem by taxi. The ambulance was subjected to arbitrary search and the crew was obliged to turn off their communication equipments. After one and a half hour had elapsed the crew was allowed to return back.

Al-Bireh, 13/12/2005, 14:30 PM: A PRCS ambulance was stopped and denied access by the Israeli soldiers at Kalandiya checkpoint, while on route to transport a woman in labor from the checkpoint to hospital. The crew tried to cross the checkpoint in an attempt to administer emergency medication to the woman in labor, but the soldiers prevented them and threatened the emergency medial technician using their weapons. When the woman was almost ready to give birth, her accompany carried her, crossed the checkpoint and delivered her to the PRCS crew. The crew immediately began to assist the woman who delivered her baby within a couple of minutes inside the ambulance. Its worth mentioning that this is not the first incident in which women in labor denied access to hospitals and delivers at the above mentioned check point.

Al Bireh, 12/12/2005, 10:00 AM: A PRCS crew was attacked and its emergency medical technician was detained by the Israeli soldiers, at Shufat camp checkpoint. For more information go to:

The following table lists incidents of delays of access during this reporting period.
PRCS Branch
Delay of access (unless indicated 'denied access')
70 minutes

70 minutes
60 minutes & denied access

60 minutes & denied access

During this reporting period, a total of 11 deaths & 24 injuries were reported in the West Bank and Gaza.

These practices constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which are legally applied to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In particular, they violate articles 20 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which guarantees the protection and respect of persons who engage in the search for, removal and transport of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, and article 63 which stresses that ” Subject to temporary and exceptional measures imposed for urgent reasons of security by the Occupied Power, recognized National red cross and red crescent societies shall be able to pursue their activities in accordance with Red Cross principles, as defined by the international Red Cross Conferences…”. In addition to articles 12 and 15 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions which guarantees that “ Medical units shall be respected and protected at all times and shall not be the object of attack and shall have access to any place where their services are essential” and article 16 which stresses that, “Under no circumstances shall any person be punished for carrying out medical activities compatible with medical ethics, regardless of the person benefiting there from.”, in addition to article 21, which stresses that,” Medical vehicles shall be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol.”

For full text see:

**************************************************For more information please contact Press Office at: phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7E-mail:

Thursday, December 29, 2005

DAIR -- Israelis planning to Ban Jerusalem Christians and Muslims from voting in Palestinian elections

Press Release
Dec. 29, 2005
The Department of Arab and International Relations (DAIR)

alerts of banning Jerusalemites from participating in 2006 PLC elections.

By the time that both Palestinians and their leadership are insisting to
accomplish the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections on the due
date (Jan. 2006) – which is crucial to attain democracy and freedom-,
Israeli official statements are proclaiming that the Jerusalemites are to be
banned from participating in the PLC elections.

The Israeli measures prohibited the Palestinian Central Election Commission
from registering Jerusalemites voters; the offices were closed and the
employees were threatened; in an attempt to avert PLC elections.

Escalating the Israeli measures in the Occupied Jerusalem and preventing the
Jerusalemites from participating in the Palestinian democracy and electoral
process, are not more than aimed steps to Judaization and sever Jerusalem
from any Palestinian surroundings.

According to the UN resolutions, East Jerusalem is an occupied city where
International Laws are applied on just as the Palestinian lands that were
occupied in 1967. So, the Jerusalemites have the right to participate in the
PLC elections inside their occupied city; the right that cannot be denied by

DAIR calls upon the UN and Quartet, especially USA to intervene to allow the
Palestinians inside the Occupied Jerusalem participate in the PLC elections,
and guarantee the proper conditions to hold the elections without any
Israeli Interference. Without Jerusalem, no elections will take place
because Jerusalem is the eternal Palestinian capital and the Palestinian
people and their leadership will never give up this right.

The Department of Arab and International Relations

Dec. 29th 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

"Free" Iraqi government imprisons and threatens journalists and free speech

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465‑1004 Fax: (212) 465‑9568 Web: E-Mail:
Contact: Judy Blank
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 ext. 105

December 23, 2005

His Excellency Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Prime Minister
C/o Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
1801 P St., NW
Washington, DC 20036

By Facsimile: 202-462-5066

Your Excellency:The Committee to Protect Journalists wishes to express its grave concern about the criminal prosecution of Ayad Mahmoud al-Tamimi and Ahmed Mutair Abbas, editor-in-chief and managing editor respectively of the now-defunct Iraqi daily Sada Wasit, a local newspaper in the southern city of Kut. Both men face more than 10 years in prison or heavy fines if convicted of four separate defamation charges brought by local government officials in Wasit Province in response to critical articles that they published in 2005.

Al-Tamimi and Abbas, are charged under article 226 of the Iraqi penal code of defaming local police and the judiciary. Their trial is set for December 25, 2005.

The Judiciary Council brought a defamation charge over one article titled “The Men of the Judiciary and Judges of Bremer,” which compared Iraq’s judicial system today with that of the former Baathist regime.

Police brought a charge over another article about an Iraqi allegedly abducted by Iraqi Special Forces. When the family of the abducted man went to City Hall to inquire about his whereabouts they, too, were arrested.

A third story, based on an article in the Washington Post, discussed corruption in the Iraqi police force. The last article sparked separate judicial complaints from the police and former Wasit governor Mohammed Ridha al-Jashaamy.

The criminal charges against al-Tammimi and Abbas are part of a larger pattern of judicial harassment. In 2004, Abbas and al-Tammimi were jailed for seven months and five months respectively, in response to separate articles they wrote that allegedly defamed al-Jashaamy by criticizing his governorship.

A free press is a cornerstone of democracy and in order for it to function properly, journalists must be able to carry out their jobs without interference from authorities and the fear of imprisonment. Journalists should never be imprisoned for what they write. If individuals feel that their reputations have been harmed they should have recourse to civil, not criminal, remedies.

We believe the criminal prosecution of Ayad Mahmoud al-Tamimi and Ahmed Mutair Abbas sends a troubling message to all Iraqi journalists. If both men are sentenced to jail it would deal a serious blow to press freedoms in Iraq. We therefore call on you to assert your leadership and examine all possible legal options to ensure that that the criminal charges against them is dismissed and that they no longer face the threat of imprisonment for their work.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your reply.

Ann Cooper
Executive Director

His Excellency Jalal Talabani
His Excellency Abul Hussein Shandal
His Excellency Mohammed Ridha al-Jashaamy
The Honorable Zalmay Khalilzad
American Society of Newspaper Editors
Amnesty International
Article 19 (United Kingdom)
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Freedom Forum
Freedom House
Human Rights Watch
Index on Censorship
International Center for Journalists
International Federation of Journalists
International PEN
International Press Institute
Louise Arbour, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Glyn T. Davies, Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
The Newspaper Guild
The North American Broadcasters Association
Overseas Press Club
Reporters Sans Frontières
The Society of Professional Journalists
World Association of Newspapers
World Press Freedom Committee

Rev. Elias Chcour to visit Chicago area March 24

FR. Elias Chacour, the noted theologian and peace activist, will be here the weekend of March 24th.
We look forward to seeing you at one or more of the
special events. Plan to be energized and electrified.
Please plan on attending as many as you can.
There will be different messages at each one.
You won't be disappointed.
Proceeds are tax deductible and go to Mar Elias Schools in the Holy Land where students of all faiths are welcome.
Sponsored by Pilgrims of Ibillin, Olive Branch Chapter, a Non profit 501-C3.
To volunteer or order tickets, please call 630-653-8309.
Watch for your invitation.
Father Elias Chacour’s
visit to Chicago Land Area
MARCH 2006
P.M. Chicago
P.M. The Lodge
Mc Donald’s Corp. Hqtrs.
A.M. First Presbyterian Church
P.M. St. Matthew Catholic
Glendale Heights
A.M. Christ Church
P.M. Chicago Temple

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Saudi King Abdullah calls for Unity, Tolerance among Muslims

December 7, 2005

Saudi Information Office
(202) 337-4076


[Washington, DC] [December 7, 2005] -- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today called for unity and tolerance in order to address the challenges faced by the Muslim world in remarks opening the third extraordinary summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

“Let us bid farewell to the age of division and disintegration in order to usher in a new era of unity and dignity,” King Abdullah said. “I look forward to a united Muslim ummah [community] and good governance that eliminate injustice and oppression for the sake of the comprehensive Muslim development that eradicates destitution and poverty.”

The King denounced extremism and stressed that unity must be achieved through tolerance, not bloodshed. “How painful that the ideology sprouted forth by criminal minds has unleashed wanton evil and corruption on earth,” he said. “Islamic unity will not be achieved by bloodletting as the miscreants – in their misguided waywardness – insist on claiming. Fanaticism and extremism cannot grow on an earth whose soil is embedded in the spirit of tolerance, moderation, and balance.”

The two-day summit has been convened in response to a call made earlier by King Abdullah. Its goals include strengthening Islamic unity to fight common challenges, developing a plan for reforming the OIC, and addressing the issues of disaster relief, poverty and disease.

For a full transcript of King Abdullah’s remarks, please visit

This is distributed by Qorvis Communications, LLC on behalf of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, DC

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pope Benedict Receives FIrst Citizen Passport for Bethlehem, Palestine

Press Release: 5 December 2005

Pope Benedict - First New Citizen of Bethlehem
President Abbas comments on presentation of passport

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has become the first new citizen of Bethlehem, having been presented with a Bethlehem passport by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in a meeting at the Vatican on Saturday 3 December.

Commenting on the meeting, President Abbas said today (5 December): "His Holiness was moved to receive this accolade from the people of Bethlehem and paid special attention to the message of the passport."

The passport bears the stamp of the municipality of Bethlehem and of Open Bethlehem and states that: "The bearer of this passport is a citizen of Bethlehem; that they recognise this ancient city provides a light to the world, and to all people who uphold the values of a just and open society; that they will remain a true friend to Bethlehem through its imprisonment, and that they will strive to keep the ideals of Bethlehem alive as long as the wall stands; we ask you to respect the bearer of the passport and to let them pass freely."

Bethlehem faces a state of emergency following the completion of an eight metre high illegal cement wall at the entrance to the city that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem and other Palestinian towns. With the Israeli wall and other closures, including militarised fences and illegal Jewish settlements, Bethlehem has been reduced to its urban core: a modern-day ghetto town.

President Mahmoud Abbas said: "The warmth of the meeting between the Palestinian delegation and His Holiness the Pope underlines the positive role that the Vatican can play in making the Holy sites accessible to all people, tourists, pilgrims and local worshippers. In accepting the Bethlehem passport, His Holiness reaffirms not only the importance of Bethlehem to our world heritage, but also the importance of the relationship between this ancient city and the Vatican, and the role that the Vatican can play in safeguarding the sacred relationship between Bethlehem and Jerusalem."

The Mayor of Bethlehem, Dr Victor Batarseh, said: "It is the multi-faith character of Bethlehem that makes it so important to an open democratic Middle East. The fear and loss of hope inspired by the wall is driving our citizens abroad, and this exodus is most pronounced among the Christian community."

Leila Sansour, chief executive of Open Bethlehem, said: "We are appealing to the Pope as well as citizens of the world to help us uphold the message of hope and renewal that was born in our city. We hope that the millions of people who hold Bethlehem close to their hearts will act for Bethlehem now, as it faces the most serious threat in its history."


Notes for editors:

* Open Bethlehem was launched by the Mayor of Bethlehem on 9 November, declaring Bethlehem an open city and announcing the issue of a Bethlehem passport.
* Open Bethlehem is a city initiative that aims to promote Bethlehem as a prime destination for tourists, bold initiatives and investment. The core of its message is that Bethlehem is a city of openness and diversity, with a centuries-old tradition of welcoming travellers, refugees and pilgrims from across the world.

For more information and photographs please contact:

London: Patrick Orr: (44) 207 2225479; (44) 7909534430 Charlotte Carson: (44)7768305897
Bethlehem: Carol Dabdoub T. (972) 2 2741241 ext. 2470; M. (972) 545439841

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Arabesque Chicago monthly showcase deuts Dec. 14, 2005

ARABESQUE CHICAGO Arabesque Chicago is a monthly showcase of Arabic music held in the intimate performance space of Raven Theatre's East Stage, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago.

The debut of Arabesque Chicago on Wednesday, December 14 at 8:00 p.m. features vocalist and ‘ud player Naser Musa, accompanied by percussionist Souhail Kaspar.Musa, a Jordanian of Palestinian descent, is a composer and arranger as well as a musician. He has toured and recorded with major Arab musicians worldwide, and is an instructor at the Mendocino Middle East Music Camp and Heartland Seminar on Arabic Music. His area of special interest is Bedouin music.

Kaspar, a native of Lebanon, was trained at Nadi al-Fonun al-Arabia in Aleppo, Syria. He has performed with Fairuz, Farid al-Atrache, Sting, and other high-profile entertainers and has recorded with Ali Jihad Racy, Kadim al-Sahir, and the Kronos Quartet.Musa and Kaspar collaborated on the CD “Khaliji: Songs of Love and Passion from the Arabian Gulf.”The Raven Theatre, in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, produces critically-acclaimed dramatic works ranging from American classics to contemporary plays.

Xauen Music of Chicago ( is dedicated to preserving the heritage of classical Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, and Sephardic music. Xauen Music produces concerts and tours; records and distributes CDs; publishes scores, magazines, and books; and conducts educational seminars.

Tickets, at $8 for students/seniors and $12 general admission, are available at TicketWeb. For information, please call 847-830-8277. January's concert, on the 11th, will feature Iraqi musician Amir ElSaffar.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Committee to Protect Journalists criticizes Egyptian elections

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465‑1004 Fax: (212) 465‑9568 Web: E-Mail:
Contact: Joel Campagna
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 ext. 103

EGYPT: Journalists covering elections harassed and attacked

New York, December 2, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the assault and harassment by Egyptian authorities of journalists covering parliamentary elections. CPJ sources and press reports confirm over a dozen cases in which journalists have been attacked, detained, or prevented from working since the first round of voting in the three-round election began on November 8.

The ruling National Democratic Party and security forces have ordered supporters to beat and harass voters and journalists, the CPJ sources and press reports said. Harassment has increased as Muslim Brotherhood members, whose candidates run as independents because the authorities have barred them from forming a party, have gained ground.

Police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds outside polling places and prevented some voters from reaching polling booths, the sources said. Journalists covering these events were assaulted or jostled by security forces who confiscated tapes and equipment, and who briefly detained some reporters.

“It is outrageous that Egyptian authorities should tolerate the harassment and intimidation of journalists covering an election,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “We call on the government to ensure that all harassment of the local and foreign media stop immediately.”

On November 26, Asmaa Ali Hraiz, a reporter for the opposition weekly newspaper Al-Karama, was attacked, blindfolded and kidnapped near a polling station in the city of Shoubra al-Kheima, north of Cairo, by security agents, the paper’s editor-in-chief, Jamal Fahmy, told CPJ. Her kidnappers told her they were from the state security service and they took her cell phone, camera and a gold necklace. They threatened to rape her. The officer in charge ordered two female assailants to beat Hraiz unconscious. She was then dumped under the Six October Bridge in Cairo. She suffered broken ribs, serious injuries to her right arm, and bruises on the spine. The attack was reported to the Attorney General’s office, but no investigation has been launched, according to Fahmy.

On December 1, Ahmad Bayoumi, a freelance reporter for the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera, and the channel’s cameraman Mohammad Ezzedin were assaulted at the Ben Aibad polling station in Mansoura, north of Cairo, by supporters of the National Democratic Party candidate Hassan al-Neer. Bayoumi was punched in the face and kicked in the back, while Ezzedin was shoved and pushed. They were threatened with knives and told to leave the area immediately. Security forces detained Mahmoud al-Maleegy, cameraman for Al-Jazeera, in the Nile delta town of Kafer Sheik, for an hour. They destroyed his camera and tape.

Security officers in civilian clothing held Amil Khan, a British citizen and correspondent for Reuters, at a polling station in Sandoub, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Cairo, for an hour. They questioned the authenticity of his press card and demanded to see his passport. After Khan began telephoning the Ministry of Information and the British embassy they let him go.

The Muslim Brotherhood has made significant gains, winning 76 seats so far, nearly five times the seats the group held in the last parliament. However, it won no seats in the final election round after police barred thousands of their supporters from voting.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit