Representatives of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice group paid a visit to Capitol Hill last week reportedly to spread awareness of human rights violations committed by the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. A report covering the visit showed pictures of the group’s president Hani al-Qadi and five other representatives gathered in Congress to lobby against the Egyptian government and to distribute reports to Congressional staffers supporting their position. Although it remains unclear if the group held meetings with any U.S. Congressmen, their visit remains a puzzling cause for concern.
While the group has consistently casted its anti-Sisi activism in humanitarian terms, it has also done little to cover up its pro-Brotherhood stance. The group’s website homepage features an image of pro-Morsi protesters and its members have been photographed making the Rabaa hand gesture used by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The group’s visit also follows only weeks after reports that the Muslim Brotherhood was establishing a U.S. lobbying campaign to counter a potential U.S. designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. This reported “substantial Islamic lobby in the U.S.” would complement already-active Brotherhood attempts to distribute its views online.
Although it remains unclear if the Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice’s visit constitutes part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. lobbying campaign, the views of at least one of its visitors reflects the often hateful rhetoric of the organization and its members. Ayat al-Oraby, among the delegation sent to lobby Congress last week, is a N.Y.-based “journalist” infamous for her controversial political and religious views. Last year, while claiming that the “crescent must always be on top of the cross” and spreading conspiracy theories related to the Egyptian Coptic, Oraby called for an economic boycott of Egypt’s Christians. Her sectarian views are commonly featured on the Journal of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, a publication tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.
From Coptic Solidarity:
“A delegation from the pro-Muslim Brotherhood organization Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFAJ) lobbied [Ar] on Capitol Hill on Tuesday for an “Egypt Advocacy Day.” In a press release on Facebook, EAFAJ stated that the purpose of their meetings with congressional offices was “to expose the crimes of Egypt’s current military regime against its own Egyptian people.”
They distributed reports to congressional staffers describing the human rights abuses committed in Egypt beginning after the July 2013 military coup through March 2017. The organization calls for halting all U.S. military aid to Egypt “until democracy is regained and human rights are respected.”