From the archive of Abdelrahim Ali

Mostafa El-Saeed writes: Surprising indifference to al-Qaeda's threat to slit throat of journalist and researcher Abdelrehim Aly

Abdelrehim Aly

In his regular article in El-Badil newspaper, Dr. Mostafa El-Saeed announced his solidarity with the journalist and writer Abdelrehim Aly 15 years ago against al-Qaeda's threats against the latter.

Following it the text of the article:

When a well-known writer, researcher and journalist such as Abdelrehim Aly receives a death threat, it is natural that he receives the attention of the security services, especially when the threat comes from an organization such as al-Qaeda, which is the most extremist, fiercest and long-standing organization.

It was able to strike the most powerful countries in the world at home, which requires taking a threat of this kind seriously. The threat came from a well-known al-Qaeda website, which is the site of the Iraqi Resistance Forum affiliated with ISIS and the Islamic Jihad Brigades of al-Qaeda.

The threat also has its realistic justifications. Abdelrehim Aly issued many important research papers on al-Qaeda, one of which is in four parts, and he has his interventions, dialogues and comments on issues of extremism and terrorism on more than one satellite channel, especially the Al-Arabiya channel, for which he worked as an advisor. The terrorist website described him as an enemy of Islam who distorts its image and offends its mujahideen.

In the face of this danger, I expected the security services to move quickly and to contact Abdelrehim Aly and study ways to protect him, or at least the extent of the danger he was exposed to, but days passed and Abdelrehim did not receive any contact until about two weeks later. The secret of the communication was not its fear for Abdelrehim Aly, but rather its advice to him to reduce his appearance on television channels and not to talk too much or little about the threat of severing his neck. This is all that the security services did, according to what Abdelrehim Aly confirmed to me, and he was full of anger and astonishment at the reaction of the security services.

What happened to Abdelrehim Aly takes me back about 15 years when the assassination of the writer Farag Foda occurred, and by chance, Abdelrehim Aly and I had an appointment with Farag Foda on the day of the assassination, because he wanted us to participate in the publication of a magazine that specializes in spreading enlightened thought and confronting obscurant thought.

For some reason, we decided to postpone the date, and Farag Foda had received death threats. As usual, the security did not take the threats seriously, or saw it as a heavy or useless task to take care of securing the life of a writer threatened with death.

Thus, the issue is confusing. In a police state, which has forces of hundreds of thousands, and all kinds of security, it does not find interest in the life of a writer and researcher who specializes in confronting extremism, while at least hundreds of millions have been spent in activities that claim to secure the country and people from extremism. We do not find any return for it except by blocking the streets and securing the processions.

It is difficult to describe the state of fear and anxiety that afflicts Abdelrehim Aly’s family and friends, and it is even more difficult to find an explanation for the indifference with which the security behaves towards those threatened with death. Whether we agree or disagree with Abdelrehim Aly's views, we must defend his right to opinion and his right to a secure life.