Egyptian media is reporting that anti-Semitic cleric Wagdy Ghoneim is among fourteen defendants charged by Egyptian authorities in connection with clashes that took place last December in front of Al-Itihidaya presidential palace in Cairo. According to An Ahram Online report:
1 Sep 2013 Late on Sunday, Egypt’s prosecutor-general ordered the referral of cases against deposed president Mohamed Morsi and 14 other defendants to criminal court, concerning their alleged responsibility for clashes that took place last December in front of Al-Itihidaya presidential palace in Cairo.
At least ten were killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi last december after he issued a controversial constitutional decree, which was criticised by the opposition for being undemocratic and giving the former president unprecedented powers.
The fourteen defendants include Muslim Brotherhood leaders Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagy; Islamist preacher Sheikh Wagdy Ghoneim; head of Morsi’s presidential bureau Ahmed Abdel-Ati; deputy-head of the presidential office Asaad Sheikha; former presidential advisor Ayman Abdel-Raouf; in addition to Islamist youth Ahmed El-Mogheir and Abdel-Rahman Ezz.
According to investigators, Morsi and his presidential staff have been accused of ordering their supporters to attack peaceful protesters who assembled outside the palace to denounce the former president’s decree. The move reportedly came after the republican guards and ministry of interior refused to obey orders to attack protesters.
Morsi has been accused of inciting his supporters and aides to kill and use violence against peaceful protesters.
Ghoneim, El-Erian and El-Beltagy have been accused of inciting violence against protesters via media outlets.
A date for the immediate trial of the defendants will be announced shortly. On 26 July, a Top Egyptian court ordered the detenion of the deposed president, who has been held incommunicado since his ouster on 3 July, for 15 days pending investigations into into his suspected collaboration with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
Morsi was slapped with another 15-day detention on 19 August pending investigations into charges of involvement in the December 2012 violent attacks at Itihadiya.
Wagdy Ghoneim is an Egyptian cleric known for his anti-Semitic speeches. In January 2005, Mr. Ghoneim agreed to be voluntarily deported from the U.S. based upon Department of Homeland Security concerns that his past speeches and participation in fund-raising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations. Following deportations from Bahrain and South Africa, he appears to have settled in Qatar where MEMRI reported on remarks by Mr. Ghoneim which aired on Al-Jazeera TV and which praised violent Jihad and criticized the U.S. and Europe as “Godless” nations. Ghoneim is closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood and has been a frequent speaker or invited speaker at Brotherhood events including those sponsored by the Union of Islamic Organizations in Italy (UCOII), the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), and the League of Swiss Muslims. Known for his anti-semitic speeches, global media have also reported that he is closely associated with Hamas. Ghoneim was recently identified as one of sixteen individuals on a Home office list of people banned from the U.K. on the basis of ” unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to commit terrorist acts. In July, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that Mr. Ghoneim was added by Egyptian authorities to a list of 90 leaders of the “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
In January 2013, Mr. Ghoneim called on Egyptian President Morsi to “‘kill the ‘thugs’ and ‘criminals’ who are causing the unrest that has plagued Egypt the past weeks.”
In November 2012, Ghoneim called for Sharia (Islamic Law) to be implemented in Egypt referring to his opponents as “infidels.” Ghoneim had also recently tweeted his satisfaction with the devastating storm that struck the northeast U.S.
In March 2012 Ghoneim gave an address on Al-Aqsa TV in Match in which he accused Israelis of spreading drugs and AIDS in Egypt. The same month Mr. Ghoneim was visiting Tunisia where his remarks on female genital mutilation (FGM) stirred up controversy.
Also in March 2012, Ghoneim expressed his support for violent Jihad.
Our predecessor publication cataloged a lengthy set of Mr. Ghoneim’s other extremist statements.