A government minister in Egypt has come under fire after addressing a crowd during a meeting with Egyptian immigrants in Canada and threatening to ‘cut’ those who criticize Egypt while living abroad. The ministry has responded saying that in Egypt, the expression has casual rather than threatening connotations.
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Nabila Makram, Minister for expatriate affairs in the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was addressing an event for Egyptians living in Canada. She began “Egypt embraces all of us and brings us closer together. Wherever we go, it stays in our hearts and we can't tolerate anything said about it outside."
Following that she said; “Anyone who says anything [negative] about Egypt abroad will be cut,", which was received with applause and laughter by the audience.
Makram responded saying; "The state is protecting its children and not threatening them," and that “I cut his throat” is a common way of expressing anger in Egypt.
However, dissidents have expressed concern, saying that these are not mere words when her government is engaged in real-life violence against critics. "This minister's sinister words are a testament to the Egyptian government's alarming record of disappearing, imprisoning, and executing dissidents," Amr Magdi, a human rights researcher, said on Twitter.
Others compared the case to that of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist who was killed at a Saudi embassy in Turkey in October 2018, one social media user commented; “Egypt has decided to follow the Saudi way to deal with dissidents. No one should go to the Egyptian embassies alone.”
The Sisi regime, of which Makram is a part, has committed numerous human rights abuses, notably, the ‘Rabaa massacre’ in which state forces murdered protesters in Cairo, official sources say the death toll was 638, but the opposition says the number is far higher.