Egypt crisis: Obama downplays fears of Muslim Brotherhood
On Sunday, an anti-Mubarak protester sleeps in a burnt out van that makes up part of the barricade that protects Tahrir Square.
February 6th, 2011
01:05 PM ET

Egypt crisis: Obama downplays fears of Muslim Brotherhood

Read full coverage and examine a timeline of the unrest in Egypt updated continually by CNN reporters worldwide. Send your photos and video to iReport and see CNN in Arabic here. See also this strong roundup of timely, insightful views on the wave of upheaval in the Arab world.

[Update 1:48 a.m. Cairo, 6:48 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama downplays  the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has voiced opposition to the United States, ascending to power in Egypt once its president, Hosni Mubarak, leaves office.  "They don't have majority support in Egypt, but they are well-organized," Obama tells Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on Sunday.

[Update 1:25 a.m. Cairo, 6:25 p.m. ET] Former ABC News journalist Sam Donaldson on Sunday stood by recent compliments he gave to Al-Jazeera regarding its coverage of the Egypt protests, telling CNN's Howard Kurtz that the network did "a service in fanning the flames in Egypt."

[Update 12:37 a.m. Cairo, 5:35 p.m. ET] The U.S. State Department  issues an updated travel warning for Egypt, continuing to recommend U.S. citizens make every effort to leave the North African country. It also adds the U.S. government is not planning additional charter trips. Read the full advisory here.

[Update 12:20 a.m. Cairo, 5:20 p.m. ET] A U.S. State Department release on Sunday says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke Saturday night with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. During that meeting, Clinton stressed that a "broad cross-section of political actors and civil society" should be part of the government's transformation process.

[Update 12:14 a.m. Cairo, 5:14 p.m. ET] State-run Nile TV reports that Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq called the network to announce that Google executive Wael Ghonim, missing for more than a week, will be released Monday.

[Update 8 p.m. Cairo, 1 p.m. ET] Multiple bursts of automatic gunfire - apparently warning shots - could be heard in Tahrir Square near the Egyptian Museum. The incident marked an escalation of tempers between the military and protesters. After the army fired the warning shots, hundreds of protesters surrounded the military positions in the square, CNN's Ivan Watson reported.

[Update 6:58 p.m. Cairo, 11:58 a.m. ET] Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said authorities have been told "not to bother" human rights activists and journalists working at anti-government protests. If there have been such problems, they are "not intended," Shafiq told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday. Arrests of journalists and human rights activists "are not allowed at all," he said.

[Update 5:40 p.m. Cairo, 10:37 a.m. ET] Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the United States cannot "micromanage the process" in Egypt, but that the Obama administration needs to make its goals clear. "Arriving at a Democratic solution is important, which is in fact inclusive, Democratic, peaceful and rapid," Albright said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

[Update 5:10 p.m. Cairo, 10:07 a.m. ET] Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said that the situation in Egypt remains in a standoff as long as President Hosni Mubarak refuses to leave. "I hope somebody will send a message, I don't know in which way, to President Mubarak that for the sake of the country, for his own dignity, to defuse this crisis, he better step down," ElBaradei told CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS." Watch Zakaria's take on whether Egypt is a revolution or a revolt.

"Everybody is ready to give him the dignified out he is entitled to as a former president of Egypt," ElBaradei told Zakaria.

- During his CNN interview Sunday, ElBaradei also said he would refuse to meet with the Egyptan government unless Mubarak steps down. Other oppositions groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have meet with the government. ElBaradei said the Egyptian people are getting confusing messages about whether Mubarak should leave office, referring to a U.S. envoy's comments that Mubarak must stay in place during a transition of power and the Obama administration saying he should leave soon.

[Update 3:09 p.m. Cairo, 8:09 a.m. ET] Some banks in Egypt have opened and it's now the start of the work week in Egypt. Banks had been closed for days during protests. Meanwhile, the mood in Tahrir Square, the site of pro-Hosni Mubarak and anti-Hosni Mubarak clashes last week, was festive and peaceful as Christians and Muslims held hands and sang. The gathering appears to be strong as people continue to push for Mubarak to leave office.

[Update 11:46 a.m. Cairo, 4:46 a.m. ET]It is a "huge mistake" for Egypt to shut down the internet or use violence against protesters, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday.

Some banks in Egypt were open Sunday, according to the country's minister of finance. Some banks opened as early as 8:30 a.m. local time.  Banks have been closed in recent days amid anti-government protests.

[Update 10:00 a.m. in Cairo, 3:00 a.m. ET] Egyptian Coptic Christians are expected to gather at Tahrir square to pray for those who have lost their lives since the protests started. Muslim protesters said they will form a ring around the Christians to protect them during the service.

The Muslim Brotherhood said it will meet with the country's vice president, days after the group said it would not negotiate until President Hosni Mubarak leaves office.

Opposition activists formed a human chain outside one of the entrances to Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday to prevent two Egyptian military tanks from crossing through barricades into what has effectively become an anti-Mubarak enclave.

The death toll from the violent clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square has reached 11, Egypt's Health Ministry has said. Nearly 1,000 people have been injured in clashes in Tahrir Square.

The U.S. Embassy in Egypt issued a statement indicating that several embassy vehicles were stolen in Cairo on January 28. The statement was in response to an online video that showed a white diplomatic van running into anti-government protesters near Tahrir Square.

Members of the general secretariat of Egypt's National Democratic Party submitted their resignations, Egyptian state television reported.

Among those submitting their resignations from leadership positions in Egypt's National Democratic Party were Gamal Mubarak, Mubarak's son, state television reported.

The head of the Egyptian stock market told the nation's official news agency that it has canceled a decision to reopen the stock market on Monday. The markets remain closed for now.

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Filed under: Egypt • Protest
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. raven

    Im Lonely .

    February 6, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick smythie

      It is a shame that the pro Mubarak forces roughed up Anderson
      Cooper... They should have beat the crap out of him even though that would have taken all day and CNN would have lost a pretend journalist . The story is not Cooper gets slapped but the disintegration of a nation...

      February 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AMERICA 1st

    This egyptian news is getting old. There other more important news happening here in the USA. Why dont we hear anything of it?
    AMERICA 1st cnn!

    February 6, 2011 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Hergraceness

      If you think we are not part of this process, you are sadly mistaken.

      February 6, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiser

      Because this Egypt story effects the entire Middle East, a part of the world we do a lot of business with.
      It has a direct impact on our money and policies here in the U.S.
      Plus, we've always been in favor of people having a say in how they are governed...
      Remember Patrick Henry?

      "...Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
      -Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

      That's why...

      February 6, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • mariah

      I know right if i hear another thing about egypt i will explode. but we need to hear about other important stuff too ya know.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. ali

    Mubarak must step down now.He has no influence in any reforms and there is no need for him to keep a grip on power.Mubarak is one man,not the government,there is enough other Egyptians capable ot asuring a peace transition with or without Mubarak.The idea that if Mubarak leaves now there will be chaos and mayhem just do not holds water,and a good example is Tunisia where the President left passing power to hisvice president.
    A word of Israel,there is lots of noise that Israel is wary and as if the Egyptian people must be slaved by Dictators just ofr the sake of protecting Israel,the answer to is isreal is simple give back the Palestinian their land back then it will stop having problems with Arabs.


    February 6, 2011 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
    • noga

      You're absolutely right and to add to your common that we need to get rid of all those thieves that they build a great deal of wealth and don't care or know anything about hunger

      February 6, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Darrin

    Don't bark America first it is freedon that should come first.

    February 6, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Darrin

    America is nothing without the rest of the world!

    February 6, 2011 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Nor is the rest of the world without America

      February 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. major

    even with all the excitement about the big game, with gatherings and so many places open for viewing, many will be lonely Raven, just hang in

    February 6, 2011 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ali

    Americans are not just barking but want that Egypt stays ûnder military,dictator rules justTO save the interest of Israel.Amis thinks that egyptians should not be free becuase this will put pressure on Israel to give back land they STOLEN from Arabs.Solution: Obama tells the Israelite to go back home ,simple as that instead of supporting dictators just to please israel AND ABORT THE FREEDOM OF 80 MILLIONS OF EGYPTIANS.

    February 6, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Hergraceness

      Ali, I do know that the "average" americans I have spoke with are impressed and hopeful that the protests succeed in a democratic society in Egypt. Egyptians are paying the price for freedom now. Americans may pay a price tomorrow. And so it goes. Please understand that we have never lived under a dictatorship. I guess our/my assumptions have been that the people have chosen that type of rule. These protests have proved me wrong.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nissar Ahmed

    Israel openly demands that Mubarak should not be overthrown. Israel fears democracy in Egypt because it would bring the Muslim Brotherhood into power. Israeli government includes rabidly racist and fanatic elements which are far worse than the Muslim Brotherhood. By no stretch of imagination Israel can be called a democracy while a huge number of people it has been ruling for years not only do not have any voting rights, but are deprived of their human rights. Israel lacks the foremost principle of a modern democracy:pluralism.

    February 6, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. leeintulsa

    I know everyone over there claims to know what i (Americans) want. You're dead wrong. We want peace and quiet. If you people could handle all this without blowing each other up, what a wonderful world this would be

    February 6, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben Po

      Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think these Egyptian protests have included any bombs going off.

      February 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. brenda jolley

    why deal with egypts problems this problems. this has been going on for a thousand years.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mariette

    Let's not forget the original peoples of Egypt. The Coptic Race, within whom all the fantastic Pharoah history resides. Then came the Arab invasion – read slaughter. Wherever Mohammed advances, there is no possibility of melting pot – only killing fields. We each must educate ourselves about the evil book before it is too late. They are spread to all corners of the globe. It is a global disease. Push them all back with the strongest means possible. All the way to Saudi.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • tammy

      Wow, talk about an idiotic, misinormed comment. It's obvious you know nothing about the Islamic religion. Islam speaks for peace and giving and respecting your fellow man and doing for others. If this protest/revolt, were religious based, it would be a reason for Jihad, and that HAS NOT happened during this revolt. The only Jihad being practiced is by Pro Mubarak forces and hired thugs, against anyone who speaks out against Mubarak. If you were in any way "informed" you would know that Muslims and Copt's are protesting side by side to rid the great country of Egypt of this opressive government. And, before you start preaching about the "evil book" ie: The Quran, maybe you should actually pick it up and read it. As for me, I am proud to be Muslim by choice, and proud that the people of Egypt are standing up for their basic rights as humans!!! Allahu Akbar

      February 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • lazarus

      Hey Tammy, you’re another disillusioned muslim with the message of a peaceful religion. Read history before you talk crap. Mariette is right in every way. Any country that islam has gone to, it has destroyed and made it worse than 3rd world. Before Islam spread, Africa, and the Middle East they were great civilizations, with intellect and advancement for the people living a good life. The African civilization which traded with the Europeans was advanced. The Mesopotamian, the fenecians, the Egyptians all were thriving civilizations. The harvenger of death mohamad come and destroyed what they could find. The places are now 3rd world countries. You have to wake up to yourself and see that killing people because they don’t do what you want is not a religion of peace. I’ve read your book, and if it was so peaceful, people wouldn’t be going around blowing themselves up saying exactly what you wrote at the end "Allah Akbar". Anywhere islam goes, death follows, and that’s a fact. And anywhere islam goes, rights of Christians and other minority religions are persecuted and attacked at will. To spill the blood of a Christian or Jew or Baha’i is the norm and encouraged. You go to western countries which islam says is evil, yet you have every freedom that you don’t have in your own country. If islamic countries are so good, why came to western countrys? maybe because they are a dictatorship run under the islamic banner and sharia law, unemployment, home grown terriorism, islamc countrys have it all. So your comments to Mariette are a typical cut and paste response from a muslim. I’m amazed you didn’t bring up a quote from the bible to justify your comments, but we both know theres nothing of essence in your book. And to link this to egypt. The coptic Christians are the indigenous people of egypt, which means its been their country for thousands of years until the islamists turned up and turned it into crap. And yes they have been persecuting christians for as long as islam has been there and killing them. End of the day islam is not tolerant to other religions, your book can say whatever it wants, in practice it is common place for muslims to assemble in gangs and go around kill people in the mid east especially Egypt. Read the news maybe you’ll see the trend. But hey it’s a peaceful religion.

      February 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nissar Ahmed

      You are so wide off the mark. Islam's tolerance and humanity is widely acknowledged by reputed historians. It is in stark contrast with the pogroms, inquisitions and holocausts of European Christianity. To give just one example, Benjamin Disraeli paid a glowing tribute to the Muslim rulers of Spain. Let me quote him:

      “That fair and unrivalled civilisation arose which preserved for Europe
      arts and letters when Christendom was plunged in darkness. The children of
      Ishmael rewarded the children of Israel with equal rights and privileges
      with themselves. During these halcyon centuries, it is difficult to
      distinguish the follower of Moses from the votary of Mahomet. Both alike
      built palaces, gardens, and fountains; filled equally the highest offices
      of the state, competed in an extensive and enlightened commerce, and
      rivalled each other in renowned universities.:”


      February 7, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • lazarus

      Reply to Nissar Ahmed

      "You are so wide off the mark. Islam's tolerance and humanity is widely acknowledged by reputed historians. It is in stark contrast with the pogroms, inquisitions and holocausts of European Christianity. "

      First of all, you statement is void. Do you know the history of your own prophet? He went into towns and slaughtered people. Your Allah, who is different to my god, said it was alright to cut off the heads of the snakes. So he went around and killed and slaughtered people. Even Mecca which is your holy site, yes he slaughtered everyone.
      Do you know what the crusades were about. It was about the muslims coming to Jerusalem and building a mosque of the holiest of holy sites for Christians and Jews. Its called the dome on the rock. Its like the pope bulding a church inside mecca. Can you tell me what muslim around the world would do if a church was built next to mecca. There are no churches in saudi arabia, you are not allowed to preach Christianity or practice it, if you preach it you are faced with the death penalty. What are you's afraid of? Not allowed to practice Christianity, have crucifixes or bibles are prohibited. You call this tolerence? you dont know your own religion.

      You talk of holocausts and all, the bible says we cannot murder. So people who kill are not Christians. Its the fundamentals of Christianity, turn the other cheek, love your enemy. Islam teaches to use the sword and cut off the head. The biggest killer of muslims have actually been muslims themselves. Sunni and Shi'a kill themselves, and still do, suicide bombers who commit jihad in the name of allah kills their own as well as others. And for what "forty virgins and forty boys with eyes like diamonds".

      Your religions contribution to peace
      "Mohammed is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless
      to the unbelievers but merciful to one another" Quran 48:29

      2011.02.10 (Kunduz, Afghanistan) – Seven people lose their lives to a Shahid suicide bomber.
      2011.02.10 (Mardan, Pakistan) – A teenage suicide bomber dressed as a schoolboy 'gives his life to Islam' – and takes thirty-one others with him.
      2011.02.10 (Dujail, Iraq) – Six Shia pilgrims on foot, mostly women and children, are brutally blown to bits by Sunni car bombers
      2011.02.09 (Kirkuk, Iraq) – Three car bombs leave at least eleven Iraqis dead.
      2011.02.09 (Charsadda, Pakistan) – A civilian at a cattle market is killed by a remote-controlled bomb.

      Islams contribution to christians

      These are just some exampes of your faith. All anyone in this website has to type in is "islam" or "muslim" and the facts are for all to see. Im not saying there isnt any good muslim people out there, there is, they are usually educated and there is a small number of them.

      Ishmael was conceived by adultery, and not of the way said by the lord. So everything from his tree, is not from god.
      I say to you, Jesus came to this world and preached love, and all that followed him follow it. He's the only person in history to ever start time. No muslim can deny what he has done, but in the final days who will judge you, christian or muslim, is it mohammad who you follow, of jesus?

      God bless you

      February 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Unknown

      Wise words from Marriette. Tammy, it is you who knows nothing of Islam. I am a Coptic and my family was forced to flea from Egypt when I was a child because of the Muslims, so I know exactly what im talking. As for you, you are in denial that your book is not evil. I will not waste my brain power to try and persuade you that you are deluded, instead I will let your book speak for itself;

      1. "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war" (Qur'an 9:5).

      2. "Our onslaught will not be a weak faltering affair. We shall fight as long as we live. We will fight until you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge. We will fight not caring whom we meet. We will fight whether we destroy ancient holdings or newly gotten gains. We have mutilated every opponent. We have driven them violently before us at the command of Allah and Islam. We will fight until our religion is established. And we will plunder them, for they must suffer disgrace" (Ishaq 587.

      3. "Tell the men with you who have wives: never trust a woman" (Ishaq 584)

      4. "Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, lay them low, and cover them with shame. He will help you over them" (Qur'an 9:14).

      5. "Allah guarantees that He will admit the Muslim fighter into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and booty" (Bukhari V4B52N46).

      6. "Just issue orders to kill every Jew in the country" (Bukhari:V1B1N6).

      7. "The battle cry of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah that night was: 'Kill! Kill! Kill!'" (Tabari VIII:141).

      There are so many more that I can write, but I think you get the idea now. Open the book for yourself and have a read of this so called 'peaceful' religion.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. K Bart

    Egypt and Serbia is in turmoil and our White House is throwing a Super Bowl party with Jennifer Lopez. Is this disgusting. I hope CNN will cover this.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      No, not at all what's the matter with you. It's not like the pres. won't be informed. Grow up

      February 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      As far as this egypt thing? I think obama's nailin it. And sorry you can't find fun in the superbowl.

      February 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. personny

    Israel is becoming a nation.

    February 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cyne

    What is happening in Egypt, with hired thugs and promises that turn out to be lies is something that could happen anywhere in the world...the violence, the hunger, the human need for freedom. Human rights are being trampled globally. What caught my attention was that the pro Mubarak faction were wearing police issue boots and some who were taken down by protesters had clear papers on them linking them to Mubarak. The same tactics are used in North America. Dress police up in plainclothes and send them out to wreak havoc and make protesters look bad. It happens in Canada and the US too. Don't kid yourselves.

    February 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Duane Seigler

    February 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
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