A verbal tug of war raged between pro-government television host Ahmed Moussa and Islamist preacher Wagdy Ghoneim, despite the deaths of 23 people on Egypt’s fourth anniversary of the January 25 revolution.
“The law is live ammunition,” Moussa asserted following fierce clashes between protesters in Matareya, North Cairo, and police forces. The violence in this district alone left over nine people dead, as the death toll rose on Monday.
“Demolish Matareya,” Moussa urged police. “How can we allow terrorism to kill people? Where is the state of law? Enough with these policies. The rules of the game should change, the discourse … I don’t want to see these soft policies,” he screamed.
Moussa has a history of inciting rhetoric against opposition activists and the Muslim Brotherhood following former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. He hailed a mass death sentence that was handed to 529 Brotherhood members in March, which was later dropped.
“I salute the fairness and justice of our judiciary in defiance of these killers, and all those who attack it. Egypt’s judiciary is clean and fair,” he said. Responding to criticism of the death sentence, he asserted, “May they be 10,000, 20,000, not 500. We are not sad, we are happy … Burn them, burn their bodies, burn their clothes,” he continued. He paradoxically concluded, however, that “the state will win under the law and not with violence.”
Moussa also aired a video showing the arrest of three jailed journalists working for Al Jazeera, causing widespread uproar.
In retaliation, hard-line conservative Islamist preacher Wagdy Ghoneim, also known for his inflammatory statements during Morsi’s presidency, called for the death of people like Moussa.
“I say it on air, whoever can [slaughter] these dogs of hell [media figures] will be rewarded by God. Those who lie are like the shoes on the feet of the villainous President [Abdel Fattah al-Sisi],” he said on Misr Alan Islamist TV channel.
Ghoneim has frequently described liberals and seculars as “infidels” who must be taken to court for their “anti-Islamic beliefs.”
“If anyone tells you that he is liberal, tell him directly that he is an infidel,” he said during one of his appearances.
Ghoneim is accused, along with Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders of inciting violence and murder in the case known as the “presidential palace clashes.”
Incitement and hate speech have been prevalent within Egyptian media since the outbreak of the January 25 revolution, turning somewhat endemic following the ouster of Morsi in 2013.
The European parliament condemned the incitement and hate speech within Egyptian media towards political opponents.
“[The EU] expresses grave concern at the ongoing restrictions of fundamental rights, notably the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, political pluralism and the rule of law in Egypt; calls for an end to all acts of violence, incitement, hate speech, harassment, intimidation or censorship against political opponents, protesters, journalists, bloggers, students, trade unionists, women’s rights activists, civil society actors and minorities by state authorities, security forces and services, and other groups in Egypt; condemns the excessive use of violence against protesters,” the statement read.