A prominent Egyptian blogger known for his pivotal role in country’s 2011 revolution warned during a Tuesday meeting with reporters that U.S. aid to Egypt is "directly" funding an increasingly oppressive regime "that tortures people" and flouts international laws governing human rights.
The more than $1 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt is "going directly to a regime that tortures people, that just a couple weeks ago refused to sign a [United Nations] declaration [to combat] violence against women," an Egyptian blogger known as The Big Pharaoh said.
He asked that his name not be revealed for fear of retribution. Under the leadership of President Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood has sought to silence progressive voices and reporters by imprisoning them or worse.
"Do you want your money going there?" Pharaoh asked at the event, which was organized by the Washington Institute for Near East Peace. "No. Make it conditional on political reform. At least do something good with it."
Pharaoh, who was in Washington, D.C., to meet with State Department officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, warned that the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming increasingly totalitarian as the Obama administration sits on the sidelines, hesitant to criticize the Egyptian government.
"We don’t want to be seen as intervening in Egyptian domestic affairs," Pharaoh recalled a source on Capitol Hill as saying. "But it’s already happening! It’s already there and there’s nothing the United States can do to remove or minimize this perception."
The Obama administration should push the Muslim Brotherhood to enact widespread political reforms, Pharaoh said.
After the Brotherhood began targeting Christians and other citizens, "Everyone was asking, ‘Where is the U.S.?’" Pharoah said. "The reaction by the U.S. was dreadful."
Pharoah also expressed worry about a government-orchestrated crackdown on opposition voices and journalists.
"I don’t know what could happen with me," Pharaoh said in response to a question from the Washington Free Beacon. "One month ago I thought it would be impossible for [the Muslim Brotherhood] to do anything."
That is until the arrest of Egyptian talk show host Bassem Youssef, who was charged with insulting Islam and mocking Morsi.
Pharaoh now fears that he could be censored or worse for his writings, which are critical of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"I’m just a blogger," Pharaoh said. "But what we have seen that they have been going after people randomly. You just don’t know when it will be your time.
Egypt could be spiraling towards another revolution, as dissatisfied citizens begin to sour on the Muslim Brotherhood."
"People are starting to see their true colors, especially the middle class," Pharaoh said as he displayed pictures of bloodied liberal protestors who were abused at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood’s extremist backers.
"There’s a huge shift that’s very evident," Pharaoh said, criticizing Morsi for ratifying a new constitution that liberal critics have dubbed a dangerous Islamist document.
"This constitution has to be taken and if you don’t have toilet paper you can use it," Pharaoh said.