Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a law Monday that establishes new regulations on non-governmental organizations (NGO) and non-profits that operate in the country, which earned praised from one Egyptian lawmaker who lauded the new law for demanding financial transparency from these organizations.
The New York Times reported el-Sisi held off on enacting the law that was passed in parliament in November after Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham came out against it and threatened to cut American aid to the country if the bill passed the Parliament.
Alaa Abed, chairman of the Free Egyptian Party’s parliamentary bloc, told The Daily Caller in a recent interview that although the idea behind NGOs is charitable and very needed in his country, a good number of them have taken a wrong turn.
“And the proof of that are the billions that have been given to these NGOs without any noticeable results that you can see,” Abed said.
According to Abed, about 48,000 NGOs are in Egypt and some are supported by the state. Of that number, though, “Only 500 receive foreign funds and 10 operate within the norms of the law…the rest (490) take the money into their pockets and 30 or 40 use the money to transfer to the [Muslim Brotherhood] or small terror cells.”
As far as the new law is concerned, Abed explained, “The new law basically says that in order to receive funds, you have to get those funds from a legitimate source and you have to spend those funds on a legitimate channel.” He added, “They don’t want anonymous funds. going in and they don’t want unknown expenditures going out of the NGOs.”
Critics of the law attacked it claiming it will be used to shut down aid organizations the government takes issues with.
“This is a complete disaster,” said Mohamed Zaree, a lawyer and researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, told The Times. “They have taken away everything. It’s over. It’s not just human rights organizations — they are also going after charities and any organized group they do not already control.”
Zaree is presently facing charges of endangering national security and authorities have prohibited him from leaving Egypt.
According to The New York Times, el-Sisi decided to sign the law as he feels more reassured by his relationship with President Donald Trump who described the Egyptian President as a “fantastic guy.”
Abed visited Washington last week and spoke to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss Egypt’s issues related to terrorism, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, and reaffirm Egypt’s bond with the American people.
Abed warned the brotherhood “are the vipers in the nest — that they never stick to their word. That they wait for the right moment to attack.”
President Trump’s administration has yet to designate the brotherhood a terrorist organization. Last March, an internal State Department memo advised against it, The Washington Times reported, saying that “there’s not one monolithic Muslim Brotherhood.”
Abed told TheDC, however, that too many governments have been formed by the brotherhood.
He said, “The brotherhood received enormous financial support which allows them to move freely and pressure other decision makers in other countries. Another reason is the brotherhood succeeded in creating blocks of power inside some western states, where they can use to pressure the decision makers into a certain direction, so you don’t know what it means to include the brotherhood.”