Friday, August 26, 2016
Muslim Brotherhood members converting to ISIS in large numbers inside Egyptian jails.
Muslim Brotherhood members converting to ISIS in large numbers inside Egyptian jails. (NPR).
In the name of fighting terrorism, authorities in Egypt are jailing people for offenses as small as a Facebook post or being at a protest.
Deen, a 47-year-old father and freelance journalist who runs a consulting business, spent five months in a maximum security prison. He was never charged and was finally released in March. What he saw inside scared him: young men, many who hadn't committed crimes, became hardened radicals over the course of their confinement.
"In jail, they become ISIS," he says. "And this is very horrible. Many people — not one or two or three, many."
Many of those whom Deen knew in jail were supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a party forced out of power in a coup and then outlawed. They were imprisoned by the thousands.
"And I saw even members of Muslim [Brotherhood] become ISIS now," Deen says. "Some of them spent three years now without any real accusation in this very hard condition — so they become thinking that violence is the solution."
Today he sleeps on the floor, with no mattress, in a cell with 10 other people. He told me that ISIS members imprisoned with him try to recruit him frequently. He says there are more than 100 ISIS members inside, and they openly sing Islamic State chants together at night. They bring him food. They talk to him about his father, who was killed in 2013 along with nearly 1,000 others, when the government crushed two sit-ins in Cairo.
They tell him he should take revenge.
When he refuses, he says, they threaten him and call him an unbeliever. He's afraid of them.
"I'm stuck in a circle," he says. "The Egyptian government from one side and ISIS on the other." Read the full story here.