White House and US administration officials are facing a barrage of criticism for granting a visa to a member of a US-designated Egyptian terrorist organisation, who was scheduled to meet President Obama during a round of talks with a delegation of Egyptian members of parliament.
Egyptian MP Hani Nour Eldin, a member of a Gamaa Islamiya
Hani Nour Eldin, of the infamous Gamaa Islamiya organisation, which was engaged in plotting attacks on US soil, was issued a visa from the US State department to speak with the Obama administration.
The US administration instigated a routine meeting for Egyptian legislators in Washington to meet with new members of Egypt’s parliament. It was an opportunity to exchange ideas and caucus on future relations between the two countries.
US state media scrutinised this meeting as a ”political fiasco”, and criticised the Obama administration for being supporters of the Arab Spring, as evidenced by inviting members of terrorist organisations who were once banned under deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s reign.
The US State Department issued a statement saying that Eldin had confirmed in an interview that he is a member of Gamaa Islamiya and was granted a visa. Under normal circumstances, according to US law, his request for a visa would have been summarily rejected given his affiliation with a known terrorist organization.
Eldin, according to his Facebook page, was born in 1968 and resides in Suez. He was arrested in 1993 on terrorism charges after members of Gamaa Islamiya were engaged in a shootout with Egyptian security officials at a mosque. He has proclaimed his innocence regarding the shooting and says he was incarcerated due to his anti-Mubarak leanings under the ousted president’s regime.
Gamaa Islamiya, or the Egyptian Islamic Group, is a US-designated terrorist organization. It was banned under former president Mubarak, and is now a recognized Islamist political party. Its spiritual leader, Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as the ‘blind sheik’, was convicted in 1995 of plotting attacks on New York City landmarks and transportation centres, and is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina federal prison.