The 25 Muslim Brothers had been locked inside the mosque for five hours, but the protesters couldn’t agree about what to do with them. Some simply wanted to swap them for demonstrators captured and beaten by the Muslim Brotherhood itself. “Our religion is about forgiveness,” said one protester, speaking through a window to the Brothers inside. “We won’t hurt you.” But other protesters disagreed. “They are infidels,” screamed a man repeatedly. “Let them die inside.” The date was Friday 22 March, and the rest of Cairo was dulled by a pale fog of dust. It was the first of the khamseen, a dust-filled wind that sweeps in from the Sahara each spring, blurring the streets and skies into a single ochre smudge. But high up in Moqattam – a vast hump of rock that rises from the slums in the east of the city, and houses the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood – the air was clogged with something more menacing. In the streets near the Brotherhood’s compound, there were molotovs and rocks, birdshot and teargas. Elsewhere, black smoke billowed skywards as protesters burned posters of Mohamed Morsi – onetime Brotherhood stalwart and president of Egypt. What had begun as… Read full this story
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