Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Blog

The Arab American Institute is outraged by the targeting of Americans by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Egypt's military government. The December 29 raid and confiscation of materials from the offices of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), among others, by SCAF was a provocative step taken against non-governmental organizations engaged in important civil society work. The news that six Americans have now been prohibited from leaving Egypt is unacceptable. Arab American Sam LaHood, the son of Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, is among the detainees. Sam is one of AAI's own who has been active on Middle East issues, and both studied and lived in the region. He cares deeply about these issues and should not be targeted for doing valuable work.

Restricting the travel of Americans who are accused of nothing more than helping Egyptian citizens further their democratic aspirations is wrong.  Furthermore, since Egypt is an important ally of the United States, its behavior against Americans and democratic-minded Egyptians has the potential of irreparably harming the U.S.-Egypt relationship. We are calling on our government to urge SCAF to swiftly remove the travel ban and address broader concerns raised by both these raids and the targeting of non-violent protestors.

AAI President Jim Zogby stated, "This behavior is shameful and hurtful to Egyptians and the U.S.-Egypt relationship. It flies in the face of the values the young Egyptian revolutionaries fought for."  He added, "It should never have happened and SCAF should take steps to remedy the situation immediately."

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