Leader of Egyptian movement demanding end to Mubarak's rule dies
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Abdel Wahab Al-Meseri, who led an Egyptian movement demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's rule, has died. He was 70.
Al-Meseri died of cancer Wednesday night, Hossam Tokan, director of the Palestine Hospital in Cairo, said Thursday. Al-Meseri, a professor at Cairo's Ain Shams University, was elected coordinator of the Egyptian Movement for Change, or Kifaya, in 2007.
During a Kifaya protest against the government's economic policies in January he was beaten by police who grabbed him with his wife to be found later abandoned in the desert outside Cairo. [
"He was subjected to harsh and despicable treatment by the regime but remained defiant and courageous to the moment of his death, [
] " said George Ishaq, a co-founder of Kifaya and his predecessor as leader of the movement. Ishaq said al-Meseri will be buried in his Nile Delta hometown of Dimnhour later Thursday. He said the movement's leadership will meet soon to elect a new coordinator. The state-run Middle East News Agency described al-Meseri's death as "a great lose for the Arab and Islamic nations."
[ Too late, hypocrites
Al-Meseri was also considered one of the Arab world's leading experts on Jewish and Israeli affairs. Over a quarter century, he compiled the eight-volume "Jews, Judaism and Zionism Encyclopedia."
In the 3,500-page work, Al-Meseri theorized that the problem is not with the Jews but rather with Zionism [ ]. He looked on Zionism not as a national movement for Jews but as a racist "phenomenon." He viewed Israel as a colonial stronghold imposed by Western powers to defend their interests in the Middle East.
Al-Meseri rejected the notion of excluding Jews and called for the coexistence of Arabs and Jews in a democratic country.
Al-Meseri also published half a dozen books on Zionism and topics related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. He graduated from Columbia University in New York and later earned a doctorate in English literature from Rutgers university in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Al-Meseri was survived by a son Yasser, a daughter Noura and wife Huda Hijazi.