Did the Muslim Brotherhood burn 1915 documents?

Media in Armenia and the Diaspora have been rocked by the claim of Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Democratic Jihad Party in Egypt, who stated that the Muslim Brotherhood received a payment from Turkey to incinerate documents related to the Armenian Genocide. There was a fire at the building where the documents are held; however Armenians in Egypt treat the claims with caution.

According to a news report published in the Veto newspaper in Egypt that has created wide repercussions, Turkey paid a bribe to the Muslim Brotherhood for the incineration and destruction of records and documents related to the Armenian Genocide held in Cairo. The source of the report that has preoccupied the media in Armenia and the Diaspora for the past week is Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Democratic Jihad Party in Egypt. Na’eem is known for his opposition of the governments in Turkey and Qatar. In the report he claims that Turkey paid a sum of over a million dollars for the incineration of the documents and records regarding the Armenian Genocide in Egypt, and some Muslim Brotherhood members were also responsible of the act. The Egypt Science and Document Centre building is known to have suffered an arson attack during an action in November 2011. 

We spoke to Na’eem about the news report, and he told us that he had heard of the issue from his acquaintances within the Muslim Brotherhood who told him how they received a payment from Turkey to burn the building down. Na’eem says that at first no one understood why the building had become the target of an arson attack, and claims that it then appeared that it was related to Turkey. Na’eem is not the only person who found the target of the arson attack strange.

Amer Mahmoud, news editor of the Veto newspaper the report was published in, underlines the fact that the centre holding documents was in a back street, and that the route of the action held that day did not pass by the building. Mahmoud explained that the fire was started deliberately, that the issue was a lawsuit and that the perpetrators recorded in the area during the arson attack were members of the Muslim Brotherhood and parties against the military regime. Mahmoud also provided the following information about the documents: “It is said that 30 % of the documents were destroyed in the fire. It is claimed that they include documents related to the Armenian Genocide. However, most of those documents had already been digitized.” 

On the other hand, Berj Terzian, Head of the Egypt Armenian National Council, stated that the Egypt Armenian community was not aware of these claims and that it had not been discussed within the community. Terzian added that such provocative claims appeared often in unstable political environments, and advised caution: “This statement could be the product of an anti-Turkey sentiment, but it could also be true.” The only point Terzian was sure was that the archives that belong to the Armenian community had not suffered any damage. 


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Vahakn Keşişyan

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