Egyptian universities look to “isolate” Muslim Brotherhood students

A masked student of Al-Azhar University throws a Molotov cocktail at riot police and residents during clashes outside the university campus in Cairo’s Nasr City district on December 27, 2013.

A masked student of Al-Azhar University throws a Molotov cocktail at riot police and residents during clashes outside the university campus in Cairo’s Nasr City district on December 27, 2013.

Higher Education Ministry official says dormitories will be off-limits to students involved in last year’s violence

Egyptian universities are moving to prevent students with ties to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood from taking up residence in their dormitories, a ministry source has told Asharq Al-Awsat.

An official within Egypt’s Ministry of Higher Education, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said: “New tough conditions have been imposed on universities accepting students to their halls of residence this year based on ensuring that students are not facing charges regarding acts of violence that took place over the past year and that they [prospective students] have not been investigated by the judiciary authorities.”

“This is part of a move to exclude Muslim Brotherhood students from university halls of residence,” the official added.

Higher education has been significantly disrupted in Egypt following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last year with large-scale pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests taking place at a number of universities across the country. Exams were significantly disrupted and the Egyptian government has yet to announce when the next academic year is officially to begin.

The Muslim Brotherhood have traditionally had a strong presence in Egypt’s universities, forming student unions and seeking to be elected on student councils. Egypt’s Al-Azhar University in Cairo witnessed large student protests last year, disrupting exams and resulting in police storming the campus. Earlier this month, Cairo University expelled 94 students for “rioting.”

“Applications to university halls of residence have been indefinitely postponed at a number of Egyptian universities until they can isolate the students that took part in the violence last year,” the Higher Education ministry official said.

As for how universities intend to uncover which students were involved in the rioting, the source affirmed that Egyptian authorities are in possession of photographs of the students that took part in the protests.

 
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