In keeping with our commitment to showcase the work of prominent conservative opinion makers, Patriot Update is proud and honored to welcome our newest author and commentator, Cynthia Farahat.  You have seen her work at National Review Online, Front Page Magazine, The Washington Times, and, if you are tuned in to events in the Middle East, you have read her work in the Middle East Quarterly.  Ms. Farahat is an Egyptian political activist, writer, and researcher.  Co-founder of the Misr El-Umm and the Liberal Egyptian parties, which stood for peace with Israel and anti-Islamism, she was under long-term surveillance by the state Security Intelligence System before seeking political asylum in the United States in 2011.

Ms. Farahat is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and co-author of two books in Arabic.  She has worked with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty in Cairo and the Center for Security Policy and Coptic Solidarity.  Ms. Farahat has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and received an award from the Endowment for Middle East Truth 2012.  She also received the prestigious Profiles in Courage Award from ACT for America in 2013.

Americans often find it difficult to understand the Middle East and the Islamist terrorism spawned in this troubled corner of the world.  It takes an insider to understand and explain what is really happening in the Middle East and how those events might affect America and the rest of the world.  Ms. Farahat is an insider with impeccable credentials.  To grow up as a woman and a Coptic Christian in the Muslim heartland of Egypt is to live as a fourth-class citizen. To embrace the mantle of political activism in that male-dominated, anti-Christian environment is to put one’s freedom on the line every day, something Ms. Farahat’s did for years.

Ms. Farahat was perceptive enough even as a child to realize she was living under the thumb of an oppressive government led at that time by Hosni Mubarak. She wanted to become an artist but was coerced by the government into studying law instead.  The more Ms. Farahat learned about Sharia Law and the debilitating effect it has on women in the Middle East, the more she was inclined to speak out against it—a dangerous undertaking then, as it is now.  Then the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 provided the impetus for Ms. Farahat to take a stand that required incredible courage.  Enduring constant threats not just to her freedom but her life, she provided the leadership to form a political party that gave freedom-loving activists like her a voice.

Threats to her life and those of her family were neither idle nor theoretical.  They were a daily reality.  Ms. Farahat’s brother Amir was abducted twice by Egyptian state security and brutally beaten, leaving him with permanent injuries because of her work.  In spite of the beatings, injuries, and brutality Amir stood his ground and never gave in.  He remained his sister’s supporter and a courageous warrior for freedom.  After enduring constant government surveillance and knowing that soon she might be subjected to the same treatment her brother had endured or worse, Ms. Farahat sought political asylum in the United States.  Readers of Patriot Update are fortunate she did.  We will now be able to read her political commentaries on a regular basis and learn from this courageous warrior who has sacrificed so much so the truth may be known. Ms. Farahat understands the Middle East and can provide first-hand insights for readers in the U.S.  Look for her work to begin appearing at Patriot Update in the near future. I recommend that reader visit Ms. Farahat’s website at: http://cynthiafarahat.com.