In November 1993, Members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad(EIJ) carried out an attack on the motorcade of Egyptian Prime Minister Atif Sidqi. His car escaped the explosion by a split second and as a result of the attack, a child named Shayma was killed.
The government used the death of Shayma and portrayed the incident as an attack by EIJ against Shayma, not against Prime Minister Sidqi. Newspapers published pictures of Shayma’s parents as they mourned the death of their daughter and pictures of Shayma herself in her early childhood in order to arouse the emotions of the public and turn people’s attention away from the major cause in the conflict between the Islamic activists and the government.
These tactics comply very well with the recommendations of the Counter terrorism Center of America which stated that: “The United States government must fund media campaigns that focus on turning Muslim public opinion against the jihadis, but in a very low key and indirect manner. In particular, the U.S. must harness the power of the ‘Shayma Effect’, broadcasting images of jihadi attacks that have killed Muslim children.”
Actually, those who carried out the attack had surveyed the area and noticed that there was a school under construction. They thought the school had no students in it. It transpired later that only the external part of the school was being renovated but the rest of the school was operating normally.
The EIJ members regretted this unintentional death of Shayma in numerous occasions. Afterwards Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri (Head of EIJ) demanded transferring his monetary compensation(for torture inflicted on him in prison) to Shayma’s father, as a first installment of the blood money.
If we want to put the issue of Shayma in perspective, we must weigh her on one scale of the balance and put on the other scale, the daughters and women who have lost their fathers and husbands for no reason other than speaking against this tyrannical regime.