Egypt’s new revolution is only days old and it’s already looking bleak for the liberal moderates who arguably launched the whole thing.
The transitional constitutional charter, revealed earlier this week, has a strong Islamist slant in its very first article (emphasis ours):
“The Arab Republic of Egypt is a state whose system is democratic, based on the principle of citizenship; Islam is the religion of the state; Arabic is its official language; and the principles of Islamic sharia – which include its general evidences, its fundamental and jurisprudential rules, and its recognised sources in the doctrines of the people of the Sunna and Jam’aa (ie, Sunnism) – are the main source of legislation.”
As long as that stipulation remains in the constitution, and the rising orthodox Islamic Al Nour Party remains poised to play a huge role in forming the new government, it seems like Egypt may head down the same path of ousted president Mohammed Morsi … only faster.
“For the Nour Party, one of the primary major goals is to implement sharia at the nearest possible opportunity,” Ibrahim AbdulRahman, a Nour spokesman, told Foreign Policy in January.
The focus of the Morsi government was mostly a steady march toward Sharia Law. That was part of the reason the economy suffered as it did.
From Foreign Policy (emphasis ours):
The executive branch has no clue how to run Egypt. They do not know how to diagnose the problem and then provide the solution. They are simply not qualified to govern.
The Brotherhood doesn’t have the qualified people, who hail mostly from liberal and leftist parties. You need to form a grand coalition, and you need to put your ideological differences aside and work together to focus on people’s basic needs.
Egypt’s heads of state seemed more intent on telling women how to talk to their husbands than in rebuilding the economy.
Needless to say, now the Salafists have stepped in to assume the vacuum left behind in the wake of the Brotherhood’s ouster. Like the Brotherhood, and unlike the moderate opposition, the Salafists have a well-organised political machine, and there’s no reason to think they won’t do exactly as the Muslim Brotherhood did when they rose to power — after all, they were big time allies just a few months ago.
Bassem Sabry at the AI Monitor had this to say about the developments:
The constitutional declaration shows the strong leverage the Salafist Al-Nour party has on the transitional process, already blocking two prime minister nominations.
The bargaining power [the] Salafists have right now (which increasingly appears to be bigger than what the military and the opposition had expected), with the Salafists realising how their presence helps the military and the opposition maintain the image of a wide multi-ideological revolution rather than that an anti-Islamist uprising, and does not play into “it’s a war against Islam” claims by the Brotherhood and some Islamists.
Though the Monitor does mention that the articles are supposed to be “temporary” — rewritten at a later date — they also write that “temporary things have a way of becoming permanent.”
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