Thursday, July 11, 2019

Islamists Are Themselves Responsible For Their Debacle in Egypt; They Should Introspect, Not Play Martyrdom Card

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
11 July 2019
The death of Mohammad Morsi during court trial is an indication of the state of affairs in Egypt which had seen a revolution in the Arab Spring and removal of Hosni Mubarak. The people of Egypt had hoped that they will get a government that guarantees to them their fundamental rights and they will move forward in the new democratic setup and build up a democratic society based on equality, pragmatism and scientific rationalism. But their hopes and dream came crushing down as radical Islamism and extremist politics led them to nowhere.
Whether Morsi can be declared a martyr or not and whether he was a victim of western political imperialism is another question but from a study of the developments right from the beginning of the Muslim Brotherhood government, it can be said that the Muslim Brotherhood was also responsible for the overthrow of their own government.  Even before the government, they were on a shaky ground. Mohammad Morsi was not their natural choice for Presidential election. He was declared Presidential candidate at the last moment and was always called the” astebn” (the extra tire). Muslim Brotherhood had an image of a violent and extremist group which had allegedly been involved in assassinations and attacks previously. Some of their members had joined Gamal Islamiyah, a breakaway extremist group that had staged attacks against Hosni Mubarak regime earlier. Therefore, the people of the country did not trust them and for this reason, they had to contest the elections under the banner of Freedom and Justice Party headed by Morsi.
That the rise of Islamists and hijacking of the revolution by the extremists and Islamists had disappointed a large section of the people who had dreamt of a government on moderate principles and not on hard-line religious principles was evident by the poor participation of the people in the referendum for Constitution.  Only 33 per cent of the population exercised their votes that too on such an important referendum that could determine their future, raising questions on the legitimacy of the outcome. Out of the 33 percent of the people who voted, about 66 per cent said they wanted the country to have Sharia law as its guiding force. It means a considerable section (at least 35 per cent of the 33 percent voters) wanted a secular constitution. It is important to note that majority in Cairo; the capital of Egypt opposed the Sharia based constitution.
After the Muslim Brotherhood government came to power, the religious circle created a chaotic situation with the radical rants and creating panic among the minorities particularly the Coptic Christians. Reports of attacks and abduction of Coptic Christians came in. A leader of the Nour Party demanded that the Pyramids should be demolished as they were relics and symbols of Kufr. They also alerted Israel by announcing that they will build an army to liberate Jerusalem and will establish a caliphate that would spread from Spain to Indonesia.
 Even before the elections, the Egyptian cleric Safwat had expressed his hope that “Morsi would liberate Gaza, restore the Caliphate of the "United States of the Arabs" with Jerusalem as its capital, and that "our cry shall be: 'Millions of martyrs march towards Jerusalem."
Though the constitution had laid great stress on the promotion, development and encouragement of scientific research and the maintenance of the cultural heritage of Egypt, it seemed that these programmers were relegated to the corner and the religious adventurism pushed the newly born democracy towards religious fanaticism with the aim of razing down the pyramids and the sphinx and all other cultural heritages of the country in the name of Islamic Puritanism and establishing a United Arab Islamic Caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital.
This was the reason even the Nour Party which had supported Muslim Brotherhood government at the outset became its opponent later and supported the overthrow of the Morsi government. People again started demonstrating against the Morsi government and the government tried to crush the protests and criticisms not only by force but also by murder and by rape of women protesters. More than 80 women were reported to be raped or molested by the ruling party cadre at Tahrir Square. Even foreign journalists were not spared. This was contradictory to their declaration that they had accepted democracy and will welcome criticisms and peaceful protests and will guarantee the right to peaceful demonstration and assembly. This was only on paper. The reality was that they crushed the demonstrations and protests with every means that were not Islamic. All this turned the common people against the Morsi government and they supported the army for the overthrow.
The Islamists everywhere have a problem. They do not work on long term goals but are swayed by emotional religious slogans. The Morsi government should have set long term goals and had first tried to win the confidence of the people with pragmatic approach and moderate programmes. Instead, they not only antagonized the secular minded intelligentia and the people but also sent panic alerts to western imperial forces and Israel which thought Morsi government to be a threat to their country and their political and economic interests in the region. After the revolution, Egypt went Pakistan way and there is no hope in sight for political stability in the country for now. The Muslim Brotherhood is playing the martyr card telling the world that the Western countries toppled their government because they wanted to established an Islamic caliphate based on Shariah but they cannot explain why then the Salafi Nour Party is supporting the Army and why Al Sisi has become their ally if he is a Zionist and an agent of Israel. Instead of blaming Israel, they should introspect and find out their own mistakes and flaws.
S. Arshad is a regular columnist for
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