A Year Later, ‘Arab Spring’ Ushering In an Islamist Egypt (JEWISH PRESS) By: Yori Yanover 04/02/12)
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It’s not as if no one in the West has been warning about it; and it’s
not as if Egyptians, exposing themselves to violence while
demonstrating gallantly in a relentless effort to topple a corrupt,
repressive regime, weren’t aware of the possibility of it;
nevertheless, the prospect of an imminent takeover—albeit using
democratic means—by the radical Muslims is terrifying.
According to Al Ahram, Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood, reneging on
its former commitment not to participate in the presidential race—a
commitment made largely to allay the fears of Egypt’s military, which
is forever suspicious of just such an Islamist takeover—elected a
religious conservative businessman named Khairat Shater, 62, who had
been the architect of the movement’s economic empire, as its
presidential candidate. This is the Brotherhood’s endgame, about
which experts have been warning since the day the first massive
demonstration disturbed the peaceful Tahrir Square.
For a self portrait of the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential
candidate, visit his profile on his own website, khairatshater.com.
The text appears to have been processed via Google Translate
(“Students began his public and political at the end of his secondary
education in 1966″ and similar gems).
A week earlier, Egyptians discovered who were the 100-member of the
post-revolution constituent assembly which will draft Egypt’s new
constitution, divided equally between members of parliament and
unelected public figures. Picked from 2,078 nominees, the final list
is reported to be 70 percent Islamist. This guarantees that a future
Egypt will not reflect the values of liberal Egyptians who were
yearning to institute a Western democracy in their country, but will
resemble instead the new Islamist regime in Tunisia.
The NY Times surmises that a presidential run had been part of
Khairat Shater’s plans ever since he had been freed from prison
following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak: “With firm control of
Egypt’s Parliament, the Brotherhood’s political arm is holding talks
to form the next cabinet while Mr. Shater is grooming about 500
future officials to form a government-in-waiting.”
Al Ahram suggests the Brotherhood had not planned to break its word
on avoiding a presidential bid for now. Believing in gradual change,
the Brotherhood leadership even threatened members with expulsion if
they ran for—or even supported anyone who run for—the Presidency.
Back in the summer of 2011, the Brotherhood actually expelled one of
its most admired leaders, Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, who disobeyed the
party elders and announced he was running for President.
In the end, the Brotherhood appears to have been dragged into
Presidential politics before it felt ready for the challenge. It was
becoming worried about the growing success of two Islamist
candidates, their own former brother Abul-Fotouh and a Salafist
preacher named Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who were both becoming too
popular for comfort with the radical youth.
Ever eager to prevent a clash with the military, the Brotherhood is
now facing the very situation it was seeking to avoid, by gaining too
much too soon, only to have its new gains be thwarted by a military
pushback which would suspend state institutions indefinitely.
Still, as the Times put it, “Egypt’s Brotherhood, the original
Islamist movement at the center of the Arab world, has never flinched
from demanding an Islamic government and opposing secular rule.”
Mohssen Arishie, writing in The Egyptian Gazette, suggests that “el-
Shater the Conqueror should not expect that his ‘Battle of the
Caliphate’ in May would be an easy task.” Besides his expelled former
colleague in the Brotherhood Abul-Futuh, Shater will be facing the
very colorful Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, an unusual candidate in
any election, in Egypt and elsewhere.
Abu Ismail’s platform envisions 10 great national projects in every
area of Egyptian society, topmost among them is doing away with the
centralized presidential system, buolding instead an institutional
democracy which is, nevertheless, run according to Muslim principles.
And, according to Arishie, Abu Ismail has expressed a deep interest
in imitating Israel’s economic success story to stimulate Egypt’s
That won’t be easy to accomplish without a real, Western-style
democracy. (© 2012 JewishPress. 04/02/12)
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