Wide Rifts Split Egyptian Society

Article Summary
As indignation toward the ruling Brotherhood escalates in Egypt, Magdi Khalil lists the points of disparity between Egypt’s government and the public.

What is happening in Egypt is not a normal conflict, nor does it represent the divergence of various blocs. It is a profound and vast rift regarding fundamental political issues and the future of the country, which has made solving these issues more than difficult.

The Muslim Brotherhood— along with all their Islamist counterparts who were stitched from the same cloth and revolve around their orbit to varying degrees — find themselves in one corner, while the majority of society finds themselves in the other. Neither consensus nor compromises have been enough to reach any sort of solutions. We find ourselves before completely different, disparate and even conflicting paths.

This division has a number of facets to be considered:

First: Division about completing the revolution

The Brotherhood and their allies claim that the revolution ended in success when they took power via the ballot boxes. From their perspective, what is currently transpiring equates to chaos in violation of Islamic Shariah. The architects of the revolution however believe that the revolution has not yet been brought to fruition, having been hijacked by Islamic forces in an attempt to shift its direction.

Second: Division regarding the powers of the ballot box

Brotherhood members imagine that the elections have granted them full control over everything. They act as though the elections were an invasion and the right to power is their reward. They have successfully passed a constitution founded on a new form of tyranny, along with a number of defective laws such as the Political Parties Law, Election Law and Revolution Protection Law. These errors also entail a number of other steps that lead to religious fascism, threatening to tear down the foundations of the Egyptian state in a short period of time. At the same time, the intellectuals throughout the country see the ballot boxes as a temporary license to rule and control the law in a way that meets the people’s needs. If the winner of an election issues legislation that leads to despotic power, he loses his legitimacy and the legitimacy of the laws or constitution and power returns to square one, with the people.

Third: Division around national values

The Brotherhood think the elections have given them legitimacy and the power to manipulate national values. I looked over official reports, sent to allies in Saudi Arabia, from meetings of the president with Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani and found that everything repeated by the Egyptians is true according to the contents of these reports.

Truly, President Mohammed Morsi negotiated with Qatar to grant them the vital Port Said region. Morsi agreed to sell the Iron and Steel Co. in Helwan to Qatar and to rent them a main terminal in the Cairo International Airport. They also agreed to grant the Qatari Diar Co. important areas in Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, exempting Qatar from the ownership ban in Sinai.

It is evident that there is a Brotherhood-driven plan to chase out investors from Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh and the Sinai to make way for the Qataris and adherents of the Brotherhood. Morsi is collaborating with them regarding the Syrian crisis. He promised them large swaths of land to build an entire resort town on the Red Sea coast and another on the Mediterranean in a private harbor. These reports are sealed with the signatures of both Qatari and Egyptian officials, dated on different days in December 2012. Islamic bonds are the new way of wasting Egyptian assets. Moreover, there have been meetings between the director of Qatari intelligence and the Brotherhood outside of normal institutional protocol, without approval or observation by state institutions.

In reference back to the concessions made by Morsi to the Americans regarding Gaza and the Sinai, we find the president functioning independently of national values, security demands, and without referring to popular institutions. No other Egyptian president has dared to do this.

Fourth: Perilous division regarding national identity and the relationship between religion and the state

The Brotherhood does not recognize the national or modern state, even while the revolution came about in the first place on the basis of a modern state, for the sake of repairing its institutions and affairs for the benefit of all Egyptians. A twofold peril that has reached the highest political office: There is a president and there is a “supreme guide.” What is amazing is that the president paid homage to the supreme guide one day, meaning the power and position of the supreme guide surpasses that of the president just as in the Iranian government. This is utterly unacceptable to Egyptians.

Fifth: Division around the Brotherhood’s share of public jobs

The Brotherhood seems to think Egypt is their own personal property and thus has overindulged in giving itself jobs without being held accountable or observing the rules of justice, competency or citizenship. Citizenship means complete equal opportunity employment based on competency standards and not based on family affiliation. This is a serious flaw that will undoubtedly lead to a state of inequity and widespread anger that will explode in the face of the authorities as long as there is no justice.

Sixth: Division stemming from the mechanisms of change themselves

The Brotherhood is persistent in holding onto power so that their plans to empower themselves, disassemble state institutions and rebuild them for the sake of their organization, as was the case in Gaza and Iran. They are behaving as if they are alone in the political arena, leaving no avenues open to Egyptians to take part in building the country’s future. They have not left the public peaceful means of change, leaving them only force and violence. Meanwhile the Brotherhood has many of these means which they use to control sources of rigid force in Egypt. All of this pushes the majority to be oppressed or to chaotically express their indignation because of the tyranny of the minority and because of the Brotherhood’s coercion.

And finally: Division regarding the vision of the truth

The Brotherhood sees themselves as being partisan to the truth and to the most true form of Islam. According to this misconception, they have expressed themselves as being commissioned by God to speak in the name of and to protect Islam. Despite their size, and even if we assumed the truth of what they say, they have given politics and the state another angle and put it in a different area. We’re talking about a state with administrative rules, not religion ruled by blind faith and the personal relationship between a person and their Lord. Egyptians need someone who will lead the state competently. They do not need someone to teach them religion whatsoever, for they are already deeply religious.

There are remaining scenarios in Egypt: Either the Brotherhood is able to take complete control of the state, or the revolutionary forces are able to overthrow their rule. 

Found in: sectarian, religion, government, egyptian opposition

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