Morsi Took Wrong Lessons From Fujimori

The Muslim Brotherhood has made the mistake of mixing politics and religion, the new constitutional committee should ban the formation of political parties based on religion.

al-monitor A copy of the Quran is seen on a barbed wire fence after a rally by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi near Egypt's Defense Ministry headquarters in Cairo, July 21, 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh.

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religion, muslim, military, june 30 protests egypt, islamists

Jul 24, 2013

Have you heard about Alberto Fujimori? Fujimori was president of the Republic of Peru during the 1990s. He came to power through fair elections and after two years as president, on April 5, 1992, he issued a presidential declaration which dissolved parliament and obstructed the law and the constitution. It made his presidential decisions immune to the law, so that decisions could not be canceled through the judicial system.

As soon as Fujimori issued this authoritarian declaration, the international community strongly rebelled against him.

The United States rushed to cut off diplomatic relations with Peru and halted economic and military aid. The US condemned Fujimori's declaration as a coup against the democratic system, transforming Fujimori from an elected president into a dictator. Most states followed suit; Venezuela cut ties with Peru, Argentina and Chile withdrew their ambassadors and Germany and Spain halted all aid, with the exception of humanitarian, to Peru.

The Organization of American States condemned Fujimori's coup and threatened to revoke Peru's membership in the organization. Fujimori couldn't bear all the international pressure, so a few months later he went back on his constitutional declaration and Peru restored its ties with the international community. 

This incident confirms the truth: When an elected president repeals the law, puts his own individual will above that of the judicial system and makes his decisions immune to judicial appeal in the courts, he is transformed from an elected president into a dictator. He loses his legitimacy immediately. He was elected under a democratic system, so if he demolishes this system, he loses his legitimacy. 

Perhaps, dear reader, you noticed that what Fujimori did is exactly what former President Mohammed Morsi did last November, when he issued a declaration that repealed the law and the constitution and made his decisions immune to court rulings. 

Morsi committed the exact same crime as Fujimori — both of these men were elected presidents who transformed into dictators. The parliament should have withdrawn confidence in Morsi as soon as he issued his autocratic announcement. Yet, because Egypt was without a parliament, and because the parliament's job is to represent the people in exercising authority, then the absence of the parliament means the power reverts to its original owner — the people. Here lies the importance of the Tamarod campaign, which was signed by 22 million Egyptians to withdraw confidence from President Morsi. Then came June 30, the day more than 30 million Egyptians took to the streets demanding Morsi's ouster and early presidential elections. This put Egypt on the brink of civil war and led the army to take a glorious national stance in order to implement the will of the people and prevent the collapse of the Egyptian state. 

Thus, it was not the army that carried out a coup against democracy, but rather Morsi himself, when he issued the autocratic declaration. Morsi's declaration resembled — in form and content — that of Fujimori. However, the strange thing is that while the US strongly voiced its opposition to Fujimori's declaration, it completely ignored Morsi's. The reason for this is that US foreign policy is completely unconcerned with principles and totally based on American interests. The US supported Hosni Mubarak for 30 years, knowing that he was a corrupt dictator. The US was aware of forged elections, the oppression and the torture of thousands of Egyptians by the state security apparatus, yet it still considered Mubarak to be a rational leader, because he was an ally in achieving US interests. 

America did the same thing with Morsi as it did with Mubarak. Yet America's interests were not with Fujimori, thus it correctly described what he did as a coup against the democratic system. Meanwhile, American interests were always with the Muslim Brotherhood, so it bet on its popularity, its organization and its ability to control Hamas, which would provide Israel with a great solution to the problem of resistance operations. Thus, when Morsi made his autocratic declaration, the US didn't say a word. Rather, President Barack Obama and his ambassador in Egypt, Anne Patterson, continued to support the Muslim Brotherhood against the will of the Egyptian people. 

I wish that every Egyptian who knows English would go to the White House's website and write the following question: "Why did the US condemn Fujimori's coup against the law and the constitution in 1992, yet didn't say a word when Morsi did the same thing in Egypt?"

This hypocrisy in US policy is nothing new, but what's truly astonishing is that the Brotherhood is unable to see the truth of what happened. It is remarkable that Brotherhood leaders continue to deny the truth and rally their followers to embark on a bogus jihad that only exists in their imaginations. It is shocking that Brotherhood leaders are working to create chaos in their own country, and believe that attacking the Egyptian army in the Sinai is an acceptable punishment for deposing Morsi. It is shocking that Brotherhood elders are seeking assistance from the US, and they are the ones who have always accused Copts, liberals and leftists of seeking support abroad. It is shocking that Brotherhood sheikhs have cursed America from their pulpits, considering them enemies of Islam and holding them responsible for the blood of Muslims shed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now reverse their position and publicly call on the US to help them return to power. 

The Brotherhood's leaders have shown that they are prepared to do anything for power, from rallying their followers and allowing them to be killed, to even calling for the West to intervene in their country's affairs. 

The question here is: Many Brotherhood members are educated and intelligent, how are they unable thus far to see the truth of what happened? How do they not understand that the real coup is not what army commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's team did, but rather what Morsi did when he repealed the law and the constitution and made his decisions immune to judicial review (exactly as Fujimori did)? Why was the Brotherhood unable to see the millions of Egyptian protestors demanding Morsi's ouster? All of these questions have a single answer: The Brotherhood is practicing politics based on religion. 

Usually, humans can accept criticism of their ideas or actions, but it is impossible for them to accept any criticism directed at their religious beliefs. Religion is not a point of view wherein we can accept criticism of and highlight its negative aspects. Rather, religion is a doctrine based more on emotions than reason. The pious use reason to validate their religious doctrine, yet they usually reject using reason to evaluate their religion in a neutral manner. 

Religion is a limited conviction that, while it may accept the idea of existence with other religions, it is impossible for it to recognize the validity of their beliefs. A religious person believes that he alone is correct, and all other religions are either fake or distorted. Thus, even those who are the most intelligent and tolerant of people — who are very receptive to criticism in ordinary affairs — will deny the obvious truth and support endless fallacies when it comes to matters related to their religion. They could even resort to hostile behaviors to protect their religion from criticism and skepticism. 

This has been the case with religion since the beginning of time, and thus religious conflict has always been a cause for catastrophes, wars and horrible massacres that have claimed millions of lives throughout history. Based on this, allowing for the establishment of religious parties is the biggest mistake any society can make. Anyone who practices politics from a religious perspective will automatically invoke all of the defense mechanisms they use to defend religion, to defend political decisions. This is the problem Egypt is currently facing. 

It's no coincidence that Brotherhood protesters call themselves "Mohammed's army" and consider all other Egyptians enemies of the Islamic project. The Brotherhood did not consider Morsi's arrival to power to be a political victory, rather they considered it a victory from God Almighty, enabling the Brotherhood to raise the word of God and restore the old glory of Islam. The Brotherhood is separated from the truth and immersed in a state of imagined jihad. This is the same problem that the Salafists suffer from, and it will be the problem of anyone who establishes a political party based on religion. 

Such a person will always be incapable of seeing reality. They will be prepared to justify the mistakes and crimes committed by their leaders, because — according to their beliefs — they are implementing God's orders. Egyptians have rejected political Islam and increased their adherence to the Islam they know and love. 

The sight of millions of Egyptians demanding the ouster of Morsi while leading group prayers in squares throughout Egypt is, in my opinion, of great significance. At that moment, it was as if Egyptians were confirming that they were keen on their religion to the same extent that they objected to using religion to gain power. 

Thus, we hope that the commission charged with amending the constitution will ban the formation of any political party based on religion. If we want to build a democratic state, there is no place for parties that claim they alone speak in the name of God. Allowing for the formation of parties that differentiate between Egyptians on the basis of religion — as we've seen for ourselves — will only lead to dividing the homeland and spreading extremism, sectarianism, chaos and destruction. We have a real opportunity to correct the path of the great revolution, which has gone astray over the past two years. It is time to begin the future with a true start. God willing, the revolution will continue until it achieves all of its goals.

Democracy is the solution. 

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