Recommended: Why the Anti-Mursi Protesters are Right

In a recent article author Ahmad Shokr persuasively argued that the opponents of the Morsi dictatorship are right to oppose his government, his dictatorship and the constitution he and his allies wish to impose on Egypt. Shokr develops his critique by rejecting three common claims made by defenders of and reporters on the Morsi coup d’état. They are:

  • “The rival camps in Egypt embody a divide between Islamism and secularism.”
  • “Islamists are authentic representatives of the majority of Egyptians.”
  • “Mursi has made great strides toward civilian democracy and his downfall would mean a return to military rule.”

The first two claims are internally related. Shokr considers false the claim that most of Morsi’s opponents are secularists bent on thwarting the creation of an Egyptian state which legally expresses Islamic Law (or shari‘a). Morsi’s opponents are, according to Shokr, opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, not political Islam as such. The differences between the sides are political, not religious. (Parenthetically, it cannot be stated as a matter of settled fact that political Islam is a kind of anti-democracy or that Islamists necessarily oppose democracy and liberalism. This belief is rapidly becoming a self-serving canard for Islam-haters, and should be rejected as a reality obscuring prejudgment). In other words, the conflict roiling Egypt is not confessional; the opponents are, in fact, Muslims.

It follows, then, that the Muslim Brotherhood are not the authentic representatives of the majority of Egyptians. Their politics does not exhaust the possible forms political Islam could have in Egypt.

That said, the origin of the current conflict ought to be obvious:

By granting himself sweeping powers and rushing to call for a December 15 referendum on the new constitution, Mursi has given Egyptians a stark choice between being ruled by an unrepresentative constitution or by a dictator. Many have refused this kind of political blackmail. Leading opposition figures, many of who were dissidents under Mubarak, have called on Mursi to revoke the decree and open the constitution drafting process to broader input. Egyptian human rights groups have almost unanimously echoed these demands. Tens of thousands who joined the protests that brought down Mubarak are back on the streets. Their fight is not for an ill-defined secularism so much as it is for political inclusion and democracy.

As Shokr points out later on, Egypt is diversely composed, and many components therein have refused to accept the dilemma Morsi wants to impose on them: Dictatorship or constitutional imposition. Egypt’s constitution ought to reflect the existence of this diversity if it wishes to avoid illegitimate government and another revolutionary spring.

Finally, it cannot be said that Morsi’s actions were meant to secure Egyptian democracy against a military apparatus wishing to directly rule the country. Nor can it be said that the Morsi government gained an electoral mandate to impose its will on the country. What can be said, according to Shokr’s analysis, is that the Muslim Brotherhood has already collaborated with the military to secure the military’s prerogatives under the constitution and to protect the military by providing a buffer zone between the military and Egyptian civil society. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Morsi government are collaborators with institutions which pose intrinsic threats to Egyptian democracy and the rule of law.

The stakes are high, and can be encapsulated in this predicament: Will Egypt complete the transition from Mubarak’s authoritarian regime to a consolidated democracy or will it eventually — soon — produce another authoritarian regime, this one dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, its allies and the military?

As of this moment, Egypt’s military has already suggested that “disastrous consequences” (read: martial law) may result if the conflict continues. To be sure, this tacit threat benefits Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.


2 Responses to Recommended: Why the Anti-Mursi Protesters are Right

  1. Bruce says:

    Can US haz a Tahririst uprising against the Amerikan DESPOTUS dictator’s regime of BarBarack Ner0bama?


  2. Kade Storm says:

    Just a comment on that link that you posted.

    While I agree with the idea that the theology question has become increasingly individualistic, there is the issue of a general identity conflict within the Islamic community. I’ve heard of secular Islam for years — many Moslems espouse it and think of it as a crucial recovery of an enlightenment that they believe they had accomplished many centuries ago before suffering territorial hardships under colonialism, which essentially crippled their enlightenment movement.

    However, we are still in the midst of some rather strong culture-clashing rhetoric with typical Islamic states being at the heart of persecuting all forms of spiritual, logical, and reasonable opinion that might be perceived as insulting to their state-dictate. I don’t think we need to cover the list of individuals who’ve either been jailed or even set up for death row because they dared to make some unpopular opinions about a self-glorifying demagogue from 1400-years-ago. What I find alarming is that when these few voices of dissent get silenced, most of those very secularist Moslems are rarely there to make the inconvenient but much prudent and sincere gesture of demanding freedom and dignity for these victims of dogmatic oppression.

    Until I don’t see a properly mobilised social movement that stands up against extremism within this community, by its own people–and claims its religion for itself rather than offering short-winded apologies for its theology every time the fanatic element prevails and an Egyptian or Saudi ‘apostate’ is jailed–I am going to remain awfully sceptical and rightfully dismissive of such claims.because on a practical level, they remain ineffective and meaningless seeing as the show is still controlled by fascistic policies. A day has to dawn on this region when it becomes ‘okay’ to question the doctrine, even in harsh tone.


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