Is Egypt on the Brink of Becoming the World’s Largest Islamic Republic?
Protester at Egyptian Presidential PalaceMorsi Muslim Brotherhood Supporters
Clashes last night in Cairo between the liberal secular opposition in Egypt and President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist loyalists resulted in seven dead and over 600 injured. When dawn broke, tanks and armored personnel carriers and troops of the Republican Guard surrounded the Presidential palace. Three of Morsi’s advisers have resigned over the rankling dispute that arose in the wake of his decree on November 23rd assuming veto power of the judiciary and assigning Al Azhar’s Sunni Shariah legal scholars the task of crafting Sharia rulings on the Constitution. Morsi has scheduled a national referendum for December 15th on the hastily drafted new Constitution by the bearded Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist delegates who formed the majority of the Constitutional Assembly. The minority secularist and liberal delegates had decamped in protest. Daily protests by liberal and secularists have thronged Tahrir Square. Counter protests by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist bearded men occurred in a protected square. The two groups were separated until the deadly confrontations of last night. Meanwhile Egypt is poised on the brink of what could be the rise of the largest Islamic Republic.
The evidence of why liberals, secularist and the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt are protesting can be found in several analyses of the draft and polls of Egypt’s polity by independent groups.
According to Andrew C. McCarthy in an NRO The Corner post, the best of these is one by Samuel Tadros of the Hudson Institute’s Washington, DC - Center for Religious Freedom. Tadros is an Egyptian Copt by origin and author of the forthcoming book, Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity. Tadros’s NRO The Corner post, “Egypt’s Draft Constitution: Religious Freedom Undermined” is a chilling reminder of what the Obama Administration fostered when the President gave his Muslim outreach speech at Cairo University on June 4, 2009. Now, the West Wing in the White has been notably silent in the wake of Morsi diktat overturning an independent judiciary. It is left to outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to issue this lame comment in today's Washington Post about the inflammatory moves by Morsi and counter protests:
We call on all stakeholders in Egypt to settle their differences through democratic dialogue, and we call on Egypt’s leaders to ensure that the outcome protects the democratic promise of the revolution for all of Egypt’s citizens.
Obama is purposely hiding behind the his National Defense University press conference on Monday about Syria’s Assad unleashing possible Chemical and Biological warfare in a death spiral of the 42 year fascist dictatorship. A fascist dictatorship to be replaced by the Islamic totalitarian dictatorship crushing minorities sought by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist leaders.
Here are Tadros’ concerns from the NRO The Corner post about the disappearing human rights in Egypt’s Shariah –laden draft Constitution:
While the draft is problematic on numerous counts, those articles that pertain to religious freedom and the protection and rights of minorities merit separate concern. The Islamist influence is readily apparent when these articles are compared to the corresponding provisions of the 1971 constitution which governed Egypt under Mubarak:
Article 1 drops reference to citizenship as the basis of Egypt’s political order. The word “citizenship” in the Egyptian context has been understood to mean equal rights for both Muslims and non-Muslims. It also adds a further allegiance to which Egypt identifies that of the Islamic nation.
A new Article 3 adds that non-Muslims are now governed in their personal-status affairs and on issues pertaining to choosing their religious leaders by the principles of their religious laws.
A new Article 4 provides for an official role for al Azhar (the Sunni university): It states that al Azhar is to give its opinion on all matters pertaining to Sharia. Since the unchanged language of Article 2 makes “the principles of Sharia” the main source of legislation, this new article places a non-elected, sectarian religious body above the Egyptian parliament as arbitrator and explainer of state laws.
Article 5 removes the word “only” from the prior constitutional language regarding “the sovereignty of the people.” This change was in response to a key demand of the Salafis, who argue that sovereignty only belongs to God and not to the people.
Article 6 adds the word “shura” to the language about the basis of the political system; a shura is a traditionally unelected, Islamist consultative process that Islamists claim is equivalent to democracy. It also removes the existing prohibition on the establishment of religiously based political parties, asserting, instead, a prohibition on political parties based on discrimination. This new language, thus, allows for the establishment of purely religious parties as long as their stated goals do not actively call for discrimination.
Article 10 adds that “society,” as well as the state, is now responsible for protecting the already problematically vague phrase, “values of the Egyptian family,” and provides them with the new role of “entrenching its moral values and protecting them.”
A new Article 12 commits the state to the Arabization of education and knowledge.
Concerning the prohibition on all forms of discrimination in Article 33, it drops the words “on the basis of sex, origin, religion and creed.”
Article 42 drops language prohibiting forced evacuations within the country. This change follows forced evacuations of Coptic Christians in four instances since the revolution.
Article 43 limits the freedom to practice religion and build houses of worship to “heavenly religions” (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism). This means that Egyptian Baha’is and other groups who do not belong to the three religions recognized as “heavenly” by the state will not have the right to worship.
An anti-blasphemy clause was added as Article 44.
Article 54 drops “statutory bodies” from those allowed to petition in the name of a collective. The Church is the target of this change.
Article 132 drops the protection of national unity from the duties of the president (in the Egyptian context this meant unity between Christians and Muslims within the nation).
A new provision appears in article 212, dealing with endowments. Under this article, a new body will be created and given far-reaching powers for regulating and overseeing both public and private endowments. This article affects Christian religious endowments too: It places Church finances under the Islamists’ control, which as I explained a year ago has been part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party political program. By taking control of the Church’s finances, the Islamists aim to control the institution, and in turn use it to control Christians, thus creating a national church along the Communist model.
A new article 219 purports to define “the principles of Sharia,” which, according to Article 2, are the main source of legislation. It states that “the principles of Sharia” include: “its total evidence, its fundamental and jurisprudence basis, its accepted sources in the doctrines of Sunnis.”
Don’t expect the secularist and liberal opposition protests to put a dent in any result of the national referendum on December 15th.
Andrew Bostom in an email to this author noted:
Given . . . hard data from Egypt-- polling data published between 2007 and 2010 establish that: 67% of Egyptians want the creation/re-creation of a Caliphate; 74% desire strict application of the Sharia; 77% favor mutilating punishments for theft; 82% favor stoning adulterers to death; and 84% reject freedom of conscience and believe that so-called “apostates”—Muslims who forsake Islam for another religion, or the right to no religious belief—should be put to death--how would we characterize these tens of millions of ordinary Egyptian Muslims?
Add Bostom’s comment to Tadros’ analysis of the draft Egyptian Constitution and the betting is on the rise of Egypt as the new Sunni Islamic Republic. Time for the Copts to flee to their Diaspora. And to think that if Israel hadn’t given back the Sinai in the Camp David accords of 1979, there might have been a safe haven for the Copts and apostates. Pity!