Following the Egyptian army’s success—backed by a huge popular uprising—in removing Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi and his party, many observers breathed a sigh of relief that Egypt has returned to its old self.
We saw a state of euphoria and joy in the regional Arab arena, and an optimism that the charm of the Brotherhood and their affiliates in the Arab world had finally fallen.
Two years ago, some people promised us fields of Arab Spring flowers, when the ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood were still hidden within the confines of the revolution. Now it seems like they have come back to their senses, as if to say, ‘Yes, we were right when we were optimistic that the Arab Spring was a civilian, not a fundamentalist Brotherhood spring.’ The fact that the issue did not take more than one year means this was a small price to pay.
The fact is that we cannot deny the audacity of this optimism, and the admiration of the speed at which the Brotherhood were removed from their perch, which they reached thanks to religious propaganda and deceiving some civilian groups and western powers regarding their democratic vision.
Personally, I am not optimistic about the reliability of this conclusion, and the idea that the fight with the Muslim Brotherhood and their affiliates, is over.
I think this is a hasty conclusion. The Brotherhood have lost one round, a very tough round indeed, but the overarching battle is not over. They continue to threaten to cause security chaos in Egypt, and this is not to mention their confusing popular propaganda. Domestically, they are saying: Save Islam and Sharia (meaning the Brotherhood rule) from its enemies (meaning other Egyptians). While externally, they are saying: Save democracy and the civil process from the military coup. In addition to this, the Brotherhood are alternately courting and condemning the naive among the revolutionary forces, accusing them of either being on the side of the military or remnants of the Mubarak regime.
Following the success of the Egyptians in toppling the Brotherhood’s rule, we are faced with religious extremists and fundamentalists across the world announcing their backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
We find, for instance, Yemeni Islamist activist and Nobel Laureate Tawkkul Karaman saying that she would have rushed to the aid of her brothers in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Cairo had she not been denied entry into Egypt. Instead, Karaman has had to satisfy with issuing statements condemning the Brotherhood’s enemies in Egypt instead.
Where will this fundamentalist support within the Islamic world for the Brotherhood in Egypt end? Starting with Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, to the Taliban in Kabul, Erdoğan in Turkey, and the Brotherhood in Tunisia and Libya, how long will the Islamic world continue to back the Brotherhood?
Yes, the Brotherhood of Badie and Mursi and El-Shater, have lost this round, but it is too early to say for certain that the group has lost the entire bout. This is because the public, which adopted this ideology and reacted to its slogans a year ago, have only been angered by a few administrative and governance hiccups by the Brotherhood, rather than at the very culture behind these slogans and views. This is not the type of change that can happens within a year.
So, is this the end of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood? I seriously doubt it.