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Egypt: No point in attacking the Muslim Brotherhood - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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There is no point in attacking the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt today because the breaking point will have nothing to do with politics. What is required in Egypt today is the protection of the civil state, and the future of Egypt, rather than crushing of destroying the Muslim Brotherhood. This is what everyone must be aware of in Egypt, specifically the liberal forces, and particularly the youth.

The liberal political forces in Egypt, especially the youth, have wasted a lot of time and effort in futile and worthless causes following the collapse of the Mubarak regime. This is what I alluded to in my article of 18/7/2011 entitled “Egypt’s liberals are like Iraq’s Sunnis.” Thus the Egyptian political forces and youth must now make the most of their time and ensure that they don’t lose Egypt after having lost their chance in the recent parliamentary elections. The goal today, as I said above, is not to crush or destroy the Muslim Brotherhood, because democracy does not exclude any party, but rather to make sure that the rules of the game are clear and fair, and this means more political work, not demonstrations.

The only remaining opportunity, for those who want to ensure that Egypt remains a civil state and protect its future, is to take action in order to ensure a civil constitution guaranteeing freedoms, justice, pluralism, the rights of minorities, and a civil state. The constitution must also guarantee that the powers of the president strike a political balance with the powers of parliament, in the sense of ensuring “checks and balances”, rather than political bickering. In other words, this would ensure that the [parliamentary] majority, whoever they are, do not go to the extreme, whilst also ensuring that parliament does not become an arena for conflict where nothing is done, produced, or legislated, but rather serves as nothing more than a Byzantine [extravagant] arena for debate. Likewise, the constitution must ensure that the president does not have too much power or dominates [the political scene]. Above all else, the constitution must ensure that the president does not remain in power forever, because with a civil constitution in place, the transfer of power in Egypt would become something inevitable and indisputable.

At this point, we would not fear for Egypt whether it was ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafists, or even a new political pharaoh, for one simple and vital reason; namely that the conditions of the political game would not provide an atmosphere for [political] dominance in Egypt, or an atmosphere of exclusion that would weaken the country. When this achievement is felt by the average Egyptian citizen, then this is the measure of governance. If the Muslim Brotherhood wants, for example, to be like [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan in Egypt then it is welcome, and even if the Salafists want that then we also don’t mind, but Egypt will never become like Afghanistan under the Taliban, and that is the most important thing! So what is important today in Egypt is not to fight with the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafists, but rather to ensure that the terms of the political process are clear and guarantee the transfer of power, pluralism and freedoms. All of the above can only be achieved through a modern constitution that represents the whole of Egypt and takes into account its future ambitions, not only today’s realities. The constitution should be written by people with ideals, not ideologies, whether Islamists or liberals.

This is the window of opportunity for Egypt, and if it is capitalized upon then the country will not lose out. Are the Egyptian political forces aware of this, especially the youth, or will they continue tilting at windmills with regards to their battles with the army, and repeat the errors of their fantasy slogans following the fall of Mubarak? We shall see.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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