Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: The Honeymoon is over | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It seems that the January 25th Revolution honeymoon period between the Muslim Brotherhood and other political forces in Egypt has ended, or is coming to an end, especially after one member of the group talked about the Islamization of Egypt, and the application of Shariaa law, thereby rejecting the idea of a civil state.

The reactions of the Egyptian political forces, of course the revolutionary youth, and even the reactions of the Church, were massive. Meanwhile the reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood was based on two fundamental elements that are not very reassuring, as some of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were quick to say that talk about Shariaa law was not feasible at the moment, there needs to be many factors in place, and we must not dwell on this issue now, while others in the group were quick to issue a statement denying what was reported in “al-Masri al-Yaom”, accusing the newspaper of distortion. However, the unpleasant surprise for the Muslim Brotherhood of course was that the newspaper announced it had a full account of what the Brotherhood leader had said, and promised to publish it on its website.

It is clear that the battle in Egypt will take on other dimensions, especially as the country today is at a genuine crossroads: It can either build a civil state and move to a better future, or enter into a conflict with religious groups, especially as the Egyptian political scene today has a noticeable Salafi presence, and an element of courting between the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, one of the most important observations of the Egyptian scene now is that it is no longer acceptable to say today that there is no “Brotherhood scarecrow” in Egypt, for it is real and blatant. It is suffice to mention that the group is now claiming arrogantly and explicitly that it could harvest 75 per cent of the seats in Parliament at the next election. Yet the Brotherhood in reality does not want to gain more than a third of the parliament, which would make it a blocking minority, along the lines of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It is true that the ballot boxes must rule Egypt, and everyone must accept the results, whatever they are. The Muslim Brotherhood and likewise the Salafis, are suggesting that other political parties in Egypt, especially the youth, must wake up from their delusions and engage with reality on the ground, for politics is a game of realities, not illusions, or living in virtual worlds. The biggest evidence of this was the recent constitutional referendum. Here the youth, along with other influential forces in Egypt’s revolution, lost the round to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis.

The end of the honeymoon between the Muslim Brotherhood and other forces in Egypt does not mean that a political battle will emerge, but it means that other groups must engage in reality in order to protect the civil state in Egypt, before it is consumed by the Brotherhood. Otherwise, Egypt will move from an individual dictatorship to a fundamentalist dictatorship, and this would be a disaster by any standards, not only for Egypt, but for the region as a whole.