It wasn't suppose to be this way.

Everyone in Egypt knew, without question, that the country would hit a hurdle or two on its road to a fully functioning democracy. It was thought, however, that we would stumble along, but nonetheless move forward. The idea that Egypt could backslide – certainly, so soon into their democratic experiment – was simply unthinkable.

Yet, here we are.

The “C” Word

The Egyptian military has overthrown the first freely elected president in the country's storied and turbulent history. To be sure – and fair – they carried out this action with what seemed liked overwhelming popular support. There are the unverified 22 million who signed the tamarod petition, but far more noteworthy are the scores of citizens who came out in opposition to president Morsi on June 30. The squares of Egypt from Alexandria to Cairo and across numerous other governorates were filled with protesters numbering, according to Reuters (citing an army source), upwards of 14 million. Other news agencies reported that an incredible (as in, NOT credible) 33 million demonstrators filled the streets of Cairo. Regardless of what the actual tally was, two things are certain: 1) the turnout was HUGE (by most accounts the largest mobilization in at least Egyptian history, surpassing even the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in 2011), and 2) the end result was, for all intents and purposes, a coup.

Far too many who have a vested interest in the army's actions yesterday, from nakedly biased news anchors to the army itself, are trying to package these events as the military simply responding to the will of the Egyptian people rather than engaging in the illegal removal of the country's elected executive. You have Western media darlings screaming on national news broadcasts that “This was not a coup!” while the Twitterati in Egypt try and plead their case through hashtags (#NotACoup #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup). Despite this, every major news agency – from the BBC, to Al Jazeera and CNN – seem perfectly content calling a spade a spade. There have been reasonable voices in the anti-Morsi contingent, yet a large segment who supported the tamarod movement (including, of course, it's organizers and opposition collaborators) are either naive, self-deluded, or, more cynically, manipulative.

Here are the facts. On July 1, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued a 48-hour ultimatum supposedly meant for all parties to come to a resolution, but in reality aimed squarely at Morsi. Soon after the announcement, in a brazenly Orwellian scene, army helicopters flew over Tahrir and the Presidential Palace dragging oversized Egyptian flags and dumping miniature versions unto the crowds below. When the window on the ultimatum had closed, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, head of SCAF, announced alongside opposition leaders, the Shaykh of Al-Azhar and the Coptic Christian Pope, that Muhammad Morsi was no longer the president of Egypt. Soon after, tanks rolled into the streets and mass arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members ensued.

So you have the forced removal of a legitimately elected president by the armed forces, tanks occupying streets across the country, and politically motivated arrests. BUT DON'T YOU DARE CALL THIS A COUP!

The fact is, these events are fait accompli whatever label we choose to slap on them. This is not to say the debate is moot – for one thing, whether or not America regards these actions as a coup d'etat will determine if aid to Egypt (which goes largely to the military) will be revoked. Yet, let us focus now on future prospects. To be frank, they're bleak.

Reset, Repeat

There is very little reason to think that the junta backed interim government will be able to build Egypt's democratic institutions and form a more perfect union among Egyptians from various ideological, social and regional backgrounds. For one thing, the roadmap that the SCAF has laid out essentially returns Egypt to square one, back to the time immediately following the downfall of Mubarak. The same problems that existed then, therefore, hold now. That is, now that the constitution is suspended and a new draft is to be written before elections, how do you decide who will serve on the committee tasked with its revision? Previously, this issue was settled by first moving to elections so that the constituent assembly could be drawn in part from elected officials, but many opposition forces were against this action (largely, after the fact), claiming that it tilted the scales in favor of Islamist interpretations. How, then, they propose to form a more representative coalition is anyone's guess.

Perhaps the biggest concern, however, is the continuing divisiveness that is likely to only get more acute in the coming weeks and months. There was a means by which this impasse could have been settled with roughly the same outcome, but in a much more conciliatory and, yes, democratic fashion. That track was the one I hinted at briefly in my assessment of the run-up to June 30, namely a referendum on Morsi's presidency. Potentially, a bargain could have been reached giving Morsi an opportunity to put his continuation as Egypt's president to the polls. Stipulations could have been made, like a revamping of the constitution no matter the outcome; yet this option doesn't seem to have been seriously considered. To be sure, Morsi had the opportunity to put this appeal to the people, but it has to be said that the opposition also missed a shot at magnanimity and reconciliation by not suggesting this route and instead going for the jugular. The end result could have essentially been the same for the opposition, with the added benefit of having done it through a mechanism acceptable to all sides.

This theme of zero-sum political maneuvering shows no indication of abating. In the immediate aftermath of military takeover, a number of channels run by or ideologically consistent with the Muslim Brotherhood were shut down. Some have claimed that this is due to the fact that these channels featured inflammatory language and incited violence. That may be true, but why then would the ruling forces ransack Al Jazeera offices in Cairo? Moreover, a cursory survey of Egypt's blatantly biased liberal channels (formerly anti-Brotherhood, now tripping over themselves to salute the army) would evidence equally inflammatory language (not rising to the level of incitement to violence, perhaps, but often falling just short). For example, the host of the most popular show in Egypt casually compared the Brotherhood to Nazis.

Given this climate, don't expect to see a pluralistic democracy in Egypt anytime soon. The opposition and their military collaborators seem more intent on settling scores than fostering a an environment for viable multi-party debate. I suspect that the interim government, through its nebulous mandate, will practice the exact same exclusionary, bluntly majoritarian tactics that it accused the Brotherhood of employing. In turn, to the extent that the saviors of the revolution will allow them, I expect the Brotherhood and their supporters will play the disruption and obstruction card that they accused the opposition of utilizing time and again. The opposition realizes this is likely the way things will turn out, however, so I imagine they'll call on the military to clamp down for the sake of security. The military, of course, will oblige. The Egyptian army loves to play the role of savior and Egyptians just love being saved – especially from the big, bad Islamist.

Buttressing this vicious cycle is Egyptians' own misguided and unending search for that great leader. Until they put their faith in a great system instead, stability and justice will remain elusive.

***

Many Egyptians celebrated Morsi's ouster. Yet, any keen observer who has followed the events in Egypt from January 25, 2011 on through to today will have noticed an increased sense of trepidation this time around among the “victors” – an uneasiness. There were certainly many loud voices in support of the overthrow, but quite a few – who were just as vocal and were drawn from within the same ranks – that regarded the means that brought about this end as, at minimum, problematic.

Make no mistake, this coup was a blow to Egyptian democracy. That is not to say that a representative system of government is not still salvageable. I would be lying, though, if I said I was optimistic about this prospect in the short to medium term. It is clear that an already difficult path has just gotten much more perilous.

Egypt deserves better…I just don't know if she'll ever get it.

43 Responses

  1. Omar

    No Egypt does not deserve better. Democracy doesn’t work when the people are immature. What was wrong with letting Morsi serve out his term and then not re-electing him if he did a bad job by the end? To do that Egyptians would have to place principles of democracy above personal interests, have patience and tolerance, and realize if a party loses in the elections that is because of some deficiency in that party which should inspire reflection and working harder to get people’s votes. Instead the Egyptians threw another temper tantrum. It is foolish to believe democracy is around the corner in Egypt.

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    • Youssef Chouhoud

      Putting frustrations aside, of which there are many to be rightfully had, Egyptians do deserve better than a constant carousel of inept leaders – from both sides of the divide. For all the charges we can level at the opposition, there are perhaps just as many to hurl at Morsi. The immaturity of Egypt’s democracy (and its democrats) is equally distributed.

      Still, on balance, the benefit of the democratic doubt tilted toward Morsi and it would have been optimal to either leave him in office while pressuring for meaningful reform or push for a referendum.

      That ship has sailed and now we have to deal with the hand we’re dealt. Those who lament yesterday’s event on democratic and those who are merely partisans of the Brotherhood can together choose to sulk or soldier on.

      I, for one, feel that a democratic Egypt is still worth fighting for.

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      • Umm Maryam

        Yes if that’s what you are fighting for, a democratic Egypt, then you certainly do not deserve better. It is a shame Muslims demanding a democracy. Democracy is a system of the kuffar and has no place in Islam. Should not we all know that the laws of Allah are the only way. Islam is a way of life and not just something practiced at home behind closed doors. So yes this includes all our public life and politics etc. You speak about some 14 or 33 million people. That is by far not the majority of a country that has more than 80 million inhabitants. If Mursi would be allowed to participate in the next elections he would probably win again. Mursi is not perfect but lets not forget he is our brother in Islam. And maybe he was the best chance this country got since a long time. And honestly do we deserve better at the moment? Look and examine the state of the people and then answer with all honesty to yourself. May Allah have mercy upon us and help us to become better worshippers.

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      • omar

        Dear Sister,

        I disagree that the idea of democracy is wrong – if implemented by believing Muslims it is just a form of consensus and as such it is something we should strive for. I think you’re right that the state of the people in Muslim countries is terrible.

        From and article on todayszaman.com:

        … Commenting on the coup, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide, İbrahim Kalın, said “There is no justification for any military coup.” “Tonight, pro- or anti-Morsi, everybody has lost in Egypt,” he wrote on Twitter.

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      • gunal

        Mistakenly clicked thumb up on Umm Maryam’s comment. Should be my thumb down.

        I totally disagree your words on democracy Umm Maryam. Perhaps democracy is a system of kuffar as you attest but surely you should not trust men carrying out the laws of Allah. So many different schools of thoughts flying around are named “the laws of Allah/will of Allah”. Such as in shariah laws for eg. Some of those laws are unjust towards females.

        I don’t believe in everything I read but I would be frightened the following to be the case if I let men of this world carry out, so called, laws of Allah according to their own interpretations:

        I read that in one Muslim country a woman been sexually abused by a taxi driver. Don’t know what happened to the driver but I saw the picture of the woman, looked so frightened behind the hanging rope. She was going to get hanged to set an example to other women. After the picture I couldn’t go on any further reading it. But I assume she may have looked the wrong way to the driver that must have got herself sexually abused. How can anyone justify to me my most just Allah, most forgiving Allah would carry out such justice?

        As it is in the Qur’an I should be obedient towards my government officials and my government officials must not abuse the power they will be entrusted with running the country on my behalf nationally and globally. They should encourage different opinions in society for its society to flourish and evolve. Rather than insisting what they know best and ignore ½ of its population’s views. Should realise that they need the support of the whole world if wanna move forward, beginning with the support of their own people. We have Qur’an and hadis’ to help us guide us individually within our little family and community lives. You should be encouraged to voice your own understanding of it in order to compare your views with others’ and flourish in your own community. (Sigh! Dreaming…)

        Omar I didn’t click thumb down for your comment but here is my thought on Turkish PM ‘s aide’s twitter comment; No! not everyone has lost in this coup. The public (who are the winners) who were so frustrated with their constant cry (with no positive response) that; their government is not listening; their government is dividing the country with their (government) judging and categorising such like who is a worthy Muslim and who is not; And seem to look out for only the ones who are “worthy”. They didn’t realise they, 12 months ago, had elected someone to carry out what is similarly promised on the judgment day. Please write back to him for me that if Recep Tayyip Erdogan carries on ignoring his people and insists on an Islamist division his end might be a coup too. In Turkey we are not so unfamiliar with coup Masallah.

        May Allah sort out, this mess, and the wrongly accused? Amin.

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      • Tanveer Khan

        http://www.ali-gomaa.com/?page=scholary-output&so_details=126

        I find Ali Gomaa’s argument alot more persuading that a simplistic “The Kuffar use it. ITS BAAAAAAAD!” argument.

        As he points out “Islam does not forbid taking a theoretical idea, or a practical solution from non-Muslims. The Prophet got the idea of building a trench around Madina from the Persians, he had the idol-worshipping captives of the battle of Badr teach Muslims how to read and write, he adopted the practice of placing a seal on his letters from worldly kings, and Umar adopted the diwan and the system of taxation. At the end of the day we need to understand that wisdom is the lost she-camel of the believer, wherever he finds it, he is more deserving of it.”

        Democracy itself isnt bad, we just need to alter it.

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  2. Zee

    This sentence rules: “The Egyptian army loves to play the role of savior and Egyptians just love being saved – especially from the big, bad Islamist.”

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  3. Mahmud

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Whatever your opinions on democracy, isn’t it agreed that to be Muslim you must support the law of God-the Sharia of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah sallahualayhiwasalam?

    If the people don’t like Mursi, then let them vote for someone else who will establish the law of Allah, if they are Muslim.

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    • Mahmud

      “Buttressing this vicious cycle is Egyptians’ own misguided and unending search for that great leader. Until they put their faith in a great system instead, stability and justice will remain elusive.”

      They should put faith in Allah aza wa jal.

      “Do they then seek the judgement of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.”

      http://quran.com/5/50

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      • Omar

        I think what a lot of us Muslims are slow to realize is that what we call a “Muslim country” like Egypt for example is actually only partly Muslim and that there is a large section of the population that does not believe at all – from ordinary people to leaders and intellectuals. I am not saying that anti-Morsi protesters are not Muslim. I am saying that whenever a Muslim country tries to transform into a democracy then it will face the problem of how to accommodate disbelievers who also get to vote and this is the main reason why implementing Allah’s laws through democracy is so difficult. I think we should get straight in our minds that there are no 100% Muslim countries.

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  4. ZAI

    I think the most salient point in the article is that all sides in Muslim majority nations
    operate on a zero-sum paradigm. It’s all “We have the power..through the gun, money or even votes…and now it’s ALL going to be our way”. Khalaas. So yes, Muslims are completely
    politically immature. Until we learn that compromise and accommodation are necessary we will
    continue to have unstable or even violent environments in our nations.

    They should not have removed Morsi OR the parliament. They DID get the votes.
    Instead the opposition should have concentrated on extracting concessions on changing the constitution and demands that the committee that writes the new one would be composed of a
    representative broad cross section of the country. Removing Morsi and sacking his parliament
    sets a bad precedent and is actually an insult to democracy. The oppositions protests that they
    had no choice are ridiculous. Morsi & co. had hardly instituted a Taliban regime there was no turning back from..atleast so far…so compromises could have still been reached. They simply refused to consider it and put Morsi in a corner and he in turn became stubborn to preserve face.

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  5. Jon solis

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Youssef Chouhoud

      Jon, I’m the first to admit that Morsi missed a golden opportunity to build a broad base. He let a lot of goodwill and hope fall by the wayside as a result of an over emphasis on majoritarian tactics. Still, he did reach out to opposition figures early on to be part of his government and they refused, for what it’s worth.

      And his administration was also quite tone deaf at times, particularly with the appointment of the former JI guy to be governor in Luxor and in their response (or lack thereof) to sectarian incitement.

      All that said though, I’m very wary of the idea that Morsi would have moved to obstruct or delay elections in any way. Let’s remember that even when he granted himself (temporary) extraordinary powers, it was to put a constitution to popular referendum – a constitution that, incidentally, imposed greater limitations on his power. Parliamentary elections have been held up by the courts, but Morsi has shown a willingness to move forward with them, even though his coalition would likely be weakened (and consequently, his presidency, given the structure of the new constitution).

      So, ultimately, I just don’t buy the “we had to act now” or the “we had no choice” mantras of the opposition. There were other ways, it was just a matter of looking at the bigger picture instead of parochial aims.

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  6. Farhat Muruwat (@Farhat004)

    There is a lot of talk on Morsi and the coup. I am curious about what these 15+ million really want from their government. What are the demands of the people? Is it an overnight fix brought by the government. It seems from this article the deeper you dig the uglier it gets. Whoever is organizing these demonstrations have an extremely sophisticated system and they know exactly what they are doing to stir up the people.

    The way I see it is that Egyptians wanted a democracy and get rid of dictator, they received it. Now, they say they don’t want Morsi as a elected leader but rather have a government run by their Military who is funded heavily by the U.S.

    It is not what your country can do for you it is what you can do for your country as Kennedy said. The situation in Egypt is not getting any better and people should blame themselves from now on and face the consequences of those ‘peaceful’ demonstrations.

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  7. Mahmud

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    The Egyptians(not all of course) have disobeyed their Muslim ruler, and as a result, disobeyed Allah and His Messenger. They have behaved treacherously and ungratefully.

    The consequences of that are absolutely severe.

    And the consequences of seeking judgement other than Allah’s is unending.

    Let’s not forget, Islam is not by words only, there are certain requirements to being a Muslim. Being free of shirk is one of those requirements.

    In any case, if the Egyptian people don’t want Allah’s law and they want something else, Allah can torture them in the akhirah and make another group of superior people, Muslims who will implement his law.

    This stunning excerpt from Tafsir Ibn Kathir rahimmullah is relevant.

    http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=766&Itemid=60

    Absolutely stunning that it begins like this-SubhanAllah

    “Allah emphasizes His mighty ability and states that whoever reverts from supporting His religion and establishing His Law, then Allah will replace them with whomever is better, mightier and more righteous in Allah’s religion and Law.”

    Read the rest of it. All of us are replaceable.

    The disbelievers will never have a way over us. Ever. The secularists/liberals can try as much as they can. The weak Muslims can support them. But the believers do not waver. So long as Allah protects us-and he is our protector, we will ALWAYS win. The elected(chosen by Allah, saved) do not need to be elected or approved by anybody. They do not need to fear the blame of any blamer.

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    • Leonard Elick

      Egyptians are married according to Hanifi Fiqh. I had to get a paper approved by Al-Azhar University certifying that I was Muslim so that I could marry my wife. The original constitution before the revolution included a comment that said that Shari’a would be the main source of legislation. What else do you want? The MB does not equate to the Islamic State. Muslims are going to be Muslims without MB in power.

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  8. abdelrahim sadi

    Post the egyption revolution 1/2011 toppled Husni Mubarak, egyptians breath a sigh of relief that oncoming elected president shall sail the ship to a secure harbour. Mursi took office twelve months ago with a lot of support and heap of hope, by time sounds eternal most of that faded away, egyptians know that Mursi has inherited huge problems and corruptions to overcome, but failed to build a team withcompetence to keep promises he made disturbing the people’s hope of stability and flourishing their economy. The national treasure is bare, investments has evaporated, plunging value of the egyption pound currency and galloping inflation hurting the public on daily living, as well as plunging tourism revenue which contributed 10% to the egyptian general employment which on the rise post the egyptian elected president.Systematically, challenging the well of the people who flooded the streets and squares of the country protesting wobbly economy which reached the low ebb in the egyptian history since the famine during Alaziz era, lacking of the tools to cajole and appease the public he rebutted with a stream of demonstrators clashing with the public resulting in bloodshed, depriving non muslems brotherhood from their citizenship right, whcih led ferocious dichotomy within the nation. Derailing the law and obstruction justice and harbouring assasins who murdered 18 police officers and kidnapped and murdered 4 more. Is this the democarcy we are achieving, is this is the elected president to unite and serve his people.
    Consequently, the military upper council don’t have the appetite for this kind of tumult or highjacking the presidency, but they have the well to prevent any hazardous and perilous threatens the citizens, and spare bloodshed among the egyptians. They invoked all parties to seek reconciliation but failed to comply and save the country, they stepped in and comply with 1971 constitution that allow the chief justice to function the duty of the ousted president until new election takes place.How dare you call this coup.

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    • Abu Asiyah

      The majority of Americans hated Bush by his second term in office. He had an approval rating of 30% at some point and there were large calls for his impeachment. You could say he screwed up bigtime.

      Yet the point of a democracy is that you don’t just revolt and forcibly remove the president every time you don’t like him. Morsi. Egyptians could’ve waited for his term to come to an end and elected a different individual. That’s democracy.

      When you remove a president you disagree with by using the military, it’s a coup. No matter what the circumstances.

      Want to be democratic? Learn to live with voting for the wrong guy.

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  9. Halima

    A very sad situation Egypt is in. Time and time again Egyptians keep going back to Tahrir square. The solution isn’t always going to be in protests/demonstrating. I think the Egyptian people are not 100% sure on what they want in a president/government. Also, I think it’s pretty wrong to put a dude out that’s just barely been elected into government. Maybe democracy/republics/etc just don’t mesh with us Muslims very well. That being said every Muslim nation deserves better. Hope things change worldwide for all the Muslim nations facing problems.

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  10. Ali Ras

    Purely from a religious point of view,, is the coup halal? I was lead to believe coups in any form or shape is Haram, unless the leader is becomes a heretic or act like one. Maybe religion has no place in here. But I am just asking.

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  11. PK

    Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood missed out on a lot of concepts in “democracy”.

    1) Elections don’t make a democracy; a culture of tolerance and respecting individual and minority rights does. As does respecting freedom of speech and religion. Both Mubarak and Morsi violated all of that.

    2) Every single human being on Earth as the absolute, unalienable right not to live under sharia if they choose not to.

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  12. Jon Solis

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • gunal

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Jon solis

        Gunal – Thank you for the constructive comment. Unfortunately even you get 3 thumbs down just for asking for a little tolerance for an opposing view! Look at my last post and you will see 3 more thumbs down. I have come to the conclusion that the only people who read this web site are interested in having their views validated and are not interested in any intellectual discussion which challenges their preconceived notions. It is sort of like why conservatives watch Fox and liberals watch MSNBC. I have easily concluded that the readers of this website are not interested in reading any comments that do not agree with their rather rigid interpretation of Islamic thought, so as promised previously, I will quietly leave.

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      • Abu Asiyah

        Jon – the point of the voting on comments is to show agreement or disagreement. Most people disagreed with your posts, not because of some blind affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, but because they disagreed with what you said.

        Your original post was not “factual” – it was an interpretation of what the Muslim Brotherhood is like, and most people (including myself) do not see it in the same light as you do. Furthermore, brother Youssef replied to you with some valid points to which you did not offer a follow-up. If you are interested in intellectual discussions like you claim to be, I strongly encourage you to reply to what he said.

        This is not about wanting our opinions validated. It’s about disagreeing with a statement. So far what you have said has not convinced me that your point of view is correct. I did not vote down your posts, but I’m sure many people did because they felt the way I do.

        As for Gunal’s post – calling people “hypocrites” for voting on posts is probably enough to cause the thumbs down.

        All in all, I have seen plenty of constructive discussions here on MM. In my experience, a lot of people here are far from being close-minded. However, if everyone would leave after getting heavily voted down, there would be no point in the comments section. For this reason, I encourage you to continue commenting, but I ask you to please stop blaming close-mindedness when people decide to disagree with your opinions.

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      • gunal

        Yes Jon. It is clear to me they don’t understand us both lol.

        Ok it was my bad. I really did sound like calling them (and including myself) hypocrites. But what I meant to say was, if they(/we) didn’t voice their opinions about things said and done, then, when others take actions (such as a military coup) and they don’t like it, don’t wonder why that action is taken. It is because all you have done is clicked yes or no. And didn’t specify what is a yes and what is a no before it became a problem. Because that person who took action on behalf of you can turn round and say look you said yes. So everything I do and say is a yes because I am the majority. Is this the democracy you are fighting for?

        However, Jon, if we can’t make ourselves understood then it is a lost cause really. Do we keep hitting our heads to the brick wall until we are certain to be understood or do we give up like you’ve decided to do? I am tempted to join you (if not forced by MM at this point).

        But before I go, I was going to talk to you about your comment you made below. You said a lot of things that many of us feel was/is happening and a lot of us (not many on this site though, sorry)wanted it to be confirmed. I can see why many felt uneasy and feel what you are describing isn’t how it is. In politics there will always be an opposition. I get that. And you can’t expect people to believe what you say is correct even if you have solid proof. The opposition can easily invalidate your proof by clever tactics.

        I think politics as a whole thrives on these differences of opinions. Most of the time it is nothing but a lot of heresays for each opposition to argue about.

        Therefore, I have confirmed to myself today this is one reason and a very good reason to why I feel politics must be separated from religion and never be mixed up.

        Thank you for all your comments. Don’t feel that your opinions did not achieve anything. For me it made a difference. I value the views of an outsider because they can tell how things look from afar. Deep down I hope to read more of your comments especially on religion. Say hi sometimes?

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      • Jon solis

        I thank you for your heartfelt comment. I will reconsider leaving this site. Nothing I have said was for the purpose of hurting anyone’s feeling. Rather, I felt it should be educational for everyone to see how an outsider views things. Dialogue, rather than demagoguery is the key to a healthy society.

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      • gunal

        Yay! Hi Jon. :)) Look forward to further dialoguing with you. Take care

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    • Ilisha

      Jon, there is a segment of Egyptian society that wants to be like the West, and they do want a secular, liberal democracy. The problem for them is that they aren’t a majority, so in free and fair elections, they don’t get their way–and they don’t accept the results.

      This segment has allies in the West (including their puppet regimes in the Middle East) who meddle in the affairs of the country, with somewhat different goals. They want someone subservient to Western interests, who will keep the country open to plunder and domination, but at least with their candidates in power, there would be the veneer of liberal democracy and some reforms that would be to the liking of the liberal secularists.

      In practice, Islamic parties are simply not allowed to hold power, even if they win in free and fair elections. We’ve seen glaring examples in Gaza, Algeria, and now Egypt. All this talk of “freedom and democracy,” when put to the test, turns out to be just talk when the “wrong” people come to power. People naturally resent that.

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  13. uzman

    Several lessons can be learnt from the situation in Egypt.

    1. The army has the physical means of implementing the political system. Unless the army accepts the political system there will always be the possibility of a military coup.

    2. Winning an election is not the same as winning popular support. Voters can easily change their mind and recant their vote. It is therefore essential to win popular support from the masses and the army in order to govern.

    3. The contention between secular liberalism and islam has not been resolved at a grassroots level. The old matra of islam is compatible with secular/democratic values needs to be reassessed.

    4. A truly independent country must have a military independent of foreign influence be it through financial aid international treaties.

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    • Omar

      Hi Uzman,

      I would like to suggest that as an alternative to your point #3 we should consider that secular liberalism and Islam probably cannot co-exist like liberalism and conservatism co-exist in the West and the only way to have meaningful political debate and opposition in Muslim countries is to develop and Islamic liberalism. Surely there must be Muslim people who don’t agree with the character and style of conservative Muslim groups like the MB of Salafis and these people (including me) should set up alternative parties that embrace a more inclusive and open-minded understanding of Islam. Just think of the consequences of such a liberal Islam – the secular liberals would be completely marginalized and the entire political discourse within Muslim countries would be bounded by Islam. As well, the outside world would be unable to paint Muslims as ultra-conservative and intolerant and therefore justify interfering in our affairs … of course they would still try.

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  14. A Coup by Any Other Name -#Egypt - MuslimMatter...

    [...] It wasn't suppose to be this way. Everyone in Egypt knew, without question, that the country would hit a hurdle or two on its road to a fully functioning democracy. It was thought, however, that we would stumble along, but nonetheless move forward.  [...]

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  15. Abdelrahim Sadi

    Democracy contrasts forms of governemnt which supreme authority is vestd in a single and unusually hereditary figure as in Monarchy, or a power is held by a small faction of persons or in a dominant class or clique as in oligarchy where both forms differentiate in excercising democracy either direct or indirect through representative but the citizens who are reaping and enjoying the benefits of democracy.Democracy doesn’t end by the elections as some people perceive.
    Nevertheless, a genuine, thriving,stable democracy requires the protection on the range of right and freedom, where you speak your mind or diversion to knowledge through uncensored media.
    The question is which form of democracy does mursi belong to?
    Mursi, represented by muslims brotherhood, rather individualism and autarchic his trend to govern over democracy and the people well, therefore he :

    - Granted himself unlimited power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts
    - issued a contitutional declaration and accordingly dismissed Egypt Prosecutor General Abdelmajid Mahmoud and replaced by Talaat Abdulla which is unprecednted attack on judicial independence
    - Musi’s government paid peopl to beat protesters and sexually assault women
    - Individuals suspected of protesting against Mursi were being tortured and beaten in a facility run by Muslims Brotherhood.
    And Much more makes you tremble, meanwhile, some people defending just the word of democracy and ignoring the existance of a dictator who has a thirst for bloodshed, lack of tools and doesnt believe diversity and team work to rescue the country and its citizens.
    By consensus, the egyptians who support and cast their votes for him and millions more sought to oust him as they realized that his ostensible intention was islam and promoting democracy but his real goal was sectarianism and divisionism.

    Egyptians deserve a true democratic leader who could spare the egyptian’s blood and thrive their dired economy.

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    • Omar

      The assertions made in the above post are nasty and sound like propaganda IMHO. And even worse, the spelling and English are terrible too!

      Anyways, there is a lot wrong with the above post. I’ll just say a few things…

      If an elected leader has governed poorly then he should be thrown out in the next election along with his party. Then he and his party would learn a lesson. A coup, however, is illegitimate and leads to civil war like in Algeria and it looks like that’s where Egypt is headed.

      Becoming a democracy is a process, not something that happens automatically after 18 days of protests which were preceded by 40 years of timid acquiescence to oppression. Probably the biggest first step is to get through the first President’s term and into the next President’s term peacfully (kinda like the getting through the first year of marriage). Egypt failed.

      In the near future there will be a clash between the old regime (the “deep state” to use a term popular in the Turkish press) which includes the corrupt judiciary, bureaucracy, police, etc. and the elected government. This started under Morsi – he tried to take all power away from the deep state all at once. My personal opinion is that he made a big mistake there. The next leader will have to tackle this challenge somehow. If he does not, you know he is a puppet. And it seems the search is on for a good puppet, that’s what is taking so long.

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    • Fritz

      For free business and enterprise there must be a broad based distribution of ownership. What happened in Egypt appears to be the monied few trying to protect their own interests. Yeah I am sure MB did some craaazy stuff but ultimately you have to ask the question if the army etc were ever willing to pull their finger out of every slice of the public pie and allow free market economics to establish itself

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  16. Jon solis

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Abu Asiyah

      Jon, you complain about people voting your comments down, but honestly you say “it is clear to everyone” so many times – no it’s not. I don’t see it, I don’t see your proof. I don’t see proof that shows that the MB was not committed to democracy “by definition”. Yes, Morsi made mistakes and did not follow up on his promises, but that’s something that all politicians do. I’m not justifying what he did and I think it would’ve been fair for him to lose the re-elections if he was allowed to run until the end of his term. However, it doesn’t justify a coup.

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  17. ZAI

    I just don’t buy the secular/liberal opposition’s rationalizations or protests for the coup.
    Yes, it IS a “coup”. Even Western media is calling it that, it is so obvious.
    The disorganized, politically inexperienced liberal/secular factions didn’t get it their way.
    so they essentially threw a tantrum that the nanny(army) came in to quiet.

    I am not a political Islamist nor a theocrat and therefore not a supporter of their ideologies
    or methodologies. I much prefer the paradigms and courses advocated by traditional scholars
    such as Fethullah Gulen, Shaykh bin Bayyah, Imam Tahir-ul Qadri, etc. of changing hearts and minds through education and example, rather than top down enforced politicized theocracy. But EVEN I see what was done to the Ikhwaan as totally unfair and BAD for democracy and Egypt.

    #1 The opposition was politically immature and defeated THEMSELVES during the elections.
    They were in love with their own egos and Baradei, Hamdeen and their grandma’s ALL wanted to be
    president. Instead of uniting as the Ikhwaan and Salafis did, they split their own vote. So don’t blame the brothers or Salafis…they should blame themselves for being politically inept, and producing a run-off that put the Egyptian people in the position of voting for Morsi or a Mubarak thug.

    #2 How on Earth can one criticize Morsi and the brothers for politically illegitimate actions, but they did even worse and overthrew the entire elected government? It’s utter hypocrisy and taints any legitimate grievances they had.

    #3 What precedent does this set for democracy? Basically the secular/liberal factions are saying “We decide democracy…not the 51% that voted for Morsi”. What kind of democracy is that? Furthermore, what will these folks say if next year the Brothers overthrow THEM? If you don’t have to follow the rules of democracy, why do they?

    #4 What message are you sending to Islamists? There is no room for you in democracy?
    This is how radicalization and violence takes root…when disenfranchised people feel they
    have no alternative within a political system.

    The opposition had legitimate grievances like protection for freedom of speech, minorities and the constitution. But they thew away their own standards and made a power play. It is enough to know the Saudi government is celebrating the outcome to see how BAD this situation is. Saudi Arabia does not care about what kind of government you have, as long as it doesn’t come to power through the will of the people…because THAT’S what they are scared of spreading. Even Bashar in Syria is laughing and happy with the proceedings. Let that sink in. A man who has butchered 100,000 is siding with what the opposition carried out.

    Lastly, the argument that the Ikhwaan wouldn’t have given up power is fear based speculation..nothing more.They weren’t even given the chance to get there….They haven’t been given that chance ANYWHERE, with the exception of Pakistan…and in Pakistan they HAVE given
    up power when they lost the vote, most notably in khyber-Pakhtunwa province.(Note: does not
    include radical terrorists like the Taliban who reject democracy…I’m talking about legit
    political parties like the Jamaat e Islami).

    What happened in Egypt in horrible. It’s been an absolute failure over there.
    Libya, Tunisia and even Yemen are all making out better. What a disappointment
    from the “leading” Arab nation. I’m sure Saudi Arabia will send a nice Eidi to the opposition
    for a job well done.

    The Brothers did a lot of wrong, but a politically mature population would
    have seeked out a mutual accommodation or compromise as a corrective.
    They would not have acted like hypocrites trampling the values of the very system
    of government they say they want. I do not see how ANY good comes out of this…and again
    that is coming from someone who is NOT attracted to current formulations of top-down coercive
    political Islam.

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  18. Saeed Khan

    The problem in Egypt is the system. Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak were all players in the same system. Then came Morsi whose hands were tied because real power has always been with the military. The military are the protectors of the system. Real change cannot be achieved when your hands are tied behind your back but when you have real authority. The Prophet (SAW) understood this and rejected the offers made by Quraysh. Instead the Prophet (SAW) and his companions struggled and eventually had both the public opinion and authority so that he (SAW) could rule by Islam and Islam alone.

    Democracy is undoubtedly a system of shirk and Allah (SWT) does not give victory to the believers through it. It’s clear that some Muslims, misguidedly, believe that the end justifies the means that democracy is a tool there to be used. Groups in Tunisia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Malaysia etc etc. This is a non-Islamic principle. Muslims need to look to Islam for their goals and their means.

    I am very sorry to see what is happening in Egypt but it is clear that the Muslim Brotherhood have bought this situation upon themselves and the Muslims of Egypt through their misguided method that Islamic rule can be achieved through such ugly means.

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