4 Apr
2011
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Egypt, a month and a half on

Bret Stephens reports in the Wall Street Journal (I quote at length):

Much was made at the time of the care the demonstrators had taken to tidy up the square, but now it’s back to its usual shambolic state. Much was made, too, of how the protests were a secular triumph in which the Muslim Brotherhood was left to the sidelines. But that judgment now looks in need of major revision.
…In the event, the ayes had it with a whopping 77%, despite a fevered turnout effort by “No” voters. “The West seems to be convinced that the revolution was led by secular democratic forces,” says Mahmoud. “Now that myth is shattered. Which means that either the old order”—by which he means the military regime—”stays in power, or we’re headed for Islamist dominance.”
…Egypt’s Copts, some 15% of the population and the largest non-Muslim group anywhere in the Middle East, have good reasons to be worried. Though the protestors at Tahrir made a show of interfaith solidarity, the sense of fellowship is quickly returning to the poisonous pre-Tahrir norm. Earlier this month a Coptic church south of Cairo was burned to the ground, apparently on account of an objectionable Coptic-Muslim romance. The episode would seem almost farcical if it weren’t so commonplace in Egypt, and if it didn’t so often have fatal results.

Mr. Stephens, with all due respect, I don’t see how burning down a church could ever be considered farcical.  So much of this was predictable back in February, to those who weren’t swept away in breathtaking excitement of it all.  It looks more certain that tragedy will beset the Egyptian people, and especially their Coptic Christian population.

Next time, before America begins cheerleading a rudderless revolution, it might be helpful to understand who the opposition parties are, and their designs.

UPDATE:

David Miller at The Jerusalem Post, reports

Officials of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s leading Islamic group, have called for the establishment of a Saudi-style modesty police to combat “immoral” behavior in public areas in what observers say in another sign  of a growing Islamic self-confidence in the post-Mubarak era.

In the political sphere, the Brotherhood led a successful drive to get voters to approve a package of constitutional amendments. On the street level, at least 20 attacks were perpetrated against the tombs of Muslim mystics (suffis), who are the subject of popular veneration but disparaged by Islamic fundamentalists, or salafis. After some initial hesitation, Islamic leaders have publicly praised the revolution.

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