Friday, April 15, 2011

The creep, er gallop of Islamism in Egypt

The stories in recent bear out the truth: pure Islam is forming in Egypt as the political entity most likely to succeed.  The "I told you so" is passe now, there is no need to remind of what is now the obvious.

From Al Arabiya April 14 by Abeer Tayel

 Acts of hard-line vigilantism committed recently in Egypt are fuelling debate and concerns over the role Islamists could play after the departure of President Hosni Mubarak, who suppressed Islamist groups which he saw as a threat to his rule, analysts said.

Salafis were tolerated as a religious group under the former president as a counterweight his top foe, the Muslim Brotherhood group. But they appear to be playing a more political role in the country after the January 25 revolution.

That has alarmed many of the secular and liberal forces in Egypt because of the group’s extremist discourse and imposition of sharia (Islamic law.)
Reports of some acts of hard-line vigilantism, which lately dominated the news in Egypt, include an arson attack on the home of a woman deemed of “ill-repute,” and a punishment attack which involved a man’s ear being cut off.
Not cases of vigilantism but just the following of Muhammad and the tenets of Islam.

According to police, one villager was killed and eight others were injured in Fayoum province after fighting broke out when Salafi followers ordered the owner of a liquor store to close. The Salafis have been trying to forcibly impose their strict interpretation of Islam by banning consumption of alcohol.

In the Upper Egypt town of Qalyoub, residents were angered when arsonists set fire to a shrine, widening the scope of a campaign that has echoes of Pakistan. Sunni hardliners have blown up shrines there.

Some people see acts of Islamist vigilantism as a warning sign about the hidden intentions of Salafis of ruling Egypt.

The Egyptian people are faithful by nature, but they will never accept a religious rule,” Mohammed Obeid, a political analyst, told Al Arabiya.
Then the Egyptian people will either revolt again, or accept what Islam sees as the inevitable.

“Egypt’s openness and liberty, as well as the presence of a Coptic minority that exceeds 10 million of its population—all these factors prevent a Taliban-like model from ruling Egypt. This would surely threaten Egypt’s cultural and economic potential,” he said.

A false statement.  Coptic Christians number less than 8 million today, but the exodus of Christians from Egypt and the alarming rise in applications for asylum mean that in no short order the Copts will be a very tiny minority or gone altogether.

The head of al-Azhar, Egypt's most prestigious seat of Islamic learning, has called for efforts to confront hard-line doctrine. “We'll be up to our knees in blood,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb warned, as quoted by al-Shorouk newspaper.

The campaign against the shrines has drawn severe criticism from Egypt’s Mufti as well. In a Friday sermon, Sheikh Ali Jomaa accused the perpetrators of having a “misinterpretation” of Islam and “causing strife in society.”
Read it all

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