Culture At Large

A letter from Egypt

Ramez Atallah

Last year Egyptians had to choose between a former Hosni Mubarak-regime army general and a Muslim Brotherhood leader for president. Many abstained from voting; among those who voted for Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood candidate, were liberal Muslims and a small percentage of Christians who were really voting against a Mubarak candidate.

Within a year since being narrowly elected, Morsi had violated every one of his campaign promises.

Shortly after his election he began acting much more like a totalitarian dictator than as an elected official and soon gave himself full executive, legislative and judicial powers. Instead of choosing the best and most capable people to lead the country with him, he replaced nearly all government ministers and most of the 27 regional governors with people from his party. Most of these were incompetent.

As a result, the performance of Morsi and his government was extremely poor in almost all areas - economically, financially, politically and from a security point of view. Moreover, he was leading Egypt rapidly towards the dark tunnel of political Islam, the ideology which he and the Muslim Brotherhood espoused. In doing so he and his party succeeded in rapidly alienating themselves from most Egyptians, who realized he was really not interested in their welfare.

Since it was founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has been striving to establish an Islamic state in Egypt, which would eventually encompass the Arab world. Gaining power in Egypt was their first political breakthrough.

Egypt’s vote against “political” Islam was actually a vote for “moderate” Islam.

The worldwide consequences of most Egyptians’ rejection of political Islam as a viable option are a serious setback to the Muslim Brotherhood’s theocratic political dream. Islam is no longer the political solution, as the Brotherhood claimed. It has been tried in Egypt and has failed to win the approval of the 21st-century Muslim masses. This will have dramatic implications for many countries in the region (Syria, Jordan, Gaza, Libya, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Tunisia, among others) and worldwide. 

Most Egyptians believe the only way to have liberated themselves from the iron grip of the Muslim Brotherhood was with the army’s help. But they are also looking forward to returning to a civil state as soon as possible. So the sooner we can have new parliamentary and presidential elections the better.  

To do so, there needs to be a political reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood’s followers, who have been protesting on the streets since the removal of their leader and are continuing to incite others to violence.  

It is very important to emphasize, in no uncertain terms, that Egypt’s vote against “political” Islam was actually a vote for “moderate” Islam.  

During and following the January 2011 revolution, Christians in Egypt regained close relationships with their Muslim friends and neighbors and felt very much at peace living among a Muslim majority. During Morsi’s presidency, Christians feared that Egyptian Muslims as a whole were espousing a version of Islam which would not have been hospitable to Christians. We sighed a deep sigh of relief this week, realizing that the vast majority of Egyptian Muslims were moderates who wanted to share Egypt equally with us.

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Other Religions, News & Politics, World