The ongoing conflict between the religious Moslem Brotherhood and more secular Egyptian leaders continues as Brotherhood parliament members asserted they will oppose any law that bans female mutilation. As a Moslem Brotherhood spokesman commented: “Cutting must b e upheld because it is an Islamic practice.” He also expressed hope all TV programs could be cancelled during the month of Ramadan in order to focus the minds of people upon religion.
Last week, Mubarak’s government cracked down on the Brotherhood and arrested a few of its parliamentary deputies. Mubarak warned that “some religious movements aim to turn the clock back.” The Israel-Palestinian conflict tends to obscure fundamental issues dividing people who are Muslims. There is a clash between forces of religious fundamentalism and secularism which would be present even if Israel disappeared tomorrow. Mubarak has failed to offer his society a government committed to ending corruption and stimulating the economy. Such failures only strengthen forces of religious fundamentalism.