Tag Archives: Mubarak

Muslim Brotherhood In Egypt Now Faces Military Court

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been facing continual harrassment by the government of President Mubarak which seeks to crush a group that offers firm opposition to the current administration of the country. Forty members of the Musim Brotherhood after being exonerated by a civilian court, had their cases transfered to a military tribunal on orders of President Mubarak. Abdel Maqsoud, swpeaking for the MB, “the decision to try the 40 members in a military court is an unfair decision and is an indication of how unjust and provocative our political system is.” He believes the case may once again be postponed to ensure none of the men would be able to stand in the upcoming elections. Several human rights activists are coming to Cairo to monitor the trialsand the Egyptian Organizaiton for Human Rights (EOHR) stated “we are completely against civilians being tried in military courts.”

Neither press nor media will be allowed in the court to witness the trial. The 40 men were acquitted of all charges by the Egyptian Administrative Court but Murbarak intends to crush the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is cited by the United States as an ally in the fight for democracy but those who oppose the rule of Mubarak more commonly face court action to silence their voices. This blog may disagree with the views of the Muslim Brotherhood but their right to express opinions must not be stifled because the only other recourse is violence.

Can Democracy Be Maintained In A Muslim Led Nation?

Mona Eltahawy, writing in the Daily News of Egypt, raises questions concerning the relationship between a democratic society and the rights of Muslim fundamentalists. She discusses her interaction with Khaled Hamz Salam, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhodd and recently was arrested by Egyptian autorities. Ms. Eltahawy emphasizes she completely disagrees with the views of Salam and doubts if she, as modern secular woman, would have any opportunity to express her views in a nation led by the Muslim Brotherhood. However, much to her surprise, Salam has reprinted her views on his web site and insists if the Brotherhood ever took over, the rights of women would be protected. He is now one of 750 members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have been imprisoned.

Mona Eltahawy believes President Mubarak uses scare tactics to maintain power by frightening the West with tales of Islamic oppression if the Brotherhood was allowed to participate in politics and eventually gain power. The spectre of Islamic fundamentalism allows Mubarak to continue his dictatorial rule which, after his death, might be followed by the rule of his son. She believes arresting people like Salam who respect women’s rights represent a threat to the Egyptian government attempt to protray all Brotherhood members as extremists and terrorists.

Her column raises the issue if a new generation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders is emerging who are more in tune with the modern world. Certainly, the example of Turkey shows a fundamentalist government still respects secularism. Perhaps, a major problem of the current Bush administration is being blinded by words like “terrorism” or “religious fundamentalism” which leads them to support dictatorship who rule in the name of being better than fundamentalism.

The real question is whether a third road is beginning to be created in the Muslim world which allows both fundamentalist and modern man and woman to walk alongside one another into the future.

Egypt Ranks At Bottom In Press Freedom

President Mubarak is a firm ally of George Bush in the fight to extend democracy to the world. Unfortunately, the just released World Press Freedom Index ranks Egypt at the bottom of the list of countries failing to support the concept of freedom of the press. Egypt came out 146 of 169 countries that were listed. Eritrea holds the 169th position due to President Issalas Afeworki’s crackdown which has ended he idea of any independent newspapers and resulted in four reporters dying while in detention.

The editors of four leading Egyptian independent newspapers have been sentenced to one year in jail for “publishing false information(about the health of President Mubarak) likely o disturb public order.” The chief editor of al-Ahram and two reporters for the paper received two year prison terms for misquoting the Minister of Justice. Reda Helal, an editor for al-Ahram, disappeared four years ago on her way home from work. This pattern of cracking down on newspapers and reporters who challenge the Egyptian government comes at a time when there are numerous reports of President Mubarak grooming his son as his successor. The Egyptian people need an open forum of ideas to examine their future, but this does not appear likely as long as Mubarak is in charge.

An Egyptian Middle Road?

Four of the largest secular parties have begun exploring the idea of a coalition which might constitute a third force in Egyptian politics. At present, the ruling National Democratic Party of President Mubarak represents corruption and inefficiency while at the other end of the continuum is the Muslim Brotherhood which recently shocked many people by announcing their desire for an Iranian style government dominated by clerics. Mubarak is growing old and there are rumors he is grooming his son to take over once he either dies or leaves office. His government has failed to develop a vibrant economy and is riddled with corruption. Thousands of young Egyptians migrate elsewhere in search of jobs that match their education or talents. Osama El Ghazeli Harb, an editor of al-Ahram, posed: “I think the coalition should attempt to answer the question: what should Egypt look like after Mubarak?”

George Bush has emphasized his anger at the clerical dominated Iranian government, but less attention has been focused on the corrupt and increasingly anti-democratic government of Mubarak. One result of the corruption is continued growth of a fanatical Muslim Brotherhood which has abandoned earlier statements about their desire for a non-clerical controlled government. It is now clear they desire a clerical group which will oversee legislation as is done in Iran. Egypt desperately needs a third force of secular democrats who can offer people an alternative between extremes.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Urges Iranian Style State

Egyptian’s moderate secular parties have been hoping the Muslim Brotherhood would cooperate in efforts to establish a democratic Egyptian nation. Their hopes were dashed with publication by the Muslim Brotherhood of its platform for change in Egypt. The document would bar women and Christians from holding the office of president and allow a board of clerics to oversee Parliament and decide which laws could be passed. A hard line group within the Brotherhood, the “Daaw,” which in Arabic translates as “preaching” over-rode objections by moderates in pushing through their fundamentalist ideas which appear to resemble the Iranian government in form and substance. Abdel Moneim Sud of the Al-Ahram Center said “it establishes a religious state. It’s an assassination for the public state.” The document argues women should not be allowed to hold high office because it would lead to “burdening women with duties against their nature or role in the family.”

The Mubarak government has failed to create a dynamic economy, it has failed to establish the basis for democracy in Egypt, and it is riddled with corruption and favoritism. rumors continue circulating President Murbarak is grooming his son to take over the office of president when he leaves. The Muslim Brotherhood platform would set back Egyptian women fifty years and make impossible any coalition that could successfully challenge Mubarak. Perhaps, it indicates the Brotherhood is considering use of violence to attain power even though it continues denying any such intention.