Once upon a time when Egypt was ruled by President Mubarak there was something we term as “freedom of religion.” Then came the Arab Spring, a time of hope that democracy would become a staple of Egyptian society. Alas, that was in the spring time and today we are in fall. Recent polls reveal there has been a dramatic fall in the number of Egyptians who seek democracy and freedom of religion. A survey conducted by the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies reveals that 40% of Egyptians regard themselves as “Islamists.” Even more frightening is that 40% regard Saudi Arabia as their model for a modern country.
Turkey has become a model of an Islamic society which allows freedom of religion and does not impose Sharia law on those who either Muslim secularists or members of another faith, but only 10% of Egyptians prefer that model. The people of Egypt are moving closer to a model which denies secular minded folk the right to adhere to their own religious values. It also indicates that religious folk will decide who can or cannot speak about religion.
We wonder if Israeli religious fundamentalists are happy with their decision to avoid reaching a compromise agreement with the Abbas government which is NOT Islamist. Israel should have worked with moderate Muslims in order to create peace in the region. Alas,that was then, today we witness the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood and religious intolerance.