Weeks ago, I predicted that the chances Egypt would come out of its implosion as anything resembling a democracy are extremely slim, and I hate to say I told you so, but, well, I told you so.
In the past few days, Associated Press has reported that Egyptian Islamists are “forming political parties to enter upcoming elections and raising alarm that they will try to lead the country into fundamentalist rule.”
The signs are not encouraging, unless you happen to be an al-Qaeda sympathizer. Then they’re all good. And I’m concerned that “as goes Egypt, so goes the entire Arab world.”
A.P. reports that “Islamic hard-liners, some of them heavily suppressed under three decades of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, are enthusiastically diving into Egypt’s new freedoms,… taking advantage of a security vacuum,…” and are not “waiting for the political process.”
“They have attacked Christians and liquor stores, trying to impose their austere version of Islamic law in provincial towns,” A.P. reports.
So, while Mubarak wasn’t Mother Theresa, he evidently kept the black cloud of Islamization at bay.
There is still some hope, since the ruling military warned them this week that Egypt “will not be turned into Gaza or Iran.”
And I hope they’re right.
But, according to the report, “Islamists could fare well in parliamentary elections scheduled for September, especially if the various groups run on a unified ticket.”
Unlike any other political party in the country, the Islamists are well funded and organized, the story says, noting that “liberals and leftists, including the youth activists who led the protest uprising against Mubarak, are caught between their stance that all sides must be allowed to enter the political game if Egypt is to be a real democracy and worries whether Islamists will play by the rules.”
Something they maybe should have thought about before destabilizing their government. I thought of it, so it was right there to consider.
Evidently, besides the Muslim Brotherhood, which has long been a threat to any form of freedom, not to mention a violent force for evil, there is now some new group called the Salafis – “ultraconservatives, close to Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi interpretation of Islam and more radical than the Brotherhood,” according to the story. The Wahhabi, one might recall, are the delightful bunch that brought the world the concept of living to die – of valuing death above life – the mirror opposite of Judaism.
“They seek to emulate the austerity of Islam’s early days and oppose a wide range of practices they view as ‘un-Islamic’ – rejecting the treatment of non-Muslims as citizens with equal rights as well as all forms of Western cultural influence,” the story notes.
Perfect. Just what the world needs. And right on Israel’s boarder. Excellent.
With Mubarak gone, the Salafis have reportedly “abandoned their disdain for politics,” the story notes.
A Salafi leader reportedly told The Associated Press that the movement planned to set up its own party. He said the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood were “engaged in preliminary contacts over the possibility of ‘coordination’ in the parliamentary elections.”
Isn’t that nice?
Also in play is the Gamaa Islamiya, or the “Islamic Group,” another militant organization seeking to establish an Islamic state in Egypt, the story says.
“Ominously, the group forced two of its veteran leaders… to resign amid criticism that they sold out to authorities when they agreed to abandon violence to win their release after serving long jail terms,” according to the story.
Sounds like a pleasant crowd, and just the type of neighbor anyone would want.
Islamists are already showing their confidence – trying to assert the hard line Islamist rules, the story says.
In one town with a large Christian population, for instance, “Islamists wrested control of mosques from government preachers, installing their own imams and prayer leaders. The city is filled with signs exhorting residents to follow Islamic teachings and women to wear the hijab… ‘The hijab is obligatory,’ one sign says. ‘Take your eyes off women,’ another chides men.”
A recent rumor that attacks were planned against female university students not wearing a head scarf, kept some women away from the campus for a day, according to the story.
Salafis, who reportedly see religious shrines and tombs as a sign of idolatry, are believed to be behind the destruction of at least five Muslim shrines in the past week and are also blamed for attacks on Christians and others they don’t approve of, the story says.
In one attack, a Christian man had an ear cut off for renting an apartment to a Muslim woman thought to be involved in prostitution, the story says. In another, a Muslim was killed for allegedly practicing magic, it says.
Salafis have reportedly also forced the closure of four cafes that serve alcohol, set fire to four Christian homes and threatened to destroy some of Cairo’s most revered shrines.
So the danger of losing priceless, irreplaceable historic objects and structures is clear and far from unprecedented among Islamists historically. And also painfully clear is the danger of the Islamists hurling Egypt back into the Dark Ages.
To be honest, I wouldn’t care very much what the crazy Islamists do in their own countries to their own people, if they were content to contain it there. But they’re not. Their program involves spreading that dreck everywhere by whatever means necessary. And Israel is the first obvious target.
Egypt’s top mainstream cleric reportedly warned that the shrine threats could lead to violence between Muslims, which in my sarcastic view, is one positive glimmer in all this.
“Blood will be knee-deep,” the cleric said, and a member of the military’s Supreme Council now ruling Egypt, told newspaper that the army “will not allow extremist groups to take over Egypt.”
I figure that as long as they’re busy killing one another, they’re likely leaving the rest of us alone.
We can only hope, if they Arab world can’t find it’s way up to freedom and democracy it will descend deeply into self-destruction rather than trying to spread the evil of radical Islam even more around the world.
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