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The weakness of non-Islamists: a disaster to Egypt
This article argues that the lack of strong non-Islamist forces is not good for the future of democracy in Egypt. It might lead to the Islamists’ domination of Egyptian politics for the coming few years.
Said Shehata , Sunday 2 Sep 2012
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Non-Islamist political forces are showing signs of being troubled by Islamists' domination - and this monopoly could be harmful for Egypt. This needs urgent action by non-Islamist forces to avoid the uncertain future of democracy in Egypt. If this does not happen soon, it will be more difficult to tackle this unhealthy political environment in the future and then put the country on the path of democracy and prosperity.

I argued more than eight years ago that although the Muslim Brotherhood was the most organised group, it was not the most popular group and pointed out that their share of votes did not exceed 20 per cent of voters in any elections.

The recent parliamentary and presidential elections proved they are not the most popular group. However, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists control almost all key positions in Egyptian politics.

The main reason for Islamists' domination is the weakness of non-Islamist political forces. In most democratic countries, such as those of the European Union, the presence of strong, different political forces is the safeguard for democracy.

In Egypt, there is a big problem where non-Islamists are divided and they lack vision to deal with the current situation. For example their call for huge anti-Brotherhood, anti-Morsi demonstrations on 24 August failed to make a dent. Only thousands out of a city of 22 million participated in that demonstration and I called it the "demonstration without demonstrators" after the book Democracy without Democrats. Many joked – including Islamists - about this demonstration because of the low turnout.

There was no coordination before calling for this demonstration. It would have been better for those forces to organise themselves and reach out to people in all corners of Egypt to prepare for the coming parliamentary elections.

One cannot change the fact that the Egyptian president is Islamist. So the practical reaction of the non-Islamist political forces to Islamist’s domination should be to strengthen their grassroots base in order to be ready for the coming elections rather than calling for demonstrations. There is nothing wrong with demonstrating, but this needs to be well-prepared and well-organised - otherwise it is an embarrassment.

In addition, this stage requires actions on the ground more than shouting and protesting. Those forces need to be smart to achieve their goals and avoid the Islamisation of Egypt.

Furthermore, if those forces are weak and divided, Islamists will take advantage and lead Egypt down their path. Islamists do need other forces to build a prosperous and democratic country. It is a responsibility of the non-Islamist camps to get over their divisions and become a real force on the Egyptian political scene.

Egyptians are unwilling to have another authoritarian regime. Those forces must work with Islamists to build Egypt in this critical moment of our history. They should put pressure on Islamists though their strong political activities. Islamists must take those forces seriously.

This will only happen when those forces put Egypt before their narrow political gains and when they have a clear vision and coordination amongst their forces. It is a golden chance for Egypt to be a regional power in the Middle East. Building a strong Egypt through active and effective political forces, especially the non-Islamist ones, will enable Egypt to regain its historical position in the region.





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Nahed
08-09-2012 01:14pm
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Some solutions
The artical has a point of view...But did not "put" any kind of solutions for the non-Islamist forces..Also, some of "non-Islamist forces" have commen goals with the Islamic Brotherhood than they have between each other like as "stoppeing the Isreali killing to Arabs every day"...On the other hand, some of the non-Islamist forces are hidding behind "Democracy" and have a "western aganda" not an Egeption aganda (And, most of the Arabs still remember what England, France, Italy, and USA did and do to Arabs)... Finally, I believe, Arabs, and amoung them "the Egeptions, added to the whole people of the region can not cut their roots with Islam, so it's needed to see and plan to the future based on "each people values"...And this is the most great mistake that some of non-Islamist forces do when they try to cut the connection between the present and the Islamic history in the region..."May be it worked once in Turky, but it will not works in the Arab counties, I think..."
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ak
06-09-2012 02:52pm
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Egyptians without religious labelling PLEASE
In a democratic society, religion is a private matter and needs to be kept out of politics . If free election resulted in electing a person with particular religious inclination this needs to be respected and all Egyptians ought to give the President a chance to prove that he governs for all the citizens (regardless of their religion). For those opposition forces who do not like the current leadership, they need to work harder to present a credible alternative leadership to the public and get ready to win the hearts and minds of the people at the next election. They need not target personality but rather articulate better policies and clear vision for the future. I totally disagree with labelling Egyptians as "Islamists" and "non-Islamists" as this can only create a division within the one community and one nation.
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6



Najjar
05-09-2012 09:47am
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The Ant and the Grasshopper
The MB deserve every vote they got, and the majority of the people VOTED for Morsi, and if you are not happy with the people's choice then you have no business living in a democratic state. While the MB for about 80 years (almost a century) worked hard, disciplined themselves, educated themselves, sacrificed their lives and their freedom, assisting the needy and socially doing what the government of the past did not do. While the so called non-Islamists had avoided making waves and let's be honest they were afraid to upset the brutal regime and just having fun with entertainments and idle political talks. Does any government need an opposition ? definitely YES. But an opposition should honestly work and help the head of state instead of sabotaging and crucifying him/her politically to the point of being preposterous. Currently Morsi holds the presidency, an institution that should be respected and more so when it is the People who decided who should hold it. So work with him when yo
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5



Hector M.
04-09-2012 11:54pm
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The weakness of non-Islamists: a disaster to Egypt
Said Shehata, the weakness of non-Islamists a disaster to Egypt the lack of strong non-Islamist forces is not good for the future of democracy in Egypt. Said, you either dont live in Egypt or ignorant journalist/commentator, that vast majority of Egyptians are Muslims, hence you may also identify them as Islamist, as you non Muslim Copts, liberals, perverts, and traitors think so. This is not weakness it is ground reality and you you have to live with it. Within Islamic framework you guys will be treated accordingly. The era of Pharoah Mubarak is over, now is the people power will move Egypt forward. You non-Islamists were and are cause of Egypt's lack of progress in technology and economy. You either shape up and live with majority or ship out from Egypt.
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4



sawsan mostafa ali
03-09-2012 11:17am
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I AGREE WITH YOU
1-It is time for work not talking or protesting 2- They should stop attacking Islamists - instead of that to be busy by gathering all in one group and to work from now for the coming elections. 3- As you said, if their first concern is Egypt, they should share with Islamists - now - and not to withdraw from the political scene. 4- I really want to thank Mr. Amr Moussa and see that all non-Islamists to folllow his steps - He has lost in the Presidential elections, but he said that he is going to continue to serve Egypt at any field . As a citizen - I feel happy when I see his role in the constitutional committee and feel that there is one who understands what a civilian state means and fighting for it- I feel that he is speaking on behalf of me. So, I want everyone who can share for the sake of Egypt - to do what he should do. Islamists will dominate Egypt only if we permit them to do so.
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ak
09-09-2012 02:06pm
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what is an islamist?
If I am a muslim, love my faith, and not a member of the MB but respect them, and think religion is a private matter, and certainly love my christian neighbour, will you call me an islamist? non-islamist? or an Egyptian with inner peace and love for his country? I do not think grouping or labelling people is serving the future direction of this country.
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Aparecido Ladislau Favini
02-09-2012 08:57pm
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SOS to brazilian inventor
Good morning!I count on your marvelous company in terms of commercial partnership or sponsorship.I am a Brazilian man, sixty, I reside in the state of Santa Catarina, in Brazil - but I'm not getting any kind of support or attention until now. We also need money for travel expenses and all, to start manufacturing my invention.Accepted for sponsorship disclosure of your Company, later. Or commercial company, and the largest slice of the pie would be with Thy Lordships. There will be some great profits, in several senses - for sure. Or others your contacts, other modes…INVENTOR I am, it is it ...But what is my Invention? It is the Cata-folhas. It is a simple mechanical utensil with handle, which picks up leaves and stuff off the floor and, through an eject mechanism, releasing the waste into a basket or similar.
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2



Nurrudin, Islamabad, Pakistan
02-09-2012 08:00pm
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No Islamist writers on this site. Why???????
why is it that only Communists, nationalists, secularists and liberals are allowed to publish articles on this site? Why do we not see a single Islamist writer voice the Islamist views? And you call yourselves democrats?
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ak
09-09-2012 02:16pm
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Who is am islamist?
Brother, I am not one of those you listed. I am a muslim, I pratcice my religion, am not a scholar, but I do not know if I am an islamist or not? can you define please who is an islamist?
Ansari
05-09-2012 08:46am
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To Nurrudin
why is it that only Communists, nationalists, secularists and liberals are allowed to publish articles on this site? Because most of the media is controlled by non Muslim Egyptians. This will change very soon. Especially the Copts have tons of money for the media, and other anti Egypt activities. may be my comments will get published.
Ansari
05-09-2012 08:43am
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To Nurrudin
why is it that only Communists, nationalists, secularists and liberals are allowed to publish articles on this site?
Hind
04-09-2012 04:51am
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no comment
only what is an Islamist?
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Lutfi
02-09-2012 06:20pm
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changing face of politics
The author ignores one importan fact. The non-islamists are weak not because of organisational or procedural issues but rather because the vast majority of Egyptians are comfortable with Islamic moral guding society in the political arena. The future is not a dichotmy of pro and anti islam. I venture all parties in the future will have a degree of Islamisation and the voters will chose on the basis of policies and issues (all within an islamic context). What else would you expect in a country where over 90% are muslims and religion is taken seriously
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Dalou
05-09-2012 11:59pm
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Islamist is language of the West
West and Israel languish "Islamist" equates with "Terrorist". We're in the worst racist times since i was born, Europe is becoming Nazi. Moslem not Islamist is the right name of Moslem religion.

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