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Egypt's unreasonable opposition
Egypt's opposition leaders hate the Muslim Brotherhood more than they love Egypt, a situation dangerous for all Egyptians
Khalid Amayreh , Sunday 17 Feb 2013
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The National Salvation Front (NSF) is the main entity encompassing opposition to the Islamists in Egypt. It often projects itself as a united and homogenous body. However, a closer look into it suggests a heterogeneous group comprising cacophonic components that are only united by their hostility to Islamists.

Indeed, what makes an odd couple like Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi and ultra-libertarian Mohamed ElBaradei coalesce in one front, other than their sullen hostility to the Muslim Brotherhood? In fact, ElBaradei's declared philosophy has more to do with Miltonian political philosophy and the Areopagitica than with Islam or Nasserism. His undeclared ideas could be too exotic and anomalous if judged according to the general principles of Islam.

The man who had the audacity to suggest establishing places of worship for Buddhists and Hindus when there is virtually zero population of adherents to Buddhism and Hinduism in Egypt could conceivably embark on many eyebrow-raising feats, such as advocating homosexual and civil marriages as well as women's rights to have multiple sex partners.

The man is apparently thoroughly imbibed in Western values and it would hard to reindoctrinate him in things Arab and even Egyptian.

For obvious political and public relations reasons, the co-leader of NSF can't reveal all that he has in his libertarian depository.

The NSF lists a host of contentious issues and demands it says must be met by the government before agreeing to suspend its disruptive protests in Egypt's streets.

However, in the honest opinion of this writer, most of these issues and demands are more or less "red herrings" that are meant to obfuscate the real issue: rejection of what the opposition calls "political Islam."

The opposition makes a lot of clamour about the recently-approved constitution. However, an honest reading of this constitution fails to show the "horrendous and unacceptable violations of an Egyptian citizen's rights and dignity" that the opposition suggests it represents.

In fact, the vociferous ranting of the opposition, constantly parroted by a shockingly biased media, is unreasonable to say the least. In short, the real issue is not the constitution. The real issue behind the demonstrations has more to do with the opposition's undeclared refusal to accept the rule of the ballot box, especially if and when that ballot box breeds Islamists.

The opposition claims, utterly falsely, that the Muslim Brotherhood are promoting a fascist government. Well, this is a lie. Today Egyptians, for the first time in 5000 years, can demonstrate really freely, call their elected leader "Hitler" and "Nazi" as well as attack his presidential palace with Molotov cocktails without being riddled with bullets.

Do we remember that poor Egyptian who was instantly shot and killed several years ago upon approaching former president Mubarak's motorcade, probably to hand the former tyrant a small paper stating his grievances?

Last week, thousands of Egyptian demonstrators shouted "Irhal, Irhal, Irhal," meaning "leave,"  outside the Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo. Well, what sort of political culture do these people have? Are democratically-elected presidents in any self-respecting countries asked to leave office a few months after elections?

Can we imagine thousands of Americans converge at the White House, hurling firebombs and stones and shouting at President Obama "Leave, leave, leave"?

President Morsi may not the best president Egypt could elect. But he is the legitimate president of the country and he has the right to complete his term. Yes, hundreds of thousands have been demonstrating against him. But a silent majority of tens of millions of people are still giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Two months ago, the opposition thought the president's popularity had gone down the drain, prompting its decision to take part in the referendum over the constitution. However, the fact that nearly 65% of eligible voters who bothered to cast their votes voted in favour of the draft constitution showed that Morsi was more popular then than when he was first elected in June 2012.

This is because the mid-December referendum was effectively a referendum over the performance of the president, thanks to a hostile campaign of delegitimisation and vilification preceding the poll.

I know that the opposition in general as well as many ordinary Egyptians are overwhelmed with frustration and indignation over the slow pace of political and economic reforms promised by the revolution. I also understand that the economic situation is very bad. However, the disruptive nature of the opposition's activity, especially its cheap opportunism, is derailing and endangering the march of the country towards a brighter future.

In truth, the destructive behaviour of some segments of the opposition would give the impression that there are certain people in Egypt who would rather see Egypt fail than the Muslim Brotherhood succeed. Well, if Egypt failed, God forbid, then no political group or coalition of groups would succeed. Everyone would lose, irrespective of whose voice was louder and whose patriotic credentials were more authentic.

I don't like to entertain the idea that there are such Egyptians. Such people would be Egypt's enemies as well as their own enemies. They must be stopped at all costs, not looked upon as seasoned allies in the battle against the "Islamist ghoul."

This is why I believe the opposition must give the president the full opportunity to succeed. It is ethically indefensible to impede and disrupt the president and then complain about the lack of progress. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the opposition is doing. They seem to hate the Muslim Brotherhood more than they love Egypt.

A final point. Some of the opposition figures keep invoking the term "political Islam," as if the term were a source of shame to Islamists.

Well, political Islam is not the invention of the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamists. It is rather solidly rooted in Islam and its holy scripture, the Quran.

I am not going to discuss certain arguments made by anti-Islam secularists who claim that the rule of Sharia is not a must upon Muslims and that Muslims might opt for modern Western-style democracy without violating the tenets of their faith. These arguments are quite nonsense, even for first grade Muslim children.

But I do want to point out that one cannot reject political Islam as a matter of principle, without rejecting Islam itself.

Yes, one might disagree with certain Islamist modalities, behaviours and interpretations. We all reject violence and terror committed in the name of religion. And we all would like to see a kinder and gentler practice of Islam everywhere.

But we must never allow ourselves as Muslims to compromise the main principles of our faith in order to appear more in tune with the age, and more acceptable to the West.





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12



Rahman
02-03-2013 07:23am
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Offer Alternative option for Egyptian People
The Opposition in Egypt are embarassing true democrats globally.As a global member of democracy movement its really embarassed true democrat. The opposition is been preaching democracy with a loud voice like u know what u are saying, but u cant be more wrong.But its doest not allow the govt to build institutions yet its complaint that things are not working.The opposition also complain that the goverment monopolise power but the Egyptians have not voted for you other than Morsi and will not be held responsible. let those that Egyptians will hold accountable to run this institutions and they should complain.You have contested the election but the Egyptian people has not given you chance to play a role because the people will not hold you responsible.The opposition will have your chance in next election ,please wait till then if you are true democrats. You must prove that you are responsible opposition with focus proposal how you want to build the democratic Insitutions, the economy
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11



Egyptian
21-02-2013 12:27pm
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Bad Article
Your article lacks factual correctness, as only 32% of eligible voters voted for the flawed constitution, and of that 32% 65% approved it, meaning it was passed by 20% of eligible voters, obviously not representing Egypt. Furthermore, there was blatant electoral fraud. In the US, in Europe and other decent countries, if a president allowed his people to clash the way Morsi does, he or she would resign immediately and be tried. Please do not compare a well-cultivated Democracy like that of the US to the religious fascism imposed on Egypt by the MB and Morsi through their cliche claims of legitimacy and the religious edicts that are meant to target opposition. You fight for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Syria because they are Sunni Muslims, yet you do not care for the Shiia Muslims in Bahrain who die or in Iran. You fight for the right to wear the Burka and have mosques in Europe, yet you discriminate against Christians in Egypt and fight to veil women and contain building churche
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Yosri
22-02-2013 11:42am
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Shiism is not Islam, it is a religion of swearing and cursing
Shiism is an abberation of Islam. Shiism want tos to destroy Islam under the rubric of fighting Isral.
Bahraini
22-02-2013 11:38am
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Criminal fanatics
Shiite Musli in Bahrain want to destroy the Kaaba and slaughter all sunni Muslim and exhume the bodies of Omar, Abu Bakr and Aisha and burn them These people are criminal fanatics.
10



Arif Tell
20-02-2013 01:20pm
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Watch out
No danger here for unbelievers as well as Jews, Christians or Shias from true Moslems. I rather see a danger for practicing Moslems in the Western World. The art of pulling strings from behind a democratic screen by an all prevailing Cooperate Media to instigate hatred against Islam as well as between Moslems has its roots outside any religion. I would rather point my finger at Zionism. For this reason I would suggest having some patients with the first democratic elected government of Egypt. At the same time watching out for any secretive manipulation attempts from outside the country of which I can see plenty of signs. I would rather promote unity for any kind of believers in Egypt or better even: the whole Arab World.
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9



Dawood Al Masry
18-02-2013 10:43pm
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Same behaviour
If the article was not attacking opposition figures at hominem, finally doing exactly the same as the behaviour he wants to condemn, it would be excellent.
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Ahmed
19-02-2013 03:57pm
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El-Baradie and all candidates should be scrutinized at all levels
He is a politician who aspires for the highest public office in the country. He shouls be squeezed rather thoroughly.
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Democracia
18-02-2013 08:17pm
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Trash...
With all my respect, dear author: This is "intellectual" trash on it's highest level. I cannot hear those platitudes anymore...
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lady amelia
20-02-2013 09:00pm
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nonsense
there is no law that requires the prime minister of Britain to be protestant. Tony Blair is a Catholic.
Ali
19-02-2013 11:09pm
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You can live in egypt
You can live here as an Atheist. It is just that you can`t be president. Like a muslim can`t be president of france. You must be a protestant to become prime minister of Britain by law. Did you know that?
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Mohammad Sadiq
18-02-2013 07:26pm
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Oppositions at odds with the Egyptians.
You have touched the nerve line of the Egyptian oppositions Mr. Amayreh. They are united on the hate of M.B. more than anything else. They have no conscious destroying the country for the benefits of power. If they do not have public support, otherwise they will welcome the election. '
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6



Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan
18-02-2013 02:21pm
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A correct pronouncement of the reality
My compliments to Mr.Khalid Amayreh and Ahram Online for this excellent exposure of the reality.Egyptian societal texture is rooted in Egypt's own civilisation. It can not be dominated by the self-styled so called Westernised liberals who try to enforce the Western life style and social values irrespective of the abhorrence for these of the overwhelming multitude of the masses. Mr.Khalid's views about political Islam are also absolutely correct. We wish all success to Egypt.
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5



Nancy Ibrahim
18-02-2013 12:40pm
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not a religious man
El-Bardie is not a religious man. If his relations with God are bad, I don't expect them to bee good wit man. The man is an agent of Western imperialism. It is a shame that Hamdeen is harrowing after him.
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Democracia
19-02-2013 08:47pm
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What about the millions....
Dear Lara, did you ever count the millions of people killed in the name of a God or a religion. By people who believe in God? What about all the Shiites killed now on a daily basis in their hundreds? Belief in God and justice go hand in hand? Where??? About what justice you are talking? Yes, I am an atheist - and what now? Death fatwa on me or what?
Lara
19-02-2013 03:52pm
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Beliefe in God is essential
Of course, had Staline4 believed in God and the hereafter, he wouldn't have exterminated 15 million Ukrainians. Belief in God and justice gos hand in hand. OK, democracia, I challenge you to declare your atheism and run for elections in Egypt.
Democracia
18-02-2013 08:22pm
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Nonsense...
You wrote: "If his relations with God are bad, I don't expect them to bee good wit man." From where you want to know this? That means for you that a nonreligious person is automatically a bad person. Or what? Sorry to say but that is absolute nonsense and utmost ignorant... I hate this arrogance of being better than other ones just by being religious.
Riyadh Abdul Meguid
18-02-2013 07:49pm
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Joining el-Baradie was a mistake
Yes, I agree, sabbahi stands to lose by clinging to el Baradie. Sabbahi will soon realize that joining El-Bardie was a mistake.
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Mohanad Adly
18-02-2013 09:47am
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Lack of objectivity
This article lacks objectivity and credibility. I used to rely on Ahram Online as a reliable source of info. Now it looks like it's becoming just another mouthpiece for the government. The author fails to point out that only 33% of eligible voters turned out to vote in the referendum. The 65% yes vote effectively means only 21% of eligible voters approved the constitution. Imagine that! A new constitution approved only by 21% of the people. It is clear that the author is very biased and will most likely back the government no matter what it does. Talk about Mubarak era practices.
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Attal
28-02-2013 07:31pm
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Electoral percentage
Electoral percentage in most democratic societies never go beyond two third of the qualified or registered
ken
19-02-2013 09:47pm
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lack of objectivity or lack of assumption ?
if 21% of the eligible voters backed the constituition ,then what makes u think that the 79% that did not show up are against the constitution because that is your assumption ! when the ballot box does not pay you , then u guys makefunny analysisi. its a shame.
Ali
18-02-2013 01:15pm
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the first election
The parliamentary election were the only fair election without gulf/Nasserist/Liberal Media manipulation. So it`s the only representative election. Anyway. Who ordered the people to sty at home? And who said that they would have voted for sabahi in the first place?
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Mostafa
18-02-2013 09:34am
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biased and distorted opinion
That is such a biased written opinion. Initially, a hefty part is dedicated to the unseen, which in a way is only seen by the author in ElBaradei. He criticizes him for “his undeclared ideas” that “could be too exotic and anomalous” and also for the fact that he “can’t reveal all he has in his libertarian depository” … weird, but whatever. Then it jumps to the “shockingly biased media”, which in turn, is obviously not followed much by the writer because if he ever had, then the writer should have known by now that a law is being drafted to no longer allow Egyptians to “demonstrate really freely” as he claims. Let alone knowing that they were actually “riddled with bullets” along with tear gas on several occasions. He exaggerates and speaks of a “silent majority of tens of millions” and ignores the fact that Morsi was elected by only 13.2 million votes representing a mere 51% win, of which the bulk majority that refused to side by his opponent are now key figures in his so claimed “Egyp
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Ali
18-02-2013 01:23pm
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He won against shafiq
He was competing with shafiq. You are right. It is possible that the silent majority is not on morsi`s side. But it is safe to say that they don`t stay by Baradai nor by Sabahi. I mean morsi won against shafiq and not against sabahi. Understand?. And they voted for shafiq because he promised them to get rid of the protesters and thugs in a few days.
Nafez Ayyoub
18-02-2013 12:37pm
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Demonstrating doesn't mean putting the countryon fire
Thos who were attacked with tear gas were themselves involved in terror and vandalism. This is done even in the most democratic countries. Democracy doesn't mean lawlwssness and sabotage.
Farid Ahmed
18-02-2013 12:30pm
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I think Mursi is more popular now than he was when elected
If were to follow this argument, then none of the world's elected leaders would be legitimate due to the voters' low turnout. Your argument is thus groundless and illogical.Besides, who says that those who stayed home ad dind't vote were anti-Mursi? They only chose to stay hom. period.

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