Book review: The decline of Islamism after Mubarak's fall

DPA, Sunday 29 Apr 2012

Alaa Haidar sees Islamist currents not surging, but retreating, where Islam is implemented in small matters, while the real, overarching problems in Egypt are debated, but not resolved

Sokuut Mubarak wa min Baduh Al-Mutaaslemun (Fall of Mubarak and Islamacised Soon After) by Alaa Haidar

A new book recently released in Cairo monitors the retreat in popularity of Islamist currents among Egyptians, despite Islamists' sweeping victory in recent parliamentary elections.

Author Alaa Haidar documents many of the events he witnessed and participated in during his work as a journalist in the official Egyptian news agency, MENA, over 30 years - seven of them in Paris.

The book includes pictures of the author with Mubarak, his prime minister and French officials, including ex-president of France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.

The author sees the popularity of Islamic trends in Egypt swiftly retreating, including the reduction of Islamic implementation to things such as the beard and the niqab (full face veil). The author criticises this reduction of Islam to issues that do not represent the real problems of Egyptians, just as Mubarak reduced Egypt to destitution, where ambition was pointless.

The author merges real and fictitious narrations of the events that happened in Egypt after the January 2011 uprising, as he tracks what he calls the fall of Islamcised currents after Mubarak was ousted.

The author also documents more than 20 of Mubarak's visits to Paris between the years 2001 to 2006, documenting facts and relaying jokes about him.

The big surprise revealed in the book, however, is related to presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq, who was excluded Tuesday, 24 April, from the presidential race. The book documents violations of the law by Shafiq while he was Egypt’s civil aviation minister. 

The book also reflects on the reasons why the head of Egypt’s parliament kept Sami Mahran, the general secretary of the parliament, in his post, despite reports on his corruption over the past 20 years.

The book closes with a warning against writing Egypt's new constitution in a way that allows political parties to be formed on the basis of religious or racial affiliation. Author Haidar quoted French president d'Estaing, who once warned of a plan to divide Egypt into six countries.

Short link: