Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Sharia For Egypt If Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate Al-Shater Is Elected

Another battleground for secular democracy versus Islamism is Egypt. Until the actual elections take place on May 23 and 24 of this year, we won't know if an Islamist will be elected president or not. But with an overwhelming majority of Islamists in parliament, an Islamist president will seal the deal. If the Egyptian people are foolish enough to elect Khairat al-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, they'll all be living under Sharia law, since Shater has stated that it's  “his first and final goal.” This is not something that those young, secular students who fought hard during the revolution expected.  But enough Egyptians were responsible for voting in so many Islamists in the parliamentary elections, so I wouldn't be surprised if al-Shater wins.

Liberals and secularists are very troubled about this, and so they should be. 

Shater, who stepped down as the Brotherhood’s deputy leader to run, said “he would work to form a group of scholars to support parliament in achieving that goal,” according to a statement on the group’s website.
When asked by AFP, a senior official with Shater’s campaign did not deny the statement, but clarified that the presidential candidate shared his electoral program with the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party.

The FJP calls for an “Islamic, constitutional and democratic” state, but not a “theocracy,” which it defines as rule by religious men. The Muslim Brotherhood advocates an Islamist state achieved through peaceful means.

The official said Shater, who has refused interview requests, would prioritize “democratic institution building and an economic renaissance” if elected.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he added that Shater “is committed to the constitution and Article 2, which all Egyptians agree on.”

The constitution was suspended by the military after an uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak last year. Article 2 stipulates that the principles of Islamic law are the main source of legislation.

But there is no universal interpretation of Sharia.

Many Coptic Christians, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80-population, worry about the growing power of Islamists in the country, but Shater’s campaign official said he would guarantee them their rights.


Mainstream Islamic scholars say the Sharia offers Christians and Jews protection under an Islamic state. But they believe that only Muslim men can rule. 

The FJP already dominates the senate and parliament, which appointed a mostly Islamist constituent assembly to prepare a new constitution.

The Coptic Church, the prestigious Sunni Muslim al-Azhar institution and liberals have pulled out of the panel because of their meager representation.

Mohammed al-Beltagui, a prominent FJP parliamentarian, warned on Tuesday that the Brotherhood was overreaching by appointing Shater.

“It harms the Brotherhood and the nation, to have one faction assume all the responsibility under these conditions,” he wrote.

What they say they will do (no theocracy) and what eventually happens, remains to be seen.  I certainly wouldn't trust them.  And we know what happens to non-Muslims under Islamic law- the blasphemy laws and the jizya (taxes for non Muslims in Islamic states).

If Shater is elected, what the Egyptians will have done is replace one form of oppression with another, far worse.

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