On these pages, I have been sharply critical of, and have warned about, the dangers posed by President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt and his supporters in the Moslem Brotherhood. Further, I have warned about the dangerous policies of President Obama with regard to his “Administration’s” support of Morsi and the Brotherhood, even providing billions of dollars in taxpayer aid annually to prop up the Morsi regime. However, on November 22nd, Morsi claimed authoritarian powers (allegedly temporarily), and his subsequent moves to rush through a controversial constitution based on Sharia law caused large protests to erupt in Egypt. These pitched battles are being fought between the Islamists and non-Islamists. In these protests, many have been killed by the police, military, and Moslem Brotherhood thugs, and many hundreds more have been injured. In response to the deaths and injuries of protestors in Egypt, President Obama has expressed “deep concern” to Morsi, and a White House statement said that President Obama told Morsi that such violence was “unacceptable.” I am sure that the President’s remarks put the fear of Allah into Morsi. Perhaps as a consequence of President Obama’s remarks to the Egyptian president, Morsi has annulled most of his decree this past Sunday, including the most controversial article that placed all of his actions beyond judicial review. Morsi had used his decree to protect an Islamist-dominated constitution-writing panel from dissolution by Egypt’s highest court. However, Morsi announced that a December 15th referendum on the new Islamist constitution will go ahead. Morsi’s political opponents, who wanted the referendum canceled, now plan to boycott the national dialogue on the new Islamist constitution. Yet, new troubles are brewing for Morsi and his allies. In its Sunday edition, the New York Times reported: “Amid growing concerns among [Morsi’s] advisers that the Interior Ministry might be unable to secure either the polls or the institutions of government in the face of renewed violent protests, the state media reported early Saturday that he would soon order the armed forces to keep order and authorize its solders to arrest civilians.” Thus, it is likely that we will see martial law imposed by Morsi.
Personally, I think that Morsi’s “compromise” will prove to be more of a tactical retreat, and we can expect more violent protests in the days and weeks ahead as Morsi’s opponents realize that substantively little has changed with the decree’s annulment. Shadi Hamid, writing recently in Foreign Policy, observed that Morsi and the Brotherhood saw an “existential threat on the horizon” where Egyptian courts would rule in opposition to the Egyptian Parliament’s rulings and to the Moslem Brotherhood itself. To preempt such actions by the Egyptian judiciary, Morsi issued his authoritarian decree. Professor Hamid wrote:
[T]he Brotherhood was well aware just how bad Morsi’s decree looked. As one senior [Freedom and Justice Party, the “official” name of the Brotherhood party] official admitted: “Yes, the decree isn’t democratic and it’s not what you would expect after a revolution,” but he claimed there was simply no other choice. The message was clear: The Brotherhood is in an existential fight and, as a result, the normal rules of politics would be suspended. One Brotherhood member I spoke to likened it to “shock therapy that runs the risk of leaving the patient dead.”
Of course, Egypt has been a Moslem nation for centuries, but Morsi and his allies seek to impose Sharia law (and a particularly conservative view of Islamic Sharia law) on the population. Given the Obama “Administration” support for Morsi and his Moslem Brotherhood government, most moderate and liberal Egyptians, and Christians in Egypt, believe that Morsi will not change his position without outside pressure. After all, Morsi was elected with about 51 percent of the vote, and that made him and his allies feel that they had a mandate to fundamentally transform Egypt. (Sound vaguely familiar?)
While few of us expected that the Egyptian revolution would become a model of Jeffersonian democracy, Morsi and his allies are now a threat to the future of any genuine democratic liberties that were the hope of the Egyptian revolution. Despite the decree’s annulment, a more democratic future is still in serious jeopardy, and many Egyptians feel both discouraged and angry with Morsi’s suspension of the courts, the crash of the Egyptian stock market, and growing instability. The international community, and particularly President Obama and his “Administration,” have been silent about events in Egypt, other than stern expressions of deep concern. Presumably, President Obama and other Western nations have decided that it is in their best interest to align themselves with radical Islamists in Egypt who are willing to serve Western political interests while they tyrannically impose authoritarian and brutal Sharia law on the Egyptian people. Yes, it is true that for those of us who are Christian believers, our citizenship is in Heaven. But we also are blessed and rejoice that there are enough Egyptians who are unwilling to be bullied, and who are ready to pay a high price for freedoms they believe were gained in their 2011 revolution. Please join me in praying for our Christian brothers and sisters, and for all of the other true freedom-loving people of Egypt. Please also urge your elected representatives to stand with them, and in opposition to Morsi and his thugs in the Moslem Brotherhood. And may we, as Christians living in the United States, learn from the courage of freedom-loving Egyptians. Who could ever have imagined such things?