As political parties continue their pursuit of establishing solidified alliances for the upcoming parliamentary elections, Egyptian columnists dissect the new partisan coalitions, filled with hopes that division won’t strike at them once more. Some writers continue analysing American anti-Islam film, at the risk of becoming overwhelmed, by exploring options through which Muslims could prevent conflict and eliminate negative stereotypes.
The current political map
Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper
Although the current political map reflects a similar scenario as the last presidential elections marathon, Qandil argues that results of the upcoming parliamentary race cannot be predicted. Last week, Al-Dostor and Misr political parties were announced as the most recently developed parties and share two palpable features. The first quality comes in the infrastructure of both parties being formulated by youth activists.
The second characteristic is that both parties are initiated by prominent figures. Al-Dostor is the offspring of the Nobel Peace Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and focuses more on political interactivity with a sharp position against the Muslim Brotherhood. On the other hand, Misr party is the new political conception of the Islamic preacher Amr Khaled but Qandil believes its stance towards the Muslim brotherhood is weaker.
Analying potential political coalitions, the writer states that ex-presidential candidates, naming Hamdeen Sabahy, Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh and Amr Moussa will renew their competition in the next People Assembly’s elections. This time the marathon is supposed to unite the three rivals against the strong force of Islamist parties.
As for ex-presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq, Qandil does not see the slightest hope of any positives from his participation, especially with Mohamed Abu Hamed’s representation of his Lives of the Egyptians party with all the controversies that ensued from him. To conclude, the writer states that the results of the coming elections will not only be based on the ability of candidates to attract voters, but also on the fame of figures participating in the race.
Dominance over martyrs
Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper
Criticising the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to impose their power over almost all Egyptian institutions, Salmawi vilifies the group for claiming that martyrs of the 25 January revolution belong to the Islamist organisation.
Citing one of the latest statements of Mohammed Khairat El-Shater, a senior Brotherhood figure, saying that the group started the revolution and that all martyrs are Muslim Brothers, the writer argues that the group is moving in the exact same direction of the ousted National Democratic Party (NDP) in striving to stretch its control over the country.
Backing up his argument, the columnist states that the Muslim Brotherhood claimed the majority of the legally dissolved parliament, despite their numerous promises to campaign for only a third of the seats. They managed to constitute the majority of the members of the Constituent Assembly. Even the nominated members of the Supreme Council of Journalism, Salmawi states, are said to be their friends.
It is not an easy idea to digest how a popular uprising that was triggered by Egyptian youth from almost all political trends, with many holding upright the banners of late President Gamal Abdul-Nasser, was subsequently claimed as Muslim Brotherhood property. Unveiled women and clean shaven men lost their eyes and lives for the sake of a better Egypt. Claiming that the martyrs of the revolution are all Muslim Brotherhood cadres is indeed a meaningless claim, as Salmawi puts it.
Enough with the talking and get ready for elections
As political coalitions continue to pop up day after day, Qandil commends the political parties’ drive to unify efforts after the destructive division befalling them in the past presidential elections. As he praises the newly established parties and their genuine aspirations for a more fortified structure, the writer stresses that the time has come to draw close all pointless talks that aims at idle publicity for the new parties. The writer believes that probably the primary predicament lying ahead in Egyptian politics remains in the stubbornness of almost all parties to initiate alliances from their own ground.
In Qandil’s viewpoint, every party selfishly aims at feeling the pride of kicking off a new coalition from its own house. The current scenario requires more than this. After the recent court decision that further confirmed the dissolution of the parliament, the writer states that Egypt is in dire need of a balanced Constituent Assembly that drafts an objective constitution reflecting all portions of society. Another urgent move is the need to organise new parliamentary elections and thus reinstate Egypt’s currently missing legislative authority.
For these two mandatory necessities to be reached, Qandil highlights the importance of pushing away all personal and partisan interests when it comes to visualising a true democratic future for Egypt. If the secular forces are serious about combatting the increasing dominance of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the writer affirms that there is an absolute need to look ahead and forget about the past, stop the endless propaganda and start the hard work.
We are the first to offend
Emad Al-Din Adeeb
Muslims are themselves largely responsible for the negative stereotypes about Islam and Prophet Muhammad, argues Adeeb. In his column, he states that a sole news bulletin would be enough to highlight the violence taking place in Iraq, the terror occurring in Pakistan and the endless civilian clashes in Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain. All brutal and condemned incidents are reported to have been conducted by Muslims and Arabs.
In the writer’s perspective, Muslims contribute to the general hostility against Islam thanks to their exaggerating violent reactions. If Muslims want to work on conflict prevention and elimination of unfavourable notions, the writer suggests their best way is to behave precisely according to the noble manners of the prophet Muhammad.
Moreover, Adeeb states that Muslims wrongly generalise about the culprits of any work offensive to Islam. If a non-Muslim individual, according to his/her own perspective, has expressed opinion about the religion in an offending way, Adeeb suggests that Muslims should react wisely and try avoid furious feelings against the person’s entire community.
Wrapping up his column, Adeeb highlights that the United States is known for its high levels of tolerance and mutual understanding because of its multi-cultural features that distinguish its identity. He writes, “in America, there is no presence of ‘the other.’ The entire population constitutes different moulds of this ‘other’.’’
More freedom of expression and opinions are the solution
Any corrupt thought should be countered with sagacious contemplation, states Hamzawy. With reference to the movie offensive to Islam, the writer condemns all sorts of attacks on religion, ethnicities and genders. The increasing attacks on the prophet Muhammad is an outcome of radical and poisonous thoughts that are imposed via some western media. Hamzawy calls for countering immoral thinking with enlightened actions and a manifestation of the voice of reason.
In his view, Hamzawy argues that our anger towards insults to the prophet will not solve anything if we do not start respecting other religions or beliefs. Tolerance of other views should not come in breaching the right of everybody to express his/her own opinion.
Hamzawy states that solutions will not materialise out of closures of TV channels that incite violence and hatred. A true panacea for such frustration will result when counter arguments are well presented. To wrap up his piece, the writer attempts to convey a message, which further confirms the importance of enjoying more room for freedom of expression and wider display of perspectives. He affirms that a wrong opinion can be easily challenged with well-reasoned views.