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Review: Secular dictatorships, enslaved conscripts, and the struggle within the Brotherhood

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 Columnists look to the coming period, addressing misconceptions regarding secularism and its link to democracy, the inhumane treatment central security forces are subjected to, and the convoluted internal politics of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Falsification and accusation

Fahmy Houaidy

Al-Shorouk

Attempting to dismantle what he views as false assumptions and claims regarding secularism and its inherent link to democracy, Fahmy Houaidy makes the argument that no such link exists, and that secularism, like any other ideology, is prone to being taken in different directions.

He uses examples from modern history to illustrate his point that democracy does not go hand in hand with secularism, as its proponents claim. Tunisia, Houaidy writes, was ruled by a staunchly secular military regime which was also highly dictatorial, and Turkey witnessed several military coups in the name of secularism, only seeing true democracy recently under an Islamist party.  He also provides other examples such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein as examples of tyrannical regimes that held a secular identity.

The author claims that war has often been waged by rulers against Islamic culture under the banner of secularism, and accuses secularists of adopting a dualist stance, in which they are right and all of those who oppose them are both wrong and evil.

He goes on to state that secularism can be both accepting of and directly opposed to both religion and democracy, depending on the context, giving several countries as examples, and that only secularist extremists, much like religious extremists, lay claim to being the righteous representatives of democracy and civilian rule.

 

The slaves of central security

Akram Al-Qasaas

Al-Youm Al-Sabe’

 

Addressing the recent incident in which 50 soldiers from the central security forces lost their lives in a truck accident, Akram Al-Qasaas blasts the state for its treatment of these individuals, and warns that this will not be the last such incident if the state continues to treat the soldiers of the central security forces like talentless, worthless slaves.

The columnist laments the conditions and the treatment that the central security soldiers, which he describes as the spine of Egyptian security, are forced to undergo. He claims that they live in inappropriate conditions and are fed poorly and treated inhumanely, like slaves.

He deplores the fact that millions are spent on advanced armaments and armored vehicles in Egypt, while these soldiers are sent to fight heavily-armed and well-equipped militias in Sinai with feeble weaponry, transported in weak, unarmored trucks which place their lives at risk.

Al-Qasaas deems the post-mortem honouring of central security soldiers to be worthless in light of the treatment they receive by the state during their lives, attributing their treatment to the fact that they are simple, poor citizens unable to refuse such conditions.

The rule of law, according to Al-Qasaas, is not only achieved through heavy-handed law-enforcement, but also through the development of the security apparatus to catch up with modern times, because slaves cannot be expected to uphold the law.

 

Between Al-Katatny and Al-Erian

Mostafa Bakri

Al-Watan

Mostafa Bakri provides an analysis of the race for the top position in the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, believing the elections to be indicative of differences within the Brotherhood itself.

According to Bakri, the fact that Saad El-Katatny, former speaker of the dissolved parliament, has decided to run against Esaam El-Erian, vice-president and acting president of the party, is reflective of a larger struggle between the more conservative wing of the Brotherhood and the more modernist, liberal one.

The columnist claims that Saad El-Katatny was asked to run for the position by Khairat El-Shater, the strongest man in the Brotherhood and the main proponent of the more conservative current within the group. Bakri alleges that El-Shater was even against the assumption of the FJP’s leadership on a temporary basis, and that in  a personal conversation, El-Katatny assured Bakri that he sought no position but followed the will of the Brotherhood, which in Bakri’s mind confirmed the fact that he was not running based on a  personal initiative.

Bakri’s knowledge is that initial indications point to Al-Katatny’s victory, and he wonders whether El-Erian will accept the result and go back to following the Brotherhood’s obedience policy, or whether he will attempt to lead an opposition within the organisation and face the same fate that met Abdelmoneim Abul Fotouh.


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