And now, the row begins over Yasser Borhami’s leaked video, where he is trying to sell the “Yes to the constitution” idea to a group of his bearded fellows. In the video, Borhami, a Salafi Sheikh from Alexandria, discusses how he managed to include certain words in Article 219 of the constitution, which would enable Islamists to enforce their version of Shari’a on the Egyptian people.
Borhami also exclaims a great deal of disrespect for the Al Azhar institution and its Grand Imam, as well as the Coptic Church and its Pope. The tone he used was that of confidence and victory, although the incident was before the voting started. Questions about why the tape was leaked on the night after the second round of voting are being asked, but the seriousness with which everyone is taking his words is not proportional to the Salafi movement’s importance and power. Had it been me, I wouldn’t have given it the time of day, yet newspapers and TV shows have gone on and on about it.
What I believe, and what everyone should have known by now, is that our hard-line Islamists are only used when the Muslim Brotherhood wants to mobilise people for a vote, be it parliament, president or referendum. Our brief history with the MB ruling says a lot about how they view Salafis; they are but a force to lure voters to the ballot box, and once that was accomplished, the MB soon disregards them.
Off the top of my head, I can cite the Production City protests and the Alexandria mosque clashes as events where the MB completely abandoned Salafis, as they were beaten up, detained and overall humiliated. On their own, the Salafis are but a relatively small number of people who can be tamed easily, and this is exactly what the MB will do with them once all elections are over and “Tamkeen” (MB’s term for securing control of key positions in the country) is in place.
It is not in the best interest of the Brothers to have Salafis gaining ground. They are, at the end of the day, a thorn in the neck of business deals needed by the MB. The MB would not allow tourism and banks to be shut down. The Brothers would not accept annoying the great West by Salafis’ rhetoric: investments and foreign policy are on the line here. Especially, when the sweeping majority of the Salafis are downright ignorant…and often, quite hilarious!
Among the hundreds of coalitions, groups, parties, and the thousands of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, one runs into some examples of semi-grown Salafi brains. Take, for instance, the Facebook page I came across after a long vacation, called “The coalition of Egyptian Salafi Youth”, which served as my introduction back into the joke named Egyptian Politics.
One post was about the miracle of how a Christian tried to throw a Molotov cocktail bottle on the president’s car. When he tried to throw it, the bottle melted and evaporated in his hands. Several times he tried with the same result. “It’s a miracle”, they all hailed. This reminded me of a certain Pink Floyd song, but we will get to that later.
Another was a picture of an airplane, nose-down, and the comment was how miraculously airplanes kneel in front of God Almighty. The posts moved on to how Abu Ismail’s phone charger did not get lost because God is protecting it. Other posts talked about how NASA’s real initials are NASBA which stands for No Allah So Be Atheist. More on how Pirandello is a holy man for a group of Egyptian youth with Six Characters in Search of an Author as their holy book.
But the one that beats all of them, for me, went as follows: “About the Pink Floyd Masonic organisation, we speak. The Pink Floyd organisation finances the secular movement in Egypt and it has dangerous projects and ambitions in the region, of which is spreading homosexuality. All those who call for the freedom to be gay belong to this organisation, of those is Bassem Youssef. Sheikh Abul Ashbal says that their project called ‘Shine on your crazy diamond’ is basically a call for homosexuality where they made a similarity between the backside and the diamond”!!!
After the charter passed, they posted in (almost) English: “Obama cry blood from his eyes! No tears, after the pipol of Masr say (yeah) for the new Destoor”.
I would especially like to see how this resonates with Rana Sayed (17 year old revolutionary girl), how she and her generation would react if these “pipol” try to rule them. I believe it will be the power of laughter that kills them!