Monday,18 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1135, 14 - 20 February
Monday,18 December, 2017
Issue 1135, 14 - 20 February

Ahram Weekly

Imams of killing

Doaa El-Bey relates why the second anniversary of Mubarak’s downfall was not celebrated, and Gamal Nkrumah writes on the Tunisian revolution that took a turn for the worse

Imams of killing
Imams of killing
Al-Ahram Weekly

Protesters commemorated the second anniversary of the stepping down of president Hosni Mubarak this week in Tahrir Square, other centres and Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace.

Al-Youm Al-Sabei on Tuesday recorded ‘Clashes between protesters and security forces around Al-Ittihadiya stops’.

Al-Shorouk on Monday had ‘Stepping down anniversary renews calls for toppling the regime’, and Al-Ahram stated ‘Tahrir protesters close Mugammaa, threaten further escalatory measures’. 

Al-Masry Al-Youm on Sunday had ‘revolutionaries mobilise to commemorate departure’, Al-Wafd had ‘Al-Ittihadiya under threat’ and Al-Watan had ‘Protesters chant ‘leave Morsi’ to commemorate the stepping down’.

Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Dessouki wrote that two years ago we bid farewell to Mubarak’s regime as a cohesive sound society based on justice, freedom and wise governance.

We thought then, Al-Dessouki added, that the train would continue moving and gradually increase its speed to take us to a world of hope and ample chances.

We were backed then by the support and respect of the world that looked at Tahrir Square as a symbol of freedom from despotic regimes.

But, two years later, Al-Dessouki added, the state is in shambles and there are loud calls for Mohamed Morsi to leave because of his mismanagement of the country that has left it on the brink of collapse.

“We chose to walk in the wrong direction. Now we do not know the genuine from the fake, the true from the liar, or the honest citizen from the agent who works according to internal or external interests,” Al-Dessouki wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

In quest of a way out, Al-Dessouki called for a halt to all calls for Morsi to leave, as toppling him would open the door for a catastrophe, for whoever would come after him will not stay for more than a few weeks.

He also called on Morsi to acknowledge that he failed his people, declare that he had cut all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood of which he is a member and its guidance office, try to extend his hand to the opposition and work to reach a consensus.

The writer also called on the opposition to hold itself partially responsible for the anger on the streets, condemn violence and stand with the state in its battle to disband the militias of the religious as well as the revolutionary groups.

Emadeddin Hussein said that it was easy to describe the protesters who attack Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace or other public or private places as thugs.

While Hussein reiterated his condemnation over using violence in peaceful demonstrations, throwing Molotovs at the interior ministry or the MB headquarters, imposing a siege around Dokki police station, Media Production City and the constitutional court, he emphasised that describing the protesters who commit these acts as thugs would not solve the problem. On the contrary it would only aggravate it.

Hussein acknowledged that conspirators, thugs and remnants of the old regime penetrated the ranks of the protesters and could have possibly committed these acts. However, the larger part of the protesters do not belong to any political party. Thus no political figure would be able to influence them.

Likewise, Hussein added, describing them as thugs or issuing laws to criminalise them will not solve the problem.

“Morsi and Kandil should consider the protesters’ demands rather than describing them as thugs or else that would start the countdown for the fall of the regime,” Hussein wrote in the independent daily Al-Shorouk.

Writers looked into the significance of the highly controversial fatwa issued by Mahmoud Shaaban, Al-Azhar University professor, stating that the opposition should be punished by death for attempting to bring down a leader elected by the public, directly naming National Salvation Front (NSF) leaders Mohamed Al-Baradei and Hamdeen Sabahi.

Mahmoud Khalil wondered why the MB was unhappy with the Shaaban fatwa. Shaaban simply reiterated what the group’s sheikhs and their followers have claimed, that President Morsi is not a mere president but the Muslim caliph. They also describe the NSF as ‘the national destruction front’ because it is allegedly responsible for the destruction of the country.

The MB sheikhs say that whoever disobeys Morsi — or the caliph — should be killed, banished, or have his hands and feet severed.

Thus “the blame in issuing that fatwa should not fall on Shaaban, but on the MB and the Freedom and Justice Party who regarded Morsi as the caliph,” Khalil wrote in the independent daily Al-Watan.

Morsi, for his part, believed that lie, Khalil added. He started accusing the opposition of sabotage without having any evidence.

Khalil wrote that the prosecutor-general should not have stopped by questioning Shaaban. He should have questioned the leaders of the MB whom he described as ‘Imams of killing’. 

The visit to Egypt by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised controversy among political commentators and writers.

Alaa Uraibi noted that the visit reflected the ignorance among politicians, academics and media figures who warned of a Shia extension.

“Salafi and Brotherhood sheikhs together with politicians and media figures bless establishing social, political, cultural and trade relations with non-Muslim states but reject the same relationship with an Islamist Shia state. Why?” Uraibi asked in the daily Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party.

Because, Uraibi added, according to their extremist jurisdiction, the Shia “are a group of atheists who curse Prophet Mohamed’s companions. And if you argue that the non-Muslims states curse Prophet Mohamed and they visit them and welcome them in our country, they try to find excuses for that.”

He ran a quick review of some of the media comments on Ahmadinejad’s visit and the nature of the difference with Iran which has two main causes: the doctrinal difference and the inherent fear of the spread of Shia doctrine in Egypt.

Uraibi concluded his regular column by stating that it is high time to reveal to the public that our differences with Iran are political rather than doctrinal.

Atef Sakr wrote that Ahmadinejad’s visit shed more light on the relationship between Egypt and Iran. Egypt is Sunni while Egypt converted to Shia five centuries ago.

However, Egypt houses many Shia shrines that the Iranians like to visit. Meantime, Egyptians jubilated over the Iranian revolution which toppled the shah’s regime in 1979. Likewise, Iran celebrated the Egyptian revolution.

Sakr regarded these factors as points of similarity. However he pointed to differences, namely the Iranian stand on the Syrian revolution, and the excessive use of violence and weapons against the Syrians.

“Iran should realise that activating the points of similarity in its relationship with Egypt depends on positive Iranian policies towards the feeling and interests of Egyptians and other Arab states,” Sakr wrote in the official daily Al-Ahram.

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