Monday, August 27, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler 8/27/2012: Muslim Brotherhood Consolidates Power

From DG:
1) An emirate

The New York Times reported Egyptian President’s Move Ends Detention of Critic:
The controversy has sharpened Egypt’s political divides. His critics see Mr. Morsi’s treatment of the journalists as a broader test of the Islamists’ commitment to an inclusive state. At the same time, the Brotherhood has grown increasingly frustrated with the frequent attacks on the group in the news media, including wild distortions by some journalists. 
While Mr. Afifi’s release seemed likely to quiet some of the arguments, human rights advocates say Mr. Morsi’s new law does little to address the confusing, draconian nature of Egypt’s press laws. “Jail sentences for publishing crimes haven’t been abolished,” said Gamal Eid, a human rights lawyer. “What he did was deal with the detail and not the principle — the branch and not the root.”
Rather than doing as I feared and portraying Afifi's release as an incontrovertible sign that Morsi was liberalizing, the article points out that Morsi still retains the legal ability to act against journalists. Yet there was a perplexing paragraph in the article:
The Brotherhood has reacted nervously to criticisms in the press, some of which seemed to go far beyond discussions of its record in government. Mr. Afifi’s newspaper, for instance, accused the Brotherhood of seeking to establish an “emirate” and warned that if the military did not keep its hold on power in Egypt, there would be bloodshed.
Assuming that an "emirate" means that Egypt would be guided by Islamic law, establishing an emirate seems to be  precisely what the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to do:

Jonathan Spyer writes:
Islamists within the committee are fighting to ensure that Article Two of the new constitution strengthens this provision. Representatives associated with the Salafi al-Nour Party initially insisted that Shari’a be named as the “basis” rather than the “principal source” of legislation. A compromise has been reached, according to which the ancient Al-Azhar University will become the final arbiter on matters related to Shari’a. This in itself represents an advance for the Islamists. It indicates that Shari’a and its correct application are set to take a central place in the new Egyptian system of governance now in the process of formation. 
The steady advance of the Muslim Brothers must be seen in context. This movement has been in existence since 1928. Its strategic goal is very clear. Khairat al-Shater, one of the most powerful figures in the Egyptian Brotherhood, in a speech in Alexandria on April 21, 2011, detailed the process by which the organization hopes to achieve, or revive, the “Global State of Islam” as he called it. 
Shater depicted the process in the following terms: “As Ikhwan [Brothers], we have spent a long time working on the individual, walking along this line, working on the household, working on society. So we are now developing the Muslim individual and Godwilling we will continue. 
We are developing the Muslim household and God-willing we will continue. We are developing the Muslim society and God-willing we will continue. We are preparing for the stage of Islamic government after this because it is what follows the stage of society.”

2) No longer "occupied" in thought

Asaf Romirowsky writes in Israeli 'occupation' a relic of the past:
The Hamas leadership dismisses the idea of "occupation" in Gaza, but within Palestinian culture as a whole "occupation" remains the root cause of all problems. It also signals a core Palestinian cultural and political belief, namely rejection of Israel. The notion of the "occupation" has become the defining lens through which the Palestinians' self conception is explained and all actions and inactions justified.
...
Palestinians cling to notions of being "stateless," "occupied" and forever refugees, allowing them to never take responsibility or be accountable as a functioning society and "state to be." Believing this is the truth produces Beinart's and other sympathizers' anguish. However, this is not the truth. 
The resilience of Jewish-Israeli survival has been overshadowed by the false Arab-Palestinian notion of being "occupied" and "robbed" of their true destiny. Consequently, Israel is the "oppressor "and Palestinian nomenclature demands that the "occupation" remains the root cause of all problems, from social and economic woes to terrorism.

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