The recent “constitutional declaration” by the Egyptian president created uproar in the Egyptian society. The new president of the country simply wants be above the Law
and control ALL branches of the government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial
Like many dictators in history, he promised that this full control of power will be only “temporary.”
This decision of Mohammed Morsi has created uproar in the country. Massive protests
started on Tuesday with hundreds of thousands filling many major squares in Cairo and other cities as well. Leftist, liberal, and independent groups call for Friday protests to reject the recent constitutional declaration.
Morsi needs to be clear if he will respect the decisions of the Supreme Constitutional Court or not. If he mistrusts the current legal system of the country, then people can also mistrust the results of the elections that brought him to power as they were also declared by the same legal system.
The criticism for Morsi’s decision was very strong in different sects of the society. It included criticism of the president and physical attacks on, and burning of, offices of the Muslim Brotherhood all over the country. Additionally for the first time in Egyptian history, the judges of the Court of Appeals went on strike
to object to the new dictatorial declaration.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood defended the decision of the president and used violence in a manner that resulted in serious injuries and killing of several people.
The election results that brought the Muslim Brotherhood president to power does not represent the reality that most Egyptians are now turning against him and against the Muslim Brotherhood. The economic collapse, the failure of promises, and the exposure of negative aspects of the Islamists in the mainstream media were strong factors behind the collapse of the Islamists image.
Morsi won the latest elections with a very slight majority (51 percent). If we considered the decline of the MB image after he came to power, it is not hard to imagine how much of a percentage of the population would support him if the elections are repeated. The feeling that most of the population is turning against Morsi and the MB made many Egyptians reject not only Morsi but also reject the new constitution which is created by the Islamists.
The Islamists who are writing the constitution left the second item as it was during Mubarak so that they can tell the free world that they have not changed anything in the second constitution that deals with Shariah's role in creating laws. However, the Islamists hide from them the fact that in item 219 of the same constitution they added a definition for Shariah that will certainly — if implemented — make Egypt belong more to medieval times than to the civilized world.
Unlike the former constitution of the country, which respected international agreements of women and child rights, the new constitution doesn’t have any limits on the age of marriage; this will allow marriage of girls at the age of 9 according to what is traditionally accepted in Shariah law. In other words, the new Islamist constitution will legalize pedophilia.
Additionally, they removed phrases from the last constitution that prohibit slavery. This can give them justification later on to return back slavery as it is seen as Shariah-approved Islamic principle.
It seems that dreaming about Shariah was different for many Egyptians than practicing it. The feeling that Egypt can be under the control of Islamic radicals and thus can become like Sudan, Taliban, and northern Mali made many Egyptians revolting against the Islamists as a matter of life and death.
The MB felt that their power is shaking and that the only way to keep it is to control allpowers of the country in the hands of Morsi so that he can prevent any legal action against him or against the legality of the committee that is currently creating the constitution as if they lost this chance of making the Egyptian constitution they —according to the rate of decline of their image — will likely have no other chance to create an Islamic constitution.
Secular and liberal opposition who antagonize the Islamists are starting to unite
against the Islamists, however; their failure to do any concession to the role of the military in the new Egypt will likely make them hesitant to intervene in the current turmoil. The MB was wise enough to give some privileges to the military in the new constitution so that it does not turn against them.
Finally, the current Egyptian turmoil can end in a disastrous situation if it is not handled with wisdom. There are three important factors that can help settle this turmoil.
First, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt MUST issue a statement to warn President Morsi that he will lose his legitimacy as the president of Egypt because he broke his oath to respect the Law and the current constitution of the country. The Supreme Constitutional Court should give him 48 hours to revert his illegal declaration; otherwise he will face impeachment.
Second, the U.S. needs to inform President Morsi in a clear manner that he should not expect any support from the U.S. if he insisted on breaking the basic values of democracy and rule of law as he promised.
Third, the International community MUST hold Morsi responsible for any loss of lives in the country that is or will be caused by his refusal to revert his declaration.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
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