This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
“ The rich got richer and more


Westernised and the poor, who constituted 90% of the population, got poorer and more desperate”


in the political affairs of the country. To date, Islam is regarded as the official religion of Egypt and the basis of its legal system. Islamic Sharia laws are deemed as the main focal point of the judicial system. Moreover, an Egyptian can either be a Muslim or a Christian by law. Identity cards denote the religion of every Egyptian citizen and no Egyptian can be a Buddhist, a Bahai, a Hindu, an animist, an atheist or an agnostic. Te youth spearheading the revolution have hoisted high


a most pertinent slogan: “Civic, civic, neither military nor reli- gious.” In Arabic it reads: “Madaniya, madaniya, la askariya wa la diniya”. Tis has emerged as the defining characteristic of the Revolution. Now if Egypt becomes a truly non-sectarian, civic state with the upholding of citizenship rights, and the relegation of religion to the private domain, then many of the neighbouring


predominantly Muslim nations will follow suit. Here the role of the armed forces, and especially the Supreme


Council of the armed forces now running the country, emerges as a vital element. At the moment many of the youth movements that spearheaded the revolution are lobbying to form political parties before free and fair elections take place later in the year. Te Muslim Brotherhood, too, the largest social and political


movement in the country, has indicated that it intends to form a political party to contest the elections. Te Muslim Brotherhood openly espouses an Islamist agenda.


Its ideology is unabashedly Islamist. Its slogan is: “Islam is the solution”. Several European nations have Christian Democratic parties, usually conservative, but their political agendas are hardly Christian in the ideological sense of the term. Te situation is radically different as far as the Muslim


Brothers are concerned. Tey wish to see a fully-fledged Islamic state in Egypt. Coptic Christians and secular Muslims fear that they will suffer if the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power. No one knows for certain the real electoral power of the


Muslim Brothers, since they were banned by the Mubarak regime and feared as potential rivals. Some estimates suggest that the Muslim Brothers can garner some 20-30% of the vote if free and fair elections are permitted today. Others put the figure at closer


New African March 2011 | 11


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