A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shafiq's Attacks on Brotherhood Getting Stranger and Stranger

I'm not an enthusiast for the Muslim Brotherhood; even if I wwere a political Islamists, which I clearly am not, I'd be bothered by their secrecy, their cell organization, their deference to a "Supreme Guide," and their track record on consistency: we won't run a Presidential candidate, no, never, right up until they do.

But Ahmad Shafiq's Presidential campaign has lately been painting the Brotherhood not just as a religious threat but as something downright bizarre. Even Husni Mubarak never accused the Brotherhood of — I am not making this up — planning to move Egypt's capital to Jerusalem and planning to sell the Suez Canal. Yes, Shafiq has made both assertions,though the first on may have been intended metaphorically. I'm not clear yet on why they would sell the canal.

The Brotherhood candidate, Muhammad Morsi, is attacking Shafiq as the neo-Mubarak, and at times Shafiq seems to be cultivating that image, appealing to the law-and-order vote, attacking the revolution or aspects of it, and using former National Democratic Party cadres as his power base, especially in the Delta. In turn, he portrays the Brotherhood as an extremist group of religious fanatics.

There are many who suspect that both candidates are right: one is the reincarnation of the old regime and the other is an extremist religious group. So what are the liberal revolutionaries to do? Apparently many are deciding which they consider the lesser evil. The overseas runoff vote turnout is reportedly quite low.

I'm reminded of this:


Anonymous said...

We wanted to spread our democracy to the Middle East and now when they begin campaigning like we do, we complain. Go figure!

When does Shafiq start asking about Mursi's birth certificate?

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Well, there was Abu Ismail's mother's citizenship, so in a way they already have.