The Muslim Brotherhood begins its own post-Mubarak transition, after deliberately downplaying its religious message during the uprising, waiting to make its move.
They know they have the support of so much of a population that is already highly receptive to a Sharia regime: a poll published just over two weeks ago showed Egyptians at once largely think democracy is the most preferable form of government (59% of participants), but also want to see stonings (82%) and a death penalty for apostasy (84%).
There will be a rude awakening for the many in the West who have come to assume democracy and human rights by any standard they would recognize are a package deal. “Islamist role rising as Egyptians plan victory march,” by Sherine Madany and Patrick Werr for Reuters, February 17:
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian youth leaders moved to set up a new political party on Thursday as the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood played an increasingly important role in preparing for post-Mubarak elections promised within six months. […]
The Brotherhood has a member on the committee redrafting the constitution, is on a council set up by activists to protect the revolution and has said it will set up as a political party as soon as laws are changed to let it and others do so.
The Brotherhood’s spokesman appeared on state television a few days ago, a first for a movement banned in the Mubarak era. Having been timid in the early days of the revolt, it clearly thinks it is safe to come out.
And on February 2, it saw its shadow, and there will be six more weeks of stealth jihad the world over…
The Brotherhood is viewed with suspicion by Washington but is seen as the only truly organized bloc in Egypt and reckons it could win up to 30 percent of votes in a free election.
In another sign of the transformation of Egyptian politics, al-Gama’a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), which took up arms against Mubarak’s administration in the 1990s and was crushed by security forces, held its first public meeting in 15 years.
“To serve man“:
“Our position is to turn a new page with the new regime,” said Assem Abdel-Maged, a group member who spent years in jail for his role in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat. “We will perform any positive role we can to help society.”…