This is the “Arab Spring” uprising that Barack Obama so enthusiastically endorsed. There will be no flowering of freedom and democracy; there will be an Islamic state.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square today to demand a quick transition to civilian rule. In a show of strength against the military junta’s attempt to hold on to power, they challenged the military’s ground rules for the new constitution and called for presidential elections by April 2012 — nearly a year earlier than the military’s timeline.
The protest was called by the Muslim Brotherhood and other conservative Islamist groups, and the majority of the protesters appeared to be from Islamist groups. But enough Egyptians of all persuasions showed up that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will find it hard to ignore or dismiss their demands….
Many protesters held signs that read “One demand: the transfer of power.” But in a reminder of the deep divisions that could complicate the transition, followers of a conservative strain of Islam, known as salafis, also waved religious banners and shouted, “the Quran is our constitution.” Some protesters complained that salafis had jeopardized the united front against military rule by introducing a religious agenda off-putting to liberals and secularists….
The Muslim Brotherhood, confident that it will gain a strong position in parliament through elections scheduled to start Nov. 28, and eager to play a large role in writing the next constitution, rejected the document and called for the protest in a showdown with the military council.
Liberals, secularists face choice: Military or Islamists?
Many liberal and secular parties also rejected the military”s grasp at power. But they are also wary of Islamist groups, and worry that those groups will restrict freedoms if they have a large role in writing the constitution….
No kidding, really?
Some liberal and leftist party leaders and candidates say they are willing to put up with a larger-than-desirable role for the military in politics rather than rule by Islamists. Others refuse.
“I, as a Muslim, am afraid of the salafis. But I can’t say that the alternative is to approve of military rule,” said Hadeel Khater as she held signs against the military rule in Tahrir. “If a salafi comes to power through democracy, we can vote him out in the next election. But if a military dictator comes, there is no way to get him out.”
Good luck getting the salafis out, Hadeel.