Now that the victory celebration in Egypt is over, the real work has begun as well as the real problems. There is an old Chinese curse that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” These are certainly interesting times.
The situation in Egypt is a case in point. The Egyptian military has conducted a coup (in spite of whatever the Obama administration calls it) in support of the people who have been demonstrating for the removal of President (now ex-) Morsi. It is a little unusual for a military takeover to support the people but not uncommon. What makes the situation complicated is the fact that these same people elected Morsi, although with a narrow margin. Morsi then
orchestrated the passing of the new constitution, which was unpopular with moderate and liberal Egyptians. It was not democratic enough for them and strongly favored an Islamic government. A missing key element was the separation of church and state.
It comes as no surprise that the military is cracking down and detaining many members of the Society of the Muslim Brothers, also known as the Muslim Brotherhood. In the past, the Egyptian government has banned the Brotherhood and arrested its leaders in crackdowns conducted by the military. The military and the Brotherhood have a long history as enemies.
The Brotherhood is an international, political organization and one of the largest Islamic opposition organizations in many Arab states including Egypt. Many political organizations, including some terrorist groups like Hamas, have their roots in the Brotherhood. Their Egyptian political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, won 235 seats out of 508 in the parliament. It appears that they were properly elected. The Brotherhood's stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah in the Egyptian government. This is in opposition to the moderates and liberals in Egypt. It appears that the
military’s goal is to create a more democratic constitution and moderate government.
It is little wonder that the US doesn’t know who to support. We believe in democracy and the separation of church and state. Should we oppose countries, even democratic ones, who don’t not agree with separation of church and state? It is a tough call. It will be interesting to see how this plays out-interesting times indeed.