The Critical Situation in Egypt

Sent On: 
Thu, 2013-07-04
Newsletter Number: 


AWR Cairo, July 4, 2013


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Cornelis Hulsman: Dr. Nagia Abdelmoghney Said (Nāgīyah ‘Abd al-Mughnī Sa’īd), deputy chair of the Egyptian Moral Rearmament Association (known as Initiatives of Change outside Egypt), is a longtime friend of Arab-West Report. I am currently at a European-Arab conference on academic cooperation in Vienna, but have had a long Skype conversation with Dr. Nāgīyah about the military’s role in deposing President Mursī. I agree with her analysis on the developments in Egypt. Instead of working on consensus, Egypt has been divided even further. Dr. Nāgīyah sent me this text, which I would like to share with you.
In The Name Of God Most gracious Most Merciful
The current situation in Egypt is very critical and decisive. We need to all pray for a wise and peaceful settlement of the discord and division between opposition actions and supporters of elected President Morsi (Mursī) as well as those who may not be supporters, but prefer to see him complete his four-year-term. There is a seemingly false dichotomy between secular, or civic forces, and those who define themselves, or are viewed by others, as Islamist. We need to dig deep and reflect in order to better understand the past developments that have lead to the present situation. I feel there is a missing element, or link, that has led us to where we are now.
The al-Azhar documents were developed and adopted by key intellectual figures who represent Egyptian culture as well as a broad spectrum of the Egyptian community, both Muslims and Christians. At the invitation of the grand imam Dr. Ahmad al-Tayib, these documents could have been a very good basis for consensus building, solving, or even ending, the dichotomy between those who are considered, or call themselves, civic and those who are considered Islamic. Under the proper understanding of Islam, there is no contradiction between being civic and being truly Islamic. The al-Azhar documents were meant to present a moderate, modern and moral framework, or basis, for the new constitution. Arguments and discord regarding representation and formation of the constitutional committee, followed by last minute withdrawals of some members of the committee, and coupled with threats to dissolve the committee, led president Mursī to issue the November decree. This decree caused a lot of controversy, protests, violent clashes and casualties among Mursī supporters and protesters. This eventually led to resignations among Mursī’s aids and consultants. The constitutional committee, with new members having replaced those who resigned, continued to revise and finalize the draft constitution so that it could be presented to the Egyptian people and approved by a public referendum (64% of the voters approved it). The closing meeting of the committee lasted eighteen hours and was followed by millions on T.V.  The president invited all parties to participate in dialogue, which resulted in the partial withdrawal of the controversial presidential decree. Nevertheless, the Egyptian nation has since then slipped into a whirlpool of mutual distrust, division, frustration and disappointment.
Most opposition also demanded the postponement of parliamentary elections to guarantee its cleanliness. The constitutional court and the Shura council were unable to reach a final agreement on the new elections law. Consequently, the parliamentary elections were indefinitely postponed. Several times President Mursī and his aids tried to reach out to opposition parties and called for a national dialogue to resolve the differences. However, most of the opposition parties and members united in the National Salvation Front were reluctant to respond and often refused dialogue except under their own conditions. Moreover, they were primarily determined to bring down the government. In the times that Mursī attempted to change the cabinet to include more representatives from opposition parties, those approached refused to cooperate or be included. 
Some moderates tried to balance the situation by forming what they called "The Conscience Front,” but unfortunately it did not achieve much. 
Economic problems, the fuel crisis and electricity shortages, as well as an unsatisfactory response to expected threats and negative impacts of the so called "Nahda Dam" of Ethiopia, added to the difficult situation Egypt currently finds itself in. 
Affecting Egypt's major water and livelihood source, the dam caused great anger and frustration, which triggered the public up rising against elected President Mursī and his cabinet, along with a number of newly appointed governors. 
The "Tamarod" (rebellion) campaign was launched to collect signatures demanding Mursī to leave and calling for early presidential elections. They set the 30th of June, which marked the first anniversary of Mursī being sworn into office, as a day of demonstrations demanding him to depart from the scene. Those who thought it was better to let Mursī continue the rest of his term in office launched another campaign, which they called "Tagarod" (detachment).  "Tagarod" and supporters of Mursī organized demonstrations countering those of "Tamarod.”
The country is now split. People associated to Mubarak's regime are appearing on the scene and are siding with the opposition. This has raised many questions and aggravated the feelings of many people. Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces gave all sides one week, later extended by forty-eight hours, in order to solve their differences and come to a consensus. As we were approaching the deadline, we felt only God knew what would happen, and we prayed that He may have mercy on us all and guide all Egyptians to the good of our country.
Later in the evening, the Army Chief Commander ‘Abd al-Fatah al-Sīsī announced in the presence of the grand Imam, Pope Tawadros, Dr. al-Barādī and others, the deposition of President Mursī and the nomination of Chancellor ‘Adlī Mansūr, head of the constitutional court, as interim president.  
The suspension of the new constitution calls for the formation of a reconciliation committee and for constitutional amendments. While Mursī supporters are now protesting the deposition of Mursī, many others feel relieved and optimistic.
May God almighty save Egypt and grant us wisdom in every step we take. Amen.
Nāgīyah ‘Abd al-Mughnī Sa’īd
July 3, 2013