Mr Magdy Khalil was completely accurate in his observation and comments in July 2011 on Egypt’s political tensions and the Muslim Brotherhood:
They fear the revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubark has stalled and is in danger of being taken over by Islamists.
“It’s good news to go to the streets again to protect their revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood and the military council [have] hijacked the revolution,” said Magdy Khalil, spokesman for Coptic Solidarity.
Khalil and other Egyptians believe the ruling military council has made a political deal with radicals, moving Egypt toward an Islamic state no different than Mubarak’s corrupt regime.
“They are looking to protect their positions, so who can accept this position? The Muslim Brotherhood, because the Muslim Brotherhood plans to control the whole of Egypt,” Khalil explained.
He says the Brotherhood is ignoring high level corruption in exchange for power and control.
That’s why Egypt’s parliamentary elections were moving on a fast track. Originally planned for September, the military council now says elections will be delayed until November.
But some Christians and secularists still believe more time may be needed to overcome the political advantage of the better organized Muslim Brotherhood.
If the election moves forward as planned, chances are the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties will win a majority of the seats in the parliament.
In response, pro-democracy supporters have launched a new campaign called Constitution First to slow the process.
“Constitution First is like [a] model of the United States in 1787,” Khalil said. “The Muslim brotherhood, salafists and the military council… they support elections first. Copts, liberal secularists, moderate people [and] moderate Muslims support constitution first.”
Constitution First supporters feel if a parliamentary election is held first, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties will write the constitution to include Sharia law.
“I do think there’s a majority of people in Egypt today that would like to have freedom and democracy and an open society who are opposed to Sharia law,” Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said.
“Fundamentally, they want to have a democracy, maybe not precisely the way that we have, but one,” he added.
“And it’s real dangerous if you rush in to this thing without having any standards and guidance… the Muslim Brotherhood could take over,” he said.
Egypt’s Coptic Christians say a Muslim Brotherhood takeover would not be good for them.
“[It would be] a disaster not only for Christians in Egypt, but also for Israel, for the United States, for Europe,” Khalil said. “For the whole West, for the human civilization, for the Western civilization.”
“I think the Coptic Christians will be in a very difficult spot and much more difficult than if the Muslim Brotherhood took over than even under Mubarak,” Rep. Wolf added.
And Coptic Christians have not fared well since Mubarak’s departure.
“In the first 300 days after the Mubarak regime fell, Copts in Egypt — the Christians in Egypt — faced more than 60 attacks, including murders, the burning of churches,” Khalil said.
And Christians are still waiting for a thorough investigation and prosecution of those responsible for a bombing at Saint Mark’s church in Alexandria last year. The New Year’s Day attack killed 23 people and injured 97 others.
Congressman Wolf said it’s time the United States become an advocate for Egyptian Christians.
“I think there ought to be pressure on the leadership, members of Congress, and this administration to advocate and stand now with the persecuted,” Wolf said.
“The Coptic Christians are really the leading point of the spear because if Egypt trends the other way, the impact that will have [is great],” he said.
Middle East expert Walid Phares suggests the Obama administration should start talking to the right people. Earlier this summer, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the U.S. would begin a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“They have been arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood should be the partners of the West, knowing very well that the Muslim Brotherhood’s aim, final goal is to establish an Islamic state like Iran, or like Sudan, or ultimately like the Taliban,” Phares explained.
“So, we need to have a change of direction,” he continued. “First, in Washington and in Brussels so that we can begin to partner with the right natural allies in the region.”
“We [coptic Christians] are the real partner of the West,” Khalil said. “We can create a bloc of secular Christians in Egypt and moderate Muslims.”
That’s the hope and prayer of Egyptian Christians and secularists — a political movement and pressure from the West to keep their democratic revolution moving forward.
–Published July 24, 2011.