Egypt is on the brink of catastrophe with millions demonstrating against the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.
Egyptian society – like many other countries in the Muslim world – is split between Islamists and secularists with many shades of grey in between.
Meanwhile, the powerful army has given Egypt’s political factions 48 hours to sort out their differences or face unknown consequences – language many have interpreted to mean a “military coup.”
Many British Muslims will be confused about what is really happening in Egypt so below we provide an explanation of the main arguments for and against continued Muslim Brotherhood rule.
AGAINST THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD
The MB has failed the country
After a year of MB rule Egypt’s economy is in freefall and ordinary people are suffering crippling unemployment, poverty and lack of law and order. The situation under Mubarak was bad but this is much worse.
The MB is a puppet of the US and other foreign powers
Morsi is playing the puppet in the imperialist puppet show in the Middle East by following US agendas, especially in Syria and Israel.
US marines will soon arrive in Egypt, as different media have reported. And the MB government is bankrolled by Turkey and Qatar in particular, leading many to question if it is dancing to a foreign tune.
Why isn’t the Israeli embassy in Egypt shut down? Morsi axed Egypt’s relations with Syria but the relationship with Israel still stands.
The crackdown on tunnels to Gaza has intensified during Morsi’s rule and the Rafah border remains shut.
The MB is also cracking down on jihadi groups in the Sinai which attack Israel.
The MB has effectively condoned takfiri speech and such a mistake can’t be easily forgotten given the recent lynching of Shias in Giza.
Islam is like a business to the MB which they use to market themselves to other Muslims, effectively emotionally blackmailing them to vote for them.
Plenty of weapons have been seized from pro-Morsi mobs attacking his opponents. Morsi calls all his opponents “felool” (Mubarak thugs) forgetting that these are the youth who stood up and protested against Mubarak’s regime.
The MB is also governing on behalf of its own supporters and not on behalf of all Egyptians.
More people have protested in the streets against Morsi than they ever did against Mubarak.
FOR THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD
The MB was democratically elected and therefore must complete its term. What kind of message does it send out to Arabs if Egypt’s first democratically elected government is toppled before its terms ends? And the MB still commands huge street and popular support.
The Muslim Brotherhood has managed to cement the notion of civilian rule and has forced the army to take a back seat in the political arena, no mean achievement given that the military effectively ran the country for many years.
It’s not their fault
The MB inherited a broken country and they can’t possibly fix it in one year. They need to be given time.
Similarly the MB has little control over major foreign policy issues such as Israel and the US relationship which are effectively deemed a “no-go area” by the very powerful military.
The opposition is worse
The opposition is irresponsible and opportunistic. They are effectively calling for a military coup to derail the democratic process.
They are also comprised of many secularists and ex Mubarak supporters who practicing Muslims may find it difficult to align with.
The MB is the Islamic option
Even Muslim critics of the MB acknowledge that they are committed and practicing Muslims with an Islamic agenda.
They may be flawed but they have suffered huge oppression at the hands of the Egyptian state and they are the best and most realistic choice for those with a vision of Egypt as an Islamic country.