Monday, December 24, 2012
Over the weekend the second round of the voting referendum for Egypt's new sharia compliant 'constitution was held. As I predicted, it won easily.
The new laws, written by the Islamist and Salafist dominated legislature have elastic statutes making defaming Islam or Mohammed major crimes, have a major impact on freedom of the press and severely curtail rights for non-Muslims and women. They even allow closed door military tribunals on civilians. It's essentially Mubarak's regime on steroids, this time in the name of Allah and run by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood is now taking part in enforcing its own conception of these new laws with street militias, who arrest and interrogate suspects themselves before turning them over to the police:
A lot changed on the night of December 5. During the afternoon, a group of Muslim Brotherhood supporters swept down on a tent encampment outside the presidential palace, occupied by anti-Morsi protesters, and tore them down.
The counter-demonstration that evening was violent and bloody, with both sides hurling stones at each other, and the Muslim Brotherhood claiming that several of its members were shot dead.
But also disturbing was the role earlier of what appeared to be a Muslim Brotherhood militia who seized protesters off the streets and took them for their own "interrogation" before handing them over to police.
"After they caught me they dragged me away and started threatening me," said Walid al-Ganzouri, no youthful stone-thrower but a 35-year-old, British educated engineer. "They said they were going to kill me, and started beating me up."
Along with scores of others, he was eventually handed over, bruised and with cuts to his head, to the prosecution service, which released them for lack of evidence.
Walid al-Ganzouri, by the way, is a Christian, something the Muslim Brotherhood militia was able to find out by demanding his identity card.
This is the real face of the Arab Spring that President Obama and his team did so much to empower and encourage. It will be their real foreign policy legacy to America, not the assassination of a retired terrorist.