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August 08, 2011

Extremist Trends in Tahrir Square

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In an August 2, 2011, Wall Street Journal report, we learn that "Mobs of ordinary Egyptians joined with soldiers to drive pro-democracy protesters from their encampment in Tahrir Square here Monday, showing how far the uprising's early heroes have fallen in the eyes of the public." Shadi Hamid, of the Brookings Institution's Doha Center comments,

The liberal and leftist groups that were at the forefront of the revolution have lost touch with the Egyptian people...For some time they've been deceiving themselves by saying that the silent majority is on their side—but all evidence points to the contrary.

Making a similar observation, Randall Lane and Douglas Schoen, on July 26, 2011, reported on a Newsweek/Daily Beast poll of Egyptian voters:

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest Islamist group, is poised to win the largest share of the vote in parliamentary elections; the man who appears to have a clear shot at the presidency, Amr Moussa, has made his name criticizing Israel; and a large majority of respondents favor amending or revoking the cornerstone of regional stability, the Camp David Accords.

Subsequently, a New York Times, July 29, 2011, article covering the supposed "Friday of Unity" in Tahrir Square, describes, "Tens of thousands of Egyptian Islamists poured into Tahrir Square on Friday calling for a state bound by strict religious law and delivering a persuasive show of force." The article goes on,

Some activists were already calling Friday’s demonstration a turning point — a remarkable display of the Islamists’ ability to monopolize space, be it Tahrir Square, the streets or the coming elections, and of their skill at organization and mobilization, which for secular activists served as a bitter contrast to their own shortcomings.

Confiming these extremist trends, Khaled Abu Toameh writes, in his August 5, 2011, analysis of the current situation in Egypt, "Extremist Islamic groups are working toward turning Egypt into an Islamic Republic." He goes on to say,

The Salafis have become a major player in the Egyptian arena since the downfall of the Mubarak regime. Their supporters have been accused of targeting Churches and Christians, as well as secular, liberal-minded Egyptians. What is most worrying, however, is the fact that the Salafis and their erstwhile rivals, the Muslim Brotherhood, have joined forces in a bid to form a united front against the secular movements in Egypt.

Khaled Abu Toameh concludes with the determination that, "the Sinai Peninsula could soon become a separate Islamic emirate run by Salafis, Hamas and Al-Qaeda," and that, "it is only a matter of time before Egypt turns into an Islamic Republic that is aligned with Iran, Hamas and Islamic Jihad."

Posted by at August 8, 2011 05:12 AM

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