COMMENT: Catching up with that shining champion of human freedom and dignity Mohamed Morsi, we note a number of developments consistent with what we predicted during “The Muslim Brotherhood Spring,” as we termed it.
With the reign of the U.S.-backed autocrats in the Middle East having run its course, the elevation of the Muslim Brotherhood to a position of dominance in the Arab and Muslim world appears to have been the goal of the so-called “Arab Spring”–a massive gambit undertaken during the second administration of George W. Bush.
Incrementally realizing the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi is behaving true to form. Recent developments include:
- Morsi responding to massive protests against the Islamist-crafted constitution by declaring emergencies in three cities–invoking precisely the types of tactics that infuriated the Egyptian people against Mubarak.
- A TV comedian compared to Jon Stewart of the “Daily Show” (on which he appeared) is under judicial investigation for insulting Morsi.
- An Egyptian rights group has noted the continued use of torture and violence by the Egyptian security forces, another of the aspects of Mubarak’s rule that outraged the Egyptian people.
- An Egyptian Imam issued a fatwa calling for the murder of Morsi’s secular opponents, this in the wake of the murder of a key secular opposition figure in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring first manifested.
- The disclosure of some virulently anti-Semitic comments made by Morsi on Egyptian television. Attempting damage control in a meeting with U.S. politicians, Morsi deflected responsibility onto the “Jewish controlled media” in the U.S.
- The disclosure that Egyptian Islamists were involved in both the Benghazi attack and the assault on the natural gas facility in Algeria.
EXCERPT: President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency and a curfew in three major cities on Sunday, as escalating violence in the streets threatened his government and Egypt’s democracy.
By imposing a one-month state of emergency in Suez, Ismailia and here in Port Said, where the police have lost all control, Mr. Morsi’s declaration chose to use one of the most despised weapons of former President Hosni Mubarak’s autocracy. Under Mubarak-era laws left in effect by the country’s new Constitution, a state of emergency suspends the ordinary judicial process and most civil rights. It gives the president and the police extraordinary powers.
Mr. Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president and a leader of the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, took the step after four days of clashes in Cairo and in cities around the country between the police and protesters denouncing his government. . . .
EXCERPT: Prosecutors in Cairo opened a criminal investigation on Tuesday into allegations that a popular television comedian, Bassem Youssef, who has taken special aim at ultraconservative Islamists on his program, had insulted Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, during his satirical monologues.
The accusations against Mr. Youssef come amid growing fears among Egypt’s media professionals that the country’s newly ratified Constitution offers scant protections for freedom of expression.
Since Mr. Morsi was elected in June, the authorities have opened investigations into several media figures accused of insulting him or the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group he once led.
An Islamist lawyer who filed the complaint against Mr. Youssef, Ramadan al-Aqsuri, said a skit in which the comedian printed a picture of Mr. Morsi’s face on a red pillow amounted to a “sharp attack on the person of the president.” Separately, a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer filed a lawsuit asking the state to pull Mr. Youssef’s show off the air and to close down the channel that carries it, citing “sarcasm against the president.”
EXCERPT: An Egyptian rights group on Tuesday accused the country’s police of “acting like a gang,” torturing detainees and using violence to impose control. The report by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights documented 16 cases of police violence in which 11 people were killed and 10 were tortured inside police stations. Three died under torture during the first four months after President Mohammed Morsi took office on June 30, it said. The police were among the most hated state institutions under Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in a popular revolt in 2011. “Police still use excessive force, and torture is still systematic just as it was under the Mubarak regime,” the report said. It also accused the police of carrying out random shootings and collective punishment. . . .
EXCERPT: Anti-Islamists protested in several Egyptian cities on Friday, lobbing firebombs and blocking subway lines in Cairo, as demonstrations took on an anxious cast following recent death threats against Egypt’s top secular politicians.
Egypt’s government added officers to security details guarding secular-leaning opposition leaders on Thursday, according to their press officers. The move came after a well-known hard-line religious leader—Mahmoud Shabaan, a scholar at Egypt’s eminent Al Azhar University and one of several firebrand preachers on conservative Egyptian television stations—issued a religious ruling last week that called for the deaths of Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa, among others leaders of Egypt’s National Salvation Front, the main secular opposition alliance.
Mr. Shabaan’s fatwa attracted little notice when issued, but it gained attention after the murder earlier this week of Chokri Belaid, a secularist political leader in Tunisia. His slaying sparked continued protests Friday in the capital, Tunis. . . .
EXCERPT: The United States said Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi should repudiate remarks he made in 2010 calling on Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington condemns the comments made by President Morsi at a time when he led the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. In one of the 2010 videos, Morsi said Egyptian children must feed on that hatred as a form of worshipping God.
“The language that we’ve seen is deeply offensive. We completely reject these statements as we do any language that espouses religious hatred,” said Nuland.
In a separate 2010 interview, Morsi described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians; these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.” . . .
EXCERPT: . . . At first, the Egyptian president defended himself by saying he did not harbor negative feelings about Judaism or Jewish people.
He then launched a diatribe about Israeli policies against the Palestinians, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) told Foreign Policy. “He was attempting to explain himself … then he said, ‘Well, I think we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain forces and they don’t view me favorably,’” Coons told the magazine’s The Cable blog.
Asked if Morsi specifically named the Jews as the forces that control the American media, Coons replied that all the senators believed the implication was obvious. “He did not say [the Jews], but I watched as the other senators physically recoiled, as did I,” Coons said. “I thought it was impossible to draw any other conclusion.” . . .
EXCERPT: Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Libya in September, a senior Algerian official said Tuesday.
The Egyptians involved in both attacks were killed by Algerian forces during the four-day ordeal that ended in the deaths of at least 38 hostages and 29 kidnappers, the official said. But three of the militants were captured alive, and one of them described the Egyptians’ role in both assaults under interrogation by the Algerian security services, the official said. . . .