Content

6 Non-Islamist Political Actors in Egypt (Nicholas Gjorvad) in:

Cornelis Hulsman (Ed.)

From Ruling to Opposition, page 147 - 178

Islamist Movements and Non-Islamist Groups in Egypt 2011-2013

1. Edition 2017, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-3837-6, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-6739-0, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828867390-147

Series: Anwendungsorientierte Religionswissenschaft, vol. 9

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
6 Non-Islamist Political Actors in Egypt (Nicholas Gjorvad) 6.1 Introduction While previous chapters in this book have primarily concentrated on politi cal parties and movements classified as Islamist, this chapter will focus on their non-Islamist counterparts. Specifically, this chapter will identify the core beliefs and strategies of non-Islamist parties and movements during the rule of Muhammad Mursi. The observations in this chapter come both before and directly after the massive protests of June 30,2013, which eventually led to the ouster of Mursi, causing a rapid succession of political turmoil. With this in mind, this chapter will focus on the overall trend of the non-Islamist current since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 until August 2013. 6.2 Defining non-Islamist Groups in Egypt In discussing non-Islamists, the distinction between non-Islamist political parties and non-Islamist movements will be made. During the rule of Mursi in 2012-2013, non-Islamist political parties largely coalesced under the umbrella group, National Salvation Front, which was formed after former President Muhammad Mursi's controversial Constitutional decree made in November of 2012. Political parties and movements in this group include the Hizb al-Dustür (Constitution Party), Hizb al-Tahälufal-Sha 'bi Al-Ishtiräki (Socialist Popular Alliance Party), Hizb al-Misri al-Dimüqräti al-Ijtimä 'i (So cial Democratic Party), Al-Tayyär al-Sha 'bi al-Misri (Egyptian Popular Cur rent), Hizb al-Misriyyin al-Ahrär (Free Egyptians Party), Hizb al-Wafd al-Jadid (the New al-Wafd Party544), Hizb al-Karäma (Dignity Party), Hizb Misr al- Hurriyya (Freedom Egypt Party), Hizb al-Tajjamu '(National Progressive Un ionist Party), and Hizb al-Mu 'tamar (Congress Party) as well as many oth ers.545 Muhammad al-Barada‘i (Constitution Party), Hamdin Sabahi (Egyp tian Popular Current), and ‘ Amr Müsa (Congress Party) have served as the most visible leaders of the National Salvation Front (NSF). Non-Islamist political movements will refer to three main groups. Two of the older movements are the April 6 and Kifäya movements, the former 544 The 'New al-Wafd Party' will be referred to as 'al-Wafd Party' in this chapter. The label 'New al-Wafd Party' is used to differentiate the party from the pre-1952 al- Wafd Party. 545 Ahram Online 2012 (e). 147 which has a significant following and is well-known among Egyptians. Another major movement which is widely supported by non-Islamists is the Tamarrud movement, which came to the forefront during the run-up to the June 30th protests. This movement, which means "Rebellion" in English, was supported by many non-Islamist political parties and finds strong sup port from groups involved in the NSF.546 As we will see, while there has been significant cooperation between non-Islamist parties and movements, there is an underlying tension between these groups. While the debate surrounding the term Islamist was mentioned in previous chapters, it is helpful to briefly define how the terms Islamist and non Islamist will be used in this chapter. For the purposes of this chapter, the term Islamist will refer to political groups which seek to enact a comprehensive version of Islam and Shari 'a to all aspects of governance and actively use religion to promote their political ambitions. The term non-Islamist describes groups that believe there is a degree of separation between reli gion and the functions of government and are mostly against any use of re ligion in electoral politics. Generally, parties labeled as leftist, secularist, and liberal are considered to be non-Islamists in Egypt. Non-Islamists may be deeply religious, but by and large believe that the role of government should primarily revolve around responsibilities concerning the betterment of the economy and ensuring the security of the state. However, several non-Islamist groups believe that Shari 'a law should be used as a frame of reference for laws in Egypt. Moreover, it is important to point out that for non-Islamist parties and movements the inclusion of Shari 'a in the Constitu tion means different things to different groups. The first half of this chapter will provide a short summary of the relation ship between various political parties under Husni Mubärak and the com mon causes such as the demand for free elections, which united Islamists and non-Islamists alike. It will also briefly detail the events following the resignation of Mubärak, the election of Muhammad Mursi, the Islamist victories in the parliamentary elections, and the ouster of Mursi from power.The second half of the chapter will describe the basic political worldview of the non-Islamists in Egypt during the rule of Mursi. In doing so, a description of beliefs and common political strategies of non-Islamist parties and movements during this time period with be included. Overall, the pur pose of this chapter is to examine the political mindset of non-Islamists dur ing the timeframe between January 2011 and August 2013. Personal inter 546 Ahram Online 2013 (d). 148 views with political actors of non-Islamist groups will provide the basis for these observations.547 6.3 Non-Islamists Before the Egyptian Revolution: Cooperation with Islamist Groups There have been several instances of electoral cooperation between Islamist and non-Islamist groups since the beginning of the rule of Husni Mubärak and during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Mubärak's authoritarian rule inspired opposition groups from various political persuasions to interact and cooperate in an attempt to create a freer and fairer electoral system. While cooperation between Islamist and non-Islamist political parties appears to be almost permanently frayed, this has not always been the case in Egypt. Under the rule of Mubärak, there were instances when Islamist and non-Islamist political actors in Egypt formed a bloc of parties disillusioned with the authoritative political system. A well-known example was the 1984 parliamentary elections. In this elec tion two of the major opposition parties, the non-Islamist al-Wafd Party and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood joined electoral forces to run under a common list of candidates.548 The result of this strategy was beneficial to both sides since al-Wafd Party benefited from the Brotherhood's organiza tion, while the Brotherhood found a way into parliament via al-Wafd Party. However, the goodwill between these two parties was short-lived as al- Wafd Party ultimately was relatively uninterested in lobbying for any type of Shari'a law.549As political scholar Nuha al-Mikäwi (Noha El Mikawy) contends, the cooperation between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Wafd was merely pragmatic, and "al-Wafd [and Muslim Brotherhood] failed to make their respective secular and religious ideologies compatible."550 In other words, the realities of cooperation in proposing legislation were much more difficult than merely combining forces for elections. During the 1987 parliamentary elections, parties running against the ruling National Demo cratic Party (NDP) also formed alliances in order to break through an unfair electoral system.551 Additionally, the 1990 parliamentary election witnessed 547 I am grateful for the assistance of Abanob Rizk in conducting and translating in terviews done in Arabic. 548 Hatina 2007, 34. 549 Ibid, 34. 550 El Mikawy 1999, 83. 551 Hatina 2007, 37. 149 a coordinated boycott by both opposition Islamist and non-Islamist parties alike.552 Another instance of cooperation involving several political currents was the Kifäya movement of 2005. Kifäya, which in Arabic means "enough," was primarily concerned with the expected transfer of power from Husni Mubärak to his son Jamäl.553 The Kifäya movement was an apolitical move ment, meaning that it did not have a set ideology or political frame of refer ence. This feature allowed it to attract and incorporate several opposition movements, both Islamist and non-Islamist, under a single banner revolving around the issue of political freedom in Egypt. As political scientist Rabäb al-Mahdi writes, "The founders and members of these groups came from all shades of political backgrounds (leftists, nationalists, liberals, and Islamists), different generations, and varying political experiences."554 Moreover, this movement was made to transcend ideology in order to avoid disagreements over particular issues regarding the governance of Egypt.555 In the years preceding the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, Islamists and non- Islamists would occasionally come together in opposition to an oppressive political structure. While their vision for Egypt was different, they could at least agree that they must all work against the rule of Mubärak and imple ment a free and fair electoral system. However, it was not until after the res ignation of Mubärak that these camps came into direct conflict in a markedly different political environment. 6.4 Non-Islamists after the Egyptian Revolution The Egyptian Revolution, which began on January 25,2011, opened the po litical environment of Egypt to an extent never before seen in its history. Members of a wide variety of political groups and movements have expressed admiration for the diverse set of beliefs that converged in Tahrir Square in January 2011. After Mubärak stepped down and the prospect of free and fair elections became a reality, the goodwill found in Tahrir Square during the Revolution began to slip away as various political groups organized and surveyed post-Revolution Egypt. The transition of power from Mubärak to the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), headed by Field Marshall Muhammad Husayn al- 552 El Mikawy 1999, 93-94. 553 Lynch 2011, 47. 554 Al-Mahdi 2009,1018. 555 Shorbagy 2007,195. 150 Tantäwi, was marred by several deadly incidents, many of which were blamed on military leaders.556 Moreover, even before elections, less than a year after the Revolution, non-Islamist parties feared that Islamists would have a significant advantage.557 Many of these predictions, which foretold of Islamist dominance in elections, were realized in the following months. After the fall of Mubärak, several crucial votes demonstrated the strength of Islamist parties at the polls. The parliamentary elections, which were concluded in December 2011 - January 2012, were a major victory for Islamist streams and disheartening for non-Islamist groups.558 This amounted to 223 seats for the Freedom and Justice Party and 111 seats for the Salafi al-Nür Party out of the 498 seats available.559 By comparison, non-Islamist parties garnered few seats with parties such as al-Wafd taking 38 seats, the Free Egyptians Party taking 17 seats, the Social Democrats with 17 seats, the Dignity Party with 6 seats, and the Freedom Egypt Party with 1 seat.560 When the final votes were counted, Islamist members comprised approximately two-thirds of this body. While the Egyptian Supreme Court eventually dissolved this legislative body in June 2012, the electoral results by Islamist parties were impressive.561 Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood celebrated a large victory during the Shürä Council election in February 2012, taking 45% of the vote.562 Howev er, it is important to point out that the voter turnout for this election was approximately 10%.563 The Presidential elections following the parliamentary contest witnessed a runoff between the Brotherhood's Muhammad Mursi and the final Prime Minister of Mubärak's regime, Ahmad Shafiq. The choice for revolutiona ries was a difficult one and, in order to secure non-Islamist votes, Mursi promised a consensus government and made guarantees about the future actions of the government.564 In the end, Mursi narrowly bested Shafiq in a hotly disputed run-off election. However, after the election there were sev eral events, ranging from disputes between Islamists and non-Islamists, sectarian violence, and the oppositions' belief that the Mursi's 100 Day Plan 556 Stacher 2011. 557 Hamid 2011. 558 Egypt Independent 2012 (c). 559 Al-Jazeera 2012. 560 Ibid. 561 Egypt Independent 2012 (a). 562 Wade 2013. 563 Ibid. 564 Shukrallah 2013 (a). 151 and the Brotherhood's Renaissance Project had failed, resulting in a highlevel of distrust between the different groups. President Mursi's Constitutional Decree of November 2012 served as the impetus for the formation of the National Salvation Front and drew the ire of many non-Islamist political groups and movements. The most farreaching of the decree's articles was placing the legality of the Constituent Assembly, dominated by Islamists, beyond judicial review.565 Furthermore, this decree allowed for Mursi's to take "necessary actions" to "protect" the Revolution.566 What made this Constitution so controversial was that it was mostly Islamists voting on the precise wording and formulation of the Con stitution after walk-outs by liberals and other currents.567 The Constitution was then put to a nation-wide referendum vote and was passed in a twopart vote with 63.8% of the voters approving the Constitution.568 Not only did this victory demonstrate the continued ability of Islamists to mobilize votes, but also revealed disunity among opposition politicians, who debated whether to oppose the Constitution through participating in the refe rendum or boycotting the vote.569 It is important to point out that the voter turnout for this vote was approximately 32%, demonstrating that large segments of the Egyptian electorate did not participate in the vote.570 The apparent betrayal of the democratic process by the Brotherhood's Mursi and his Islamist allies constituted a fundamental rift between Islam ists and non-Islamists.571 After Muhammad Mursi's constitutional decree, the political tension in Egypt worsened. The Tamarrud movement, formed in the beginning of May 2013, quickly morphed into the movement to which all groups in opposition to the rule of Mursi would throw their weight.572 This movement ultimately led to massive protests beginning on June 30. On July 3 the Egyptian military, led by General ‘ Abd al-Fattäh al- Sisi, removed Muhammad Mursi from power and initiated a new political roadmap for Egypt. Islamists then engaged two major sit-ins around Cairo, located in Giza and Nasr City, which were dispersed by Egyptian govern ment forces on August 14,2013 leading to scores of deaths.573 In the coming 565 Ahram Online 2012 (c). 566 Ibid. 567 Chick 2012. 568 Egypt Independent 2012 (g). 569 Samek 2012. 570 Aboul Enein 2012. 571 Spencer 2012. 572 Kirkpatrick, Baker and Gordan 2013. 573 Kirkpatrick 2013 (a). 152 months the Muslim Brotherhood would be labelled a terrorist organization with many of its assets and affiliated organizations seized by the state.574 In June 2014, ‘Abd al-Fattäh al-Sisi, the former Defense Minister who led the ouster of Mursi, won a landslide victory which many international observ ers claimed to not reach international standards.575 While the Egyptian political scene had remained relatively static for the thirty year rule of Husni Mubärak, the last three years have experienced explosive changes.576 The open political environment after Mubärak ushered in a new era of political participation among groups that rushed to improve their electoral position in Egypt. 6.5 The NDP and the Fulül One group that merits special attention is the now defunct National Democratic Party (NDP), which was the political party of former President Husni Mubärak. It was initially created in 1978 during the presidency of Anwar al- Sädät and has been used to cement control of the ruling party for several decades.577 From its political inception, the NDP had been the dominant party in Egypt, winning huge electoral landslides until the Egyptian Revo lution of 2011.578 Beginning in the 2000's, the NDP largely became a party whose most powerful members were businessmen who benefited from their relationship with government officials.579 After the Revolution of 2011, the NDP was disbanded while many of its members left the political scene or joined other political parties.580 Many of the high-profile politicians who were members of the NDP or had a close association with it were nicknamed fulül. The next section will briefly explain this term and the alleged political participation of the fulül after the Egyptian Revolution. 6.6 The Meaning of Fulül The term fulül, which in Arabic means "remnants," has been used in a derogative way since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. While this term is often used to describe those with a close association with the Mubärak regime, there is some ambiguity as to who exactly should be considered fulül. The 574 BBC 2013. 575 Kingsley 2014 (a). 576 Serödio 2013 (a). 577 East and Joseph 1993, 83. 578 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2014 (c). 579 Roll 2010. 580 Ahram Online 2011(b). 153 precise characteristics of those who are labeled as such is an open and ongoing question in Egypt.581 There seems to be consensus that Husni Mubarak, his sons, and other top government officials who were members of NDP should be classified as fulül. Moreover, there seems to be some debate about other figures that had ties to the Mubarak regime and their clas sification as fulül.582 For example, some may consider ‘ Amr Müsa as part of the fulül since he held a number of important foreign posts under Mubarak.583 These important positions seem to indicate that Müsa had close connections with the Mubarak regime. However, his supporters may point out that he was a proponent of the protests that eventually led to the resig nation of Husni Mubarak.584 In this sense, he is seen as supporting funda mental change of a corrupt system under Mubarak. Conversely, others may contend that the mere support of the protests against Mubarak does not erase his past ties with the ousted regime. From this example, one can begin to understand the difficulty of applying this term to those with some type of ties to Mubarak and the NDP. While some may consider fulül to be only those in positions of power in the NDP, others may consider a large swath of government appointees under Mubarak as part of the fulül as well. As we will see in the next section, several in the administration of Muhammad Mursi accused judges appointed by Mubarak to be part of the fulül conspiracy against the Mursi govern ment. However, one must ask whether being a political appointee of Mubarak is enough of a reason to be classified as fulül. Others have argued that institutions such as the judiciary have long ac-ted as a counterbalance to the presidency and that there resistance to Mursi was natural in this re gard.585 While there is a substantial debate regarding this topic, it is clear that the term fulül is used to discuss different people and groups. The Egyptian bureaucracy greatly expanded under Jamal ‘Abd al-Nasir's rule and grew to employ a massive number of Egyptians.586 Since Mursi's ouster, there have been some accusations that members of the so-called "deep state" have used the massive and plodding bureaucracy of Egypt against the initiatives enacted by the Mursi government.587 However, it is also important to point out that the term fulül has not traditionally been 581 For instance, see Gamal 2013. 582 Ibid. 583 Maher 2012. 584 Ibid. 585 Soliman 2012. 586 Palmer, Leila and Yassin 1988,1-18. 587 Hubbard and Kirkpatrick 2013. 154 used to describe those who are employed by the Egyptian government or part of its bureaucracy. The fulül and former members of the NDP can be considered part of the non-Islamist political stream even though this political entity has had vastly different experiences than the other non-Islamist parties mentioned. This is mostly due to the fact that the NDP was the ruling party in Egypt for several decades and was used primarily to solidify the ruling regime's power. While the NDP was not known as a secularist party, it did show hostility toward Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, in its policies and practices.588 Moreover, Brotherhood leaders have maintained that the deep state and holdovers from the Mubärak regime have undermined the Mursi's Islamist government.589 With this in mind, it is helpful to briefly survey the alleged political involvement of those associated with the NDP after the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. 6.6.1 Political Involvement After 2011 There has been rampant speculation about the fulul's role during Mursi's presidency and its future in Egypt.590 With this is mind, this section will briefly outline the accusations leveled against those associated with the Mubärak regime and also discuss what future role former NDP party members and the fulül may have in Egyptian politics. After the 2011 Revolution, Islamists contended that remnants of Mubärak's political regime still played an active part in Egyptian politics. A number of accusations were aimed at Mubärak appointments in the judiciary. The judiciary made several rulings that drew the ire of Islamists and particularly the Muslim Brotherhood prompting them to accuse the fulül of attempting to undermine the state. One example concerned the Supreme Constitution Court (SCC), declaring the Egyptian Parliament, elected in 2012, to be invalid due to violations of voting rules.591 This decision was decried by many as an effort by the remnants of the Mubärak regime to impede the Islamist's rise to power.592 In another case, Mursi attempted to remove pub lic prosecutor ‘ Abd al-Majid Mahmüd, who was appointed by Mubärak, a decision which some saw as an attempt to rid the government of all those associated with Mubärak.593 However, the judiciary resisted this dismissal 588 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2014 (c). 589 Marroushi 2013. 590 Hubbard and Kirkpatrick 2013. 591 Kirkpatrick 2012 (a). 592 Ibid. 593 Al-Tawy 2013. 155 while demonstrating its ability to resist some of Mursi's decisions through judicial review.594 In several instances, Mursi and his supporters have accused those asso ciated with the Mubärak regime of thwarting their efforts at reform. In the latter months of 2013, there have been articles devoted to several problems that occurred in Egypt, especially in the summer of 2013, regarding the workings of the government bureaucracy. For instance, leading up to the massive June 30 protests, there were persistent gas shortages and long lines at the gas pumps around Cairo.595 While some pointed to problems in the supply chain, others argued that members of the fulül were behind these shortages in an effort to discredit Mursi's presidency.596 Leading members of Mursi's government have maintained that they underestimated the pow er of those who wished to see Mursi's pre-sidency fail.597 The crux of these arguments is that Mursi and his administration were nev er given a fair chance to succeed due to the depth of resistance to Islamist rule. Many hypotheses have been presented concerning the extent of resis tance toward Mursi's administration from those associated with Mubärak and the deep-state. As previously mentioned, it appears clear that elements of Mubärak's regime actively sought to undermine Mursi's rule. However, there is little concrete evidence about the extent of the resistance against Mursi and which individuals and entities were the most actively involved. The fulül's future role in Egyptian politics continues to be a popular topic of conservation. Much of the attention now turns to whether former promi nent members of the NDP will find their way back into the political fold of party politics in Egypt. The current political environment in Egypt has pre sented an opportunity for those associated with the Mubärak regime to creep back into the political fold. For instance, Prime Minister Ibrähim Mahlab, who was appointed under interim President Adli Mansür and was retained for a time by President ‘Abd al-Fattäh al-Sisi, was a former member of the NDP and was seen as closely associated with Mubärak.598 Additionally, many contend that the current political environment has al lowed former NDP members to re-enter politics along with helping them regain their political footing.599 594 Ibid. 595 Hubbard and Kirkpatrick 2013. 596 Ibid. 597 Marroushi 2013. 598 Kingsley 2014 (a). 599 Fouad 2014. 156 In the coming years, more research is needed on the precise role the fulül and deep state played in the resistance against Mursi's presidency. While it is clear that members of the NDP have joined other political parties, the extent that they will regain significant positions of power is yet to be seen. 6.7 Non-Islamist Parties Non-Islamist political parties are characterized by two features. The first feature is that each party adheres to a political ideology with regard to issues such as foreign policy and economic philosophy. For example, parties such as the Dignity Party have a Nasserist ideology, which has socialist leanings, while political parties such as the Constitution Party adhere to a more capitalistic, free-market framework. However, these parties agree on a core set of values, including social justice, democratic elections, and at least some degree of the separation of religion and politics. The second feature is that political parties tend to work within traditional political channels in order to achieve their goals and vision for Egypt. This means that they believe that elections and political participation are the primary methods by which to enact change. While there are dozens of polit ical parties in Egypt that can be described as non-Islamists, this chapter will concentrate on some of the largest and most influential parties. However, this does prevent them from participating and organizing protests in order to exert pressure for their political demands. Representatives from al-Wafd Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Con stitution Party, Conference Party, Dignity Party, and Freedom Egypt Party were interviewed for this chapter.600 6.8 Non-Islamist Movements Non-Islamist movements tend to be non-partisan in that they do not adhere to any static political ideology or party platform concerning economics or foreign policy. Rather, these movements believe in set core values revolving around freedom, Egyptian nationalism, and social justice. Movements such as April 6, Kifäya, and the Tamarrud take a stance that the Egyptian national ism is what binds people together rather than a particular religious or polit ical ideology. In general, these non-Islamist movements were mobilized to challenge the "status quo" of Egyptian politics, rallying against the authoritarian and partisan nature of Muhammad Mursi's rule. Furthermore, non Islamist movements have, at times, been skeptical of the political process in ‘Abd Allah Al-Mughäzi; Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latif; Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir; Sayyid Al-Tükhi; Khälid Däwüd; ‘Amr Hamzäwi. 157 Egypt and saw the "old state" of Mubärak and the subsequent rule of the Muslim Brotherhood as corrupt groups that did not have the best interests of the Egyptian people in mind. The April 6 Movement was originally founded in April 2008 to support striking workers in al-Mahalla al-Kubra, Egypt.601 It also played an instru mental role in the 2011 Revolution and remained active after the ouster of both Mubärak and Mursi. Its most prominent founders were ‘Äsmä’ Mahfüz and Ahmad Mähir, amongst others.602 The group experienced a split in 2011 when founder Ahmad Mähir sought to make the movement into an NGO, while others claimed that he acted independently without a vote from the group.603 In April 2014, the activities of April 6 were banned based on charges of undermining the security of Egypt.604 However, the movement has vowed to continue their activities.605 The Tamarrud Movement was founded in April 2013.606 The Tamarrud movement began as a campaign to collect millions of signatures withdrawing support from then President Mursi, a symbolic demonstration that Ta marrud activists believed discredited Mursi.607 However, since the ouster of Mursi, the movement has experienced deep splits surrounding the group's future.608 There had been indications that some members of this movement will create a political party, but an official party has not yet been formed.609 It is also important to mention the Kifäya movement, founded in 2004, which was one of the first youth movements based on promoting democratic principles in Egypt and has served as inspiration to later movements.610 As mentioned in section 6.2, Kifäya included many groups from across the political spectrum while demanding political freedoms. However, Kifäya's influence has greatly diminished since 2006.611 601 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2014 (a). 602 Ibid. 603 Ibid. 604 Ahram Online 2014 (a). 605 Co-founders of the movement, Rämi al-Suwisi and Amal Sharaf were interviewed along with Ahmed ‘Abd Allah, a leader of the movement's political bu reau at the time of the interview. 606 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2014 (d). 607 Ibid. 608 Ibid. 609 Co-founders Mahmüd Badr, Walid Al-Masri, and Muhammad ‘ Aziz were interviewed along with Tamarrud activist Shimä‘ Al-Tüni. 610 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2014 (b). 611 Ibid. 158 6.9 Non-Islamists in Politics The purpose of this section will be to offer a broad overview of the core beliefs of non-Islamist political parties and movements. To a large extent during Mursi's rule, non-Islamists define themselves by differentiating themselves from Islamists, generally focusing on critiquing Islamist groups. This section will exhibit the non-Islamists' broad political vision for Egypt and their response to the Islamist parties' impressive electoral victories after the fall of Mubärak. While several interviews were conducted in the spring and summer of 2013, a time when Mursi was still in power or had recently been removed from the presidency, these interviews will serve as an important look into the worldview of non-Islamists at a time when their political effectiveness was being questioned. 6.9.1 Religion and Personal Freedoms It is important to describe the beliefs of non-Islamists pertaining to religion in society. For many Egyptians, religion plays a significant role in daily life. However, many non-Islamists reject and active role for religion in politics. The distinction appears to lie in the conception of religion and its role in in dividual life and society at large. One of the primary accusations coming from the non-Islamist camp, is that Islamists attempt to enforce a specific interpretation of religion on all people. In reaction, non-Islamists have maintained that religious belief is a personal matter while emphasizing per sonal freedoms. This became a major issue during the rule of Muhammad Mursi and became a popular talking point amongst non-Islamists. For instance, ‘Abd Allah al-Mughäzi, al-Wafd Party spokesman at the time of the interview, stated that that he is a Muslim and he prays, but is frustrated with the way that Islamists associate liberals with not being true Muslims.612 In this sense, Islamists appear to be claiming that their ideology is the only one that coincides with pious religious belief, which should be adopted by society at large. However, al-Mughäzi countered by saying that religious belief is between "a worshiper and God."613 It is important to point out that the critiques of Islamists do not necessarily demonstrate that non-Islamists believe that religion is unimportant or that it does not play an important role in their lives. Rather, non-Islamists have expressed that the state should not be made responsible for enforcing the religious interpretations of others. The strategy for non-Islamists in this regard is the personalization of religious belief in order to guard against Islamist claims of impiousness amongst non-Islamists. 612 Interview with ‘Abd Allah al-Mughäzi 2013. 613 Ibid. 159 In many instances, non-Islamists have made it clear that personal freedom is an essential part of their ideology, with the implication being that Islamist parties would restrict these freedoms. ‘ Amr Hamzäwi, the founder of the Freedom Egypt Party, has stated that his party is "committed to freedom and human rights."614 Additionally, Amal Sharaf, a co-founder of the April 6 Movement, highlighted the need to protect freedoms throughout Egypt.615 In many of the political programs of non-Islamist parties, the protection of freedoms is prominently emphasized. In this sense, non-Islamists made the idea of per sonal freedom prominent in their political discourse in order to counter to Islamist claims. Conversely, many non-Islamists tend to believe that Islamists will use gov ernment as a way to impose their own beliefs on society. Non-Islamists have felt inclined to provide justification for their political beliefs and how these beliefs do not interfere with their practice of Islam. For instance, Khälid Däwüd, spokesman for the Constitution Party, said that he believes there is no contradiction between being a good Muslim and believing in a separation of religion from the state.616 Däwüd continues by stating that Egyptians "are seeing that being a bearded guy with a sign of prayer here [on the forehead] does not necessarily mean you are an angel from the sky."617 Statements such as these make clear that non-Islamist groups felt the need to articulate their beliefs concerning the role of religion in society, and especially the way religion was being used to give Islamists an electoral advantage. 6.9.2 The Issue of Shari'a in the Constitution The issue of Shari 'a law has been discussed extensively after the political success of Islamist movements after the Egyptian Revolution. Many of the non-Islamist parties support the inclusion of Shari 'a law in the Egyptian Constitution, particularly Article 2, which states that "the principles of Shari 'a are the source of legislation," an article that has been enshrined in the constitution since al-Sädät's presidency. With this in mind, it is impor tant to understand the stance of non-Islamist politicians and acti-vists regarding the issue of Shari 'a in the Egyptian Constitution. 614 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Gjorvad 2013 615 Interview with Amal Sharaf 2013. 616 Interview with Khälid Däwüd 2013. 617 Ibid. 160 Several members of non-Islamist parties and movements support this pro vision. ‘Abd Allah al-Mughazi maintained that his party has no issue with Article 2 of the Constitution which stipulates that Shari 'a is the principle source of legislation, but stresses that religion is a relationship between an individual and God.618 Other non-Islamist party leaders view the inclusion of Article 2 of the Constitution as an ethical reference but not a set code of laws. For instance, Maha ‘Abd al-Nasir, the Deputy Secretary General for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said that with Article 2 "You get not the laws but the morality."619 While both Islamists and most non-Islamists may support a reference to Shari'a in Article 2 of the Constitution, non- Islamists have voiced that Shari 'a serves more as a type of moral compass and not a codified set of laws. As Dawüd emphasizes, "W e have always believed that Islam is a religion. Islam is not a political ideology" adding that "W e have been trying to explain the dangers of monopolizing religion. Of speaking in the name of religion."620 Non-Islamists were strongly against the inclusion of Article 219, which provided an interpretation of Shari'a, in the Constitution passed during Mursi's presidency.621This article defines Shari 'a law in a way that many non-Islamists believe is too narrow and serves to restrict freedoms.622 Along these lines, NSF leader Hamdin Sabahi stated, "'Religion is a key component of our culture and our identity and we will not allow anyone to monopolize it or speak under its nam e.'"623 While many non-Islamists appear to believe that religion is important for Egyptian society and that the men tion of Shari 'a should appear in the Constitution few have described how Article 2 may influence legislation in a tangible manner. However, there are some who speak out against this article in the Constitution. For instance, liberal scholar of international law, Nabil Hilmi, has spoken in depth about Article 2, arguing that any constitution that favors a religion necessarily denotes that it is a religious and not a civil state.624 He continues by stating that religious states are largely unsuccessful.625 At its core, it appears that many non-Islamists believe that Islam is impor tant to uphold the morality of a society, but that specific interpretations of a 618 Interview with ‘Abd Allah al-Al-Mughazi 2013. 619 Interview with Maha ‘Abd al-Nasir 2013. 620 Interview with Khalid Dawüd 2013. 621 Lombardi and Brown 2012. 622 Interview with Sharaf al-Din al-Jibali 2013. 623 Egypt Independent 2013 (e). 624 Hulsman 2012 (c), 188. 625 Ibid. 161 religious creed, when promoted by the government, are harmful to society. While individual opinions about the extent of religion's role in the state vary greatly, there seems to be some fundamental agreement that the mention of Shari 'a law in the Constitution should be looked at broadly. It is im portant to note that many in the non-Islamist camp interpret secularism differently, in that a party may claim to be secularist while seeing no contradiction supporting Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution, a position supported by Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.626 Along these lines, non-Islamists appear to understand the concept of Shari 'a as closer to an ethical frame of reference, rather than any set group of laws. The issue of religion in public and political life has been, and will continue to be, discussed at some length. 6.9.3 Egypt or an Organization? Leading to the June 30 protests, a popular mantra was that the Muslim Bro therhood had placed the interests of the organization above those of the state. Accusations of the "Brotherhoodization" of the state ran rampant among groups opposed to the Brotherhood.627 One example of this was the large number of Islamists on the Constitution-writing committee in 2012.628 Another example concerned Mursi's nomination of several governors with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist currents.629 Moreover, some protesters argued that the Brotherhood had "hijacked" the Revolution in order to obtain their political and organization goals.630 For non-Islamist activists, these accusations against the Brotherhood were important speaking-points while resisting Mursi's presidency. These perceptions have led to sentiments by non-Islamists that members of Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, have put their organizations above the common good of the state and all its citizens. Sayyid al- Tükhi, the vice-President for the Dignity Party, contended that Brotherhood members "have a relationship with the organization and do not think of the country," while adding that "the faction is not patriotic."631 These opinions were reiterated during the June 30 protests against Mursi, which, for non- Islamists, serves to emphasize that the Brotherhood was more concerned with its own pursuits of power than effectively running the country. 626 Interview with Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir 2013. 627 Fahmy H. 2012. 628 El-Gundy 2012; Casper 2013 (b). 629 Egypt Independent 2013 (b). 630 Ibid. 631 Interview with Sayyid Al-Tükhi 2013. 162 For many non-Islamists, the presidential tenure of Muhammad Mursi, which saw many of his supporters in important governmental positions, only enforced this narrative. They draw this distinction since they believe that their political ideology revolves around governing, rather than just the act of getting themselves elected in order to propagate their beliefs, an accusation that they level against many Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. 6.9.4 Religious Diversity in Egypt Non-Islamists have argued that they respect the religious diversity of Egyptians and that this respect is found within their political ideology. Consequently, they claim that they embrace religious diversity while Islamists follow a narrow and relatively strict version of Islam, which had led to various sectarian acts of violence, a narrative that received significant attention after Islamist electoral victories. Non-Islamists generally accept that a non Muslim can become president of Egypt, a position which is in contrast to many Islamist parties, and they pointing to this as evidence that they accept a nationalistic rather than religious conception of Egyptian identity. However, it is important to point out that some well-known Islamists, such as preacher Safwat Hijäzi, have argued that a Christian can, in fact, be the head of state in Egypt.632 There are often accusations that political Islamist groups discriminate against Christians and smaller groups of Shi'is and Bahä'is, which non- Islamists view as problematic in Egypt. Non-Islamist groups stress that their set of beliefs and view of religion are more open to other beliefs than Islamist parties. ‘Abd Allah al-Mughäzi pointed out that "the principle slo gan [of the party] is 'the crescent and the cross,'" which demonstrates the inclusiveness of the party.633 Others, such as Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir, mention the large number of Christians in her party who fear the rise of Mursi and Islamist groups.634 This is in contrast to Islamist parties, which are seen to have only small numbers of non-Muslim membership. From these state ments it is clear that non-Islamists, during the rule of Mursi, attempted to highlight the open nature of their political platforms and beliefs, which rely not on religion, but rather on a form of nationalism in which the idea of be ing Egyptian takes precedent over religious belief. Khälid Däwüd believes that sectarianism is a major issue under Mursi, due to the attempted Islamist monopolization of Islam resulting from Islamists, Ferrecchia 2013. Interview with ‘Abd Allah al-Mughäzi 2013. Interview with Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir 2013. 163 especially the Brotherhood, rising to power.635 For instance, Däwüd references sectarian rhetoric after clashes around the Presidential Palace in December 2012. After those clashes Khayrat al-Shätir [Deputy-Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood] made a news conference and he said that 70% of those people around the presidential palace were Christians. And this was supposed to be the President of Egypt.636 In this sense, it is perceived by non-Islamists groups that Islamists adhere to a rigid form of Sunni Islam which, in some ways discriminates against non Muslims. Additionally, Ahmad ‘Abd Allah, a leader in the April 6 Movement's political bureau, said that he sees no reason to fear Shi 'is and considers them good Muslims, a belief he attributes to a less rigid view concerning Muslim identity.637 In order to differentiate themselves from Islam ists, non-Islamists wish to quell the fears of religious minorities by emphasizing that their ideology is much more tolerant of those with different beliefs. Religious minorities in Egypt like Süfi Muslims, Shi'is and Bahä'is face serious issues, and also threats, in Egypt.638 For some Sunni Islamists, Süfi beliefs border on apostasy and there have been attacks against Süfi places of worship.639 Another group of Muslims in Egypt include Shi'i Muslims. In the past, Shi 'i Muslims have been distrusted and, recently, some Islamists, especially Salafis, have expressed their fear of Shi 'is in Egypt.640 Additionally, there is tense animosity toward Bahä'is, a small religious sect in Egypt, who Salafi groups view as heretics.641 However, Bahä ’is were not recognized as a religion under the rule of Husni Mubärak either and have largely been oppressed in Egyptian society. Finally, the most widely discussed sectarian issue concerns the Christian com munity, which has become increasingly worried about the power of Islam ists. Several Christians have expressed concern that some Islamist groups allegedly supported attacks on their churches.642 In light of the tension be- 635 Interview with Khälid Däwüd 2013. 636 Ibid. 637 Interview with Ahmad ‘Abd Allah 2013. 638 Süfi Muslims practice a mystical form of Islam which has been rejected by some Islamist groups. 639 Al-Alawi 2011. 640 Egypt Independent 2013 (a). 641 Halawa 2011. 642 Kirkpatrick 2011. 164 tween several Islamist groups and minorities in Egypt, non-Islamists wish to express their solidarity with these minorities, which may also result in electoral gain. In the non-Islamist critique of Islamist parties, other problems such as sectarian violence and hatred have also been used as evidence that Islamists do not embrace diversity of belief. However, it is important to point out that Islamists would refute this generalization, maintaining that their ideologies are open to freedom of belief in Egypt. Moreover, Islamist leaders will point out that they have close associations with non-Muslims such as Christians, and have blamed the security services for church attacks.643 Similar to other issues, both Islamists and non-Islamists trade accusations concerning whether their political groups truly believe in religious freedoms for all. One example of this comes from the January 2011 Church bombing in the coastal city of Alexandria after which then-President Mubärak issued a statement blaming terrorism, while other government officials claimed that sectarianism does not exist in the country.644 However, many Christians blamed the Egyptian government for not protecting their places of worship and failing to combat sectarianism.645 6.9.5 Religion in Electoral Politics Another important position many non-Islamist champion is that religion should be kept out of electoral politics and political parties based on reli gious beliefs should be prohibited.646 This serves as another major point of contention between Islamists and non-Islamists. In the spring of 2013 there was controversial legislation that would allow religious slogans in electoral campaigns with many Islamist groups supporting this measure.647 Several Islamists supported this legislation, even though Egyptian law presently bars these types of electoral slogans. The combination of religious rhetoric and the electoral process after the Revolution of 2011 elicited strong reactions from non-Islamists. For starters, many non-Islamists voiced a firm opposition to any type of religious involvement in politics. For example, Tamarrud activist Shimä’ al-Tüni said, "W e are against the entry of religion in politics."648 Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir made a similar objection stating, "W e 643 Egypt Independent 2013 (d). 644 Fahim and Stack 2011. 645 Ibid. 646 Egypt Independent 2013 (e). 647 AhramOnline2013(c). 648 Interviewwith Shimä‘ al-Tüni2013. 165 don't want to have any religion in politics. We want religion to be taken away from politics."649 During elections, many non-Islamists have accused Islamist parties of using religious rhetoric in their campaign slogans. ‘Amr Hamzäwi, objects to the use of religious rhetoric in this manner, contending that, "It's bad not only because I am against mixing religion and politics. It is bad simply because it really eats away the equal opportunity regulations which we need to have."650 He emphasizes that "You cannot use religious phrases to discriminate against your opponents."651 However, after the protests of June 30, there was significant discussion about banning religious-based parties from politics.652 Moreover, some non-Islamist politicians believe that Egyptians are beginning to understand the problems associated with religious rhetoric in political slogans. As Hamzäwi posits, "A t least the credibility of some actors using religion for political and election-based purposes is swinging."653 While the 2014 Egyptian Constitution bans parties based on religion, questions still persist as to the role of religion in the state.654 The basis for the removal of political slogans and religious-based parties from Egyptian politics illustrates the popularity of claims that Islamists use religion for political gain. Some, such as Hamdin Sabähi have stated that nobody should be allowed to speak for religion.655 From these statements it is clear that non-Islamists believe that there should be a separation between religion and electoral politics. This serves as one of the main tenets of non Islamist parties moving forward in a post-Mursi electoral scene. Non- Islamists will point out that there are various social, economic, and political problems and that Islamists have been using religion to win elections, while not having the political expertise to adequately solve these pressing prob lems. However, Islamists could argue that banning religious references serves as a restriction on freedom and that laws banning religious slogans unjustly discriminate against Islamist parties. As we have seen, non-Islamist parties attempted to differentiate themselves from Islamists during Mursi's rule with regard to how they view the rela 649 Interview with Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir 2013. 650 Hamzawy 2013. 651 Ibid. 652 Al Arabiya 2013. 653 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Gjorvad 2013 654 Shama and Labib 2014. 655 Egypt Independent 2013 (e). 166 tionship between religion and political life in Egypt. In doing so, non- Islamists have emphasized their support of personal freedoms and their commitment to the Egyptian state instead of a particular group. Moreover, they have continued to stress that their political ideology is more accepting of non-Muslims because of their more inclusive belief structure. This section has given voices from the non-Islamist current the opportunity to provide a working description of their groups' core political views on freedom, religion and the state through interviews conducted during Mursi's rule. It is important to point out that, while issues such as religious pluralism have been raised as ways in which non-Islamists are different than Islamists, only time will tell if improvement in these areas is realized. 6.10 Countering the Islamist Rule: Reflections of Non- Islamists After Islamists electoral victories in 2012, non-Islamists were on the defen sive. For non-Islamist parties and movements one of the most important questions moving forward after Islamist victories was how to counteract this success. The political situation since Mursi's rule has undeniably changed with the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the way in which non-Islamists sought to counter Islamist electoral gains will pro vide a glimpse of the worldview of non-Islamist groups during Mursi's presidency. 6.10.1 Uniting Non-Islamists 6.10.1.1 The National Salvation Front As evidenced by poor electoral showings in the 2011-2013 parliamentary and presidential elections, non-Islamist parties have emphasized a need to work together in the face of the better organized Islamist groups. As previously mentioned in the introduction, the NSF was created to unite oppo sition movements, most prominently non-Islamist groups, against the increasingly authoritative nature of Muhammad Mursi. Some non-Islamists recognized this development as a prelude to increased political cooperation amongst similar-minded groups. After a number of electoral victories by Islamists, non-Islamists groups be gan to recognize the value of uniting in some matter in order to strengthen their political position. During this timeframe, many non-Islamists pushed for greater electoral cooperation. For instance, Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latif, the Deputy President of the Congress Party, maintained that non-Islamists need to create political compatible parties to bring about a situation in 167 which two or three major parties compete in the Egyptian electoral sys tem.656‘Abd al-Latif contended that large parties that combine like-minded individuals are the correct path to challenge Islamists.657 He surmised this would better allow these non-Islamist parties to target and sway the undecided swing votes in Egypt, which he estimates to be five to six million.658 Sentiments such as these permeated non-Islamist parties after Islamist polit ical victories and have only increased after the ouster of Mursi. There is a deep running sentiment amongst non-Islamist parties that they need to grow their support bases. In this sense, non-Islamists need to develop greater electoral sophistication to challenge Islamist parties. As Sayyid al-Tükhi stated before the summer of 2013, "The new strategy for us is the idea of expansion with a bigger audience."659 Specifically, this involves reaching citizens who may be unfamiliar or unconvinced by non-Islamist parties. Others, such as Maha ‘Abd al-Nasir, emphasized the importance of elector al alliances during the summer of 2013, but admitted that there were not any concrete alliances at that time saying that her party would be, "Going for alliances with similar parties but I cannot say (which parties) exactly now ."660 In the summer of 2013, there were reports in the media about the merging of political parties.661 Both before and after the ouster of Muhammad Mursi, many questions surfaced as to how well non-Islamists will continue to cooperate with each other and these questions have yet to be answered. It is important to point out that the NSF's primary goal was to oppose the Constitutional Decree of President Mursi and then to stop the enactment of the Constitution. The underlying sentiment was that the NSF should not be viewed as a long-term solution for organization among parties, but was made to oppose the Islamist bloc's support of President Mursi's Constitu tional Decree. ‘ Amr Hamzawi, whose party was part of the coalition, made it clear that the NSF should not be viewed as a political party.662 He said, "In any front, in any umbrella organization, you have a variety o f ... stances and positions and the National Salvation Front is to my mind a Front which 656 Interview with Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latif 2013. 657 Ibid. 658 Ibid. 659 Interview with Sayyid al-Tükhi 2013. 660 Interview with Maha ‘Abd al-Nasir 2013. 661 Kortam 2013. 662 Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Gjorvad 2013. 168 cannot lead to the formation of one single party. It is too diverse."663 While these concerns were relayed in the spring of 2013, they foretell of some difficultly regarding large-scale electoral cooperation amongst non-Islamists in the coming years. While several other political leaders believe that unity is the best defense against the Islamist majority, this is easier said than done. As was the case with alliances in the 1980s, specifically the alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Wafd Party, electoral cooperation is made easier when there is a common opponent. However, once the realities of governing set in, it becomes much more difficult to function as a united group. With this in mind, future cooperation between non-Islamist parties will be a signifi cant factor in their electoral fortunes. 6.10.1.2 Tamarrud The coalescing of several political parties and activists around the Tamarrud movement was a monumental development in the summer of 2013. The idea of Tamarrud was to create a signature campaign in order to voice "no confidence" in the rule of then-President Mursi, thus using the street to make a conspicuous statement against the administration.664 The NSF strongly supported the aims of the movement while emphasizing that this movement would correct the path of the previous Revolution.665 According to Mahmüd Badr, a co-founder of the movement, the aim of Ta marrud was "to collect 15 million signatures withdrawing confidence from President Mursi."666 The idea of Tamarrud is predicated upon the belief that the people hold the power in Egypt and will challenge any leader who suppresses freedom or the path to social justice. Walid al-Misri, a co-founder of the movement, described Tamarrud as a "movement of conscious" that seeks to return the country back to the path of the January 25 Revolution.667 This rhetoric allowed Tamarrud to transcend several ideological differences while spurring various political groups to work together based on a clear goal. After Mursi's ouster, several questions revolve around the future of the Ta marrud movement.668After the common enemy had been removed from 663 Ibid. 664 Ahram Online 2013 (d). 665 Wahba 2013. 666 Interview with Mahmüd Badr 2013. 667 Interview with Walid Al-Masri 2013. 668 Gjorvad 2013 (a). 169 power, much of the momentum of the Tamarrud had slowed. Moreover, the splits within the Tamarrud movement have displayed some of the issues surrounding various attempts at maintaining large alliances.669 These divisions pertained to who the group would support in the Presidential election.670 The issues complicating the cooperation between non-Islamists further demonstrate the difficulty non-Islamist parties and movements continue to have when enacting a strategy built around joining forces. In these instances, cooperation was easy when non-Islamist groups united against Muhammad Mursi, but has proven to be difficult going forward. The NSF and Tamarrud were successful since they mobilized support against Mursi, but cooperation has stalled since. 6.10.2 "Principles" Versus "Politics" While there is significant agreement and cooperation between non-Islamist parties and movements, after the fall of Mubärak there was some degree of animosity between them concerning the state of affairs in Egypt. This animosity stems from the debate over how to best bring about political change in Egypt during the rule of Muhammad Mursi. As previously mentioned, after the Mursi's election there were significant issues regarding the heavyhanded nature of his rule. For many non-Islamists, the process of achieving the Revolution's goals seemed to stall. Well before the June 30 protests, there was significant debate concerning how to best regain the momentum of the Revolution of 2011. Some in the non-Islamist party camp have viewed non-Islamist movements as youthful discontents, whose zeal for revolutionary change is praiseworthy, but are incapable of changing things in Egypt. On the other hand, some in the non-Islamist movements had thought that they are the real revolu tionary forces capable of provoking change in Egypt. This is a debate that centers on the voiced principles of non-Islamist movements or the reality of politics of non-Islamist parties. Non-Islamist party members have, at times, criticized the approach of non Islamist movements as unrealistic and impractical towards the poli-tical re ality in Egypt. For instance, ‘Abd Allah al-Mughäzi argues that some activists "continue to dream and do not want to apply, but only imagine."671 Moreover, Mahä ‘ Abd al-Näsir agrees that working through political chan 669 Mokbel 2014. 670 Ibid. 671 Interview with ‘Abd Allah al-Mughäzi 2013. 170 nels is necessary while adding "Politics is the art of the possible."672‘Abd al- Näsir believes that some just see the need for revolution and no need to start building saying "If we could have tore everything down and start from scratch we should have done that after the first wave of the Revolu tion," adding that "It's very easy to knock any building down. It's about how you build it again. " 673 In this sense, the continued refusal to compromise and work through the traditional poli-tical process is, in the eyes of some non-Islamists, detrimental to improving Egypt. In many instances, the goals of non-Islamist parties and movements overlap and there are clear signs of support. However, some in non-Islamist parties appear to look at younger members of non-Islamist movements as out of touch with how to bring about change due to the latter's uncompromising nature. This uncompromising nature may lead to unrealistic goals and visions that will never be realized in Egypt. In other words, non-Islamist par ties believe that they are the ones capable of changing Egypt through more practical means in the political process. With this being said, non-Islamists movements may be tempted to form po litical parties. The April 6 Movement has already had a breakaway group attempting to form a political party called the April 6 Party.674 Moreover, soon after Mursi's ouster, reports surfaced that Tamarrud members have been deliberating over whether they would form a political party.675 Therefore, there has been, and continues to be, significant internal debate within these movements concerning how to precisely engage the political sphere. On the other hand, members of non-Islamist movements are confident that they are the true revolutionaries in Egypt. Ahmad ‘Abd Allah believes there is a difference between the reformists and revolutionaries. He believes that it is the revolutionaries who are the ones who are able to change the political state in Egypt.676 Rämi al-Suwisi and Amal Sharaf, co-founders of the April 6 Movement, agree, and said that without dreamers there would be no revolution or opportunity for non-Islamist parties to enter the politi cal system.677 As Amal Sharaf states, "These dreamers are the ones with the Revolution," while holding steadfast in the belief that "Without dreams you will never achieve your goals."678 However, it should be pointed out that 672 Interview with Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir 2013. 673 Ibid. 674 Rashwan 2013. 675 Taha 2013 (b). 676 Interview with Ahmad ‘Abd Allah 2013. 677 Interview with Rami al-Suwisi and Amal Sharaf 2013. 678 Interview with Amal Sharaf 2013. 171 several political currents in Egypt, including Islamists, believe that they are protecting the revolutionary gains of the Egyptian people. Since the Revolution, there has been an active back and forth between polit ical currents over who truly represents revolutionary Egypt. With this being said, the prevailing idea voiced by some non-Islamist movements is that they are the engines of Revolution and will uphold the core principles of the Revolution. Non-Islamist parties counter that they are the political ac tors who are actually able to realize the demands of the Revolution. This battle of "principles" and "politics" will continue in light of the political difficulties in Egypt. 6.10.3 Reaching a Broader Audience A number of representatives from non-Islamist groups have expressed their desire to broaden their message since they believe their political messages are not reaching sufficient number of citizens due to a lack of outreach to outside the Egypt's metropolitan areas. This was abundantly clear after non-Islamist parties experienced electoral setbacks after the Revolution. Several members from various political parties have stressed that in the past election they did a poor job of articulating their message to the voters and did not reach out to the general electorate. As Khälid Däwüd states, "W e are also facing, liberal and leftist parties, the fact that we need to work on the ground."679 In light of these poor electoral showings in 2011-2013, non-Islamist parties are attempting to better reach the constituents that they hope will connect to the message. These parties' underlying strategy is to broadly circulate their message and political values to those who are unfamiliar with their platforms. Däwüd maintains that non-Islamist political parties were at a disadvantage after the Revolution for two primary reasons. The first is that Islamists, in the past, were able to use the mosque to congregate, while non-Islamists had difficulty organizing in the public sphere under the Mubärak's rule.680 Second, the social services system of the Islamists bought them goodwill.681 Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir agrees and contends that the organizations such as the Mus lim Brotherhood had 40 years to organize and form a social network, while non-Islamist parties had only a few years since the Egyptian Revolution.682 However, it is important to point out that this is not entirely true. For in stance, al-Wafd Party had existed for many years in Egypt. Moreover, other 679 Interview with Khälid Däwüd 2013. 680 Ibid. 681 Ibid. 682 Interview with Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir 2013. 172 political parties such as al-Tajammu ‘ and smaller leftist parties were in existence for several decades before the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Both Is lamist and non-Islamist parties were suppressed under Mubärak. Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latif contended that Islamist victories were expected because Egyptians thought they needed to give Islamist parties a chance after the severe oppression they experienced during the Mubärak era.683 Non-Islamists present this as another possible explanation as to why Islam ist parties fared so well in 2012. However, this hypothesis appears to lack concrete evidence. In reality, a myriad of factors, such as better organization and a more widespread political apparatus, may be primarily responsible for the Islamist electoral victories after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Ac cording to non-Islamists, the aforementioned explanations are the primary reasons that Islamists have held an early advantage in electoral politics since 2011. In order to counteract the success of Islamist political parties and their outreach, non-Islamist parties have claimed that they need to more clearly and thoroughly explain their beliefs and policies. Several of these groups have previously relied on new means of technology, such as Facebook, Twitter, and various television channels, rather than face-to-face interactions with the public. However, ‘Amr Hamzäwi criticized the lack of outreach, saying that, "You cannot simply sit down and do politics via televised cameras or Twitter."684 Political parties have emphasized that new methods should be employed in light of the difficulty of relaying their message to a wider constituency. After the electoral victories of Islamists, there is a widely held sentiment that non-Islamists need to better connect with people who may not be well informed about the various political parties in Egypt. In this way, non Islamist parties had begun to recognize their shortcomings in the previous elections when they failed to connect with certain constituencies in non urban areas. However, it is important to point out that concrete and specific examples of how to implement these strategies have not been prominently circulated. 6.10.4 The Political Issue of Social Services After the electoral victories by Islamist parties, the question over the politicization of social services became an increasing important topic. Se-veral Islamist groups, especially the Brotherhood had significant social service networks where they supplied items such as bread, rice, and cooking oil to Interview with Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latif 2013. Smit, Kasanwidjojo and Gjorvad 2013. 173 poor Egyptians. Many non-Islamists pointed to the politicization of social services as a key to the Brotherhood and other Islamists' success in elec tions. However, non-Islamists remain steadfast in their refusal to copy this electoral tactic. ‘Amr Hamzäwi said that it is important for groups to provide aid to the poor, but these groups should be non-politicized.685 Other leaders of the po litical groups and movements have indicated that social services should be in the domain of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and not political parties. Khälid Däwüd emphasized that political parties deal with issues such as providing education to children, promoting social justice, and ensuring law and order.686 Däwüd continued by stating that political parties should not be responsible for getting staples such as rice and cooking oil to poor Egyptians.687 This is not to say that non-Islamist political parties do not see social services as essential to Egypt, but these activities should not be politicized. For instance, Ahmad ‘Abd Allah, the head of the April 6 political bureau, sup ports the formation of social service networks to connect with the people.688 He claims that by aiding Egyptian communities, the April 6 Movement can better relate to the needs of Egyptians.689 Rämi al-Suwisi agrees and points out that the April 6 Movement has already been involved in community works such as placing railroad signs by tracks in an attempt to cut down the number of train/car accidents in Egypt.690 Non-Islamists point out that the aim of providing social services is not to sway people to their way of thinking. Rather, they contend that one of the aims of volunteering and helping communities is to show how the Egyptian government has been failing to provide for its people, explains Rämi al- Suwisi.691Although, Islamists can and do claim the same thing. However, other non-Islamists believe parties should stay out of NGO work. As Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir states "W e are not an NGO, we are a political party," contending that political parties should help people achieve their aspirations 685 Ibid. 686 Interview with Khälid Däwüd 2013. 687 Ibid. 688 Interview with Ahmad ‘Abd Allah 2013. 689 Ibid. 690 Interview with Rämi Al-Suwisi 2013. 691 Ibid. 174 and not supply these type of social services.692 In her mind, this is the only way in which democracy will thrive in Egypt.693 Through providing social services to people around Egypt, some non Islamist movements are demonstrating that the state needs to be more involved in bettering the lives of its citizens. In light of these comments from non-Islamists, questions arise concerning how to prevent the politicization of social services and other forms of aid. It is clear that non-Islamists must continue to face the challenge concerning how their political and social messages resonate with a public that has faced immense economic and po litical hardships in the past decades, both under Mubarak and Mursi. Non Islamist political solutions are needed to realize goals such as freedom and social justice, and non-Islamist movements are unclear about precisely how to accomplish this. It is still unclear how well these messages have resonated with people in dire economic conditions. 6.10.5 M obilizing the Street Street protests and observable demonstrations were a prominent strategy for non-Islamists during the rule of Mursi. For instance, there was a highly publicized protest by April 6 members outside the home of the Interior Mi nister where protesters waved women's underwear, implying that the Ministry of Interior was "selling" itself to a new ruler, in this case Mursi.694 For many non-Islamist movements, especially the April 6 Movement, the Ministry of Interior represents an Institution that remains unaffected despite significant political changes over the past few years. Moreover, Amal Sharaf maintains that the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 has demonstrated that pressure from the street can force an Egyptian ruler to step down.695 It is through the continued pressure emanating from the street that the April 6 Movement seeks to continue to challenge the status quo and bring about real change in Egypt. After all, Tamarrud had effectively used protests as their main form of activism against the Muslim Brother hood. The events of June 30 serve as prime examples of massive protests leading to the ouster of a government in Egypt. However, the extent of this change and whether or not it will lead to a genuine democracy in Egypt has yet to be seen. 692 Interview with Maha ‘Abd al-Nasir 2013. 693 Ibid. 694 Ahram Online 2013 (b). 695 Interview with Amal Sharaf 2013. 175 Street protests were an important tool for non-Islamists during Mursi's presidency and have continued to be utilized since his ouster. The effectiveness of the method has come into doubt since the interim Egyptian gov ernment passed an "anti-protest" law severely limiting the viability of demonstrations, making them illegal without government approval.696 As a result of this law, several prominent activists who were important figures and allies to non-Islamist movements have been arrested and detained.697 6.10.6 Tim e as an Ally? The primary assumption of the strategies articulated by non-Islamist parties is that, with more time, they will more effectively transmit their message. Several of the political leaders of these groups have voiced that they are reaching out to more Egyptians than ever before. After all, as Mahä ‘ Abd al- Näsir has argued, Islamists had been propagating their message for years through grassroots activities while non-Islamists have had a little more than two years to get organized.698 However, as pointed out earlier, some of these non-Islamist parties had existed during the rule of Mubärak. Non- Islamists also assume that their message will resonate with the majority of the population as they believe that public opinion has fully turned against Islamists in Egypt. In all, the effectiveness of articulating their political values to the populace, along with the ability to reach more segments of the Egyptian population will be central to non-Islamists' success. Non-Islamists must also find a way to unite under a common banner in the post-Mursi Egyptian political landscape. While it was easy to unite in op position of the Brotherhood, there have been signs of disagreement in the NSF after the ouster of Mursi, with many viewing Muhammad al-Baräda‘i's resignation as vice president as an act of treason.699 Al-Baräda‘i's resigna tion caused a great deal of tension in the NSF and in other groups that supported the June 30 protests.700 Moreover, al-Baräda‘i has warned that politi cal divisions are widening on a number of fronts.701 Tensions have been bubbling beneath the surface between young and old generations, who may have different visions for their political parties.702 Currently, for non Islamist parties, the future appears much brighter than in 2012. Members of 696 Kingsley 2013 (b). 697 Daily News Egypt 2014. 698 Interview with Mahä ‘Abd al-Näsir 2013. 699 Fleishman 2013. 700 Taha 2013 (a). 701 Ibid. 702 For instance, see Taha 2013 (c). 176 non-Islamist political parties understand that much work is needed in order to realize their political goals. However, it appears as though they think with more time their vision for electoral success will come to fruition. Similar to non-Islamist parties, non-Islamist movements have high hopes for Egypt's future. Soon after Mursi's ouster, Muhammad ‘Aziz, one of Tamarrud's founders, stated that this is the time to develop Egypt and that Tamarrud has "evolved from a movement of protest to a movement of building."703 Encouraged by past successes, members of the April 6 Move ment also expressed confidence that, with continued pressure generated from the street, real change can come to Egypt.704 Consequently, there is a natural aura of optimism around these movements with regard to the future. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for non-Islamist movements in Egypt. The Tamarrud and April 6 Movements both have indicated that they will continue to play major roles in shaping Egypt's political transition. Moreover, as we have seen, each movement has been active in various ways since the ouster of Mursi. Divisions within movements, however, have cast uncertainty on the direction they might take with regard to their involvement in politics. How non-Islamists approach compromise and consensus with other political currents will also go a long way in determining the political future of Egypt. 6.11 Conclusion Non-Islamist parties and movements are currently faced with a rapidly changing political environment. Many Islamist groups, with the exception of the Salafi al-Nür Party, continue to protest against what they believe is a military coup and have refused to participate in the transitional process until certain conditions are met; the most prominent condition being Muhammad Mursi's return to the presidency.705 This has further complicated a difficult political situation and has caused deep political and social divisions. Additionally, non-Islamist parties and movements are now forced to work together in an increasingly tense political environment where consensus-building is needed. With this in mind, this chapter has provided an overview of the non-Islamist worldview before and after Mursi's ouster in order to help illustrate how non-Islamist groups reacted to past Islamist electoral victories. Interview with Muhammad ‘Aziz 2013. Interview with Rämi al-Suwisi and Amal Sharaf 2013. Egypt Independent 2013 (c). 177 Non-Islamist groups have generally differentiated themselves from the Is lamist current on the basis of the use of religion in politics. As discussed in section 6.7, religion may play an important role for non-Islamists, many be lieve that its use in politics is not only damaging to the political process, but can also corrupt the sanctity of religion. As previously mentioned, non- Islamists are largely in support of Article 2 of the Constitution, affirming that the principles of Shari 'a are the source for legislation. They justify the inclusion of Article 2 by pointing to the Islamic identity of Egypt. However, non-Islamists have been insistent that freedom of all people is fundamental to their belief and that their ideologies are inclusive of non-Muslims and those following Shi'i Islam. In many ways, non-Islamist parties and movements believe that time is on their side. First, non-Islamists have emphasized that their messages are reaching more Egyptians than before and are resonating with the populace, as evidenced by Mursi's overthrow. Second, many have expressed that the failure of Islamists in governing, particularly that of the Muslim Brother hood, will only help their message in the future. Non-Islamist parties and movements believe that the answer to their political success does not lie in copying tactics of the Islamists, but rather in demonstrating the faults and shortcomings of the Islamist ideology and reaching segments of Egyptian society with which they have not had previous contact. This may continue to spark conflict between Islamist and non-Islamist currents. Non-Islamist parties and movements have generally worked together, but there appears to be some underlying tension between these groups. Some members of non-Islamist parties perceived those in non-Islamist move ments to be impractical and unrealistic in their demands for political reform. Conversely, some members of non-Islamist movements see that some non-Islamist parties have not been able to bring about real change and are not genuine revolutionaries in the true sense of the word. It will be interesting to see whether this tension grows in the coming years in the midst of a deeply divided political environment. This chapter has presented several voices from the non-Islamist current to provide their views on a number of issues. While 2012 was a year that witnessed electoral successes by Islamists in Egypt, 2013 had seen a dramatic changing of fortunes for non-Islamists. Non-Islamists now have a greater opportunity to play a defining role in shaping the Egyptian state. After the ouster of Muhammad Mursi, non-Islamists now believe that time is on their side. Only time will tell if they are correct. 178

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Abstract

In 2013, a group of researchers had the unique chance to interview 61 Egyptian Islamists and their opponents both prior to and after Egypt’s military ousted President Mursī on July 3. Up to that time, Islamists with very different political perspectives were hopeful that they would be able to realize the implementation of sharīa and to create a utopian Islamic state. After the coup, many of them rejected the transformation and a number became involved in militant attacks on police, military and the judiciary. This resulted in harsh government responses. Their criticism has been muted, but they still exist. The interviews document authentic voices during this period of major political transformations. A must read for anyone who wants to understand contemporary Egypt.