Egyptian Referendum Favors Muslim Brotherhood

The organizational power of the Muslim Brotherhood shone through this past Saturday when the Egyptian people voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum promising a rapid election process. Problem is-speedy elections means those with ill intentions may be ruling before the people know what hit them.

Free from ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Brotherhood spokesman Essam el-Erian stated that Egypt is eager to move "away from a bad, autocratic and dictatorial system towards a democratic system." The well-organized Islamic group, along with other religious factions launched a get out the vote campaign printing fliers, posters. They persuaded undecided voters with signs that read: "If you vote no you are a follower of America and Baradei, and if you vote yes you are a follower of God."

A former United nations official, Nobel Prize winner and possible presidential candidate, Mohamed El Baradei, opposed the package of eight amendments in order to give burgeoning political parties more time to organize. When he showed up to vote on Saturday Baradei met with "a shower of rocks and bottles" from "a paid mob" according to his supporters. Unfortunately, hard line Islamic zealots laying-in-wait are seizing the day:

The Muslim Brotherhood and remnant elements of the National Democratic Party, which dominated Egyptian politics for decades, were the main supporters of the referendum. They argued that the election timetable would ensure a swift return to civilian rule.

... many other opponents of the referendum said religious organizations had spread false rumors, suggesting that voting against the referendum would threaten Article 2 of the constitution, which cites Islamic law as the main basis for Egyptian law.

The Muslim Brotherhood party, banned since 1954, has taken a page out of the leftist handbook and co-opted some Alinsky tactics of its own. A conference on Political Islam and Democracy held at Mansfield College, Oxford traced the evolution of the Islamic movement concluding that the post World War II Brotherhood learned some valuable lessons:

Learning from past experience it was now making use of the multi-party system and elections equated by Western ruling circles to a democratic system playing the electoral game to get into parliament, or local government to gain control of professional, cultural, trade union, and social organizations.

It was also moving more and more into the media (newspapers, T.V., radio, publishing houses), continuing to work hard at setting up a network of health, educational and other services, using the thousands of mosques more effectively, infiltrating into the judiciary, banks and economic enterprises, making use of the considerable resources and high level connections at its disposal especially in the Gulf countries.

Egyptians standing in long lines to vote this past weekend deserve a system of government that truly represents their best interests. It would be tragic for the people if radical Islamic fundamentalists like the Brotherhood established a state where according to their founder there is no separation between "religion and state, spirituality and action, prayer and militancy (holy struggle), obedience and ruling, Koran and Sword."

Read more M.Catharine Evans at
If you experience technical problems, please write to