THE BLOG

Egypt: Haven't We Learned Our Lesson!

After the second wave of the Egyptian revolution, the interim declaration should have clearly spelled out the ultimate vision for the new Egypt: A country based on humanity, equality, justice, and freedom for all, without specifying what religions or Islamic paths people should follow.

President Mansour went above and beyond any previous constitution, including the one drafted by the Islamists under Morsi's regime, by affirming the "Sunni" path of the country. While the country has a very tiny Shiite population that has co-existed peacefully in Egypt for more than 1000 years, such affirmation sends the wrong signal to those who are different from us, further dividing us, particularly after the brutal killing of a Shiite family in Giza by a group of radical Salafis.

Moreover, the constitution was drafted in such secret manner without even consulting the new deputy president for foreign relations, Dr. Mohammad ElBaradei, the Salvation Front as well as the Tamarrod (rebellion) movement which spearheaded the second wave of the revolution.

I thought that the interim president would seek to foster inclusiveness, reconciliation, and build trust between the people and the political groups. But Mansour apparently did not neglect to show some thoughtfulness and consideration, or what I call it "appeasement," to the Salafis. Since the ousting of Morsi, the Al-Nur Salafi Party has been playing hardball, stalling critical appointments, such as the head of the government who would form the entire team to rescue Egypt from its constant nose dive.

Another big blow, the interim constitution did not declare the outright ban on religion-based parties. Instead, the declaration kept the more flexible ban on parties that "discriminate on the basis of... religion."

After all the violence in the name of religion and all the theocracy of Morsi and his Freedom and Justice Party, why is the interim president accommodating the Islamists yet again?

Is that the price for securing "reconciliation," and for showing the world and the Islamists that we are "civil" and not against them or Islam itself? Is that the thank you note for the Saudi gift of billions of dollars to Egypt? Most importantly, why do we reconcile when we are the victims of the policies of Morsi and his group? Why when we are strong, we don't go after our dreams and vision for Egypt? Why when we are finally back on the track of democracy, we bring back the distraction of political Islam? Why make the country take more detours along the way to democracy?

Staying true to our vision, does not mean ostracizing the Islamists. Instead, that can be an opportunity for them to jump on the bandwagon of democracy and revise their path accordingly instead of forcing it on us. Perhaps that would make them think of practical ways to better Egypt instead of just running on the ticket of religion, particularly since Egypt now needs massive and real educational, economic, and social reforms. This is the time for Islamists to get on the democracy train if they want to engage in the political life of Egypt. It is also the time for the revolutionaries of the country to unite in making their vision for Egypt a reality without compromises or apologies. Perhaps that common goal of bettering Egypt can be the commonality bringing both sides together away from all the violence and vengeance.