While Americans are being murdered in Afghanistan after the accidental burning of the Koran and an Iranian general is advocating the destruction of the White House, similar Islamist extremists have gained control of the Egyptian parliament (pictured). The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party took 58 percent of the available seats in the upper house of Egypt’s parliament, while the even more extremist Salafist Al-Nour party took a quarter of the seats. In all, more than 80 percent of the contended seats in Egypt’s upper parliament are now in the hands of Muslim extremists. Last year’s “Arab Spring” is now more fully manifesting its true character: the transformation of Egypt into a more stridently Islamist regime.
The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in the upper house of Egypt’s parliament follows their victory in the lower house, the so-called “People’s Assembly.” An article for AhramOnline (“What went wrong? Egypt’s secular parties assess Islamists’ parliamentary triumph”) evaluates the substantial political victories won by Islamists in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Mubarak government:
Egypt’s first post-Mubarak elections were largely defined by the Islamist-secularist divide. While no Egyptian party overtly claims to be secular — a term with negative connotations in Egyptian popular discourse — Islamist parties have been accused by their critics of polarising voters by playing the religion card.
The Islamist electoral victory, however, can hardly be explained solely by Islamist parties' resort to religion, with members of non-Islamist parties citing a number of additional factors.
The Wafd's Sherif Taher, for one, says his own party's electoral performance had been affected by both "internal and external factors."
"The polarisation that first emerged during the [March constitutional] referendum had an impact," Taher said. "But this wasn't a religious polarisation, as some claim, as it did not pit Muslim against Christian. Rather, it was Islamist parties versus liberal parties. We were aware of this polarisation and should have dealt with it better.”
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