There is now no doubt there is an unholy alliance between the military and the radical Muslim Brotherhood. It has become crystal clear that the young, educated secular activists who initially propelled the non-ideological revolution are no longer the driving political force. The Muslim Brotherhood with its link to the military is now dictating the future destiny of Egypt.
The hopes and aspirations of the young protestors, that the country would embrace secular democracy after the fall of the dictator Hosni Mubarak suffered a major setback as the country went to the polls last week to vote on constitutional changes.
The proposed constitutional amendments put to the vote largely dealt with the articles of the 1971 constitution pertaining to presidential elections and the president’s term in office. The changes made no mention of the notorious Article 2, which states that “Islam is the religion of the State, Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Shariah).”
The imposition of Article 2 on the debate was for the most part the handiwork of a treaty between the Salafist movement and the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Muslim Brotherhood control the political front, the Salafist movement has become it muscle on the street, they prohibit any political opposition to a Muslim ruler.
Salafist’s hold strict and literalist interpretations of Islamic doctrine; they advocate the full veil and open hostility with non-Muslims, particularly Egypt’s large Coptic Christian community, estimated at some 10 million. They used anti-Coptic incitement to sway the referendum. Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist’s were among the fiercest advocates of the “Yes” vote, declaring it a religious duty for all Muslims. “No” campaigners were portrayed as Christian and secularists “enemies of Islam”. Rather than confront the radicals, the majority of eligible voters abstained with only 41% of potential voters turning out for the referendum.
Pamphlets and advertisements were published, “It is ‘un-Islamic’ to vote “No”, this angered the youth who asserted, “that Islamists and Salafists were pushing their agendas through religious manipulation instead of political participation, this is our revolution and we will protest again.”
Upon the declaration from the youth, the Brotherhood quickly swung into action, to prevent further protests and demands for a new referendum on the constitution. The ruling military approved a law banning and criminalizing any future strikes, protests, marches or rallies in the country. The new law passed by the military cabinet stipulates imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to 500,000 Egyptian pounds ($84,000 dollars for anyone who incites, promotes or participates in any protest or strike. The new law effectively suppresses the youth from voicing their desires and prevents them from playing any further part in the future destiny and direction of the democratic Egypt they so staunchly fought for. Protestor Aziz Ahmed, said “I was in Tahrir square every day, my best friend was killed, now we have been betrayed and sidelined, we brought Mubarak down not the Muslim brotherhood, now they have taken over and cheated us”
In a despicable revelation, it is now been disclosed the filthy Egyptian army, tortured female protesters and administered forced “virginity tests” on them following the demonstrations. Army officers detained at least 18 women after clearing Tahrir Square of protesters on March 9 and took them to a Cairo Museum annex, where they were handcuffed, beaten with sticks and hoses, called prostitutes, whores and given electric shocks to their chest and legs.
One victim Salwa Hosseini, 20, told the group, she and other women were forced to remove all their clothes then subjected to ‘virginity tests’ by a man in a white coat and were threatened that “those not found to be virgins” would be charged with prostitution, Amnesty International reported.
"Forcing women to have ‘virginity tests’ is utterly reprehensible and designed to humiliate and discourage women from further participating in any protests. Many viewed the role of women in the revolution as un-Islamic and dishonorable. The Army’s action is to degrade women and violate them simply because they are women," said Amnesty International.
One woman whose test came up negative was beaten, given electric shocks, and threatened with gang rape and public humiliation labeling her as a “whore”. Such threats and abuses are deplorable and mirror the actions of the old regime and security forces.
While the Army tried to deny the damning revelations, Journalist Rasha Azeb, who was also detained in Tahrir Square, told Amnesty International, “they army is lying I was handcuffed, beaten and insulted and could hear other women screaming while being given electric shocks”. Testimonies from other women collected by the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence also were consistent with Azeb and Hosseini’s accounts, Amnesty.org reported.
The families of the violated women are enraged, demanding Egyptian authorities to investigate the allegations and instruct army forces to hold those responsible accountable. One Father who asked not to be named said “Women and girls must be able to express their views on the future of Egypt and protest without being detained, tortured, or subjected to profoundly degrading and discriminatory treatment; they photographed my daughter and warned her and the other women of further risk of harm by making the photographs public.”
When questioned, An Army spokesman deflected the subject by pointing out “An Egyptian committee tasked with investigating the violence during the recent revolution has charged former ruler Hosni Mubarak along with former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli of ordering police to open fire at demonstrators, the murder of protesters, we have submitted those charges to the Public Prosecutor's office.”
Adli is also charged with the responsibility for the withdrawal of policemen from the streets after January 28 in order to spread chaos and cause a security vacuum. More than 380 people died and thousands were injured in the protests leading up to the revolution in February.
He concluded by denying the military was serving the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, “the protestors achieved their goal, Mubarak is out, there are no valid reasons for further protests, it is our duty to ensure everyone returns to their daily roles, further protests will not be tolerated”.
Critics reject this argument, Abdul Rahman said “the military are denying us a transition towards democracy, we welcomed the army in Tahrir square, danced on the tanks, treated them with respect, gave them food and water, now they are worse than Mubarak, why make a law criminalizing protests now?”
There is now, no doubt the military are serving the interests of the Muslim brotherhood and Islamist, they have released jailed Islamist and are actively directing Egypt towards becoming an Islamic state and not a democratic society. The youth are currently debating whether to defy the new law and risk Jail and extremely hefty fines, many fear reprisals and torture once arrested.