Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt vows to bring Morsi back

 


Ahmad Kamal took a moment to wipe the sweat from his forehead. The searing summer heat was taking its toll on the 31 year old’s stamina. The obligatory fast from dawn to dusk pious Muslims observe during the month of Ramadan further weighed him down. 

“Our president was legitimately elected,” the mechanical engineer exclaimed as his passion spurred on a momentary burst of strength. Around him at the Raba’a al-Adawiyya mosque a crowd of men nodded in agreement.

Though the Egyptian military has deposed President Mohamed Morsi and key figures of his Muslim Brotherhood party, Morsi’s millions of supporters are not passively accepting the coup as a fait accompli. They are adamant they will restore him to power by peaceful means, and vow to remain at the Raba’a al-Adawiyya mosque in Nasser City until Morsi returns to office.

Around the mosque, tents have sprouted up to protect protesters from the heat. The mats underneath provide comfort from the hard earth. Children hawk everything from laser pointers to horns. The streets around the mosque have a carnival atmosphere to them.

But inside the mosque’s courtyard where the few Brotherhood officials who have not been swept up in the wave of arrests plot their daily strategies, the mood is much more serious.

“The military and the former regime (of President Hosni Mubarak) have stripped us of the power the voters gave us at the ballot box,” complains Mohamed al-Batlagy, Secretary General of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to The Media Line. “Only the people can do this. And as you see from the millions who are here, they have not made this choice.

It is likely that Baltagy and his Brotherhood associates understand that their campaign is unlikely to succeed. The crowds who have migrated to Nasser City are unwilling to countenance such an outcome.

“We will not leave until Morsi returns to the (presidential) palace,” asserts 43 year old merchant Safwat Asad. “There is no power which can remove us from here.”

The current crisis in Egypt started with a call for people to gather in Tahrir Square to protest the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s rule, and ended with a military coup ousting him from office. President Morsi’s blunders angered many Egyptians. From ramming through constitutional amendments to trying to remove Mubarak supporters from their government posts, Morsi took an uncompromising line. Even his closest advisers were vexed by his inability to cooperate with opposition forces according to a Western diplomat in touch with senior Brotherhood officials.

Morsi’s street supporters claim his biggest mistake was making too many concessions to his opponents. “They took advantage of his generosity,” says 39 year old dentist Salim Magdi. “He should have been more forceful with them.”

The use of force is one tool the protesters say they will avoid at all costs. “We are here peacefully,” al-Baltagy says. “We will not raise our arms against another Egyptian.” Despite his pledges, the army and the state media have embarked on a smear campaign against the Brotherhood, claiming it is planning a campaign of violence. Television stations and newspapers denounced the organization for attacking the Presidential Guard barracks where Morsi is believed to be held. 

But the facts belie their claims. Earlier this week, soldiers opened fire on Brotherhood supporters during the morning prayers. State media released blurry pictures of men holding what it said were guns and other assorted weapons, though little could be made out from the poor quality of the images. Brotherhood opponents though have taken the bait.

“The Brotherhood is going to start carrying out terrorist attacks,” explains 56 year old electrician Mohamed Gundi. “Look at what they did at the Presidential Guard. This is what these people do – they are violent.”

Though the military and other powerful state institutions are aligned against the Brotherhood, the protesters refuse to leave Nasser City until Morsi returns to power.

 

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