MB op-ed defends Kareem Amer

An intriguing op-ed by a young Muslim Brother:

Egypt's Two-Faced Regime: Not Secular, Not Islamic, Authoritarian

There is an increasing realization amongst Egypt's opposition political factions that the regime has no ideology to defend, least of all a secular one. The regime's crackdowns on the Muslim Brotherhood are not part of a sincere attempt to uphold "secularist" values, such as democracy, pluralism and civil rights. They are simply measures to quash political opponents. In fact, these so-called "secularist" values are embraced by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The regime was not sincerely upholding Islamist values when it sentenced Amer to prison for attacking Islam. As an Islamist, I am of course against the hate speech and the anti-Islamic sentiments Amer expressed in his blog. But I am also against his imprisonment, which I'm sure is politically motivated, merely because he harshly criticized the president.

If attacking Islam is a "punishable crime" in the regime's eyes, why wasn't the minister of culture prosecuted when he attacked al-Azhar and Islamic Shariah, just as Amer did? If the constitution's second article stipulates that Islamic Shariah is the main source of legislation, then why does the regime ban any political activity based on a religious ideology? The answer, again, is simple: The regime has monopolized religion.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.