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Brotherhood's failure may affect Islamists in other countries

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Sat, Jul 13, 2013 06:10 hrs

Cairo, July 13 (IANS) The Muslim Brotherhood's aborted political term in Egypt may create uneasiness for Islamic forces in other Arab states, political experts have said.

Earlier this month, Brotherhood-affiliated Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military after mass protests against his first-year rule.

In swift responses, Islamic parties in the region, such as the Yemeni Islah Party and Tunisia's Ennahda, condemned the overthrow as a "coup" and a "blow to the democratic process", while the Jordanian offshoot of the Brotherhood said "it's not the end of the road", Xinhua reported.

In contrast, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time foe of the Brotherhood setup, hailed the Egyptian army's move as an "ouster of the so-called political Islam".

Assad warned that whoever uses religion in politics or for the benefit of one faction "will face the same destiny".

Nabil Abdel Fatah, a researcher with al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, foresees a "shrinking role" of the Brotherhood's participation in the political arena of the region.

"The failed experience of the Brotherhood movement in Egypt will negatively affect the Islamic forces in other Arab countries such as Sudan, Tunisia, Jordan and Palestine in particular," he told Xinhua.

"Political Islam" will gradually lose its sway, and "the Brotherhood will lead the Islamic project to lose its attractiveness in the street," he said.

The researcher also predicted "a period of disagreement" within the Islamic movements, particularly between the Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Salafists in Egypt, as some may prefer violence and extremism, when others seek a way of moderation.

Palestinian political expert Abdel Qader Yassin agrees that the Brotherhood's descent in Egypt will be followed by a fall of popularity across the region.

Yet he said the Brotherhood's failure in Egypt will not affect the Islamic resistant movement Hamas which did not benefit from Morsi's rule.

Neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Islamic Jihadist group were allowed to establish bureaus in Cairo, in addition to the destruction of tunnels leading to Gaza, he said.

But Yassin, at the same time, holds that it could be a time for Islamists in the region to learn lessons from Cairo to adjust their way of doing things.

Syrian politician Gaber el-Shoufy believes that the rule of the Brotherhood in Egypt revived the Islamic current in other countries, whereas their setback could recede it again.

"Imposing sovereignty, isolating other political forces and struggling with the press and judiciary, without developing an economic model to solve the country's problems, are lessons for the Brotherhood in Syria to learn," said the leading figure in the opposition Syrian National Council.

Thinking simply that the election boxes gave them mandate to practice "democracy" as they wish was the fatal mistake of the Brotherhood in Egypt. They did not understand that democracy should be turned into culture and practice, said el-Shoufy.

"The Brotherhood's ouster in Egypt isn't a definitive or complete fall for the Islamic trend, but will bring it back to the first square, from which Islamists should come with political programs, and statesmen, not religious leaders," he said.



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