Protests turned violent across the nation as opposition and revolutionary groups focused their attention on Muslim Brotherhood headquarters. Several were attacked, clashes broke out between the two sides, and police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds. Many were injured, but no deaths were reported.
The protests were preceded by two events of notice. First, a preliminary court judgment recommended dissolving the group for being illegal, only to be followed by a ministry announcement their paperwork was accepted as a now-registered NGO. Formally, the group is now subject to law and financial oversight.
Second, minor clashes at the Brotherhood headquarters took place when journalists/activists were assaulted while filming/vandalizing the building with graffiti. Outraged, they called for a Friday protest, a few opposition parties backed the effort, and since, the primary revolutionary youth group has condemned the violence.
Is this a turning point, God? Is popular frustration building up against the Brotherhood and discrediting their legitimacy by attacking the institutions of their administration? Or is this just a blip; limited frustration acting out from general impotence?
God, it is good the Brotherhood is now registered. If they have suffered previously from temptations to avoid the scrutiny of the law, this stricture will help them be open and transparent. If they have been wrongly maligned in the past, this oversight will validate them.
But no law can compete with conscience, God. Give them – and their opponents – pure hearts in service of Egypt. Bless them as they call on your behalf to service and obedience. Bless them in seeking the righteous transformation of society. And if they – or their opponents – have mixed good intention with ill conduct or selfish gain, bless them through rebuke and repentance.
But the violence, God, what good will it bring? It is hard to sort the reality from the propaganda when each side blames the other. Put an end to childishness, if it is there. Put an end to thuggery, if it is there. Give wisdom to resist foolish provocation; honor no one who picks a fight. Aid the state in convicting all who have done wrong, without prejudice or partiality.
God, what do you want the Brotherhood to be? If they are your tool to advance Egypt then give them their due. Silence those who mar them, who feel threatened by their gains. May they work righteously, humbly, mercifully, and inclusively.
But if they are a tool for anyone else, even themselves, then give them their due. Silence them as they mar others, who sense their threat to Egypt. May this be done openly, transparently, justly, and inclusively.
Inclusive, God, for even these prayers are wrong. It is too convenient to see one side right and the other wrong. Guard Egyptians from the ease of rumor and conspiracy. Expose wrong wherever it is found, but bring Egyptian rivals together. Create a system where all win, where opponents need not be vanquished.
Egypt is not settled yet, and perhaps it is not yet time. But she longs for stability as she longs for reform. As the Brotherhood holds the reins of governance, give them wisdom and acumen to govern well.
And may protests continue – peacefully – until all are satisfied with all.