In advance of ‘Rebel’ protests on June 30, Egypt’s Islamists are not simply waiting to see what will happen. On the street and in the presidency they have taken a confrontational approach to the challenge. Today, after hundreds of thousands demonstrated in favor of President Morsi, the battle lines are clearly drawn. But what will ‘winning’ entail? What will it even look like?
If those gathered have their way, it will be an increasingly Islamic Egypt. A few days earlier Morsi replaced seventeen of the nation’s governors, appointing seven from the Muslim Brotherhood and one from the hardline al-Gama’a al-Islamiya. Several of these appointments sparked violent rejection.
And while officially the protest was simply in the name of democratic legitimacy and non-violence, some saw the coming launch of a truly Islamist revolution. Must one side thoroughly defeat the other?
The ball is now in the opposition’s court. The Rebel campaign claims to have collected over fifteen million signatures demanding early presidential elections – more than voted for Morsi in the first place. But can they match or exceed the Islamist numbers on the street? Do they need to? What if they succeed?
God, beyond the immediacy of the street, bless the new governors. Give them understanding of their region and the peculiarities of its needs. May they represent the people well.
God, honor the zeal of the demonstrators. Motivated either by democracy or their victory therein, many feel under threat of losing everything. Where influenced by fear or anger, God, comfort and condition them. May they stand firm in their convictions, but nurture love and acceptance of those believed to oppose their project.
But God, the days are ticking away. Will a dramatic show of forces lead Egypt down the path of mutual good? Is the show of forces necessary to bring political players back from the brink? Bring a solution, God, that is acceptable to all. May no one yield, but may all compromise. Either before or after the dramatics, bring Egypt to a place of peace.
But at the moment, each side confronts the other. Only you know if current and coming events are beneficial, God. But in whatever happens, secure Egypt’s good. Confrontation is within human nature, and part and parcel of politics. Just ensure it proves constructive.