Nadia Mostafa: The Hypocrisy of the Coup and its Constitution

Nadia Mustafa

Nadia Mustafa

From my recent article at Arab West Report, continuing a series on the composition of Egypt’s constitution. Nadia Mostafa is the former director of the Program for Dialogue and Civilizational Studies at Cairo University. She is also an Islamist, though not a formal supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. But she is a severe critic of the events which removed him from power.

She did not want to even discuss the content of the constitution, unfortunately, deeming it illegal. But she was very willing to express her displeasure with several contributing forces:

Chief among them are the very Salafis the Brotherhood cooperated with, in error. In supporting their demand for Article 4, giving the Azhar a role in legislation, and Article 219, defining the principles of sharī‘ah, the Brotherhood gave into unnecessary, non-historical, and ultimately fear-inducing intimations of a religious state. But when the Salafis sided with the coup leaders, Mustafá notes, look how quickly they dropped these two articles. All the Nour Party desired, it seems, is to take the place of the Brotherhood in the political spectrum.

Next she takes aim at the liberals:

Early in the transitional period these same liberals bemoaned the extremism of the Salafis and the interference of their Saudi Arabian backers. Now, they speak of the Salafis as possessing political acumen and of the Saudis as important financial backers for Egypt.

Similarly, liberals rejected the constitution of 2012 because it was an unrepresentative document crafted by an Islamist majority. But this did not prevent them from orchestrating an unrepresentative majority of their own, which all but excludes political Islamists, except for those who play by the measure of the coup. And as for their rhetoric saying the Muslim Brotherhood was invited but refused, what sort of invitation can be accepted when the president and his aides are held incommunicado, and the organization brandished as terrorists? Their goal, Mustafá believes, is to eliminate political Islam, or at the least any political Islam that has leverage.

Finally, she criticizes the church:

Excited by the possibility of gains in the constitution, some Coptic groups threatened to boycott or urge a ‘no’ vote if they did not win a special parliamentary quota. But when this failed to materialize, Pope Tawadros stepped in to support a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum. Christians, Mustafá believes, are not seeking their rights but to limit the rights of political Islamists, allied with seculars against the Islamic identity of the country.

But she also has critical words for the Brotherhood:

She and others of similar mind advised the presidency that Mursī was leaning too heavily on the support of Salafis rather than maintaining unity with liberals and other moderates. She believes there should be a separation between the preaching of a religious organization and the rhetoric of its political spinoff. A civil system must allow for religion in the public square, but politicians should not play with religion for political gain. When many call for the leadership of the Brotherhood to leave, she agrees, provided the same be true for current leadership across the board. The old guard, everywhere, must yield to the youth.

Please click here to read the full article at Arab West Report.

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