Inside Story

The fight for Morsi

We look at a divided Egypt as the ousted president's supporters remain defiant.

Last Modified: 20 Jul 2013 11:45
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Excluded from politics, members of the Muslim Brotherhood are standing their ground demanding the return of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

We will never accept that our legitimate president is not a president any longer. It is not actually just us - anybody who is really keen on having a sustainable democratic process in Egypt must be interested in restoring the legitimate and democratic process in Egypt.

Amr Darrag, a former cabinet minister in the Morsi administration

Two weeks after he was forced out of office, Morsi's supporters remain adamant and Cairo's Nasr City has become the centre of their protests against the military.

The demonstrations took place after Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, addressed the nation for the first time since taking over. He promised to protect Egypt from anyone who wants to cause chaos or violence.

"This is an important time in Egypt's history. Some want it to be a path that leads to the unknown, but we want it to lead to a better life. Some want it to lead to chaos, while we want stability. Some want this juncture to lead to bloodshed and fear. We want it to lead to better human rights. 

"We know all too well that those who want bloodshed raise false slogans and claims. They are driving the country to the edge, the whole time thinking they are doing righteous work."

The country's new interim government has cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood since President Morsi was forced out of office on July 3, by a military coup.

Since then, TV channels known for supporting him were taken off air minutes after he was deposed. More than 600 leaders and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were rounded up and arrested. Rights groups say they were denied legal representation.

Many have since been released but leading members of the Brotherhood, including Khairat al-Shater and Saad el-Katatni, remain in police custody.

They have been in power for a year, unfortunately they have not been able to run the country properly; they have alienated everybody else and marginalised even those who were ready to work with them - so now they are insisting to mobilise the street to force the release of Dr Mohamed Morsi and bringing him back to power. I don't believe this is realistic.

Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University

On July 8, 51 Morsi supporters were killed outside a Republican Guard building. 

The party accuses the military of instigating the attack - which the military denies.

The Muslim Brotherhood is still Egypt's most organised political movement, despite being officially banned for over 80 years.

So what will its members do now?

One option is to continue as they are, with protests and sit-ins, in the hope of forcing the government to meet their demands. But critics say that is unlikely to happen and argue the Brotherhood should take part in political dialogue.

But Brotherhood supporters say it is hard to take part when your leaders are being rounded up and arrested. Another option is to regroup and wait for a better opportunity - that is what Islamists in Turkey did when the military deposed them in 1997.

And finally, the violent option - the Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence long ago but hardline Morsi supporters are calling for an uprising against the military.

So what are the risks of alienating the Muslim Brotherhood? And what options does the group have left?

Inside Story, with presenter Adrian Finigan, discusses with guests: Khalil Anani, a scholar of Middle East politics at the University of Durham. He is also the author of The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; Amr Darrag, a member of the executive board of the Freedom and Justice party. He was also a former cabinet minister under deposed president Mohamed Morsi; and Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University.

"I think both parties are unrealistic. On the one hand the Brotherhood is trying to insist on reinstating President Morsi which is to some extent unrealistic although what happened to Morsi was a clear military coup with popular cover. On the other hand, the military believes that the Brotherhood can move back to the old days under Mubarak - that they can be repressed, can be hounded and can be arrested without any reaction. I think both parties indeed are unrealistic in the way of doing politics."

- Khalil Anani, a scholar of Middle East politics at the University of Durham


Al Jazeera
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