17 December 2017
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  • » 11/23/2012, 00.00


    For Catholic Church, Morsi, Egypt's new dictator, puts country in "grave danger"

    The president has taken over legislative, executive and judicial powers. Egypt's Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud is dismissed because too closely associated with the Mubarak regime. The spokesman for the Catholic Church fears the application of Sharia law in a country dominated by an Islamist minority. Young protesters take to Tahrir Square.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - "Egypt is in grave danger. The Muslim Brotherhood now controls all powers: legislative, executive and judiciary. No one can stop them," told Fr Rafic Greiche AsiaNews. The president's recent constitutional amendments are "a move to give the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists a stranglehold over power." For the clergyman, the Muslim Brotherhood is following a precise plan to place Egypt under Sharia.

    Egypt's polarisation was evident toady in Cairo's streets as demonstrations got underway. In front of the headquarters of the Justice and Freedom, thousands of Islamists celebrated Morsi's "victory" over Sharia opponents.

    Pro-democracy supporters gathered instead in Tahrir Square to commemorate the massacre of Mohamed Mahmoud Street and appeal to all Egyptians for a new revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood's stranglehold.

    With the stroke of a pen, President Morsi changed the constitution by decree, placing his office above the courts, including the constitutional court. A law in June made all declarations, laws and decrees issued by the president final and binding and beyond the challenge of any state institution.

    As a pacifier, the Egyptian president has a proposed to reopen trials against police officials involved in violence against Tahrir Square protesters. He also increased subsidies to the martyrs of the revolution.

    According to Fr Greiche, the Islamist leader wants to distract public opinion from his real goal. Other decrees protect the now dissolved Shura Council from challenges of unconstitutionality, and place in his hands the power to dissolve the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly.

    "Morsi waited for liberals and Christians to leave their seats so that only Islamists would be able to draft the constitution and no one will stop them," the priest said. "The only way is to vote No at the constitutional referendum. However, 40 per cent of the people are poor, living in rural areas, where Islamists are strong because they buy votes by giving in exchange bags of grain, meat and rice."

    However, "Now the party that gets the most vocal support is the liberal party. In case of elections, it would win a majority of votes. Islamists are a minority and do not want a new poll," Fr Greiche said.

    Now many are asking how the Muslim Brotherhood leader could centralised so much power in an office that in his own words was merely representative.

    Claiming he was defending the ideals of the Jasmine Revolution, Morsi replaced all justices and judges appointed under Mubarak with his cronies. The last holdout was Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, a Morsi opponent, who had been trying for months to dissolve the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly. In his place, Egypt's new strongman pickled Talaat Ibrahim Mohamed Abdullah, a former vice president of the constitutional court close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In the Egyptian press, many liberals slammed the president for his action as did many ordinary citizens.

    For Mohamed el-Baradei, former president of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a former presidential candidate, "Morsi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh. A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences."

    This afternoon, anti-Islamist demonstrators set fire to the offices of the Justice and Freedom party in Ismailiya, Suez and Port Said.

    In Alexandria, violent clashes broke out between young pro-democracy party activists and the Muslim Brotherhood. (S.C.)

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    See also

    06/12/2012 EGYPT
    Egyptian army deploys tanks. Clashes between democrats and Islamists: 5 dead and 350 injured
    Tension rises after the escalation of violence outside the presidential palace. Stones and Molotov cocktails launched between Morsi supporters and young Democrats. Opposition leaders accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of fomenting the unrest. On December 4, the "last warning march " began against the dictatorship of the Islamists.

    21/10/2013 EGYPT
    Coptic Church attacked in Cairo, 8-year-old girl among the dead
    So far, four people are known to have died and 18 wounded when, yesterday afternoon, two men on a motorcycle fired on a crowd in front of the Virgin Mary Coptic Church in Warraq, a Christian neighbourhood in the Egyptian capital. For a spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church, "Christians are the main target of religious hatred."

    03/07/2013 EGYPT
    Backed by al-Azhar and Coptic Church, Armed Forces chief announces new presidential election
    After suspending the constitution imposed by the Muslim Brotherhood, General Al-Sisi sets Egypt on a course for new elections. When the announcement is made, celebrations break out in Tahrir Square. The grand sheikh of Al Azhar, Coptic Patriarch Tawadros and opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei endorse the move. Meanwhile, Mohamed Morsi's fate is unknown.

    08/08/2013 EGYPT
    Egypt PM issues ultimatum, telling Muslim Brotherhood to leave protest camps
    Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi tells Muslim Brotherhood protesters "to quickly leave, and return to their homes and work, without being chased." Islamists are in the streets to protest Mohammed Morsi's arrest. After their diplomatic mediation fails, Western diplomats leave a country in a dangerous political deadlock where the Brotherhood and the Armed Forces continue their tug of war.

    17/07/2013 EGYPT
    Fighting rages on Cairo streets as new government sworn in
    33 Interim Ministers include 3 women, 3 Christians and a football star. General al-Sisi holds Defence portfolio and becomes deputy prime minister. The Islamists march demanding the return of Morsi, overnight clashes produce 2 more victims and more than 400 arrests.

    Editor's choices

    Mideast Christians against Trump over Jerusalem capital, a decision that destroys hope for peace

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    Xi Jinping’s false promises and the expulsion of the “low-end population” from Beijing

    Willy Wo-Lap Lam

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