(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Fearing a drop in popular support, Egypt's Muslim
Brotherhood is trying to silence its critics. In the past few months, journalist
Tawfiq Okasha (pictured) has been one
of the loudest voices speaking out against the Brotherhood and President Mohammed
al-Morsi. As a result, he has been accused of defaming the president and portraying
Islam in a bad light, opening him up to attacks.
is a well-known TV presenter and owner of a satellite channel, Al Fara'een. He has always been a staunch
critic of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. In the past, he even showed a young
man having his throat cut in a ritual execution for apostasy.
went after Egypt's intelligence chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Seesy, accusing
him of being a paid agent of Qatar and having favoured Morsi's election as
president of Egypt. In fact, in last June's election, Morsi defeated Ahmed
Shafiq, who raised doubts about the fairness of the elections since many Copts
(up to half in his opinion) were not able to vote.
outspokenness, Okasha has been accused of slandering Islam and causing
sectarian divisions, as well as uttering "intentaional falsehoods and
accusations that amount to defamation and slander" against Presidetn Morsi. The
latter, for his part, has called for Okasha to be banned from TV. Meanwhile, Okasha
is scheduled to appear in court on 1 September.
of the atmosphere, an Egyptian NGO, the Union of
Lawyers for Legal Studies, said in a
statement that lawyers should defend Okasha because "Defending Okasha is defending freedom of
opinion and expression, which must be guaranteed to all after the revolution,
whether pro- or anti-government."
same time, the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to extend its control over the
country's justice system and the courts. The new Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki, who
was in favour of judicial independence during the Mubarak era, now wants to
purge all Mubarak-era jurists. In his opinion, purging the judges is another
step in Egypt's revolution.
other observers view Mekki's plans as a way to purge anti-Islamist judges and place
the court system under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Until now, courts
have remained the only institution that has not yet bent to the will of the Brotherhood.
are especially eager to clip the wings of the Constitutional Court, guilty in
their view of declaring unconstitutional the Islamist-Salafist-controlled
parliament, which had been elected at the start of the year.
and presidential elections were held, the Muslim Brotherhood has lost about 40
per cent of its support. Thus, all the moves it is currently undertaking are an
attempt to maintain its absolute majority in parliament, and avoid a defeat in
next year's parliamentary elections.