Cairo (AsiaNews) - "Morsi is the most unfortunate politician of Egypt, because he now has to respond in a concrete manner to the demands of the population, especially from an economic standpoint. 50% of Egyptians want to put him to the test. The Islamists will realize that freedom is their worst enemy." So said Wael Farouq to AsiaNews; Farouq is a Muslim professor at the Institute of Arabic Language at the American University of Cairo, a spoke about the recent presidential election victory of Mohammed Mursi, leader of the Justice and Freedom Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist leader defeated Ahmed Shafiq, a former Prime Minister of the Mubarak government, with 52% of the vote.
Wael Farouq was one of the leading intellectuals of the jasmine revolution and since February 2011 has been following groups of contact and dialogue between the different students, Christians and Muslims, of his University. He stresses that the outcome of the elections won by the Islamists is a positive sign for Egypt, but it represents a defeat of the ideals of the youth of Tahrir Square. " Morsi's victory over Shafiq", he said, "shows that the change begun with the fall of Mubarak is continuing. Yet at the same time it is a defeat. The Islamists do not reflect at all the ideals and demands expressed by the Egyptian youth in over a year of protests."
In the first round of the presidential elections, Morsi collected about 5.5 million votes, which is the number of members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis living in Egypt. According to Wael, the data shows that no moderate Muslim voted for him. But at the polls, the population was forced to choose between two extreme realities of society: the military expression of the old regime and the Islamists. This divided the liberal parties. The fear of a return to the past prompted some 8 million people to vote for Islamic radicals. These include many members of the April 6 Movement, one of the main groups that emerged from the demonstrations in Tahrir Square.
"In Egypt", explains Wael Farouq, "we says that when a person wants to eat something inedible he dips it in lemon, to mask the taste. The majority of Egyptians who chose Morsi said they had to 'use lemon' to be able to vote. In the days surrounding the elections, people in the streets joked that the stores had run out of lemons because the people had chosen to vote for the Muslim Brotherhood." For the teacher, the brotherhood has lost a lot of votes since the parliamentary elections, won with over 60% of the vote.
"In recent months", he continued, "the population has repeatedly criticized the Islamists and their ambiguous behavior. In proportion to their previous votes they have fallen by about 20%. This confirms that freedom of speech and thought is the greatest enemy of Islamic radicals." "To this day", he added, "the biggest victory of the Egyptians has been the democratic election. For the first time the vote of 26 million people has been heard. At the time of the regime, Mubarak always won with 90% of the votes."
However, many Egyptians are skeptical and fear that the election's outcome is the result of a secret power-sharing deal between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood. "A compromise between the two parties is not to be excluded", Wael Farouq noted, "and this hypothesis is our biggest concern." According to the Muslim intellectual, an agreement between the two factions would hold hostage the entire Egyptian people. In fact, the new president would not only be representing the Islamists and fundamentalists, but would also be the symbol of the legitimacy of a President supported by the Military Supreme Council and religious fundamentalists." The Egyptian professor is convinced, however, that the jasmine revolution against Mubarak represents a point of no return for Egypt. "In recent months", he said, " the last word has always been that of the square. It will be difficult for those in power to deprive the Egyptians of the few rights gained in over a year of demonstrations and protests."(SC)