My Facebook friend, Rick Staggenborg, posted the following on my Facebook Wall with a link to the article linked to above in this post:
Egypt is at a crossroads as the protests against the military government turn violent. The spirit of unity was disrupted in the aftermath of "victory" over Mubarak when sectarian tensions and violence re-emerged.
Will Egyptians learn the lesson that democracy cannot exist in a theocracy in time to save the Revolution?
The following is my comment to him on it:
I've communicated with many Muslims. I've communicated with many Egyptians both Muslim and Coptic Christian. I've discussed with them, up to the point they are willing, about the Muslim Brotherhood. I've also listened to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood via their written statements, their videos, and the various news outlets (mainstream and alternative) that quote them, etc.
What I've discovered is that the Muslim Brotherhood is not static. It has moved a great deal over the decades. They don't see theocratic sharia as the answer for the Ummah.
There is widespread disagreement within Islam as to what constitutes sharia. For the most part, those of the "Islamists" (a term I don't care for, for reasons I won't go into here), I'll just call Muslim activists, fall back on that they want their nation-state laws to be based upon Islamic values.
That term or concept is what has undergone such a huge shift to more of the Turkish approach. It is Westernized Islam if you will.
Personally, I understand both sides of the issue. I can see where the fundamentalists don't buy much if any of the so-called modern Western ideas while the Turks and others do to Islam what was done to Christianity in many respects post-"Enlightenment," with the steady erosion of the Papacy over the centuries now -- not a bad thing since the Popes have yet to stand up for exactly what Jesus did and said.
I don't see the Arab Spring in Egypt or elsewhere turning into even an Iranian-style hybrid-theocracy. I do see those states struggling to come to some sensible and workable understanding of what "Islamic values" even are -- a question I've recently put directly to Muslims who so far, not uncharacteristically, have ducked.
Whether they ignore me directly or not, they will not be able to ignore the issue. The question is out there and not just because I alone have asked it. It's being asked in hundreds and even thousands of ways every day simply because they are faced with practicalities and questions based upon concerns across the world.
As for the idea that democracy can't exist in a theocracy, I can see where you're coming from on that; but ultimately it's an error in logic. If everyone agrees, it's still democratic. The real issues are much deeper.
Also, the issue of Islam, provided the Brotherhood is not being disingenuous, and I don't think they are in general, is not the main obstacle. The worse obstacle is militarism. The Egyptian military is being vastly less enlightened than is the Muslim Brotherhood at this point. The military is bing much more unreasonable.
What I don't want you to take away from this statement of mine though is that I have no concerns about the lack of freedom of religion in Egypt. It is of great concern to me that the Muslim Brotherhood isn't out in front and surrounding the Copts such that no evil "Muslims" can throw literal stones at the Copts as they process for freedom of conscience for everyone, which is what they are doing. Despite lies by some self-styled Muslims, the Copts are not calling for coercing others to Christianity.