(from the New York Daily News) – Hundreds of supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi took to the streets of Cairo again Friday to protest the ongoing military crackdown.
But the furor appeared to be fizzling after nearly two weeks of bloody fighting that left more than a 1,000 dead and thousands more wounded.
The “Friday of Martyrs” marchers chanted, “No to the coup!” and denounced the junta currently running Egypt.
“We are not afraid; it’s victory or death,” said Mohamed Abdel Azim, who was among about 100 people marching from a mosque near Cairo University. “We’d rather die in dignity than live in
oppression. We’ll keep coming out until there’s no one left.”
Azim, however, didn’t have much company, as the mass protests called for by the Muslim Brotherhood failed to materialize.
Demonstrators, clearly cowed by the military, stuck to side streets to avoid confrontations with soldiers occupying the major streets and plazas. …
Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president, but his inept rule, persecution of the Coptic Christian minority, and attempts to impose strict Islamic law rankled broad swaths of the country and led to his ouster on July 3. He remains under arrest at an undisclosed location.
“We view ourselves back at square one,” activist Ahmed Maher, whose secular April 6 movement helped overthrow despotic President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, told Reuters.
As Maher spoke, Mubarak was spending his first day out of jail in a military hospital. He is awaiting retrial for failing to stop the killing of protesters in the revolt that swept him from power.
Maher, who was no fan of Morsi, said Egypt is at a depressing crossroads. And most Egyptians, faced with a grim choice, appear to back the [military] generals over Morsi.
“Naturally, there are fears, especially after the release of Mubarak,” Maher said. “But as a revolution, we knew at the start there could be many setbacks … We were expecting difficulties. But nobody thought it would be this complicated.”
Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the New York Daily News.
Welcome back teachers and students! Please note that the “Daily News Article” generally focuses on national news. However, in an attempt to give you an overview of events in the Middle East, we will be posting several articles this week on the ongoing crises in Egypt and Syria. (Also, check out “Background” and “Resources” below the questions each day.)
NOTE: Islamism is an ideology; Islam is a religion. Islamists support Shariah (Islamic) law, and wish to have it implemented in as many countries as possible; preferably throughout the entire world. The Muslim Brotherhood is a widespread Islamist organization founded in 1928. The Brotherhood seeks to Islamize societies from the ground up and compel governments in Muslim countries to adhere to sharia, or Islamic law.
1. Who organized the “Friday of Martyrs”?
2. Why were they protesting?
3. a) How many protesters attended Friday’s demonstrations?
b) How many protesters called for Morsi’s ouster over the summer? (see “Background” below the questions for the answer)
4. a) Who is Mohammed Morsi?
b) Why was Morsi ousted? (see “Background” below the questions for the answer)
5. CHALLENGE: The outcome in Egypt will affect stability in whole region. Read the entire “Background” below the questions (also, check out the links under “Resources.”)
How do you think stability in Egypt might affect the U.S.? Explain your answer.
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- Mohamed Morsi was the fifth President of Egypt, having assumed office June 30, 2012.
- Educated in the U.S., Morsi was a Member of Parliament in the People’s Assembly of Egypt from 2000 to 2005 and a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Morsi became Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) when it was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
- He ran as the FJP’s candidate for the May-June 2012 presidential election.
- On June 24, 2012, the election commission announced that Morsi won Egypt’s presidential runoff against Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.
- According to official results, Morsi took 51.7 percent of the vote while Shafik received 48.3.
- Morsi resigned from his position as the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP after his victory was announced.
- He is the first civilian to hold the office, and the first chosen in a contested election with direct universal suffrage.
- Morsi pushed through a constitution in Dec. 2012 that was enshrined in Islamic [Sharia] law. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians protested its passage. (from wikipedia)
KEY EVENTS IN EGYPT’S UPRISING AND UNREST — Here are some key events from more than two years of turmoil and transition in Egypt: (by the Associated Press)
Jan. 25-Feb. 11, 2011 – Egyptians stage nationwide demonstrations against nearly 30 years of Mubarak’s rule. Hundreds of protesters are killed as Mubarak and his allies try to crush the uprising.
Feb. 11, 2011 – Mubarak steps down and the military takes over. The military dissolves parliament and suspends the constitution, meeting two key demands of protesters.
Nov. 28, 2011-Feb 15, 2012 – Egypt holds multistage, weekslong parliamentary elections. In the lawmaking lower house, the Muslim Brotherhood wins nearly half the seats, and ultraconservative Salafis take another quarter. The remainder goes to liberal, independent and secular politicians. In the largely powerless upper house, Islamists take nearly 90 percent of the seats.
May 23-24, 2012 – The first round of voting in presidential elections has a field of 13 candidates. The Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak, emerge as the top two finishers, to face each other in a runoff.
June 14, 2012 – The Supreme Constitutional Court orders the dissolving of the lower house of parliament.
June 16-17, 2102 – Egyptians vote in the presidential runoff between Morsi and Shafiq. Morsi wins with 51.7 percent of the vote.
June 30, 2012 – Morsi takes his oath of office.
Nov. 19, 2012 – Members of liberal parties and representatives of Egypt’s churches withdraw from the 100-member assembly writing the constitution, protesting attempts by Islamists to impose their will.
Nov. 22, 2012 – Morsi unilaterally decrees greater powers for himself, giving his decisions immunity from judicial review and barring the courts from dissolving the constituent assembly and the upper house of parliament. The move sparks days of protests. [Read “Egypt Protests: “The 7 Power Grabbing Decrees of Mohammed Morsi” here.]
Nov. 30, 2012 – Islamists in the constituent assembly rush to complete the draft of the constitution. Morsi sets a Dec. 15 date for a referendum.
Dec. 4, 2012 – More than 100,000 protesters march on the presidential palace, demanding the cancellation of the referendum and the writing of a new constitution. The next day, Islamists attack an anti-Morsi sit-in, sparking street battles that leave at least 10 dead.
Dec. 15, Dec. 22, 2012 – In the two-round referendum, Egyptians approve the constitution, with 63.8 percent voting in favor. Turnout is low.
Jan. 25, 2013 – Hundreds of thousands hold protests against Morsi on the 2-year anniversary of the start of the revolt against Mubarak, and clashes erupt in many places.
Feb.-March 2013 – Protests rage in Port Said and other cities for weeks, with dozens more dying in clashes.
April 7, 2013 – A Muslim mob attacks the main cathedral of the Coptic Orthodox Church as Christians hold a funeral and protest there over four Christians killed in sectarian violence the day before. Pope Tawadros II publicly blames Morsi for failing to protect the building.
June 30, 2013 – Millions of Egyptians demonstrate on Morsi’s first anniversary in office, calling on him to step down. [The two opposing groups are: the president and his Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood allies in one camp and seculars, liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians on the other.] Eight people are killed in clashes outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters.
July 1, 2013 – Huge demonstrations continue, and Egypt’s powerful military gives the president and the opposition 48 hours to resolve their disputes, or it will impose its own solution.
July 2, 2013 – Military officials disclose main details of the army’s plan if no agreement is reached: replacing Morsi with an interim administration, canceling the Islamist-based constitution and calling elections in a year. Morsi delivers a late-night speech in which he pledges to defend his legitimacy and vows not to step down.
July 3, 2013 – Egypt’s military chief announces that Morsi has been deposed, to be replaced by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court until new presidential elections. No time frame is given. Muslim Brotherhood leaders are arrested. Tens of thousands of Morsi supporters remain camped out in two mass sit-ins in Cairo’s streets.
July 4, 2013 – Supreme Constitutional Court Chief Justice Adly Mansour is sworn in as Egypt’s interim president.
July 5, 2013 – Mansour dissolves the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament as Morsi’s supporters stage mass protests demanding his return. Clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi groups in Cairo and Alexandria, and violence elsewhere leave at least 36 dead. A Muslim Brotherhood strongman, deputy head Khairat el-Shater, is arrested.
July 8, 2013 – Egyptian soldiers open fire on pro-Morsi demonstrators in front of a military base in Cairo, killing more than 50. Each side blames the other for starting the clash near the larger of the two sit-ins, near east Cairo’s Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque. Mansour puts forward a time line for amending the constitution and electing a new president and parliament by mid-February. The Brotherhood refuses to participate in the process.
July 9, 2013 – Mansour appoints economist Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister and opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president. A military announcement backs up the appointments.
July 26, 2013 – Millions pour into the streets of Egypt after a call by the country’s military chief for protesters to give him a mandate to stop “potential terrorism” by supporters of Morsi. Five people are killed in clashes. Prosecutors announce Morsi is under investigation for a host of allegations including murder and conspiracy with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
July 27, 2013 – Security forces and armed men in civilian clothes clash with Morsi supporters outside the larger of the two major sit-ins in Cairo, killing at least 80 people.
July 30, 2013 – The EU’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton holds a two-hour meeting with detained Morsi at an undisclosed location. She is one of a number of international envoys, including U.S. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, to visit Egypt to attempt to resolve the crisis.
Aug. 7, 2013 – Egypt’s presidency says that diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the standoff between the country’s military-backed interim leadership and the Muslim Brotherhood have failed.
Aug. 11, 2013 – Egyptian security forces announce that they will besiege the two sit-ins within 24 hours to bar people from entering.
Aug. 12, 2013 – Authorities postpone plans to take action against the camps, saying they want to avoid bloodshed after Morsi supporters reinforce the sit-ins with thousands more protesters.
Aug. 14, 2013 – Riot police backed by armored vehicles and bulldozers clear two sprawling encampments of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, sparking clashes that kill at least 638 people. The presidency declares a monthlong state of emergency across the nation as Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigns in protest over the assaults.
Aug. 15, 2013 – The Interior Ministry authorizes police to use deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions after Islamists torch government buildings, churches and police stations in retaliation against the crackdown on their encampments.
Aug. 16, 2013 – Heavy gunfire rings out throughout Cairo as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters clash with armed vigilantes in the fiercest street battles to engulf the capital since the country’s Arab Spring uprising. The clashes kill 173 people nationwide, including police officers.
Aug. 17, 2013 – Egyptian authorities announce they are considering disbanding the Muslim Brotherhood group. Meanwhile, security forces raid a mosque in Cairo where protesters supporting the nation’s ousted president had been barricaded inside.
Aug. 18, 2013 – Egyptian police fire tear gas in an attempt to free a guard from rioting detainees, killing at least 36. Earlier in the evening, the country’s military leader vowed to tolerate no more violence. Authorities also raided the homes of Brotherhood members in an apparent attempt to disrupt the group ahead of mass rallies they had planned. A government tally says the death toll for four days of unrest across the country had risen to nearly 900 people killed.
Aug. 19, 2013 – Egyptian judiciary officials say [ousted leader of 30 years] Mubarak could be freed from custody, on the same day security officials said suspected Islamic militants killed 25 off-duty policemen in the northern Sinai Peninsula.[Aug. 22, 2013 – Hosni Mubarak is released from prison, but kept under house arrest, where he awaits trial on other charges.] [Aug. 22, 2013 – Muslim Brotherhood’s call for a “Friday of Martyrs” expecting mass numbers to protest – only several thousand Brotherhood/Morsi supporters actually stage demonstrations.]
EGYPT’S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD:
- A widespread Islamist organization founded in 1928, the Brotherhood seeks to Islamize societies from the ground up and compel governments in Muslim countries to adhere to sharia, or Islamic law.
- At various times in its history, the group has used or supported violence and has been repeatedly banned in Egypt for attempting to overthrow Cairo’s secular government.
- Since the 1970s, however, the Egyptian Brotherhood has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics. The U.S. State Department does not include the group on its list of terrorist organizations.
- Still, [under 30 year ruler Hosni Mubarak], the Egyptian government mistrusted the Brotherhood’s pledge of nonviolence and [banned] the organization.
- One reason the Brotherhood’s commitment to nonviolence is unclear: The original Egyptian organization has spawned branches in 70 countries. These organizations bear the Brotherhood name, but their connections to the founding group vary and some of them may provide financial, logistical, or other support to terrorist organizations.
- Some terrorist groups-including Hamas, Jamaat al-Islamiyya, and al-Qaeda-have historic and ideological affiliations with the Egyptian Brotherhood.
- In addition, some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists were once Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members, including Osama bin Laden’s top deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. The organization is like a “stepping stone,” says Evan Kohlmann, an international terrorism consultant. (fromcfr.org/publication/9248/does_the_muslim_brotherhood_have_ties_to_terrorism.html)
- Read Charles Krauthammer’s commentary “The Choice in Egypt” at washingtonpost.com.
- For an in-depth analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood today, read “Victory or Death: the Muslim Brotherhood in the Trenches” by Samuel Tadros, a contributor to the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. Born and raised in Egypt, he received his MA in democracy and governance from Georgetown University and his BA in political science from the American University in Cairo. He has also studied at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo.