Eleven predictions for Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood (if they continue to remain in power)

Mariz Tadros photo miniMariz Tadros

Television viewers and newspaper readers following the political scene in Egypt may have been struck by the most recent spate of violence involving pro-President Morsi Muslim Brotherhood followers who launched a brutal attack on peaceful demonstrators which left five dead and hundreds injured.

What happened? What went wrong? The truth of the matter is that any reading of the recent political thinking from the Muslim Brotherhood (forget about the public relations interviews) suggests that this is just the beginning.  The worst is yet to come. In case some are wondering whether this is too gloomy, please note that all the evidence we have suggests some of the predictions below (number 4-9) are already coming to life.

Here are my predictions:

1: The Muslim Brotherhood, supported by other Islamist factions,  will secure the needed majority vote for passing the constitution-  even when all non-Islamist political forces boycott the referendum. We will see a repeat of the referendum on the proposed amendments to the constitution that we witnessed in March 2011, in which the Brothers (and other Islamists) mobilized a Muslim majority poor population to mark the green circle if they loved their religion (green being symbolic of Islam) and black if they wanted to follow the infidels and their religious leaders (Christian Orthodox priests in Egypt wear a black turban-like head gear).

2: The Brothers and the Salafis will win the parliamentary elections which will be neither free or fair, as religion will be used instrumentally to the maximum effect, propped up by welfare services and backed by direct vote purchasing. However, the parliamentary elections will meet the West’s satisfaction of being a milestone onto democracratization because the Islamists would have won via the ballot boxes.

3: The new parliament will issue legislation of a political nature that enables further monopolisation of power into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. It will also issue legislation of an ideological nature to deepen the Islamization of state and society by introducing new laws and revoking old ones, all under the banner of endorsing Shariah-compliance.

4. There will be a “cleansing” of the judiciary of all elements within it that are not friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood regime. This will be achieved through so-called constitutional and legal means. Instead, new graduates of Shariah school from Al-Azhar University (one of the Sunni world’s largest establishments) will be appointed as judges in their hundreds. Gradually, women judges will either be appointed to administrative non- judicial tasks or they will be “encouraged” to take up early retirement

5. The margin of separation between the executive, the judicial and the legislative will narrow increasingly, such that there will be a synchronization of agendas to endorse the Islamist state. Facilitating and catalyzing such a merger will be led by the new class of ulama (religious scholars) who will play a more behind-the-scenes role at first,  beginning but that will become increasingly open afterwards.

6. The opposition and its key leaders will be subject to intense vilification (and possibly tried) for being antagonistic towards the implementation of God’s laws and being disrespectful towards the Muslim ruler. Eventually the more confrontational leftist political parties will be dissolved under the premise that their normative framework is in defiance with the Shariah.

7. Women’s rights will shrink considerably. More young girls will be given in marriage before or in early puberty and in poor areas sex trafficking will increase. This will be covered under the mantra of marriage, which will in some instances increase polygamy. The percentage of women in leadership positions at all levels of governance will diminish and violence against women will increase under various guises.

8. Religious pluralism will be a thing of the past. More religious cleansing of the country’s ten percent Christian population will happen, through the expulsion of people from their villages and towns. Increasingly, the Islamists will mobilise people to “weed out” undesirables and present them for trial for insulting Islam and his prophet Mohamed.

9. Poverty will continue to grow, but Egypt will become an increasingly “sadaqa society”, to use Deniz Kandiyoti’s term. A sadaqa society is premised on the practice of Islamic charity where aid is distributed to the needy and faithful. The culture of the poor being the objects of religious-inspired benevolence rather than citizens with entitlements will become increasingly diffuse.

10. Independent media outlets (in particular satellite broadcasting) will be subject to increasing repression and some will be closed down. The freedom of the press will shrink considerably and in some instances, the government will not have to do anything about it – the Muslim Brotherhood militias will assume the responsibility of intimidating and threatening media professionals sufficiently such that they either quit or self-censor.

11 Finally – and this may possibly lead to a toppling of the regime – the Muslim Brotherhood will announce war with Israel. In order to do that, they could not (and would not) rely on the state of the Egyptian army. Resorting to other regional forces will be necessary and all kinds of military alliances will be made. This may seem unlikely now in view of Morsi’s brokering of the ceasefire in Gaza and his cosy relationship with the US government, but that will eventually change.

Mariz Tadros is a Research Fellow in the Participation, Power and Social Change research team at IDS.

Read other recent blogs by Mariz Tadros:

13 Responses to Eleven predictions for Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood (if they continue to remain in power)

  1. jumatil says:

    When reading the writing like this, I always smile to myself because prediction like this always wrong. The point of view of this article always look everything in the negative thinking point of view.

    Muslim Brotherhood try to implement Islamic Sharia in daily life. You should remember that Islam is mercy to all of the living things. We will see that a lot of your prediction will be wrong.

    • Mariz says:

      I am glad that you are smiling because the Egyptian people are not. This has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with politics. When a political movement is trying to monopolize power in the name of religion, we cannot fall into the trap of examining what the religion itself offers. We need to focus on what those in power are doing in terms of political performance and policies on the ground look like.I sincerely wish I am proven wrong, unfortunately the assault on judges, the media and the opposition have gotten much worse since I last wrote this blog. The targeting of women (who were subject to sexual assault) and Christians (labelled infidels) at the protests last week was systematic and ruthless. If in doubt, listn to their own testimonies: http://www.youtube.com/embed/AXsjfrC0uLI?feature=player_embedded
      We cannot afford to become disconnected from the way citizens are experiencing reality again- we have seen enough bloodshed to get rid of Mubarak as it is. M.T

      • That is from one point of view. There are a lot other views that showing positives support for what government has done. If you see the news, there is a split among opposition that burning the Muslim Brotherhood offices around the country. Isn’t it a systematic plot to attack Muslim Brotherhood?

  2. Wali Jamali says:

    I am enthralled to read your blog. For the time being Muslim Brothered have succeeded to invent a middle way. The constitutional power will be the key battle line. I think conservatives will gain dominance. The liberal section lacks the cohesiveness and real leadership to walk with. Middle East will always be the center of all crisis. It will end once new social contract emerges in the shape of major power concession afforded to those who are yet to see the fruits of long patience.

  3. Kamel says:

    Research should be driven by curiosity to understand or explain puzzles, not by bias, especially if you are researching on something that is related to ideology.
    You have to blame the previous authoritarians that because of them there are not enough practical political parties in Egypt. It is not the Mb’s fault.

  4. [...] “Eleven predictions for Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood (if they continue to remain in power” by Mariz Tadros [...]

  5. […] Eleven predictions for Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood (if they continue to remain in power) […]

  6. moushira elgeziri says:

    Thanks Mariz for this piece. Only the the title says “if they remain in power”. one of the flaws of this article is that it did not predict that the MB would not remain in power. You should have given that scenario – which actually happened – some serious thought.

  7. idsppsc says:

    Comment by Mariz Tadros:
    Dear Moushira, thank you for your message. This commentary was written in December 2012, and the addition ”if they continue to remain in power” was intended to suggest that they may not in effect stay. In this paper published in May 2013, you will find consideration for a scenario that they do not remain in power and why this is the case. I hope you find it useful: http://www.ids.ac.uk/files/dmfile/EgyptsUnfinishedTransitionorUnfinishedRevolutionMTadros2013.pdf

  8. We will wait your analysis for what happened in Egypt recently !

  9. idsppsc says:

    Comment by Mariz Tadros:
    Dear Jumati, Thank you for your message. The situation in Egypt is so volatile and so intrinsically linked to regional and international dynamics that everything we produce feels outdated within the space of a few days. However, the initial analysis presented here http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mariz-tadros/egypt%E2%80%99s-scorched-earth is still applicable to the situation as we speak….but who knows what will happen tomorrow?

  10. jumatil says:

    Almost all of your prediction for Muslim Brotherhood, now happened to Military Coupt:
    * Turnout of people in general election really low. The government will give fine to people that do not vote (is it democracy)
    * A lot campaign persons from other candidate were jailing
    * Military killing more than 1.000 protesters, and detained more and set death penalty just in two days
    * Media is under repression
    * Poverty increasing

    As you read from the newspaper, As Sisi have no idea how to manage the problems in his country.

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