The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Islamic roots movement out of which emerged the modern state’s first democratically elected head, is not having an easy time.
The Brotherhood’s offices in several cities have been torched by protesters.
Opponents include a great many of those who sent former dictator Hosni Mubarak into oblivion in the revolution a little more than a year and a half ago.
These liberals are sustaining calls for President Morsi to simply rescind his decree concentrating power in his hands.
His critics say the Muslim Brotherhood gone too far.
Analyst Saad El Din Ibrahim said: “They (Muslim Brotherhood) are trying to control, they are trying to reshape the culture in their own image, as Muslim Brothers, they want to ‘Islamise’ the country. I mean, that is the regime and they are not hiding it. They are not doing it subtly or secretly. This is their declared agenda.”
The Muslim Brothers weren’t even among the first into the breach in February 2011. They waited four days before joining the calls for Mubarak to step into history. The first were secularist demonstrators. The Brotherhood was slow to get on board.
But in the wake of the revolution, it was clear that the main winners from the dismantling of the old order were the Muslim Brothers. In the first legislative elections the liberals couldn’t put up much competition, in late 2011. In first-round voting the Brotherhood won 40 percent of the ballot, and this rose to 47 percent in the second round, leaving it with the operative lion’s share of seats in the new parliamentary assembly.
When presidential elections rolled around in April this year, Mohammed Morsi became a candidate, and in June he won against the army’s man, Ahmad Shafiq, and later sacked the head of the Supreme Armed Forces Council.
A few days ago Morsi decreed that not even the high courts could challenge his legal decisions.
But the Brotherhood said not to worry.
Deputy head of the Freedom and Justice party Essam al-Arian said: “This decree is temporary one, and when we vote on the new constitution, all decrees will be cancelled and we will open a new page in history of Egypt for a democratic, constitutional, modern state.”
The United States, fresh from praising Morsi for helping calm Israeli-Palestinian problems, is concerned for his commitment to democracy at home and has been pressing Egypt to find a way out of its constitutional impasse.
The International Monetary Fund has warned that any major changes on the ground could jeopardise an aid plan worth some 4.8 billion euros.