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Egypt’s good guys and bad guys

July 22, 2013

By Paul V.M. Flesher

The news coming out of Egypt these last couple of weeks tells a dramatic story. Millions of Egyptians protested the authoritarianism of a political party that controlled not just the presidency but both houses of parliament. These demonstrations led to a military take-over and the appointment of a civilian government led by a high court judge.

According to the Western media, the villains of the story are clear. They are the Muslim Brotherhood and Muhammad Morsi, the party’s leader who had been elected president. The Brotherhood is an “Islamist” religious party, which became a political force after spending decades as an outlawed religious organization.

The media likes stories that have clear good guys and bad guys. And so, in the months following the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, the good guys became the people who had protested, who were presented as civil heroes interested in the public good of the nation; and the bad guys were the Islamists, who were suspected of putting religious beliefs above the interests of the Egyptian people.

And so the ouster of President Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the installation of a secular interim government, forms a fitting climax to this story.

The problem is that matters are much more complicated than that. And, to be fair to the press, some writers have tried to present a broader picture as well. These stories have usually focused on the role of democracy in the Arab world and whether these events will make the democratization of Islamic countries more or less likely.

But there is an even deeper struggle in Egypt, as well as other Muslim nations, and that is the divide between Islam and Western secularism. Read the rest at of Wyoming.


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