Egypt’s “Friday of Dignity” Follows Fatwas Against Opposition
Thousands of protesters demonstrated around Egypt as part of the opposition-organized “Friday of Dignity.” Some called for Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi to fulfill the revolution’s goals, while others chanted for his fall. The protests come days after video circulated of prominent cleric Mahmoud Shaaban issuing a fatwa approving the killing of opposition leaders including Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabbahi. Another cleric had “called on Muslims to ‘kill the thugs, criminals, and thieves who burn the country.’” President Morsi and Prime Minister Hisham Kandil condemned the statements as “terrorism” and a misuse of Islam, and said they were considering legal action. Extra security was provided to the identified leaders.
Meanwhile, Elliott Abrams notes that Egypt’s currency continues to lose value, its reserves are at a 15-year low, its IMF loan is uncertain, and its credit rating is falling. He argues, “Morsi’s political fate hangs largely on whether he can meet his promises to find food and jobs for Egypt’s citizens.” In a series of interviews, Dina Ezzat finds that Morsi’s struggles to keep those promises and recent abuse of protesters have spurred debate over whether he can retain legitimacy. Issandr El Amrani opines that Egyptians’ are also defying ”the state itself: its arbitrariness, its neglect, its brutality and perhaps most of all the way it has been able to resist any serious change.” He sees a “staggering” disconnect between the elites and the people, with Morsi failing to deliver and the opposition offering no real alternative.
In an open letter, Bahieddin Hassan detailed Egypt’s grim humans rights situation, criticized U.S. statements as providing cover and legitimacy to a complicit government, and therefore asked President Obama to keep his administration from “commenting on developments in Egypt.”
Finally, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry criticized remarks by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) that labeled Morsi an enemy, calling them “unacceptable” and “irresponsible.”