By Chace King – External News Editor
With political tension reaching unprecedented highs this month and civilian deaths piling up, it seems that Egypt is doomed to repeat itself with another bloody revolution. However, unlike most of Egypt’s revolutions which are motivated by power, we find religion at the heart of this political struggle that is turning Egypt’s streets into warzones.
Tension between the Muslim Brotherhood and more progressive liberal and secular groups in Egypt began a little over a year ago. Egypt’s June 2012 parliamentary election saw the Muslim Brotherhood gain a significant foot- hold in Egyptian politics with the election of Mohamed Morsi, a known sympathiser of the organization. Upon his election, he immediately welcomed in 28 new cabinet members, four of whom were self-identified members of the Brotherhood.
From here, a clear division began to split the country’s new government. Walkouts became common during the constitute assembly (Egypt’s equivalent of parliament).Muslim Brotherhood members threw their support to Morsi, factions of the Egyptian government opposed to the growing Muslim agenda began their own silent resistance. Tensions reached a breaking point on December 5, 2012 when tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Morsi clashed throughout the streets of Cairo. The fighting erupted over a constitutional referendum set to pass later that month which would grant Morsi near dictatorial power.
With political stability quickly diminishing in Egypt, it came as no surprise when on June 30 the country erupted into civil chaos. In what has been described as the biggest public outcry since the 1952 Revolution, some 14 million Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo and Alexandria to express their support or opposition to President Morsi. This was followed by a declaration by the Egyptian military that announced that Morsi’s government had 48 hours to meet the people’s demands, which included Morsi’s resignation. Despite a speech made by the president the following day, on July 3 Morsi was removed from power and the military officially installed an interim government.
Despite the militarys attempts to stabilize Egypt, the July coup has only perpetuated the violence by tipping the power in the favor of a different, equally unstable factions who now seem dead set on removing the Brotherhood from all forms of political power. Evidence of this can be seen in the huge crackdown on Brotherhood activities which have included the murder of some thousands of peaceful Brotherhood sit-in protestors protesting the removal of former President Morsi.
The new Egyptian government’s seemingly harsh crackdown on the Brotherhood has caused much backlash from the West, which is nearly unanimous in its condemnation of the actions of Egypt’s government. America has even suggested ending its annual 1.3 billion dollar relief to Egypt, a platform that has lead to much closer ties with Egypt and the Western world since its inception in 1979.
Even Canada has been affected by the violence as a Toronto man was murdered while he was peacefully protesting in Egypt. Canada immediately summoned Egypt’s Chargé D’Affaires who was urged to encourage both parties to immediately end the violence.