While the Associated Press, New York Times, and the vast majority of the U.S. establishment press have avoided directly referring to Egypt's newly-approved constitution, spearheaded by ruler by decree Mohammed Morsi, as oriented toward imposing Muslim sharia law in that nation, the international press hasn't been so reluctant. Who do you believe, the rest of the world or your agenda-driven U.S-based news sources? Additionally, as will be seen, the constitution is so unabashedly socialist it would have been labeled communist if it had appeared any time prior to 1990.
Russia-based RT.com opened its coverage of fraud allegations Saturday as follows: "Egypt's new Sharia-based constitution has been approved in a second round of voting, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party said." Its headline a week ago after the first round: "Egyptians vote on hotly contested sharia-based constitution." Meanwhile, the New York Times blew through over 1,000 words in "analyzing" the results, and did not mention sharia once.
There were several exercises in wishful thinking and misdirection in the Times report prepared by David D. Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheikh. Here is just one such passage (bolds are mine throughout this post):
... But the hastily drafted document leaves unresolved many questions about the character of that democracy, including the Islamists’ commitment to individual freedoms and their opposition’s willingness to accept the results of the political process without recourse to violent street protests.
The charter’s path to the referendum has also taken Egypt to the brink of civil strife, exposing the alienation of the Christian minority, the political opposition’s refusal to negotiate and the Muslim Brotherhood’s willingness to rely on authoritarian tactics.
How those tensions are managed and the new constitution is put into effect will determine whether Egypt returns to stability or plunges further into discord, and much of the region is watching the outcome of that definitive Arab Spring revolt.
By definition, sharia does not encompass "commitment to individual freedoms." As to "violent street protests," so far the violence has been perpetrated largely against the opposition (examples here and here), not by it -- and it's the Brotherhood which systematically intimidated Christians into fearing for their lives if they voted.
As to the opposition's "refusal to negotiate," there is nothing to negotiate until the Brotherhood renounces sharia, which isn't going to happen.
In using the phrase "definitive Arab Spring revolt," the Times writers are trying to claim matters are still in doubt, but the odds are that the situation in Egypt is in about as uncertain as the situation in Iran (i.e., not much). What's "definitive" at this point is that the Muslim Brotherhood and its even more extreme Salafist comrades definitely control Egypt.
Over at the Associated Press, there was a well-done story Wednesday by Hamza Hendawi about intimidation of Christians which included this passage:
Around a week before the vote, some 50,000 Islamists marched through the provincial capital, Assiut, chanting that Egypt will be "Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians." At their head rode several bearded men on horseback with swords in scabbards on their hips, evoking images of early Muslims conquering Christian Egypt in the 7th Century.
They made sure to go through mainly Christian districts of the city, where residents, fearing attacks, shuttered down their stores and stayed in their homes, witnesses said.
The day of the voting itself on Saturday, Christian voting was minimal - as low as seven percent in some areas, according to church officials. Some of those who did try to head to polling stations in some villages were pelted by stones, forcing them to turn back without casting ballots, Christian activists and residents told The Associated Press this week.
But as to sharia, Hendawi would only concede that the constitution "enshrines a greater role for Shariah, or Islamic law, in government and daily life." No, as the foreign reports tell us, sharia becomes their basis.
Hendawi's post-election analysis used an "expert" to claim that advancing sharia is only a possibility, not a foregone conclusion, while engaging in the fantasy that the Brotherhood has any legitimate interest in democracy:
Khalil el-Anani, a British-based expert on Islamic groups, said the Salafis are likely to insist that every piece of legislation conforms with Islamic Shariah law, especially with regard to questions of morality, culture, personal freedoms and the nation's identity. (i.e., just about everything -- Ed.)
"The Salafis will want the Brotherhood to reward them for their campaigning for the `yes' vote," said el-Anani. "The Brotherhood, meanwhile, will want to rebuild their image as a credible democratic group after a period in which it seemed in complete alignment with the Salafis."
A Google News search done at 5 p.m. ET on "egypt constitution sharia" (past week, not in quotes, limited to U.S sources, sorted by date, with duplicates) returns 43 items. A half-dozen at best are from establishment press sources. (A separate search using "shariah" instead of "sharia" mostly returns listings of Hendawi's report among its 22 returned results.)
One of them is at Forbes, where on Wednesday columnist Bill Frezza uniquely noted: "Forget Sharia, The New Egyptian Constitution Enshrines Socialism." Of course it does, right there in Article 14, beginning with a Stalin-like "plan":
National economy shall be organized in accordance with a comprehensive, constant development plan, ensuring the increase of national income, enhancement of standard of living, elimination of poverty and unemployment, increase of work opportunities, and increase of production.
The development plan shall establish social justice and solidarity, ensure equitable distribution, protect consumer rights, and safeguard the rights of workers, dividing development costs between capital and labor and sharing the revenues justly.
Wages shall be linked to production, bridging income gaps and establishing a minimum wage that would guarantee decent living standards for all citizens, and a maximum wage in civil service positions with exemptions regulated by law.
A Google News search on "egypt constitution socialist" (not in quotes, past week, sorted by date with duplicates) returns only two items besides Frezza's -- both from overseas.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.