No one who values democracy can applaud this military takeover, much less the jailing and silencing of nearly all the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership. They were, after all, the duly elected government of Egypt. As Khalid Abou el Fadl angrily points out in al Jazeera, the secularists who protested the harassment of television host Bassem Youssef have had little to say about the wholesale shuttering of Muslim Brotherhood media.
Yet, no one can overlook the fact that, much like the Religious Right in America, the Muslim Brotherhood aspires to a majoritarian dictatorship. From the start, the Brotherhood's goal has been to restore the Caliphate. "I have been saying all along, 'If you want to build Shariah law, come to elections.'" a dismayed Libyan Islamist sheikh is quoted as saying in the New York Times. This neatly sums up why Old Time Religion cannot lead a modern liberal democracy. To OTR, elections are merely a portal to a way-back machine.
Power-sharing, pluralism, minority rights -- these are alien concepts to those who seek to rule in God's name. Yet, these concepts form the heartbeat of liberal democracy. Mere majoritarian rule is no less arbitrary and cruel than dictatorship. In Egypt, it unleashed vicious assaults on the Coptic Christian minority. In Iran, the 1979 overthrow of the Shah led to an Islamic Republic that brutally suppressed its native Baha'i minority. But there's nothing special about Islam in this: free elections in Burma have led to the savage persecution of Muslims by the Buddhist majority there.
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