BY SHERIEF MEDHAT // AJT //
In the Jan. 18 edition of the AJT, Sherief Medhat continued his story of awakening by telling of his experience in the Egyptian Army during the 2011-12 revolution. In this third and final part of an ongoing series, the author explains how his birth nation was lost to Muslim radicals in the second half of last year.
I began to notice lots of Freedom and Justice Party supporters among us in the service, and all were talking freely about how “the Muslim Brotherhood is best for Egypt.” Their message to me was:
“How dare you, or any other non-religious liberal, open your mouth?”
I was threatened with all manner of humiliations, and for no reason except that I said my opinion freely!
Meanwhile, my suspicions of the army and the Brotherhood working together were confirmed when, in August 2012, President Morsi asked Mohamed Hussein Tantawy (head of the armed forces) and Sami Awan (army chief of staff) to resign. Their resignations weren’t actually the issue; it was the fact that they had not faced what most of the former ministers during Mubarak’s regime had: financial corruption convictions resulting in jail time.
Morsi allowing Tantawy and Awan to resign clearly provided for their “safe exit.” That told me that if there was corruption, then these two particular army men were indeed part of it.
A few months later – November 2012 – Morsi forced Egypt’s attorney general to resign and quickly replaced him. It was apparent that the Brotherhood wanted a supreme legal authority on their side, and so Morsi – as part of his dismissal of the former attorney general – granted himself unlimited power to “protect” the nation by ensuring there would be no judicial oversight or review of his actions.
Thankfully, such a tyrannical move did not go unnoticed. All members of liberal and secular groups walked out of the Constituent Assembly (which is the committee assigned to create the new constitution), and hundreds protested Morsi and his dealings at the presidential palace.
But in response, organized and armed fanatic Islamists – some belonging to the Brotherhood, others simply victims of brainwashing – assaulted those protesters. Of course, the Brotherhood denied supplying or organizing this assault.
On Dec. 8, Morsi did relent and rescinded his declaration, but by then the Constituent Assembly was composed mainly of Islamists anyway, so it was their chance to pass a constitution that they would prefer. After they did, a referendum was held – from Dec. 15 to 22 – and came back with a result of 64 percent approval.
At this point, many had to be pondered the question: “Is Morsi really separate from the Brotherhood, as he promised he would be after he won the presidency?”
I think the answer to that is that Morsi is just an image – a puppet – just as Ahmadi Najad is in Iran. Indeed, the way I see it, Egypt is going through the same process that Iran went through starting 1979. What makes me say so?
Consider that whenever a major political issue arises, you find men not officially part of the administration – like Mohamed Badie, General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood; or Kahirat El Shater, former Deputy Guide of the Brotherhood – speaking to the media and holding press conferences.
(El Shater, by the way, was the MB’s candidate for the presidential election before disqualification by the election commission. What’s really shocking and weird is that his personal bodyguard is a member of Kataeb el-Qassam, a branch of Hamas!)
At last, I have concluded that Islam is just a tool to brainwash people and win votes. In my personal experience, I have been humiliated and assaulted both psychologically and physically only because I am a liberal free-thinker who isn’t convinced that a non-Muslim would go to hell automatically and despite any good deeds in life.
I have been called worst names ever when I’ve expressed that I want to give Judaism or Christianity a second thought. I don’t agree with Islam and probably never will. But there will always be an unanswered questions:
What is the purpose of a religion if it’s just a source of hatred and chaos?
What do the Islamists want from this world?
Sherief Medhat is a dentist living in Smyrna, Ga. and originally from Cairo, Egypt. As part of his quest for greater understanding, he visited Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in 2012.