Egyptian constitutional expert and former Deputy Prime Minister Yehia al-Gamal said that there are now distinctions between President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, despite Mursi being initially affiliated to the Islamist bloc.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has now become a liability to Mursi,” he told Al Arabiya’s al-Hadath al-Masri (The Egyptian Event) this week.
“Egyptians accept Mursi more than they do the Brotherhood.”
Gamal added that Mursi’s performance has so far been good and especially praised his visit to Iran and China.
“However, I still think that whether Mursi is to stay in power after passing the new constitution should be up to the people. This matter should be put to popular referendum.”
Gamal criticized the Muslim Brotherhood for following in the footsteps of the former regime as far as monopolizing power.
“The former regime lost everything when it did that and the same will happen to the Muslim Brotherhood especially that they mix religion with politics,” he said.
A religious state, Gamal argued, is much more dangerous than a police state because the consequences of opposing it are graver.
“When you rebel against a religious state, they accuse you of turning against religion and Islam, while in the case of the police state you are only opposing people and policies.”
Gamal warned of the consequences of the hegemony of political Islam especially in the Constituent Assembly, in charge of drafting the new constitution.
The rise of extremist Islamists, he noted, is also threatening the civilian character of Egypt.
“They will drag the country to the dark ages. See for the example preachers who describe art as prostitution and others who condemned the president for meeting a group of actors and actresses.”
That is why, he pointed out, it is important for proponents of the civil state to be united.
“Political powers of similar ideologies need to get together and work on raising awareness about democracy and the civil state. This is the only way those forces of darkness can be countered,” he added.