Call for an „Islamic Revolution“ in Egypt

A new Egyptian group called „Identity Battle“ (Arabic: معركة هوية) issued a video in which it calls for an Islamic Revolution in Egypt. On Friday, November 28th, people should gather in the streets and demand a new form of state that is based on Sharia. This would constitute an overthrow of the current Egyptian government that is lead by the military.

In the video young people claim that they are not related to any party or group and that it is their duty to stand up for Allah, who will only be pleased if the state bases on Sharia. Currently the Egyptian government is notorious for cracking down on any opposition. Thus the protests could become extremely bloody.

Many Egyptians support any crackdown, especially against the Islamic opposition. Fears of instability leads many people to the government, which promises to enforce law and order. Yet, the Muslim Brotherhood and various Salafi Groups are already supporting the call for demonstrations, although the biggest Salafi Group al-Dawa al-Salafiya takes a pro-regime stance and rejects this call[1].

Trying to directly challenge the regime after Friday prayers will bring the protestors at odds with President al-Sisi. Further will pro-Mursi (the Egyptian dictator that was ousted during the Arab Spring) Ultras take part in the demonstrations. They are famous for their fights with security forces[2]. On the other side is the Egyptian government that made it clear on several occasions that it will not tolerate any attempt that might lead to instability – including demonstrations[3].

On November 22nd the group “Identity Battle” issued a music video in which it calls president al-Sisi ‘Pharaoh’ (a name that Egyptians have given to several dictators in the past). It also claims that the highest scholar in the country, the head of al-Azhar University, doesn’t worship God anymore. Al-Azhar is the Islamic world’s oldest and thus most important institution where Muslims learn about Islam. The Egyptian government forced all teachers aligned to the Muslim Brotherhood to leave the institution, which is now serving the government’s interests by labelling demonstrations against it as un-Islamic[4].

The situation in Egypt is thus very explosive. Many people believe that their government takes away their identity in form of Islam. Oppression and crackdown contributes to this image. It is therefore highly possible that Egypt will experience a bloody Friday. Yet, many people will support a possible crackdown by the government. No matter how bloody it might be.

[1] http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/fridays-islamist-uprising-in-egypt-could-be-bloody

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egyptian-authorities-detain-thousands-amid-crackdown-on-dissent/2014/03/10/c1e36b86-9d72-11e3-b8d8-94577ff66b28_story.html

[4] http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Sep-19/271188-egypt-targets-brotherhoods-al-azhar-bastion.ashx#axzz3KC1FHTdY

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