The Brotherhood’s crackdown on the judiciary and media
Insults, threats, exclusion and political violations have become the main traits of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, despite the limited amount of time they have spent in power. They have confirmed all that was previously said about their fascism through their attempts to monopolize power, their duplicitous rhetoric, their backtracking on promises, and their strange indifference at these most difficult of times. In an interview with Time magazine, President Mohamed Mursi talked about his admiration for the West, its films and societies, his determination to respect the constitution, and his commitment to peace with Israel. At the same time, his men were launching a severe campaign against Egyptian opposition parties and media outlets that criticized their policies. A week after Mursi described protesters surrounding the Interior Ministry building as “thugs,” members of the Muslim Brotherhood blocked the entrance to the Supreme Constitutional Court!
Egypt’s crisis has reached a crossroads; some paths are bumpy and others are very dangerous. The country will never escape from the bleak destiny awaiting it unless Mursi decides to be the President of all Egyptians and revoke his constitutional declaration, in which he undermined the role of the judiciary and granted himself absolute powers. In fact, his supporters shamelessly refer to him as a Caliph in an attempt to justify him having the last word.
The Muslim Brotherhood has made it clear to the entire world that they are not to be trusted and that they are greedy for power. They seem to have forgotten that they spent 80 years in futile attempts to achieve power in the first place, but not one single Egyptian ruler gave them the opportunity they have now. It was only when the youths stormed Tahrir Square and toppled Mubarak’s regime during the 25 January Revolution that they were able to reap the fruits of this victory.
Now they control the presidency and the government, but their hunger is still not satisfied. Hence the Brotherhood have decided to draft a constitution that suits them, and they have targeted the judiciary because it does not yield to their demands. Members of the constituent assembly (90 percent of which is made up of Brotherhood and Salafi affiliates) have opted to show their gratitude to their president by granting him unlimited powers, including control over the judiciary. This will provide the future gateway for ratifying Brotherhood laws, sanctioning their violations and directing the electoral process in their favor. What the ousted Egyptian president had tried to do in 30 years Mursi dared to do in 30 minutes. He dismissed the public prosecutor and replaced him with a Brotherhood member, treated judges as mere employees, and made sure the constitution elevated his stature above the judiciary.
As for the media, the journey will be much longer and more arduous. The media cannot be stifled with presidential decrees and constitutional articles. That is why the Brotherhood has started launching attacks on journalists and media professionals, labelling them as apostates or immoral, and threatening them with penalties. Because they have always been in the opposition, the Brotherhood are probably not aware that it is impossible to curb the freedom of the media today. Mubarak tried to do so for years but failed and eventually gave up. The Brotherhood will soon discover that antagonizing the media will ultimately cost them all the support and popularity they previously earned.