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Sisi is a devout Muslim; but perhaps he isn't an Islamist

Reader comment on item: Is Sisi Islam's Long-Awaited Reformer?
in response to reader comment: Sisi Is A Decent Person Riding A Wave

Submitted by Ludvikus (United States), Feb 17, 2015 at 05:54

Perhaps it's merely hope on my part, but I'm not convinced that Sisi is an "Islamist" (although, I dislike this word, as I've expressed on your MEF elsewhere). The issue seems to devolve on the Separation of Mosque and State. Unlike Turkey, which ethniquely cleansed its population of most Christians by 1923, when the Republik was formed (in an exchange with European "benevolent" modern Greece, which delivered its Muslim Greeks to Turkey, in an "exchange"),

Egypt has about 20 % Coptic Christians, and the "first" visit of Sisi to their Pope suggests a substantial limit to Sharia law in the constitutional evolution of Turkey. Having a relatively large Christian minority, also distinguishes Egypt from Iran. And Sisi had an education in 2006 in the US military academy. Therefore, my guarded hope is that it is Egypt, not Turkey or Iran which may produce a modern Muslim country at peace with the West. It is also to be noted that Sisi has turned the Muslim Brotherhood into a Terror group. Unlike the former two Muslim majority states, Egypt also experienced a long history under British Colonialism, as well as a Muslim Socialisms and Nationalism under Nasser, and Egypt has a long history of a pre-Islamic Empires under ancient Pharaohs - which is less forgotten than Iran's ancient Persain civilization. In addition, Sisi is a new Strongman who is in a more secure position than Mubarack was. I differ from you in the view that, in the case of Egypt, a strongman cannot bring about change for the better, and for democracy. Caesar was a successful strongman for the Roman Empire. So was Alexander the Great whose successors reigned in Egypt.

Modern Turkey was established by a Strongman, Ataturk; unfortunately, it know has a strongman who's un-doing the work of Ataturk ("Islamist" Erdogan). Mubarack always maintained that Egypt wasn't ready for Democratic Reform, and the one-year tyranny under Mursi proved Mubarack right. The question remains open, in my view, as to whether Egypt will succeed under Sisi to evolve into a modern state which is at peace with the West, and integrated into its economy. I think one needs to be reminded of the turbulent History of France from Napoleon to De Gaul to realize how difficult it is to establish a Constitutional form of government that is integrated into the conditions of the modern world. Egypt used to be the cultural center of the Muslim Sunni word, where belly-dancing was an accepted custom; Umm Kulthum was a loved female vocalist, and Alexandria was a great cosmopolitan city.

With money from Saudi Arabia, and peace with Israel, perhaps it will be Egypt, thanks to Sisi, and the chief Theologian of the University of Cairo, that liberal Egyptian Sunnis will once more lead that non-Shia's Muslim world.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (31) on this item

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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