An image from Cairo, Egypt, November 23, 2012. Credit: Reuters.
Earlier expressed scepticism in relation to the future of democracy amidst the Arab Spring. Conflicted as to the support of Islam for democracy. Have previously expressed concerns about the erosion of democratic ideals in Egypt.
And now this (extracted):
Egypt’s Mursi faces judicial revolt over decree
By Tom Perry | Reuters – Sat, 24 November, 2012
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi faced a rebellion from judges who accused him on Saturday of expanding his powers at their expense, deepening a crisis that has triggered violence in the street and exposed the country’s deep divisions.
The Judges’ Club, a body representing judges across Egypt, called for a strike during a meeting interrupted with chants demanding the “downfall of the regime” – the rallying cry in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year.
Mursi’s political opponents and supporters, representing the divide between newly empowered Islamists and their critics, called for rival demonstrations on Tuesday over a decree that has triggered concern in the West.
Issued late on Thursday, it marks an effort by Mursi to consolidate his influence after he successfully sidelined Mubarak-era generals in August. The decree defends from judicial review decisions taken by Mursi until a new parliament is elected in a vote expected early next year.
It also shields the Islamist-dominated assembly writing Egypt’s new constitution from a raft of legal challenges that have threatened the body with dissolution, and offers the same protection to the Islamist-controlled upper house of parliament.
From an e-mail exchange with Lorne, November 24, 2012 (reproduced with permission):
I remain very concerned as to whether democracy is at all compatible with the essential beliefs of Islam.
Of course, in this case, you have to wonder if it has anything to do with Islam, or if it’s just politics, as usual.
Arab politics, as usual? With the checks and balances in western democracies, actions like these are impossible, no?
In theory, we have checks and balances – but what about in abnormal social situations? Hitler won the 1933 election, and they didn’t have another one. The military could have stopped his power grab, but didn’t.
Here nobody knows what happens if Parliament is prorogued and the Prime Minister decides not to bring it back. Constitutionally, the House must sit at least one day, per calendar year. You could prorogue in January, 2013 and not recall until December, 2014 and that would be legal. But what if the Prime Minister and the Govenor General decided, at that point, that it would be in the national interest not to recall the legislature? Who rises in protest? The army? Or do editorialists moan, while nothing happens? Hopefully, we never have to find out.
Arab countries have no tradition of democracy and a strong case can be made that none of them are ready for it. In much of the world, democracy is seen as an opportunity for my group to get voted in, to get our rightful share of the goodies. It’s a developmental process, and doesn’t happen overnight.
But I do wonder when we might have people in power who don’t have the automatic checks and balances that come with the Judeo-Christian understanding of democracy. In a post-Christian, post-modern world, many things are possible that used to be unthinkable.