Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


What Does Tahrir Square Want Now?

Signs point to MB popularity but also to rise of secularism

Print Email
Protesters in Tahrir Square—not in January or February, but today.(Reuters/LAT)

They are still there, in Tahrir Square: Tens of thousands arrived today after Friday prayers, and while their main, most immediate demand is trials for members of President Hosni Mubarak’s regime (including Mubarak himself), the unavoidable subtext are the upcoming elections, which, after last month’s referendum, will be held as soon as September—as both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood wanted, and as nascent secular, liberal parties do not.

David Ignatius reports that while some important liberal voices have cropped up—he cites the Social Democratic Party, the Egyptian Liberal Party, and the leftist Popular Alliance—it is clear that, particularly among the poor of Cairo (which is to say, the folks who end up deciding elections), the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties are making the most headway, in part with appeals to keeping Egypt a Muslim nation in the face of a (fabricated) threat from Coptic Christians. Indeed, if the Brotherhood does not end up with much power following elections, it is much more likely that it will be because the Islamist vote was split among several parties, and even several factions of the Brotherhood itself, than because great masses of voters turned out for secular candidates. Many have said for months now that the best-case scenario for Egypt is something like Turkey’s AKP: Inherently Islamist, but moderately so; a thorn in Israel’s side (and to a lesser extent the West’s), but not a genuine enemy. Dissent’s Juliana DeVries reminds us, however, that the AKP is still way behind when it comes to the rights of minorities, including women.

That said, there is some cause for optimism. The leading presidential candidate is Amr Moussa, the former foreign minister and Arab League head, who is basically a secular guy, and his Wafd party, which is secular, was the most popular party according to one U.N.-commissioned poll. And that same poll found 63 percent of Egyptians in favor of maintaining peace with Israel. Developing …

Egypt: Protesters Call on Military To Try Hosni Mubarak and His Cronies [Babylon & Beyond]
Egyptian Democracy’s Growing Pains [WP]
Turkey’s AKP: A Model for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood? [Dissent]
Egyptians Back Diplomat in Poll, Show Secular Bent [WSJ]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Bill Pearlman says:

If you think Moussa is a good guy then your barking up the wrong tree.

Sex stores of yesteryear have verified their repute of getting dismal and dirty. What with their frosted glass windows hiding a dark and smelly inside stuffed with a lot of hardcore porn. The sleazy guys likely in had been of a questionable repute. No woman with a shred of self-respect would ever be caught in these kinds of an establishment.

One of the things I’m thankful for is that I have such a well informed and articulate group of people, with whom I can discuss life and current events.

I’d been honored to obtain a call from my friend as soon as he found out the important guidelines shared on the site. Going through your blog publication is a real great experience. Many thanks for thinking of readers like me, and I wish you the best of success as being a professional in this domain.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

What Does Tahrir Square Want Now?

Signs point to MB popularity but also to rise of secularism

More on Tablet:

Rediscovering the First Woman Rabbi

By Laura Geller — Ordained in 1935, Regina Jonas died at Auschwitz. Now, she’s being honored.