ISLAMIC CONSTITUTION SCHEDULED FOR VOTE ON DECEMBER 15
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 8, 2012) — After protests which turned violent against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s November 22 decree granting himself new powers, the Egyptian military, which had been loyal to ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, has cautioned Morsi of “disastrous consequences” if civil order is not restored after two weeks of political unrest.
The military had run the country following Mubarak’s departure and had been reticent to hand over power to Morsi, who is supported by The Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi’s coalition is promoting an Islamic constitution for a vote by the people on December 15, while secularists oppose the establishing of an Islamic state and want to delay the referendum.
At least six people have died and more than 700 have been injured in the protests. Objectors to Morsi’s power grab burned offices of The Muslim Brotherhood since Morsi’s decree and assumption of almost unlimited authority.
On Sunday, Morsi altered his declaration of new power by reportedly removing the condition that he would be exempt from judicial review after scheduled talks with opposition leaders were boycotted. Some of the protesters are comparing Morsi to Mubarak, who was an unelected dictator but had banned The Muslim Brotherhood during his reign. Morsi has criticized the United States for “backing dictators.”
The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to “commit jihad” within the United States, and Obama has met with several of its members and affiliates at the White House. Radical Islamics are active in Libya and Syria following the United States’ intervention in those countries during the Arab Spring protests of early 2011 which toppled dictators and sought greater freedoms for the people.
Reports have surfaced that Morsi will allow the military to make arrests of civilians to quell the civil disturbance. Obama has signed the NDAA bill, which permits the U.S. military “to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge.” Nullification of the NDAA bill has passed the Michigan House of Representatives with no opposition.
Some believe that the Egyptian military will support Morsi because his proposed constitution gives them “an incentive.” The nation’s judicial branch had nullified an “army arrest orders rule” prior to Morsi’s assumption of the presidency at the end of June.
Morsi had campaigned on a platform of secularism but is now viewed by some detractors as “a delegate of the Muslim Brotherhood.” In 2008, Barack Obama had campaigned as a Christian but had written in his book that he would “stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
The Egyptian Republican Guard provided protection with four tanks for Morsi’s presidential palace on Thursday as protesters broke through barricades of barbed wire. On Tuesday, Morsi had left the palace while police attempted to control the protesters.
On Saturday, discussions between Morsi and those who oppose his Islamic agenda were scheduled to meet, but the opponents refused to attend. Some of Morsi’s supporters claimed that a “conspiracy” exists to oust Morsi from the presidency.
A television anchor resigned on the air on Thursday after the station refused to allow an opposition member to voice his opinions on the show.