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MB and Salafists Co-Opt Tahrir Square Gathering

July 29, 2011

Reported today, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Salafist groups, have turned out for the “Friday of Popular Will” protests in Tahrir Square. 

13:20: Islamic preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi calls on political movements and parties in Egypt to be united and stop accusing each other. 

11:00: Islamic leader Safwat Hijazy addresses the audience from a podium run by a popular committee of the square. He asks protesters only to raise the Egyptian and Palestinian flags and chant: “We are all Egyptians,” “The people and the army are one hand,” and “This is the will of Egyptians and this gathering is an expression of their unity. The demand of the people of Egypt is to refer to Sharia and the Quran.”

10:30: Thousands of groups adhering to the Salafi movement arrive at Tahrir Square in buses from different governorates to take part in the protests. They chant, “We want it Islamic,” and “People want Sharia to be applied.” 

The popular will appears to be leaning towards the more conservative.  But, as we know from American politics, the loudest, not necessarily the most popular, voice is always heard above the din.   The loudest voices usually accompany the biggest bullies.

15:10: Twenty-eight secular parties and coalitions have decided to pull out from Tahrir Square in opposition to what they are calling the Islamists’ hijacking of the protests with their own demands.

And, with that, the Brotherhood has won the field.  This action will only embolden the Brotherhood as Egypt moves towards elections.

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