Egypt's brand-new president Adly Mansoor's attempt to keep a door open for the Muslim Brotherhood in the country's transitional process was swiftly rejected by the Islamist group, but that doesn't mean that party, along with other Islamist groups aren't making their positions known in the days after a military intervention — one that looks very much like a coup — removed former president Mohammed Morsi from office.
On Friday, the party has called for a "day of rejection" in the country against the military's intervention and arrest of several Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Those arrests included the supreme leader of the Islamist group, Mohamed al-Badie. After the arrests (Morsi himself is apparently in military custody, and facing an investigation for "insulting the presidency"), and the blackouts on several Islamist supported television stations, Morsi loyalists are despondent — both about the coup itself, and about the swift failure of their party's attempt to give Egypt an Islamic-based system of governance, a dream that was, after all, a significant factor in their disastarous overreach after a slim electoral victory, leading to their loss of any semblance of popular support in the first place. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson told the Guardian that "we are being headhunted all over the country. We are holding a mass rally after Friday prayers to take all peaceful steps necessary to bring down this coup," adding that the party was urging the protests to be peaceful. The military has said that they will respect the rights of protesters to speak out, so long as they're not violent or destructive (or, more vaguely, "excessive")
But one of the Muslim Brotherhood's long-standing issues as a political movement in the country has been its inability to speak with one voice, leading to a public presence of unending contradictions. Even the official call for peaceful protests conflicts with Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders' calls for martyrdom while facing the threat of military intervention — calls that continue among some party loyalists as the political turmoil is interpreted by Morsi's frustrated and fearful supporters as a direct attack on Islam itself.
That contradiction isn't helped by actual violence breaking out in the country after the change of power. In Egypt's tumultuous Sinai peninsula, Islamist militants attacked multiple military targets early Friday, local time, according to a Reuters report. At least one soldier is dead. And while the region is the home of quite a lot of violence, making it difficult to assume the precise motivations behind the attacks until someone steps forward to claim them, the timing will speak volumes on its own.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.