On our history of standing up to extremism

Some still believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will be the salvation of the nation

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

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I remember the period during which the Fath mosque near Ramses Square in Cairo was under construction. It was being constructed in the midst of an unending conflict between the state and the onslaught of political Islam. However, I will not talk now about my remarks regarding the management of this conflict for the past few decades. Although it was still under construction, the mosque was used as a gathering point for the members of groups affiliated with political Islam. It was the starting point for all the demonstrations and right next to the mosque there was a strong Security Force presence.

I went there in the early 1980s to conduct a press report about this phenomenon. I was working for Asharq al-Awsat newspaper at the time. The impressions that struck me the most were the angry faces, showing intense frustration and hatred, the faces of men and young people who had gathered to prepare for a protest or demonstration. This scene still lingers in my mind as it was tainted by negative vibes.

Hypocritical scenes

I still recall the scene that played out in front of the Fath mosque every time I hear one of the hardliners yelling on television channels, or even quietly delivering a fanatical and radical speeches. I recall the scene every time I see one of them expressing the stances of those who went against our history, logic and reason. Whenever I hear or see such hypocritical scenes, I see faces that remind me of those angry faces, negative faces I saw in the 1980s. They still believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will be the salvation of the nation.

This is the perpetuation of the angry faces who decided to go against the will of the people, and also go against logic, reason and history. History can take a deviated path sometimes but the will of the people is the ultimate truth that will straighten the road.
As we commonly say, one screams as much as one suffers. Their screams are understandable especially after their popularity decayed with the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Essebsi’s triumph in Tunisia and the deterioration of the Ennahda Party’s popularity in Tunisia.

Such anger will only increase the faithful people’s determination stand against extremism.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on January 25, 2015.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy

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