Egypt’s recent parlimentary elections were a clear-cut victory for Islamist parties.
The Muslim Brotherhood one the most votes in the first road. But second place went to an even more hardline Islamist Salafist group, al-Nour. This group is better funded and better organized than the Muslim Brotherhood. How hardline are they? Leaders of this group are loath to even speak to women, and they want to introduce Sharia law into the country. The Salafists have been at war with Egypt’s Coptic Christians, and accused those more secular elements of the revolution against Hosni Mubarak of being “whores and Zionists.” Free elections, they have said in the past, are “un-Islamic.” When party members appear on Egyptian television, they have demanded that a physical barrier be set up between themselves as female guests.
If the movement has its way, Egypt’s tourism industry will soon be in tatters. They want to ban all alcohol sales, even to foreigners. And they want to shut down beaches where women wear bikinis. They propose offering camel rides and ski lessons on sand dunes as an alternative way to get tourist dollars. That will bring the money in, for sure. As tourism dries up, expect the economy to tumble even further.
The Salafists are heavily funded by Saudi Arabia, which reportedly has provided $100 million in campaign funds to the group. Their rules on clothing are strict: beards for men and a face veil for women. As Sheik Fawzi puts it,” We must simply apply the Koran and Sharia to heal our country, just as it was commanded by God.”
You can read more about situation in Egypt here, from Germany’s Der Spiegel.