According to Tariq Al-Bishri, it is not true that it is the Islamic current that controls the state in Egypt as a political project is in the process of crystallizing. His main proposal is for the three forces dominating the structure and dynamics of political life in Egypt – namely the army and judiciary, the Muslim Brotherhood, and liberals – to collaborate and avoid posing religion and the state as two opposing entities. Having to deal with the Shari'a as the source or reference for legislation need not be a polarizing issue as religion is being dealt with as ‘the dominant culture’; moreover, much work has already been done along this line throughout the 20th century. Al-Bishri argues that democracy within a society becomes vacuous if it is detached from solving its socio-economic challenges. To this end he prioritizes four main issues: (1) freeing the Egyptian national will from American and Israeli pressures; (2) reforming and rebuilding government administrative bureaucracy; (3) organizing civil society; and (4) drafting a constitution. Al-Bishri considers that ‘after Islamists assume power in Egypt’ it is imperative for the existing political and cultural forces in Egypt to cooperate as none of them has enough power to negate the others or lead on his own.
Relationship between state and religion: Egypt after the revolution†
This article is translated and adapted from a paper originally presented at the Symposium on Religion and the State in the Arab World, convened by the Center for Arab Unity Studies (CAUS) and the Swedish Institute of Alexandria in Al-Hammamaat, Tunisia, October 2012.
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Tarek El-Beshry; Relationship between state and religion: Egypt after the revolution. Contemporary Arab Affairs 1 July 2013; 6 (3): 404–421. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17550912.2013.812595
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