Millions of Egyptians took to the streets in the January 25 Revolution over 18 days in 2011. Their motto was “Bread, Freedom, Social Justice.” Only patriotism chants were kept up without any mention of partisan or ideological slogans.
The date marking the historic turning point coincides with Police Day, which was chosen to protest police brutality. The mobilization was assumed by the “We are all Khaled Said” Facebook page named after a torture victim in Alexandria. Said was beaten to death in the street by policemen on June 6, 2010 for allegedly possessing drugs.
On Fury Friday (January 28, 2011), the crowds started to chant “the people want to overthrow the regime” until former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11 of the same year.
A few weeks later, Islamist forces led by the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood started to push for measures that would give them a fast-track to authority. A case in point was holding a referendum to vote on holding parliamentary elections before drafting the constitution.
The Brotherhood, along with other Islamist forces, voiced their intention of forcing Sharia law upon the Egyptian people on July 29, 2011 during a protest in Tahrir Square, contradicting the freedom value advocated for in the revolution. That day is popularly known as “Kandahar Friday”, named after the second largest city in Afghanistan.
Thereafter, MB members used to harass protestors belonging to different political tendencies. Before the announcement of the 2012 presidential election results, they made threats of committing violence and vandalism if Mohamed Morsi was not declared president.
The committee in charge of drafting the 2013 constitution was formed by the Brotherhood-majority parliament, giving the president absolute powers, which was abolished in the 2014 constitution.
Muslim Brotherhood defector lawyer Tharwat El Kharbawy told Egypt Today that once the revolution erupted, he knew the Muslim Brotherhood would reach power, as they were the only organized force that was able to mobilize a large number of Egyptians to vote for them.
“I have a conviction that the Brotherhood is not qualified to rule the country because they do not have real politicians who are able to communicate with the public and because they have a far different understanding of religion and homeland from what is common among the great majority of Egyptians,” Kharbawy stated.
The former brotherhood member identified the group’s mistakes that terminated their rule in one year. In the first place, it was spreading its members in different positions across different governmental bodies so that their regime would not face resistance when promulgating laws and constitutional amendments serving their goals the year after.
In the second place, it drafted a law in the parliament to decrease the retirement age of judges from 70 to 60 in order to get rid of 3,000 judges and substitute them with others adopting the same ideology as the Brotherhood. That is in addition to Morsi’s attempt to dismiss the Public Prosecutor at that time, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, before the end of his term.
In the third place, Morsi had issued a constitutional declaration rendering his decrees immune from any appeal. Kharbawy also emphasized their public discourse that reflected dictatorship and alienation of all other political tendencies.
Kharbawy explained that the Brotherhood implements two different strategies in time of “weakness stages” and “empowerment stages.” They resort to alienation during the latter, while building alliances with non-Islamist forces during the former in order to garner sympathy when adopting victimization discourse.
He added that the Brotherhood allies with other Islamist groups, including militant and takfiri ones when confronting secular tendencies.
Kharbawy stressed the impossibility of removing the Brotherhood from rule through elections or referenda, as they had mastered forging ballot results. He revealed that during the Lawyers Syndicate’s board election in 1990, 6 out of the 17 Brotherhood members on board won by forgery and that similar incidents occurred in the Doctors Syndicate and Engineers Syndicate.
During his membership in the Brotherhood’s Parliamentary Election Observation Committee, Kharbawy knew that group-affiliated employees working in different institutions and organizations mark ballot sheets on behalf of the Brotherhood candidates in different elections. He clarified that the group leaders used to issue Fatwas (religious opinions) justifying forgery, as it serves the purpose of achieving “Islamic rule.”