BANNING BIKINIS AND BOOZE: They aren’t even in charge of the government yet, but the Muslim Brotherhood is already putting Egypt on a fast track right back into the 7th Century. Welcome to little Iran.
The Blaze Remember when Egypt’s revolution was just a display of Democracy? When it was supposed to be a beautiful example of freedom? When the Arab Spring was as fresh-smelling as Irish Spring? Those days seem to be fading as we continue to learn more about the power vacuum created after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak.
We already know many are displaying anti-Semitism. And we‘ve learned over the summer that the Muslim Brotherhood is vying for a spot in government though it’s Freedom and Justice Party. So what could go wrong? Here’s a taste: according to The Media Line, the Muslim Brotherhood is hoping to ban skimpy bikinis and alcohol in the streets — regulations that resemble Sharia Law.
According to the site, the Brotherhood is looking to specifically target tourists: Egypt’s tourism industry has suffered a severe blow since the outburst of anti-regime demonstrations in January. But that did not stop the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, from demanding stricter regulations over what tourists can do and wear while visiting the country.
The party is urging officials to ban skimpy swimwear and the consumption of alcohol on Egyptian streets. “Beach tourism must take the values and norms of our society into account,” Muhammad Saad Al-Katatny, secretary-general of Freedom and Justice, reportedly told Egyptian tourism officials on Monday. “We must place regulations on tourists wishing to visit Egypt, which we will announce in advance.”
The call for new strictures on tourists comes as Egypt debates the role of Islam in the post-Mubarak era. Freedom and Justice is competing in elections scheduled for this autumn for parliament and opinion polls show a majority of Egyptians favor a greater use of Islamic law and mores. But a vocal minority worries that Egypt risks becoming an Islamic republic.
This worries Hani Henry, a psychology professor at the American University in Cairo. “This is how things began in Iran,” he told The Media Line. “The moderate youth wanted to implement changes, but the mullah’s hijacked the revolution. The same thing is now happening here in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood. It makes me sick to my stomach.”
The move could do more than curb freedom, it could also hurt Egypt’s economy.Hussam A-Shaer, head of the tourist company association, told Al-Masry al-Youm (quoted in the Media Line article) that tourists could be chased away and that would cost about $13 billion a year in revenue.
Still, that could be what the Islamists want, says the Media Line. Islamists have never been enamored of foreign tourism and before they were crushed by the Mubarak regime foreign visitors were often targeted for killings. Close to 60 Western tourists were killed by Islamist terrorists in the southern city of Luxor in 1997. Tourists were also attacked in bombings in the Sinai resorts of Taba, Sharm Al-Sheikh and Dahab in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
This is what Egyptian democracy will soon look like.