Islamists under fire in Egypt

AFTER years of bending before the Islamic winds, Egypt's national press has begun reflecting a major shift in public opinion and challenging those who would have a more Muslim society.

All six national daily newspapers, whether government-controlled, opposition mouthpieces, or independent, and the main weekly magazines, have in the past week or so broken with their practice of not criticising the Islamists. In the past such criticism would have brought the charge of being anti-Islamic.

Now, however, the press suddenly feels free to criticise the 'Islamist' current, that is, those people who seek political and social change under the banner of Islam. The home news pages, features and opinion pages are full of articles and letters from readers directly attacking the Islamists.

No longer is criticism directed solely at the more extreme elements, who were categorised as 'terrorists' by journalists and government officials alike. Now the media have begun taking on the ideologues of the mainstream Islamist movement, including sheikhs preaching militant Islam.

Such overt and fearless criticism of the Islamist trend has not been seen in the Egyptian press since the days of the Muslim Brotherhood's campaign of terror during the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser, some 30 years ago.

Until a week ago, Egypt's top journalists and writers limited their attack to the extremists, with calls to the government to take tougher action. But since the weekend the mood has changed. Not only the extremists, but the established clergy, have been targeted with challenges to condemn the violence of some of the more extreme Islamist groups.

In the semi-official daily al- Ahram, a veteran liberal politician, Tharwat Abaza, named the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including MPs, as being behind the terror campaign that left six policemen dead in three months. 'We mustn't believe them (Muslim Brothers) when they say they have no connection with the terror groups,' wrote Mr Abaza, 'the Brothers and the terrorist are two faces of the same coin.'

CAIRO - Egypt will host a meeting on 19 January to launch a campaign to 'enlighten' people about Islam, Reuter reports.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests