, , , , , , ,

When the economy started deteriorating, Egyptians, especially the professional middle class, technicians, as well as laborers started looking to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States for employment. These were in dire need of all and every category, and Egyptians started an exodus to the East. Contracts were often renewed several times, which meant that the man usually spent years away from the country, coming back for short visits to check on his family and for some vacation time, but mainly being steeped into the social norms of these desert cultures.
Very gradually, the families of these men started taking on a more conservative aspect in dress and behavior. With strained economic circumstances, the turn to religion and God was a given. It was then that the new phenomena of “Religious Classes” started taking root, whereby anyone who deemed themselves a notch above their compatriots where knowledge of religion is concerned, turned into a preacher. These preachers, of both sexes, were more often than not, even more ignorant of the true teachings of religion than those to whom they preached. It was the beginning of a viscous circle that would take on huge proportions and would eventually have very dire ramifications on the psyche of a fair proportion of Egyptians.
It is unfortunate that these preachers were so ignorant of the true basics of Islam that quite often they gave such ridiculous advice that made them the laughingstock of anyone with a grain of education or even common sense. But unfortunately, again, this advice was revered and followed by their listeners. The more dangerous part was the few among those ignoramus preachers who spread the word of hatred. This was never a part of the Egyptian psyche, but with these malicious preachers taking over the ‘religious teaching’ of the youth, they had fertile ground indeed. These young men and women are the children whose fathers had left when they were very young, to go earn a decent living abroad. When they came back for short visits they were becoming more and more strict and conservative in their outlooks, thus preparing their children to fall into the trap of listening to the ‘Men who know God’. The ground was laid for a new generation of fanatics.
With the family entity disintegrating as the head was not there and the mother was either an uneducated stay-at-home ineffectual mother, or a working mother, the children grew without the feeling of a united, supportive, loving entity : a family. Early teen years saw these young men and women clustering into groups that drew together under the banner of religion. But more often than not, they fell prey to those ignorant, and in quite a few case, malicious preachers.
The first target of these people’s hatred were those who were different: Christians. These were labeled as infidels, and enemies of the true faith should be boycotted as a minimum, but truly should be fought, and when the pitch of hatred reached its zenith, should be forcefully eradicated. Over the past three decades there were many incidents where Christians were attacked and killed by such people, and where the law was not applied. A delegation of Elders would initiate an unofficial truce, but no problems were solved, no justice and punishment meted out. This was a semi official sanctioning of said deeds of violence against Christians, that anyone taking a Christian life can do that with impunity.
It is this group of Egyptians who slowly changed and became the other side of the coin, the darker, more sinister and violent part. The first thing they lost was their sense of humor, then their sense of beauty and the joy of life. Concentration was on the rewards of heaven, therefore this life became secondary and very cheap. This is the material of suicide bombers. Many of these disillusioned youth volunteered to fight in Afghanistan, seeing it as a way to heaven if they died there. With this mind-set, the Muslim Brotherhood found a richness of material beyond expectations. Not all of them became members of the brotherhood, but a great number became their supporters.
The Wahabi teachings were incorporated into this kind of trend and slowly the loving tolerance of the Egyptians was replaced by a strict fanaticism, based erroneously on convoluted ideologies that could not have been farther from Islam than this. The idea that lying and even killing is accepted under certain circumstances has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, let alone any religion. They took the trappings of Islam, the rhetoric, the dress and the customs, and built a devilish creed where evil prevailed and where the end justified the means.
These are now the people coming out for the deposed dictator, Morsi. They are the ones who believe that only they know the right of things, that their narrow, bigoted view of life should be applied to all, and if refused is to be enforced by fire. The other side of the coin, the comparatively few who have now been steeped in hatred, fanatically believing in their right as proponents of their true religion and who do not even see the glaring discrepancies between their violence and the true religion of tolerance and forgiveness.
Only with re-education will these people be integrated into the general stream of society again. The way things stand now, society as a whole has rejected them and they are now getting a taste of what they had subjected Christians, and other minorities to, discrimination and intolerance. The general public have not yet reached the point of actual bodily harm, but there have been a few incidents of damage and burning of property of what are now all lumped as the Brotherhood. Normal Egyptians are now ashamed to call them the Muslim Brotherhood, for they have nothing to do with Islam, and now are called just ‘The Brotherhood’.
With this surge against everything that has to do with the Brotherhood, I think this type of fascism is coming to an end. True we do not expect them to die a quiet death, they will take a few innocents along with them, but their cancerous presence has been exposed and is now being surgically removed by the people.
God bless and keep our beloved country Egypt.