Egypt Has Already Experienced Islamic Rule — and Found It Wanting

At Jadaliyya, Paul Amar, one of the most informed voices on Egypt, reinforces just how far the Egyptian protests were from a Muslim revolution.

In the past ten years [a] particular wing of the [Muslim Brotherhood] has been partially coopted by Mubarak’s government from two angles. First, Brothers were allowed to enter parliament as independent candidates and have been allowed to participate in the recent economic boom. . . . Second, the government wholly appropriated the Brothers’ moral discourse. For the last ten or fifteen years Mubarak’s police-state has stirred moral panics and waved the banner of Islam, attacking single working women, homosexuals, devil-worshipping internet users, trash-recycling pig farmers, rent-control squatters, as well as Baha’i, Christian and Shi’i minorities. In its morality crusades, the Mubarak government burned books, harassed women, and excommunicated college professors. Thus, we can say that Egypt has already experienced rule by an extremely narrow Islamist state – Mubarak’s! . . .

In recent years . . . people have grown disgusted by Mubarak’s politicization of Islam. Egyptians began to reclaim Islam as a project of personal self-governance, ethical piety, and social solidarity. This trend explicitly rejects the political orientation of Islam and explicitly separates itself both from Brothers’ activities and Mubarak’s morality crusades.

In other words:

Egyptians tried out that kind of regime. And they hated it.