Egypt Donning the Veil

(Ha'aretz) Akiva Eldar - Religion is slowly seeping into every avenue of Egyptian society. It does not escape the highest echelons of the political, military, and diplomatic establishments. The wife of Egyptian Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, one of the most powerful men in Egypt, does not leave the house without a veil concealing her face. The Muslim movement is making strides, cunningly, pleasantly, patiently. In Egypt, the Islamic cartoon affair passed with barely any rioting. Ayelet Yehiav, responsible for the Egypt desk of the diplomatic research branch of Israel's Foreign Ministry, explains that like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas aspires to create an Islamic state in Palestine. Neither of the two movements is in a rush, and they are both prepared to make compromises. Yehiav says that the purge of the secular opposition, through the good offices of Hosni Mubarak, made the Muslim Brotherhood the sole alternative to Mubarak's regime. They are attracting the middle class that in the West furnishes the foundations for building a democracy. "For the Islamic groups, democracy is nothing more than a channel for establishing themselves within the ruling administration, so that they will be able to annul it when they feel sure of their hold," says Yehiav.

2006-02-24 00:00:00

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