Following the outbreak of the revolution, the term ‘Islamophobia’ spread among the revolutionary powers to describe the antagonists of political Islam in general and of the Muslim Brotherhood in particular, to the extent of committing gaffes; like coordinating with any Islamist factions regardless of their stance.

Following the outbreak of the revolution, the term ‘Islamophobia’ spread among the revolutionary powers to describe the antagonists of political Islam in general and of the Muslim Brotherhood in particular, to the extent of committing gaffes; like coordinating with any Islamist factions regardless of their stance.

The accusations of Islamophobia made by revolutionary powers against others decreased when the Brotherhood and the military were aligned, such as in the referendum of March 2011, which united the revolutionary powers against both of them. However, these accusations flared up again when a dispute arose between the Brotherhood and the military, thus uniting the agendas of the revolutionary powers and the Brotherhood.

This confused the revolutionary youth and the emerging democratic parties (which constitute their backbone), including their stance on the issues surrounding the constitution or the elections, the participation of the Brotherhood in the November 18th protests against ‘Selmi’s Document’—Deputy Prime Minister for political affairs and its controversial supra constitutional declarations—  and of the presidential candidates.

Some, including me, believed that Islamophobia would be over by the time Morsi rose to power. The military was promised a safe exit and increased profits in the constitution, and the Brotherhood included a number of the former regime’s figures in the government. Furthermore, most of the organized Islamic powers lined up with President Morsi against the democratic opposition, in contrast to the military rule phase during which time Alwasat Party, for example, was within the People’s Council, against the Brotherhood.  This did not  end, rather it was replaced by the fear of return of the former regime in the form of a remnant president supported by the military, impeding the opposition against Morsi’s rule, and what I call ‘Fululphobia’—the Arabic word fulul meaning notches and referring to remnants of the Mubarak regime.

No time to rejoice

After the success of Morsi, the opposition against his rule quickly rose, against the backdrop of suppressing social movements, the rise of sectarian violence, the appointment of officials in media and governorates, etc. In addition, Morsi’s coming to power provoked the democratic powers for more organization. However, the opposition increased since the ‘100 days in office’ demonstration on October 12, 2012 at Tahrir Square when the Brotherhood sent its  members to assault the demonstrators who, in response, burnt two buses.

At the time, slogans such as ‘Down with the Guide’s rule’ were heard among the demonstrators, but they were not fundamental. The opposition against the Brotherhood and the Constituent Assembly lasted throughout November and escalated sharply with the Constitutional Declaration and the aggravation of the constitutional crisis. This movement evolved to become more like a public uprising  against the Brotherhood’s rule, containing marches, sit-ins, attacks on their headquarters and slogans such as ‘Down with the Guide’s rule’, ‘The people want to overthrow the regime’ and ‘Morsi! Leave’, especially after December 5,  2012 when the Brotherhood repeated their deadly mistake by sending their members to disperse the opposition’s sit-in in front of the Presidential Palace, thus hammering the first nail in the coffin of Morsi’s legitimacy. As a response, huge marches were launched against the Brotherhood’s violence, leading to fatalities and injuries on both sides.

The opposition against the Brotherhood attracted large numbers of citizens who did not previously participate in the revolution. When a protester saw one of the famous members of the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution on the way to the palace, he said, ‘Those of the Tahrir Square have joined us!’

Some protesters refused to launch slogans against the police and the army. They even yelled ‘Hand in hand goes the army and the people,’ which became a bitter memory to the first revolutionists who had been stationed at the squares from the beginning of the revolution; unlike the new ones who have not experienced the killing and torturing by the military after the fall of Mubarak. The basic opposing political powers against Morsi included some figures of the former regime, such as Amr Moussa, as well as some parties close to the military, like Wafd Party, which was, at different phases, close to the Brotherhood.


Some revolutionists expressed their tension upon hearing the slogan of ‘The people want to overthrow the regime’ again and seeing both the remnants supporting, or at least happy with, this revolutionary wave, and the new revolutionists. The tensed revolutionists have not justly valued those newcomers who were cautious with their stand on the revolution or even fearful of it throughout the previous period since it would (and actually did) result in the Brotherhood’s coming to power and thus threatening their modus vivendi, freedom and future with their backwardness and fundamentalism. However, they have now decided to take to the streets to defend themselves with their bare chests, sheltered by the masses and their political supporter represented by the uprising democratic powers.

Those revolutionists asked themselves, ‘Shall we overthrow the Brother President and risk the comeback of the remnants to the rule again? Is it possible that we are part of a coup against the Brotherhood without our knowledge? (As the Brothers themselves repeat). Is it possible that we are a puppet in the hands of the remnants and/or the military? Is it possible that this Rescue Front is a mere façade for a new alliance between the Americans, the military and the liberals instead of the alliance between the Americans, the military and the Islamists? These questions and concerns are what I call Fululphobia. This tension deepened when the police and the army adopted a hands-off policy regarding the street war against the Brotherhood.

The problem with such fears is that they surrender to a continuous blackmail practiced by the Brotherhood against the young revolutionary powers and democratic parties. The democratic powers believing in the state of rights and freedoms should not succumb to this blackmail, if we have ever learned the lessons of the January 25 revolution which was a public uprising where millions of citizens demonstrated. However, this does not deny the fact that its first demand was resolved by the military, on which some said ‘The army protected the revolution’.

The revolutionists learned by painful experience that the army did not do so; rather, it only had to respond to their first demand in order to invalidate all the others. The Americans behaved similarly.  First, they remained silent, then timidly consented, then supported the removal of Mubarak, and finally repeated the same Islamists’ demand, namely ‘the need to hold the elections quickly’. The military and the Americans will probably do with any threatened ruler the same they did with Mubarak.

In addition, the police (the revolution’s biggest loser) do not want to be involved in Morsi’s oppression of his opponents. This body is fiercely defending its place, which is evident in its brutal vengeance against the demonstrators of Mohammed Mahmoud II. That battle was de facto to defend the symbolic prestige of the Ministry of Interior headquarters in Lazoughli, but the battle for Morsi’s prestige does not concern them that much.

Learning from past mistakes

Even though these suppressing apparatuses have not yet learned how to respect citizens, they no longer are under the control of Morsi as they were under Mubarak, a great accomplishment by the revolution achieved with blood. The neutralization of these bodies (even for a little while) during the conflict between the government and the opposition is an important achievement that should be celebrated by the democratic powers. They should not feel guilty or doubtful of their integrity just because the police and the army have not finished them off.

During the revolution (and even upon the rise of the change movement against Mubarak), the too prudent people warned that the fall of Mubarak would lead to the rule of the military or the Brotherhood or a combination of both, for the lack of a ready alternative. However, the democratic opposition ignored the warning and was right about this. It was the toppling of Mubarak – even though it led to the  rule of a bloody military for a year and a half and to the rule of the elected Brotherhood dictators – what has opened the prospects for democracy. In fact, the democratic powers during the past two years accomplished various mobilizations and organization they would have never accomplished under Mubarak’s state of siege and stagnation.

A coup may overthrow the rule of Morsi at any time. The military with whom revolutionaries are aligned, to ensure stability and the flow of interests, may not be patient enough and might bring someone else to the power. However, they may greatly support Morsi if they realize that the Brotherhood, despite its problems, is their safest option. The revolutionary powers will align with neither of them, but their fear of either should not force them to accept its rule.