The Corner

Egypt: More Sharia in Store?

Thanks to an Andrew Bostom blog post over at the American Thinker, I was alerted to the strong Sharia language in the Egypt’s new constitutional declaration. It follows:

The Arab Republic Of Egypt is a state whose system is democratic, based on the principle of citizenship; Islam is the religion of the state; Arabic is its official language; and the principles of Islamic Sharia — which include its general evidences, its fundamental and jurisprudential rules, and its recognized sources in the doctrines of the people of the Sunna and Jam’aan (i.e., Sunnism)— are the main source of legislation.

Deposing the Muslim Brotherhood was an important and critical step in halting the spread of jihadist Islam, but we can’t look at Egypt with rose-colored glasses. Remember, the more radical Salafist party was the second-largest vote-getter in pre-revolution Egyptian elections, and jihadism has hardly disappeared from Egyptian politics.  

History has long demonstrated that revolutionary governments are rarely more virtuous than the culture of the revolutionaries, and we should not mistake national revulsion at the Muslim Brotherhood’s incompetence and repression for a corresponding embrace of the rule of law, individual liberty, or Egypt’s vital peace treaty with Israel. While I agree with the NRO editors that cutting off American military aid now — when we were so “munificent” (I love that word) with the Muslim Brotherhood — would “reinforce perceptions” that we were aligned with the Brotherhood, I still think that we should suspend aid until we have a better idea of the kind of government that emerges.

Our recent history suggests that we’ll write checks and send F-16s no matter who’s in charge or how they behave. We should tear up that blank check, declare unequivocally that American aid is for American allies, and then wait to see if an ally emerges from the chaos. In the meantime, the Egyptian military — the largest in Africa and one of the largest in the world — has more than an enough American weaponry already on hand to prevail against jihadists, should it choose to do so.   

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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