Islamists with little faith
I will not go as far as Hassan El-Banna did when he called those within the group he had founded who planned assassinations "neither brethren nor Muslims." However, I have to admit that the cynicism of the Egyptian Islamists' deal with the military, beautifully and accurately depicted in today's New York Times, suggests that they have very little faith in their Egyptian brethren. As one youth activist said on television yesterday, it is as if they had forgotten the consequences of the bad deal they had made with the free officers in 1952-54, which resulted in 60 years of repression. So, they have conspired with the political and military elites to create an electoral system that they believe favors them and push for elections before alternative and legitimate political clusters have a chance to emerge.
Their main agenda seems to be simply "to apply the Shari`a" and assert the Islamicity of the country, but what exactly does that mean in terms of concrete legal and policy implications? No one knows! The reality is that to find what Islam means in the modern age, we need to take a leap of faith, learning from the best experiences of others, and learning from mistakes as we move forward. Slogans and dogma are not only counterproductive, but also inherently un-Islamic, if you consider how Islam evolved in its early centuries.
This "political Islam" is exactly like "Islamic finance," which is formulaic Islamization of the finance that bankers, Islamists, and incoherently pietist Muslims want to pursue, even though it makes everyone worse off than they would have under conventional finance, holding their substantive financial strategies constant. It appears that Islamist political powers, likewise, just want power. They are a perfect example of Nietsche's will to power in fake "Islamic" garb, just like Islamic finance is a manifestation of the greed and myopia of contemporary finance in fake "Islamic" garb.
The essence of religion is honor, morality, and the willingness to sacrifice for those. I see none of this in today's Islamists, political or financial. Shame on them!