Slouching Toward Jerusalem, Riyadh, and Washington to Be Born: A Conversation With Khaled Abou El Fadl on Egyptian Democracy
Khaled Abou El Fadl is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law at UCLA and an internationally recognized expert in Islamic law and human rights. Since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, he has consulted regularly with leading members of Egypt’s judiciary on constitutional issues. He is the author of numerous books, including his decorated The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from Extremists and most recently Islam and the Challenge of Democracy, co-authored with Joshua Cohen and Deborah Chasman.
We spoke on June 28, after two weeks that were tumultuous even by the standards of post-revolutionary Egypt: an elected parliament dissolved, a seizure of power amounting to a “soft coup” by the military council, a run-off election that soon turned into a stand-off between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, and all before Mohamed Morsi of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was declared Egypt’s first freely elected president.
Khaled Abou El Fadl and I discussed the role the courts played in these events, the foreign pressures weighing on the military council, the workings of a neoliberal colonial army, and the future of political Islam in the wake of the Arab Spring. His remarks have been confirmed by many of the facts now emerging on the military council’s unilateral passage of a national budget and the relationship between the military council and the Supreme Constitutional Court, and they shed light on the current battle over Morsi’s reinstatement of parliament, which reconvened long enough only to initiate an appeal of the court’s invalidation of the December parliamentary elections.