Hard-hitting questions for Egypt’s Morsi

The Associated Press brings us the latest from Cairo:

Islamists approved a draft constitution for Egypt early Friday without the participation of liberal and Christian members, seeking to pre-empt a court ruling that could dissolve their panel with a rushed, marathon vote that further inflames the clash between the opposition and President Mohammed Morsi.

The move advanced a charter with an Islamist bent that rights experts say could give Muslim clerics oversight over legislation and bring restrictions on freedom of speech, women’s rights and other liberties…

The Islamist-dominated assembly that has been working on the constitution for months raced to pass it, voting article by article on the draft’s more than 230 articles for more than 16 hours. The lack of inclusion was on display in the nationally televised gathering: Of the 85 members in attendance, there was not a single Christian and only four women, all Islamists. Many of the men wore beards, the hallmark of Muslim conservatives.

For weeks, liberal, secular and Christian members, already a minority on the 100-member panel, have been withdrawing to protest what they call the Islamists’ hijacking of the process.

You should read the whole thing. It’s a lengthy piece with tons of reporting. I love how the reporters give specifics. So that’s your example of good reporting from Egypt.

I also wanted to highlight this piece by Time. Three reporters got a huge get — the chance to interview the man who just went “temporary dictator” on his country. He’s asserted that all his decisions are final, can’t be appealed, and can’t be overturned by courts. He’s further said that no judicial body can dissolve the assembly writing the new constitution.

So what do these three reporters ask the man who used to be the Muslim Brotherhood’s enforcer? Here’s what they came up with:

You’re on the world stage now.

What was it like to deal with president Obama during the Gaza cease-fire?

Is the Muslim Brotherhood in fact a democratic organization?

Last week’s decree created a lot of controversy. If you had it to do over again, would you handle it differently? Revise it?

This year, 2012, was a big year, a lot happened. Many hail you as a statesman, others warn you’re a new pharaoh.

Is there enough of a buy-in from the society at large on the constitution?

But what about the political environment around it? Don’t events of the last week indicate a society pulling part rather than coming together around it?

As the fourth question shows, this interview definitely took place this week — after the events of last week that provoked global outrage. Should I assume they were only allowed to ask questions that wouldn’t raise the ire of Morsy? What do you think of these questions?

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  • tmatt

    Ah, the familiar GetReligion reader interest in overseas news and events linked to human rights. Where are our liberal readers, in the old-fashioned definition of the word “liberal”?

  • sari

    What’s to say, tmatt? Time’s questions ranged from stupid to irrelevant in a way that transcended political persuasion. The only possible excuse I can think of for such inanity is that Morsi (or his publicist) sketched tight parameters for the questions.

  • Julia

    Among other missed questions: Why no representation from the Christians who are 10% of your population?

  • Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz

    How about, “You really think you can grab power like that without a backlash?”

  • Ben

    Maybe he’s going to be Time’s person of the year, upping the necessity of getting the interview and they did a deal to soft pedal for access. Whatever the reason it was a terrible interview. However, it did illuminate one thing, Mollie — the man wants to be known as Morsi not Morsy. See the editor’s note at the top of the piece.

  • John M.


    I find your periodic browbeating of the commenters on this site for lack of comments on particular posts tiresome. The only commenting it makes me aspire to is the comment telling you that I find it tiresome. I post when I think I have something to say, and not otherwise.


    • Mike

      Agreed. Maybe it works with college students, but doing it with adult readers of your website is something I’ve never seen before.

  • FW Ken

    I agree with Sari. What’s to say? I figured out 40.years ago that it’s not “asking the hard questions”, but correctly identifying who gets the hard questions, and who gets the softballs.