The math? This is why I have continued to point GetReligion readers toward that 2011 poll of Egyptian voters by the Pew Research Center.
You do the math and it’s hard to escape the fact that civil war, or a military government, will be impossible to avoid in this escalating conflict. In other words, the secular, Western-friendly Cairo elites who are so close to the major Western newsrooms do not represent the vast majority of the Egyptian people.
Yes, religious beliefs and practices are the key. Yes, conflicting versions of Sharia and Islam and the rights of religious minorities are at the heart of this. The other day, I stated the equation this way:
We are back to an old, old question: Is it possible, in a land in which the majority of voters hunger for Islamic law, to defend the rights of religious minorities and secular liberals without the help of a military that is willing to oppress and jail Islamists?
As is his style, the Canadian provocateur Mark Steyn bluntly raised the same issue, in the kind of language that used to considered liberal, but now is considered conservative:
In the 2011 parliamentary elections, three-quarters of the vote went to either the Muslim Brotherhood or their principal rivals, the Even More Muslim Brotherhood. So, statistically speaking, a fair few of the “broad-based coalition” joining the Coptic Christians and urban secularists out on the streets are former Morsi guys. Are they suddenly Swedish-style social democrats? Human Rights Watch reports that almost 100 women were subjected to violent sexual assault over four days in Tahrir Square, which suggests not.
So what does this look like in print in a major American newspaper?
I have been paying close attention to The Los Angeles Times, in recent weeks, so let’s hit the latest daily report in those cyber pages. Is anyone surprised that the military is firing live bullets and it is hard to figure out who attacked who first?