Don’t let the recent anti-government protests fool you.
The Islamists still are able to turn out large crowds in the New Egypt, as happened today in Cair0 where hundreds of thousands (how many hundreds varies from news report to news report) turned out in support of President Morsi and controversial Constitution passed over the objections of more liberal parties:
Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi received a copy of the country’s draft constitution on Saturday night and announced plans for a December 15 public referendum on the draft.
He called for the vote in a speech before members of the constituent assembly, the 100-member panel that drafted the controversial document. Morsi praised their work, describing it as another step toward “fulfilling the goals” of the revolution that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak last year.
Hossam el-Gheryani, the head of the assembly, also spoke. “We added freedoms in the draft that did not exist before,” he said.
Morsi thanked the nearly two dozen members of the assembly who quit in recent weeks. “Their work can’t be ignored,” Morsi said.
But many feel it has been: Liberals and representatives of the Coptic Church withdrew from deliberations and accused the panel of pushing an Islamist agenda.
His speech follows major protests in Cairo on Saturday, both for and against his presidency. The Muslim Brotherhood organised a major rally outside Cairo University, where protesters carried Egyptian and Saudi flags and posters of Morsi, with banners reading “Together [with Morsi] to save the revolution.”
Witnesses said hundreds of demonstrators were bussed in from outlying governorates in the Nile Delta region. And a number of Muslim clerics in Friday sermons in the southern city of Assiut called the president’s opponents “enemies of God and Islam”.