Vox populi, vox Allah?

David Kirkpatrick is the New York Times’s man in Cairo. In the second paragraph of his long news analysis on the “crisis” precipitated by the pending Constitution, Kirkpatrick goes deep with an unnamed source to reveal the underpinning of President Morsi’s support:

The Brotherhood “is who he can depend on,” said one person close to Mr. Morsi, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

This may be breaking news for readers of Kirpatrick and the Times. In “Learning the lessons of Kerensky,” Andrew Stuttaford quotes this report from Jihad Al-Khazen in Al Arabiya:

I expected the worst as I watched on television one day the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Badie, who was not elected by anyone, walking in front of President Mohammed Mursi.

The president is the first Egyptian, and must walk in front of everyone. But it is clear that Dr. Mursi continues to consider himself a member of the Guidance Bureau of the group, before being the president of Egypt. Therefore, he is attempting to impose on half of the Egyptians who did not vote for him his religious convictions, rather than a national policy that would accommodate all Egyptians.

Stuttaford’s quote implicitly draws a distinction between democracy and the pending Islamist Constitution that is to be placed before Egyptians for their approval, as Ashraf Khalil explains at Time. In the sense that democracy implicates the rule of law and respect for the rights of the minority, this is certainly correct.

It is a point that Andrew McCarthy does not tire of making, as in his NRO column “Egypt’s predictable unraveling” (Andy deals with Kirkpatrick on page 2), or in his New Criterion essay “Enter totalitarian democracy,” or in his new book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy. On the pending Egyptian Constitution, Andy recommends the NRO/Corner post by Samuel Tadros, but see also his NRO column.

What if the Islamist Constitution expresses the will of the people? This seems to be the pointed question raised by Andrew Bostom in “Muslim Brotherhood ‘machinations,’ or Vox Populi?” The old Latin expression has it that vox populi, vox dei (the voice of the people is the voice of god). Bostom seems to be saying that when it comes to Egypt, vox populi, vox Allah.

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