The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected. But a big surprise was the strong showing of ultraconservative Islamists, called Salafis, many of whom see most popular entertainment as sinful and reject women’s participation in voting or public life.
“It means that, if the Brotherhood chooses, Parliament can be an Islamists affair — a debate between liberal Islamists, moderate Islamists and conservatives Islamists, and that is it,” Michael Wahid Hanna, an Egyptian-born researcher at the Century Foundation in Cairo, said this week.
The ultraconservative Salafi parties, meanwhile, will be able to use their electoral clout to make their own demands for influence on appointments in the new government. Mr. Hanna added: “I don’t mind saying this is not a great thing. It is not a joyous day on my end.”
No one should be surprised by this, though I’m sure many Westerners who were all goo-goo over the Tahrir Square revolution will be genuinely shocked to discover that a majority of Egyptians actually don’t want to live according to Western ideas of liberty, but actually prefer to live in a theocracy. I only hope that Washington has the good sense and the human decency to liberalize immigration from Egypt so the Copts and Egyptian liberals can get out and come to the US before the pogroms start — especially when the country runs out of food and the funds to pay for it.