According to the LATimes, “God is everywhere in Egypt.” But after reading the paper’s bland explanation of that catchy headline, one wonders “so what?”
The September 30 piece notes that religion is important in the Islamic country and that politicians of all stripes have deployed religious rhetoric since the Army deposed the democratically elected leaders of the Muslin Brotherhood.
Yet, what’s at stake in the struggle to find a working relationship between religion and politics, Islam and democracy, in this deeply Muslim country is missing from the article.
For a deeper look at the wrangling over the new constitution’s definition of the role of sharia, Asharq Al Awsat, an international Arabic newspaper, explains there are a least four sides to the dispute: Salafists, Sunnis, secularist and Christian. At Religion Dispatches, scholar Asma Afsaruddin lambasts the cynical co-optation of religion by Egypt’s political players‘ misuse of religion. (The Times nods to this possibility without exploring it.) And H.A. Hellyer at Brookings offers an insightful analysis that suggests Egyptians might favor “an advisory role for religious leaders” but would not want a theocracy or even a government led by a religious party.
Thanks to the genius of the Internet, legacy media no longer need to do skimpy, shallow, or superficial coverage of the complex inter-relationship of global religion and politics. Praise be to Google.