London is one of the world’s centres of Arab journalism and political activism. The failure of left and right, the establishment and its opposition, to mount principled arguments against clerical reaction has had global ramifications. Ideas minted in Britain – the notion that it is bigoted to oppose bigotry; ‘Islamophobic’ to oppose clerics whose first desire is to oppress Muslims – swirl out through the press and the net to lands where they can do real harm.

A man might share his wealth, but never his authority.

Uninhibited, they wallowed with zest in the filth and mire of their political conceptions and needs, among the very leaders of their society, but nevertheless the very dregs of human civilisation and moral standards. A historian who finds excuses for such conduct by references to the supposed spirit of the times, or by omission, or by silence, shows thereby that his account of events is not to be trusted.

The regime’s policies, whether intentionally or unintentionally, had engendered a sharp divide between Muslims and Christians, in spite of the fact that generations of Muslims and Coptic Christians had lived together peacefully in the past. The regime was good at utilizing this divide to create a perception that without Mubarak in power, Egyptians would break out into sectarian warfare. As a result, Mubarak managed to market his police state successfully to the international community as the lesser of two evils.

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