Watch out Egypt: Now that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi has been declared the country's new president, Sharia punishments may be making their way to a public square near you.
And that's only the start of it.
According to an Arabic-language report last Tuesday of a closed-door senior-level Brotherhood confab, the Islamist group intends to get rid of film and "artistic heritage," replace police uniforms with "Islamic garb," and make memorization of Islam's holy book a pre-condition for advancement in school. These sweeping changes—dubbed the "Jazira Plan"—are to "be put into execution on the first day Dr. [Mohamed] Morsi assumes the presidency."
The first step in the plan is to "replace the national anthem with the so-called anthem of the Islamic Caliphate," soon after followed by "the abolition of the Ministry of Information and replacing it with an Islamic media organization" whose sole aim would be to "publish Islamic heritage only."
The plan speaks to the Brotherhood's deep-seated, and oft-referenced, "dream" of reinstating the Caliphate. Yet, when pressed to expound upon its goals by an unfriendly audience or in the West, the group instead turns ambiguous, speaking in terms of Western concepts of freedom, dignity, and justice.
Even for the Brotherhood, the meeting's take-aways as reported by Rose al-Yusuf appear over the top. The group certainly has its own ideal for how the world should work, but tends to skew toward the pragmatic, insisting that change must be applied gradually. As with all news coming out of the Egyptian press—known for its often wild, un-sourced conspiracy theories—reports of this meeting should be read with a healthy dose of skepticism.
If the reports prove true, the Brotherhood may have little say in implementing its grand plan anyway. Tension with the military and uncertainty over the fate and composition of a new Parliament endure despite the presidential outcome.