While world attention has been focused on the political faceoff between the Egyptian military and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Muhammad Morsi, away from the cameras Islamists continue pushing to consolidate power.
Egyptian Salafists are demanding the legalization of Islamic "sex-slave" marriages and are calling on Morsi to expel all Shi'ite Muslims and Bahai from Egypt. Prominent Muslim clerics are demanding the destruction of Egypt's Great Pyramids.
Morsi, whose ascension to the presidency ended 60 years of military rule, several months ago advocated violent jihad and establishing an Islamic theocracy in Egypt.
On Sunday, just nine days into his term, Morsi moved to defy last month's ruling by Egypt's highest court dissolving the Islamist-led Parliament. On Tuesday, lawmakers held a session lasting just a few minutes and authorities made no move to stop them. While the court decision has drawn strong support from the Egyptian military, it angered the Brotherhood and other Islamist parties who won two-thirds of the seats in parliamentary elections earlier in the year.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was traveling in Asia, called on the parties to resolve their differences in order to "avoid any kind of difficulties that could derail the transition that is going on."
But it's doubtful that Egyptian Islamists have any genuine interest in moderation or compromise. While the Brotherhood reportedly wants to institute a caliphate in Egypt, it can appear almost moderate when compared to the Salafists.
In March, Salafi leader Wagdy Ghoneim celebrated the death from kidney disease of Pope Shenouda III, the 88-year-old Coptic Christian leader. "We rejoice that he is destroyed. He has perished," Ghoneim said. "May God have His revenge on him in the fire of hell – he and all who walk his path."
In May, Salafi leaders accused Copts of being "traitors" and "anti-revolutionary" for voting against Islamists in May presidential elections.
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