A possible stunning development may be occurring in Egypt. With President Mohamed Morsi, former spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, in office just over 100 days, the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood reported on Monday that Morsi is considering replacing current Prime Minister Hisham Kandil with Brotherhood hardliner and former presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater according to Middle East media reports.
The report on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ikhwanweb website was later removed.
Kandil, who just visited Gaza over the weekend and met with top Hamas leaders, is under fire, along with Morsi, for an accident last week in Assuit where a train crashed into a school bus killing 51 students aged 4-8 years old.
The possible removal of Kandil comes amid reports last week that Morsi was also planning to replace all of his economic cabinet ministers, along with those from the ministries of antiquities, health and transport, with Brotherhood leaders following a meeting of the Brotherhood’s Executive Office of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
Shater, identified by the Muslim Brotherhood’s website as Kandil’s possible replacement, was the FJP’s presidential candidate until the electoral commission ruled him ineligible to run. Morsi then replaced him as the FJP’s candidate.
That announcement came just a few days after reports appeared of a video of a speech revealing al-Shater calling for “every aspect of life to be Islamicized“:
Everywhere, the Brothers are working to restore Islam in its all-encompassing conception to the lives of people. Thus the mission is clear: restoring Islam in its all-encompassing conception, subjugating people to God, instituting the religion of God, the Islamicization of life, empowering of God’s religion, establishing the renaissance of the ummah [worldwide Muslim nation] on the basis of Islam… Every aspect of life is to be Islamicized.
We call upon God Almighty to make this transformation the beginning of a new renaissance for the ummah and the shaking off of the state of backwardness from which it has suffered for decades. As Muslim Brothers, it is imperative that we, as well as the entirety of the ummah, God willing, take advantage of this revolution which took place in Egypt and continues in the countries surrounding us.
The video of al-Shater’s speech (in Arabic) can be found here. An English translation by the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth was published by the Hudson Institution.
So while the world watches what happens between Israel and the Brotherhood’s Hamas affiliate in Gaza, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood seek to extend the Muslim Brotherhood’s control over the Egyptian government by bringing in hardliners like al-Shater.
If these changes occur, I wonder if Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will still consider Morsi “his own man”?