Non-Muslim tolerant 'Islamist' Morsi treads lightly, but skeptics remain unsure

Cairo, July 29 (ANI): Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, has made no apologies for the Muslim Brotherhood's slogan- "Islam is the solution"- and has, to the surprise of many, not publicly made a single Islamist move after coming to power.

Morsi had repeatedly acknowledged that shariah law would provide the principles on which the country's legal system would be based. When he was sworn in last month, the Arab world's biggest country gained an unabashed Islamist as its leader for the first time, arousing alarm in the country and abroad, reports the New York Times.

"For 80 years, hundreds of thousands of books and articles were published about what would happen in case a Brotherhood president made it to power in Egypt," said Ahmed Samir, a columnist in the daily Egyptian newspaper El Masry El Youm.

"It was said that veils would be required, banks would be closed, a war would be declared, and bathing suits would be banned. Today we discovered what happens when a Brotherhood president holds power. Simply nothing," he added.

Such a definitive pronouncement, however, could be premature, the paper said. The Brotherhood has often taken the long view, preferring incremental change to sweeping gestures. And Morsi's power has been severely circumscribed by the military, which still holds most of the cards; a rash move by Morsi could provide a pretext for the military to crack down further on the fledgling government, it added.

Significantly, Morsi has refrained from taking any action on hot-button social or foreign policy issues, or even discussing them, the paper added.

The sale and consumption of alcohol remain legal, a concern of the important tourist industry, which has been on the rocks since last year's revolution toppled Hosni Mubarak from power. No one in ruling circles is calling for the government to make wearing head scarves obligatory, ban pop music or review the peace treaty with Israel.

"Since Morsi won, the Muslim Brotherhood adopted more of a conciliatory tone and made an effort to reach out to non-Islamists. The question is if it has worked, and I would say it hasn't. It's deep-seated. Neither side trusts the other," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. (ANI)