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Can Mansour, Military Improve Lives of Egyptians?

Law professor raises questions in New York Times column following Morsi ouster

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July 8, 2013 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

EVANSTON, Ill. --- In her online column in the “Room for Debate” section of The New York Times, Kristen Stilt, a professor of law and history at Northwestern University, raises questions about the problems following the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

“Egypt’s struggling economy cannot be repaired overnight,” Stilt says in the column. “Today’s elation over Morsi’s removal may distract from unemployment, rising prices and shortages. Tomorrow, Egyptians shopping for the beginning of Ramadan will be reminded of those harsh facts.

“The interests of the widespread and highly diverse anti-Morsi constituency coincided with the interests of the military long enough to remove Morsi. But even if the military has learned from its previous stint in power following Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, it still has its own agenda and is not a neutral actor. As before, that agenda may deviate from that of the civilians who turned to the military to oust the president -- setting up a whole new set of conflicts.

“The military’s agenda may also deviate from the goals and ambitions of Mansour [the Supreme Constitutional Court chief justice now acting as the military-appointed interim president of Egypt]. The best measure of stability in the coming months will be whether Mansour and the military can improve the daily lives of Egyptians and oversee new elections before they, too, are called upon to leave.”

Stilt, professor of law and an affiliated faculty member in the history department in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, studies the historical development and contemporary practices of Islamic law. In her research, she seeks to understand the growing phenomenon of enshrining references to Islam and Islamic law in national constitutions.

Stilt is the author of “Islamic Law in Action: Authority, Discretion, and Everyday Experiences in Mamluk Egypt” (Oxford University Press, 2011) and the co-editor of the forthcoming “Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law.” See more at: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/04/two-northwestern-faculty-named-guggenheim-fellows.html#sthash.2wJXM0lP.dpuf

To read the full article in The New York Times, “Solving Problems of Daily Life,” go to:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/07/07/is-egypt-evolving-or-collapsing/egypts-stability-depends-on-solving-the-problems-of-daily-life