CAIRO — Supporters of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and the human rights advocates who dedicated themselves to toppling the longtime autocrat never dreamed they would find themselves chanting the same slogans.
But with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s decision on Thursday to assume near-absolute power over his country, at least for now, secularists of all stripes have mobilized in ways unimaginable just a week ago. With Islamists largely backing Morsi, a battle is quickly taking shape over the degree to which religion will play a role in post-revolutionary Egypt’s government.
On Sunday, despite a nascent rebellion among the judiciary, Morsi’s office said he would hold firm to his decisions. He also flexed his newly expanded powers for the first time, changing several labor laws by fiat. In a sign of fear about instability to come, Egypt’s main stock index plunged by almost 10 percent on the first trading day since Morsi’s announcement. It was the steepest drop since the turbulent days immediately after the revolution.
But Morsi also announced he would meet with the Egypt’s judges group on Monday, laying the possibility for concessions.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood allies and his opposition plan to hold dueling demonstrations across the country on Tuesday in a bid to rally support, pro and con, in the biggest test yet of the power of each side to mobilize. With a new constitution set to be approved in the coming months, Tahrir Square — the heart of the revolution that toppled Mubarak — has in recent days become a rallying place for both liberal secularists and those who have scorned them as naive.
Members of the long-suppressed Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, have been marshalling themselves in front of the very institutions once used against them. With many judges and prosecutors threatening a strike, Egypt has quickly been embroiled in a crisis that may threaten the democratic ideals of the revolution more than any other development in the tumultuous 21 months since Mubarak was deposed.
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Egypt's Mursi to meet judges over
* Stocks plunge nearly 10 pct on Mursi decree
* Mursi to meet Supreme Judicial Council
By Tom Perry and Patrick Werr
CAIRO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi will meet senior judges on Monday to try to ease a crisis over his seizure of new powers which has set off violent protests reminiscent of last year's revolution which brought him to power.
Egypt's stock market plunged on Sunday in its first day open since Mursi issued a decree late on Thursday temporarily widening his powers and shielding his decisions from judicial review, drawing accusations he was behaving like a new dictator.
More than 500 people have been injured in clashes between police and protesters worried Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood aims to dominate the post-Hosni Mubarak era after winning Egypt's first democratic parliamentary and presidential elections this year.
One Muslim Brotherhood member was killed and 60 people were hurt on Sunday in an attack on the main office of the Brotherhood in the Egyptian Nile Delta town of Damanhour, the website of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said.
Egypt's highest judicial authority hinted at compromise to avert a further escalation, though Mursi's opponents want nothing less than the complete cancellation of a decree they see as a danger to democracy.
The Supreme Judicial Council said Mursi's decree should apply only to "sovereign matters", suggesting it did not reject the declaration outright, and called on judges and prosecutors, some of whom began a strike on Sunday, to return to work.
Mursi would meet the council on Monday, state media said.
Mursi's office repeated assurances that the measures would be temporary, and said he wanted dialogue with political groups to find "common ground" over what should go in Egypt's constitution, one of the issues at the heart of the crisis.
Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University, saw an effort by the presidency and judiciary to resolve the crisis, but added their statements were "vague". "The situation is heading towards more trouble," he said.
Sunday's stock market fall of nearly 10 percent - halted only by automatic curbs - was the worst since the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February, 2011.
Images of protesters clashing with riot police and tear gas wafting through Cairo's Tahrir Square were an unsettling reminder of that uprising. Activists were camped in the square for a third day, blocking traffic with makeshift barricades. Nearby, riot police and protesters clashed intermittently.
"BACK TO SQUARE ONE"
Mursi's supporters and opponents plan big demonstrations on Tuesday that could be a trigger for more street violence.
"We are back to square one, politically, socially," said Mohamed Radwan of Pharos Securities, an Egyptian brokerage firm.
Mursi's decree marks an effort to consolidate his influence after he successfully sidelined Mubarak-era generals in August. It reflects his suspicions of a judiciary little reformed since the Mubarak era.
Issued just a day after Mursi received glowing tributes from Washington for his work brokering a deal to end eight days of violence between Israel and Hamas, the decree drew warnings from the West to uphold democracy. Washington has leverage because of billions of dollars it sends in annual military aid.
"The United States should be saying this is unacceptable," former presidential nominee John McCain, leading Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Fox News.
"We thank Mr. Mursi for his efforts in brokering the ceasefire with Hamas ... But this is not what the United States of America's taxpayers expect. Our dollars will be directly related to progress toward democracy."
The Mursi administration has defended his decree as an effort to speed up reforms that will complete Egypt's democratic transformation. Yet leftists, liberals, socialists and others say it has exposed the autocratic impulses of a man once jailed by Mubarak.
"There is no room for dialogue when a dictator imposes the most oppressive, abhorrent measures and then says 'let us split the difference'," prominent opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday.
WARNINGS FROM WEST
Investors had grown more confident in recent months that a legitimately elected government would help Egypt put its economic and political problems behind it. The stock market's main index had risen 35 percent since Mursi's victory. It closed on Sunday at its lowest level since July 31.
Political turmoil also raised the cost of government borrowing at a treasury bill auction on Sunday.
"Investors know that Mursi's decisions will not be accepted and that there will be clashes on the street," said Osama Mourad of Arab Financial Brokerage.
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More Islamic supremacism from jihad central command. Such delusion is necessary to fuel the hate, fury and genocidal aspirations of Islam.
read more at http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.comA Iranian commander says the victory of Palestinian resistance fighters in the eight-day war with Israel marks the second wave of Islamic awaking in the region.
Commander of Iran's volunteer Basij forces Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi on Friday hailed the unity among Palestinian factions and the contribution of other Muslim nations to end the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.
“Nations realized more than ever before that they need to come on to the stage and exhaust all their power and capacities,” Naqdi told a pro-Palestinian gathering in Tehran.
“The heroic nation of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip gallantly stood up and the people of Syria have well performed their obligation by their intelligence and maintaining the resistance front. Today it is the Egyptian people’s turn to complete the task, and they also have taken high steps,” he stated.
The commander said the ultimate defeat of the Israeli regime would depend on the alertness and further awakening in the West Bank and Jordan, urging the people there to play their “historical role” in the liberation of Palestine.
Islamic Terrorists Bomb Egyptian-Gaza Border Base
Terrorists destroyed part of an Egyptian base at Rafiah, challenging Cairo’s control over the Sinai after the ceasefire with Israel.
Rafiah crossing: Egyptian Troops stand guard
Islamic terrorists destroyed part of an Egyptian security building at Rafiah Saturday night, challenging Cairo’s control over the Sinai after the with Israel. No one was injured in the explosion at the base, under on the Egyptians side of Rafiah, the smuggling capital of Gaza.
The attack came 48 hours after Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi granted himself extensive new powers, which were challenged by Cairo's judiciary.
A separate explosion injured three people further south in the Sinai, where Egypt is building a facility to help it protect the pipeline that ships natural gas to Israel and Jordan. Terrorists have bombed the pipeline more than a dozen times the past two years in an effort to scuttle the agreement to sell gas to Israel.
Saturdays night’s bombing underlined Egypt’s difficulty in re-asserting control over the Sinai, where Hamas terrorists from Gaza, along with Bedouin allies and Al Qaeda-linked terrorist cells, have carved out regions of authority. They have staged increasingly frequent terrorist attacks on Israel. Several Israelis have been killed in the attacks.
Maintaining peace and quiet in the Sinai is a primary task for Egypt, experts said; the new government needs to prove to the United States, Israel, and Hamas that it can carry out its promise to protect Israel from terrorists.
Attacks from the Sinai could undermine the truce, the field of battle into the Sinai and eventually spreading back into Gaza, even if Hamas abides by the ceasefire that ended the eight-day Pillar of Defense counterterrorist