Conflict & Justice

Egyptian Islamists: 'We've Won Elections, Now Democracy Isn't Good Enough?'

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An anti-Mursi protester shouts during a protest against the president outside the presidential palace in Cairo December 5, 2012. Islamists fought protesters outside the Egyptian president's palace on Wednesday, while inside the building his deputy proposed a way to end a crisis over a draft constitution that has split the most populous Arab nation. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

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REUTERS

Rival protesters clashed in Cairo Wednesday, as tensions continued to escalate over President Mohammed Morsi's powers and a new constitution.

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Tarek Masoud, a professor of public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, says the cleavages between liberals and Islamists run deep in Egyptian society, and that even deep concessions by Morsi to his opponents would not bridge the divide.

"Let's say [Morsi] conceded to every one one of those demands. Well then you could imagine that his hardcore supporters, including Salafists who may even believe that the current constitution isn't Islamic enough, they're going to be very disappointed," says Masoud. "And we've already seen dark hints from some quarters of assassinations or violence that they would take part in if this constitution didn't pass."