Sadat attacks 'indiscipline' with reforms of everything
The Egyptian government's drive to root out the causes of religious unrest in Egypt will soon be aided by a new set of disciplinary codes covering all aspects of public life.Skip to next paragraph
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Following a national referendum that registered 99.45 percent approval of President Anwar Sadat's crackdown on religious extremists and political opponents, he announced in a televised speech Sept. 14 that he had instructed his Cabinet to issue a new set of laws "against indiscipline in the street, in the office, in the university, in the school, in the public sector, and in the private sector.
"A whole new line of procedure will be put into force," he declared.
The new laws, which go into effect Oct. 1, are the government's attempt to address the "slackness" that "the people complain of," according to Mr. Sadat, which has allowed the opposition and religious extremists to foment unrest in the country. In fact, "indiscipline" has become Mr. Sadat's current justification for his recent clampdown.
"The recent measures do not ain at the protection of the regime but at striking at indiscipline after people complain, in the streets, university, church and everywhere," Mr. Sadat said in an interview published Sept. 21 in his ruling party's newspaper, Mayo.
The government has outlined an enormous task for itself, trying to tackle the perennial problems of this poor, overcrowded, overburdened country all at once. Telephone service, traffic jams, noise, public cleanliness, housing shortages, the efficiency of public- and private-sector companies, universities, and the press are all on the agenda.
The ministries will attempt to eliminate the redundant workers that clog each ministry by instituting new training programs.
On university campuses, which have been the strongholds of the Islamic groups , the government has allotted 1 million Egyptian pounds ($690,000) for additional security.
It is now forbidden for women to wear face veils on campus, and they must wear "temperate" clothing. Students' ID cards will be checked when they come onto the campus.
To replace the student services which Islamic groups provided, and which won them much popular support, the government has allotted 2 million pounds ($1.38 million) to provide lecture notes, cheap textbooks, loans, and cheap clothing for poor students.
To ease employment pressures, 25,000 new posts in the universities are to be allotted to new graduates, and restrictions on emigration for work will be eased. Faculty advisers will supervise groups of 50 students each.
The government has also announced that there will be a small Cabinet reshuffle and that six provincial governors will be replaced.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sadat's clampdown, begun two week ago, continues. A small demonstration by 50 people in a Cairo mosque Sept. 18 was brutally broken up by plainclothes policemen carrying whips and Mace. The interrogation of the first groups of more than 1,500 detainess has begun.
Egyptian television show documents and films of secret communist activities in Egypt, and cassettes of fundamentalist leader Sheikh Abdul-Hamid Kishk have been confiscated.
But Mr. Sadat has shifted the emphasis of this crackdown yet again. What started as a fight against religious fanaticism and changed into a Soviet plot to topple the regime has become a battle against "indiscipline," as a ferment of government activity seeks to assure the people that Egypt's many problems can, indeed, be solved.