The interview took place at curbside on the garbage-strewn dividing island.
It was the first day of Ramadan, the sacred month in the Islamic religious calendar when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. It is a big family holiday, and the first time in nearly two weeks demonstrators mostly stayed home.
Zidan made it clear that like any movement under enormous stress, the main objective of the Brotherhood is to keep its followers fired up and to avert divisions that already have occurred between it and some other Islamist parties. The conservative Nour party, whose members are followers of the fundamentalist Salafist branch of Islam, backed the militarys ouster of Morsi.
Nours position, however, now is open to question. It objected to a decree Tuesday that gave the militarily installed president, Adly Mansour, the Supreme Constitutional Courts chief justice, broad powers. On Wednesday, a Mansour spokesman said Nour would not serve in any new government.
Meanwhile, the National Salvation Front, the largest anti-Morsi bloc whose leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, was named the countrys vice president, backed off its criticism of the decree even as the youth wing of Egypts Coptic Christian Church took public exception to a provision that stipulated that Shariah, the Islamic legal code, would be the source for all future legislation.
That sort of arguing was played in millions of Egyptian homes, where families gathered to break the daylong fast with dates, fruit juice and decadent sweets and to debate the militarys decision to remove Morsi and impose its own government.
At one such gathering, grandfathers recalled the days after 1952 when then-Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser staged a coup and upon taking power rounded up members of the Muslim Brotherhood, beginning a long period of government suppression of the group. They suggested history was repeating itself, this time through Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the minister of defense and commander of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, who announced Morsis ouster in a nationally televised address.
The adult grandchildren at the table rejected the comparison, calling what happened a week ago a popular referendum backed by millions of Egyptians.
That was a fair reflection of the nationwide debate in the week since Morsis ouster, making for an unusually contentious first night of the holy month.
Nancy A. Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.