I’ve had enough of well-meaning American liberals telling me that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate group in Egypt. The Brotherhood is a group that could very well take control of the country once Mubarak is out of power. They were not part of the initial protests against the government but they are now backing the opposition leader, Mohammed el Baradei. So just what is the Muslim Brotherhood?
Thankfully Fox News star reporter Catherine Herridge, who covers the Homeland Security front, filed a great report just a few days ago about the MB (check out the link for a great video of Herridge talking with FNC’s Laura Ingle):
Technically banned under Egypt’s constitution that forbids religious based parties, the Muslim Brotherhood is now throwing its support behind Mohammed el Baradei as an opposition leader.
But many fear that if Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak goes, the real replacement will be either the Muslim Brotherhood itself, or an Islamic fundamentalist group. El Baradei insisted on Sunday talk shows that the fear was unwarranted.
“This is total bogus that the Muslim Brotherhood are religiously conservative,” El Baradei told ABC’s “This Week.” “They are no way extremists. They are no way using violence.”
But critics point out that the Brotherhood, which was established in Egypt in the 1920’s, is synonymous with political Islam which supports the use of Islamic law known as Sharia.
“Right now the Arab Republic of Egypt does not impose Islamic law in its fullness,” Rob Spencer, the head of Jihad Watch told FOX News. “The Muslim Brotherhood wants to change that.”
Among the brotherhood’s graduates: Al Qaeda’s number two leader, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri who was imprisoned for three years on weapons charges following President Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981, Hamas, the terror network behind suicide bombings and rocket attacks in Israel, and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, whose goal is the destruction of Israel.
Walid Phares, who is a terrorism analyst for FOX News, has studied the Muslim Brotherhood. Phares says its history shows that the group is not secular and not moderate.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is the mothership for the jihadi ideologies and thinking. And therefore one can say today’s Al Qaeda, and today many other jihadists, are off shoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Other analysts, including Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution argue that it may be impossible for the United States to resist dealing with the Brotherhood as a player in Egypt.
“It’s not out there in the business of committing terrorist actions,” O’Hanlon pointed out. “Now, the question is — the question is what lurks beneath, ideologically and otherwise.”
Analysts agree that the demonstrations are creating an opening for the Muslim Brotherhood to establish itself as a viable opposition, but the impact reaches beyond Egypt with ramifications for Israel, the United States and its allies. As one analyst said, Iran could end up being the big winner.
So the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t sound all that great. At best, they are anti-American, anti-Israeli, and pro-sharia law, and at worst they want to kill American, kill Israelis, and force sharia law on the whole world by killing all the infidels.
So while the great showing of pro-democracy forces in Egypt could be a big step forward for political freedom in Egypt, it could be a giant step back in Egyptian relations to the U.S. and Israel and with regard to Egypt’s secular law (not based on the Koran like most Muslim countries).
Michael Goodwin of the New York Post has a short but really informative article about how populism and democracy in Egypt isn’t neccessarily a good thing. I featured this editorial on Wednesday’s KaibCast, which you should totally listen to if you haven’t yet (here’s the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/joshkaib/2011/02/02/wednesdays-kaibcast-2211). Here’s what Goodwin points out:
Well, that was fast. Reflecting the growing prospect that events in Cairo will not have a happy ending, a top member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says, “The people should be prepared for war against Israel.”
Muhammad Ghannem also tells an Iranian news outlet that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately and that Egypt should stop the flow of natural gas into Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The comments rip away the smiley face the Western media has pasted on the push to topple Hosni Mubarak. It is time to temper the heart-tugging romanticism about “the people” in the streets with the ugly truth about what populism usually means in the Mideast.
Most important, talk of an Egyptian-Israeli war should send shudders through the White House, which seems ready to hand Egypt on a platter to Anybody But Mubarak.
President Jimmy Carter followed the same course in Iran, with disastrous results. First, he embraced the Shah, then switched to the democracy movement. The Shah fled, the so-called democrats seized American hostages, and, 30 years later, the world is living under the threat of the evil regime.
Equally instructive is what happened in the Gaza Strip. President George W. Bush pushed for an election that both the Palestinian Authority and Israel said was a mistake. Bush was stubborn, Hamas got 70 percent of the vote, and quickly set to executing moderate Palestinians and firing rockets into Israel.
Maybe Egypt would be different — but a little evidence would be nice. Certainly, we can’t look for any from Mohamed ElBaradei, who joined ranks with the Muslim Brotherhood to form a united opposition. His Nobel Peace Prize and former role at the United Nations have not sharpened his instincts for danger.
ElBaradei pooh-poohs talk the Brotherhood, the godfather of radical Islam, would resort to violence. He even predicted that, in a fair election, its candidates would get no more than 30 percent of the vote.
The number drips with irony. Hamas also was predicted to get 30 percent in the first, and last, Gaza vote.