The mainstream media has consistently portrayed the Egyptian revolution as purely pro-democracy with no connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The repeated message has been that the youth of Egypt have risen up for secular freedoms that are not connected to religious radicalism. And no Americans or Israelis should fear the future unknown government of Egypt. Sadly, our government has pushed the same message. But I wonder how many of them have actually spoken to these young Egyptians. Geraldo did, and the result was unnerving.
It’s safe to say that Geraldo Rivera is one of the more left-leaning folks on Fox News. People on the opposite side of say Hannity or Beck are far more likely to open up to Geraldo. This past Saturday night on Geraldo at Large, Rivera did a live interview with a small group of what he called “Egyptian-American” college students, and they opened up more than they meant to. Rivera asked them about their feelings on the Muslim Brotherhood. Two young Muslim women answered. Both attempted to veil their support for the radical organization, but the truth slipped out.
Geraldo:”Are you afraid that the next step will be the Muslim Brotherhood or some radical group?”
Student #2: “Absolutely not…I am not at all afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over at all?”
Geraldo: “Would that prospect though give you pause or doubt about the future if they (Muslim Brotherhood) were to indeed get involved in politics?”
Student #2: “I guess that’s a very opinionated question. I’m not so sure of what America’s perception on The Muslim Brotherhood is, but in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is primarily some of the reasons why people in Egypt even have jobs. So yes in a sense, but then no – not that bad.”
Geraldo: “Not that bad?”
Student#1: “The western society has a wrong impression of the Muslim Brotherhood…they were… joining the people…We are fighting for a pluralistic government and a part of this pluralistic government is also having members of the Muslim Brotherhood because there are Muslims in Egypt.”
If these students represent the voice of the Egyptian so-called pro-Democracy movement, then the United States and Israel has much to fear. It was clear that these students wanted to simultaneously reject American fears of the Muslim Brotherhood and also give pluralistic, secular reasons to allow the MB a seat at the table of government. But their answers revealed so much more.
Student #2 (as I’ve labeled her) started by arguing that Americans should realize the Muslim Brotherhood will not take over the Egyptian government. Then when Geraldo asked if she would have concern if the MB did step into politics. The young Muslim student looked like a deer in headlights. She knew her answer might reveal too much and wanted to parse her words carefully. (I’ve seen similar reactions when David Horowitz asks college Muslims if they would condemn Hamas).
The young lady tried her best to answer both yes an no to Geraldo’s question (if she fears the MB in government rule), but her explanation only shouted no. She believes America has the wrong view on the Brotherhood. To her, they are a wonderful organization that even gets young people jobs (those same young people protesting for new leadership).
The other young Muslim woman that spoke up tried to play the spin game as well. She spoke all about the protest having nothing to do with the MB, they were simply one group of Egyptians among many there. But yet she condemned the West’s view of the Brotherhood (that they are a radical terrorist support group) and practically demanded that the MB have a roll in government. And while pretending she was pluralistic, argued that the MB should help govern since “there are Muslims in Egypt.” In other words, Muslims will be represented in government by the Muslim Brotherhood. Some Coptic or liberal folks might get a small role, but hey, Egypt is primarily Muslim. So a true representative government means Muslim rule, and the Muslims (according to her own answer) are represented by the Muslim Brotherhood.
This interview should give us all pause. The future of Egypt, I pray will be a moderate, secular government that continues peace with us and Israel. But if these students get what they want, we are all in a lot of trouble.