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If you want proof that U.S. policy towards the Arab Spring is fatally flawed, look no further than William Taylor, the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions and long associate of Muslim Brotherhood apologists. Taylor officially took charge on September 16 and oversees U.S. aid to countries affected by the Arab Spring, specifically Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
Taylor’s office has been giving Egyptian Islamists training to prepare for the election contests that begin on November 28. He justified it by saying that the assistance is open to all parties and the U.S. wouldn’t pick sides. “Sometimes, Islamist parties show up, sometimes they don’t,” he said nonchalantly.
When asked how the U.S. would feel if the Muslim Brotherhood won Egypt’s elections, he said, “I think we will be satisfied, if it is a free and fair election. What we need to do is judge people and parties and movements on what they do, not what they’re called.” The answer seemed to infer that critics of the Brotherhood are needlessly alarmed by the name of the group.
It gets worse. Taylor compared the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, as if that is a positive example to follow. “As long as parties, entities do not espouse or conduct violence, we’ll work with them.” He said there is undue fear of the Islamists. “This is something that we are used to, and should not be afraid of. We should deal with them.”
It is hard to imagine a statement more frightening and naïve coming from a senior official.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian affiliate is Hamas, which the Brotherhood still stands by and has never condemned. It says that Israel’s prisoner exchange deal that led to the release of Gilad Shalit proved that Hamas’ methods, which included kidnappings and targeting of civilians, were right. The senior Brotherhood theologian, Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, preaches the destruction of Israel, killing Jews and vocally supports terrorism, including suicide bombings. The leader of the Ennahda Party, Rachid Ghannouchi, likewise supports Hamas, terrorism and the killing of Israeli children. This certainly qualifies as espousing violence, to use the words of Taylor.
A look at Taylor’s background shows he is a long associate of individuals tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and apologists of the Islamist group. Before taking his State Department post, he was the vice president of the U.S. Institute for Peace (UIP). It has a close working relationship with John Esposito, arguably the most prominent non-Muslim apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood, foreign and domestic.
Esposito defends the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Sami al-Arian. He served as an expert witness for the defense in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which was found guilty of being a front for Hamas set up by the Brotherhood. He also upholds Sheikh al-Qaradawi as a moderate who promotes a “reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and human rights.”
Esposito is the vice chair of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), the board of which has strong associations with the International Institute for Islamic Thought, another Brotherhood front. On April 28, 2010, Taylor’s UIP sponsored a CSID conference that the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report calls “perhaps the largest public gathering of global Muslim Brotherhood leaders and U.S. government officials to date.” Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the original founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was there, as was Brotherhood members from Bahrain and Jordan. In May 2011, CSID held an event with a senior leader of Ennahda.
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