Salafists Surge in Egypt

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The West has long feared the advent of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, but the first round’s election results released Sunday night show an even worse group of Islamists surging: The Salafists. Nearly one-fourth of Egyptians voted for the group whose puritanism makes the Brotherhood look moderate.

On Sunday night, the Egyptian government released partial results for the first round of elections. Sixty-two percent of eligible Egyptians voted. The Muslim Brotherhood came in first place with 36.6%, followed by the Salafist bloc with 24.4%. The non-Islamists, the Egyptian Bloc and the Wafd Party, came in 13.4 and 7.1 percent respectively. It was a landslide victory for the Islamists, who are now expected to control about two-thirds of the parliament once all rounds of voting are completed.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a moderate group, but it appears reformist when compared to the Salafists. Whereas the Brotherhood embraces elections, the Salafists are hostile to the very concept of voting. The Brotherhood is pragmatic and aware of political constraints, whereas the Salafists have no qualms about expressing their desire to turn Egypt into another Saudi Arabia. The Brotherhood is “moderate” in comparison to the Salafists like Hamas is “moderate” compared to Al-Qaeda.

The success of the Salafists is particularly terrifying because they are honest about their objectives. Some supporters of the Brotherhood are misled about the group’s ideology. All of the Salafists’ supporters know what they are asking for when voting. The Salafists regularly call for closing movie theaters, gender segregation, creating a morality police, stoning adulterers, severing the hands of thieves and banning alcohol and “fornication.”

“I want to say: Citizenship restricted by Islamic Shariah, freedom restricted by Islamic Shariah, equality restricted by Islamic Shariah…Shariah is obligatory, not just the principles—freedom and justice and all that,” said one top Egyptian Salafist leader, Sheikh Abdel Moneim el-Shahat.

“In the land of Islam, I can’t let people decide what is permissible or what is prohibited,” says another.

One of the parties belonging to the Salafist bloc, al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, has Aboud al-Zumour, the mastermind of the assassination of Anwar Sadat, as one of its leaders. He still speaks affectionately about his old colleague, Ayman al-Zawahiri, calling him a “very kind and nice man.” He says he disagrees with his killings of civilians and tourists, but supports “resistance” against “occupiers.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, a group that supports terrorism and Shariah-based governance, criticized the Salafists for their inflammatory rhetoric. The Brotherhood favors a more incremental approach. The Deputy Supreme Guide, for example, says “the enforcement of Shariah punishments will need time, and will only come after Islam is planted in every heart and masters the life of people, and then Islamic punishments can be applied.”

The White House has yet to express alarm over the election results. The Israeli Defense Minister, on the other hand, said the results are “very, very disturbing.” Hamas is elated, as expected.

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  • StephenD

    How can we not come out a winner in this? After all, Hillary already told the M.B. that she "Looks forward to working with them."
    Maybe all their talk about destroying our miserable house from within is just talk. Maybe the Administration is right when they tell us the MUSLIM Brotherhood is "Predominantly Secular." Maybe we should just trust they will do the right thing along the borders with Gaza and not funnel weapons to Hamas (even though they share all the same goals). Hey, what's the worst that could happen? Don't forget, they say once in a while that…they really don't hate us! I bet while getting our Tax Dollars, they probably even smile. Now isn't that worth the risk to our only true ally Israel?

  • mrbean

    Beware of pinning any hope of containing Jihadism through so-called political “moderates.” In the Arab-Muslim world, the slippery term “moderate” encompasses those who are merely anti-Islamist – not necessarily pro-Western. Many Egyptians readily swallow anti-Semitic, anti-Western conspiracy theories (e.g. the Protocols of the Elders of Zion). Moreover, supporting Palestinian “resistance” (read: terrorism) against Israel is a conventional, mainstream, uncontroversial view. Egypt is one of the places where ordinary people matter-of-factly will tell you openly that America got what it deserved in the 9/11 attacks. Keep all that in mind, when you ponder what it would mean for so-called moderates to be elected into power in Egypt. In the Muslim world, the more ruthless always rule.

  • effemall

    The WH is silent because Obama knows that if he expressed his true joy over the outcome in Egypt as he wished it, his chances in 2012 would be diminished. But we should not forget that when he was demanding that Mubarrak resign "Now, Now, Now!" he also mentioned that the new coalition "should include a religious element." Well, he is getting his wish while the world and peace get shortchanged. It is hard to win a war when you have your enemy sitting on the throne of your country.

    • Amused

      Oh what childish B.S. …lol….but that gets you some thumbs up around here ……lol….that figures .

      • InRussetShadows

        You are ignorant of Obama's longstanding praise of Islam. You are ignorant of the speed that he wanted Mubarak gone (and that he wanted him gone). You are ignorant of Obama's refusal to recognize Islamic terrorism — and instead preferring the phrase "man-made disaster". You are ignorant of so many things that you'd think some introspection would be warranted; but you choose to speak and remove all doubt as to your foolish nature.

        • Amused

          Bullsheet , go peddle that on Faux News , you're a moron ,and wouldn';t recognize your enemy if he bit you on the aassss .

          • aspacia

            Obama probably is the Manchurian Candidate, and the enemy.

  • Irandissident

    In case any secular/liberal Egyptians are reading this, they should know that it took more than two years for Khomeini to impose Shari'ah laws of Qissaass, enforce the Hijab and similar Islamic laws. Stoning came later and the destruction of pre islamic Persian sites, relics and culture assumed a gradual form rather than the original attempt at Bulldozing the Persepolis which was physically stopped by the people in 1979.

    In Egypt, these will probably happen much faster. The seculars should know that democracy without secularism will be extremely repressive in Islamic countries where the masses identify with religion more than anything else. In such societies, the religious masses will vote for religion. Democracy should not be only about a majority vote but about human rights in general. Democracy should not be about the rights of a temporary majority to destroy minorities ( political minorities, social or religious….).
    The romantic and idealistic era in Egypt is over. The Tahrir square fervor has resulted in a dark age that will last for decades ( more, if the seculars do not unite in an anti islamist front to separate religion from government).
    Be patient but do not waste any more time on anything else. The sooner you realize you have NOTHING in common with Islamists of all shades and colors, the better off you will be.

    • Gary Rumain

      Biblical prophesy tells us what is to come in Egypt. The wealthy secularists will leave and industry will collapse in Egypt. There were will constant fighting until Israel steps in.

    • InRussetShadows

      So, you think we have a lot to fear from the Copts, eh? Bigot.

  • Amused

    Egypt was no freind before Mubarak , nor was it a freind under Sadat . So it will be after Mubarak , as it will be after any elections , no matter who wins .The peace with Israel has always been shaky , Sadat was killed for making that peace .At the end of the day muslims will always be muslims . Indeed BEFORE the uprising against Mubarak , the military was lining up on the border for "exercises " . The only thing that has kept Egypt in check , is , and has been the billion or so the US gives her each year .The humiliation of the defeat at the hands of the Israelies has not subsided not one single iota .There NEVER was a "romanticand idealistic era " in Egypt . Perhaps only to a small degree under Farouk , but from Nasser forward , it has not changed .

    • aspacia

      True, I followed the Egyptian government rag Ah-Ahram for many years.

  • CrossofMalta

    Saladin was a Salafist as well, famous for murdering his way to power and then erasing thousands of Moslems and Christians in both civil warring, and Jihad. Of course HollyQueered portrays him as a Gladstonian gentleman.

    Salafism is vibrant not only in Egypt but all over the Sunni Arc in the Muddled Yeast of Allah's domains.

    Saladin will be resurrected in spirit if not in body. Hamas will have a green light and lots of money and weapons [if Egypt does not go bankrupt, which is a big if], to wipe out the hated Jews.

    Obama et al will applaud. The UN will grin. The Leftard media will blame the Jews.

    • Steve

      …..and the homosexuals will panic-scatter like cockroaches.