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The subsequent electoral success of Islamist parties eager to create governments that substantially incorporate illiberal shari’a law, or the ascendancy in Egypt of the anti-Western, illiberal Muslim Brothers–– whose credo is “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations”––seemingly has not troubled this bipartisan cheerleading for the magic powers of democratic elections. The June 2012 election of Muslim Brother Mohammed Morsi as Egypt’s president was met with congratulations from Republican Senator John McCain and Independent Joseph Lieberman: “The Egyptian people have spoken,” the senators said in a joint statement, “and we respect their choice and look forward to working with President-elect Morsi in a spirit of mutual respect and in pursuit of the many shared interests of the United States and Egypt.”
The Obama administration has been particularly eager to perpetuate this delusional belief that democratic machinery and rhetoric can trump deep-seated religious beliefs that conflict with Western notions of human rights and freedom. As a consequence, Obama had encouraged and legitimized Egypt’s Muslim Brothers. His Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, called them “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam,” an estimation contradicted by numerous statements by Muslim Brother spokesmen and spiritual advisors advocating shari’a law, promoting violent jihad against Islam’s enemies, and calling for the abrogation of the peace treaty with Israel. Regarding the treaty, Egypt’s intentions may be divined in a statement made by Morsi’s spokesman, who has declared, “Our capital won’t be Mecca or Medina, but Jerusalem, millions of shahids [martyrs] will march on the city.”
As for the possibilities of a liberal democracy taking root in Egypt, consider Morsi’s statement that “The day will come when the Sharia of the truth is put into effect,” and his pardoning of 25 convicted jihadist leaders. Morsi has also called for the release of the “Blind Sheikh” Abdul Rahman, who masterminded the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 that killed 6 people and wounded over a 1000. Just recently a consortium of jihadist outfits have threatened to burn down the American embassy in Cairo and take hostages from the survivors if Rahman and other terrorists held in the U.S. are not released. Morsi has also met with leaders of Hamas, the Muslim Brothers terrorist subsidiary that controls Gaza, and recently travelled to Tehran to forge closer relations with the mullahs’ genocidal regime. Meanwhile, violent assaults on Egypt’s Christian Copts continue, with over 100,000 having fled their homeland since the revolution began. Despite all these red Islamist flags, President Obama has invited Morsi to the White House in September 2012, and is negotiating $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt.
These 11 years of delusion, which have culminated in the Obama administration’s empowering a jihadist regime in the strategically important and most populous Arab state in the Middle East, are the consequence of our continuing failure to understand accurately the motivating religious ideology of the jihadists. We have perpetuated the empirically dubious claim that Muslims like the Ayatollah Khomeini or Osama bin Laden, revered as heroes across the Muslim world, had “highjacked” the noble “religion of peace.” Once again Thomas Friedman provides the best example of this sort of thinking: “Muslims have got to understand that a death cult has taken root in the bosom of their religion, feeding off it like a cancerous tumor.” Friedman’s simile, however, is false. Jihadism is not a diseased “tumor” in Islam, but a vital organ. Jihad is a core Islamic belief copiously documented in the Koran, hadiths, and theological writings, a belief that fueled Islam’s great conquests from the Atlantic to China.
In the coming years, we would do better to heed Sun Tzu’s injunction about knowing our enemy, instead of listening to the numerous apologists and propagandists who separate jihadism from Islam and whitewash the latter’s long history of supremacism, illiberalism, and violence. We need to take seriously the respected theologians and teachers like the Ayatollah Khomeini, the architect of the Iranian jihadist regime who once said, “Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! . . . Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and the shadow of the sword.” Substitute “nuclear weapons” for “sword” and you’ll see how grievous in the next decade will be the consequences of failing to take our enemy seriously when he tells us what he believes, and then shows us what he will do to honor that belief.
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