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Remember last year’s giddy bipartisan enthusiasm over the “Arab Spring”? President Obama claimed that Egyptians merely wanted “a government that is fair and just and responsive,” Senator John McCain asserted that Libyans were aiming for “lasting peace, dignity, and justice,” while Senator Joseph Lieberman wrote in Foreign Affairs that the Arab Spring was a struggle for “democracy, dignity, economic opportunity, and involvement in the modern world.” Every day that passes shows these assessments to be not just delusional, but dangerous to America’s interests and security.
The most recent repudiation of the “democracy delusion” is the arrogant threat made by a member of the Muslim Brothers, who control almost 50% of the new Egyptian parliament, to abrogate their treaty with Israel if the U.S. cuts off $1.5 billion in annual aid over the indictment of 16 American NGO workers, and the detention of 6 of them. In this the Brothers are in accord with the interim military government, whose prime minister Kamal el- Ganzouri told reporters last week that the Egyptians “won’t change course because of some aid.”
These are the same Muslim Brothers, remember, anointed as “moderates” and “largely secular” by Obama’s director of intelligence, foreign policy wonks, and New York Times columnists, an opinion based solely on propaganda and wishful thinking. Ignored are the many mosque sermons that vow to “kill all the Jews,” or that assert, as Muslim Brothers spiritual leader Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb has, “In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything.” This advice is seconded by Brothers’ Supreme Guide Muhammad al-Badi’, who finds “a practical role model in Allah’s Messenger, [the Prophet Muhammad] . . . who clarified how to implement the values of the [Koran] and the Sunna at every time and in every place,” and who advises that the “improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” If you want more specifics about what sort of Egypt the Muslim Brothers will build, consult the speeches of the Brothers’ Grand Mufti Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who commands a global audience of millions. Qaradawi has approved of suicide bombing, wife-beating, death for homosexuals, support for Hezbollah, and the righteousness of the Holocaust.
Not much here, pace President Obama, that one can call “fair and just and responsive,” or that can justify the opinion of the New York Times that the Muslim Brothers “want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt’s treaty with Israel.” And why would they? As their spectacular electoral success has shown––the Brothers and the Salafists won almost 75% of the recent voting–– the Brothers merely reflect the beliefs and goals of most Egyptians. In Pew surveys from the last few years, 84% of Egyptians support the death penalty for apostates, 82% support stoning adulterers, 85% said Islam’s influence on politics is positive, 95% said that it is good that Islam plays a large role in politics, 59% identified with Islamic fundamentalists, 54% favored gender segregation in the workplace, 82% favored stoning adulterers, 77% favored whippings and cutting off the hands of thieves and robbers, 84% favored death for those leaving Islam, and 60% said that laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Koran. Those views don’t sound like a people yearning for liberal democracy.
It’s not hard, then, to see why the Brothers would want to follow the Iranian playbook from 1979 and proclaim its Islamist bona fides by publicly humiliating the infidel global hegemon, the “Great Satan” whose dominance stands in the way of Muslims’ regaining their rightful global preeminence. As Muslim Brother founder Hassan al-Banna wrote, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate not to be dominated, to impose it laws on all nations, extend its power to the entire planet.” Confronting America also will help unify the nation around shari’a law, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism, not to mention marginalizing whatever moderate remnants are left in Egypt and rallying other factions around hatred of America. The Islamist revival has always made fidelity to the creed and Muslim chauvinism the centerpiece of jihadist violence and propaganda, the ties that can bind Muslims into a powerful community.
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