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New York Times Shills for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Posted By Raymond Ibrahim On July 17, 2012 @ 12:50 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 14 Comments

In a recent New York Times article titled “As Islamists Gain Influence, Washington Reassess Who Its Friends Are,” one Scott Shane does what the MSM does best: objectively list and discuss facts, but then offer an interpretation that has little grounding in reality.

The prevailing theme of his article is that there is “great change” in the Middle East, which certainly is true, though he fails to explain the fundamental factors behind this change, including the primary one that should interest Americans—namely, a counterproductive, if not irrational, U.S. Mideast policy.  Nor does he explain the philosophical underpinnings of this failed policy—namely, the belief, pounded in every American child’s head upon entering school, that all violence is a product of some grievance or material want: hence, all Islamic violence is a product of grievance and wants, all of which the U.S., under Obama, is going to satisfy by ensuring Islamists gain control of Egypt—even as many Egyptians yesterday protested against Hillary Clinton’s visit, insisting that “Egypt will not become Pakistan,” a reference to the U.S. administration’s obvious meddling in Egypt to empower the Sharia-enforcers.

Shane spends some time contrasting the Bush administration “stark” Mideast policy, including its unwillingness to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, with the Obama administration’s willingness to meet, not only the Brotherhood, but members from the terrorist organization Al Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which Shane describes as having  “renounced violence.”  Likewise, he argues that during the Bush years, “American officials did not always carefully distinguish between Islamists, who advocate a leading role for Islam in government, and violent jihadists, who espouse the same goal but advocate terrorism to achieve it.”

Shane fails to acknowledge that what both “Islamists” and “violent jihadists” want—“a leading role for Islam in government,” i.e., Sharia law—is in many respects the legal codification of terror: “a leading role for Islam in government” means whippings, beheading, amputations, sexual segregation, religious discrimination, death for apostates, and international hostility, even if only concealed, for the rest of the non-Islamic world, including the United States and especially its ally, Israel.

That Shane cannot—or will not—make this distinction is evident in the fact that he actually states that the Blind Sheikh’s “guilt is questioned by many Egyptians, who see him as the victim of a conspiracy by the United States and Mr. Mubarak.” Thus, here is the NYT giving voice to yet another “Muslim conspiracy theory” about how the terrorist sheikh—whose many terrors include his once issuing a fatwa permitting Muslims to ransack churches in Egypt to fund the jihad—may actually be “innocent.”

And what was the Obama administration’s excuse for secretly allowing another member of Al Gama’a al-Islamiyya—a group that, among other atrocities, slaughtered some 60 European tourists during the Luxor Massacre—to the White House?  Simple: according to the State Dept, “It’s a new day in Egypt. It’s a new day in a lot of countries across the Middle East and North Africa.” Adds Shane: “Long-held assumptions about who is a friend of the United States and who is not have been upset.”

What does this utopian talk of a “new day” mean?  What new event has caused “long-held assumptions about who is a friend of the United States” to be “upset”? In fact, a foremost factor is that, unlike former U.S. presidents, Obama threw the West’s traditional Mideast allies under the bus, helping empower America’s traditional enemies, the Islamists—all under the banner of “democracy.” This is why there is a “new day.” Yet Shane continues getting it backwards, writing, “American hostility to Islamist movements, in fact, long predated Sept. 11, in part because of the United States’ support for secular autocrats in Arab countries. During the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was officially banned…”

This is distorted on several levels: First, he focuses on “American hostility to Islamist movements,” not “Islamist hostility to America”—which is what prompted “American hostility” to the Islamists in the first place.  Nor does he mention why U.S. foreign policy has traditionally been supportive of dictators: they are simply the better of two evils. A secular dictator is better than an Islamist one who has an ideological agenda rooted in the 7th century.  Yet reading the NYT article, everything is in a vacuum: the impression is that America was, for no good reason, inexplicably hostile to the Islamists, and inexplicably supportive of the dictators—dictators who in reality kept a lid on those who would violate both U.S. interests and the humanitarian rights of those Egyptians who do not wish to live under Sharia law.

As one reads on, it becomes clear that Shane’s distorted views are based on the distorted views of the “experts” he quotes.  He writes that Morsi’s “move on Sunday to revive the dissolved Parliament had Western experts scrambling to understand his strategy.”  Is it really hard to understand what Egypt’s Islamist president was trying to do?  Having won the presidency, and despite all his talk of rule of law, pluralism, etc., once president, he thought he could—as only the Muslim Brotherhood is notorious at doing—break his word and flagrantly return his Islamist friends to power.  If “Western experts [were] scrambling to understand” this move, rest assured that virtually all Egyptian analysts, who are as realistic as only an Egyptian living in Egypt can be, saw Morsi’s blunder for its sheer simplicity.

Shane closes his article with several assurances that “Experts on the Middle East” suggest that “Americans should not assume that the rise of Islamists puts the United States in greater danger from terrorists. The opposite may well be the case, they say.”

He quotes the assurances of one Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy: “I would say people should not be too alarmed by the anti-American rhetoric”; McIlnerney adds that the end of Mubarak’s rule in Egypt last year “is an important step in combating terrorism in the region and undermining its appeal.”  Go figure what this means.  Anti-American rhetoric?—don’t worry about it.  Ousting the man who kept Islamic terrorists in prison?—this is “an important step in combating terrorism.”

He also quotes one “Michele Dunne, an Egypt expert at the Atlantic Council, a Washington research institution,” who confirms the same old line: “’The major Egyptian terrorists, including the [blind] sheik and the current leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, were shaped by their rage against the Mubarak dictatorship.’ The movement of Islamists into mainstream politics should reduce the terrorism threat, she said.”

This is simply absurd, as it does not at all take the Islamists’ own words, which consist of fatwas, treatises, and entire books unequivocally making clear that hostility for infidels—whether a secular regime or the United States—is a doctrinal matter, and not based on this or that grievance.

Worse, Shane closes with Dunne’s warning: “If Islamist groups like the Brotherhood lose faith in democracy that’s when there could be dire consequences.”

Not quite.  The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists do not have any “faith” in democracy—which they always portray as an infidel practice to be exploited to empower Sharia.  When it comes to the U.S., the only thing they likely have faith in is the continued compliance of the Obama administration.

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