The Case for Keeping the Muslim Brotherhood Out of Politics


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Yes it’s obvious common sense to 99% of the people reading this, but it’s not at all obvious to much of the political establishment which insists that political participation moderates.

Daniel Pipes once again makes the point that it does not.

Yes, we do indeed want to break the brotherhood’s neck because that is good for Egypt, the region, and (not least) ourselves. Both the above assumptions are wrong. (1) Islamists can do more damage within the political process than outside it. To put it graphically, I worry more about a Turkey, with elected Islamists in charge, than Syria, where they are engaged in a civil war to attain power. (2) Islamists have a history of using the political process for their own ends, and not of being tamed by it: see Mohamed Morsi’s year in power for one clear example.

The idea that fanatical groups set on absolute power with no interest on compromise will become moderated based on the need to participate in the political process is wishful thinking.

The Nazis and the Communists did not become moderate when they participated in the political process. They either

1. Played moderate long enough to take over

2. Were marginalized

There was no 3rd option in which they became more sensible. Pipes is quite correct that Erdogan is more dangerous than the Syrian rebels. A head of state is always more dangerous than a rebel army.

At the head of a government, the Brotherhood is far closer to fulfilling its goals than it is in the armed camp. The notion that the give and take of politics will moderate it and cause it to lose sight of its goals is naively optimistic.