In a foretaste of Islamist rule, thousands gather to denounce the "treacherous Jews."
Egyptians have gone to the polls in large numbers this week to cast their votes in the first stage of protracted parliamentary elections that will stretch into early next year. Meanwhile, the country's military rulers do not appear to be going anywhere, unless forced out by mounting street protests and outside international pressure.
Few of the hundreds of thousands of protesters who have crowded Tahrir Square in recent days would appear to trust the integrity of the electoral process, nor think it will mean greater freedom any time soon. One voter quoted by the New York Times captured the situation succinctly when he said, “It is like a play, it is like a sham. We are pretending to be voting. I know these elections don’t mean anything, but I am still going.” Another said, "There is no justice, no integrity, no confidence. But I came because then I will have done my duty, so I will ask to claim my rights.”
The main beneficiary of the elections will in all likelihood be the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders formed an alliance of convenience with the ruling military council to ensure that the elections would proceed as planned. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best-organized political force, wanted no delays that would give opponents the opportunity to catch up with its organizational prowess.
We got a taste of what is to come from the Muslim Brotherhood's co-sponsored "kill the Jews" pep rally held last Friday in Cairo. According to a report in YNet News, about 5,000 people joined the rally at Cairo's most prominent mosque, the Al-Azhar mosque. Over and over again, the crowd chanted passages from the Koran vowing that “one day we shall kill all the Jews.”
The rally was co-sponsored by the Al-Azhar University, which President Obama had referred to as a "beacon of learning" in his June 2009 speech to the Muslim world, and by the Union of Muslim Scholars. The latter group is headed by the Muslim Brotherhood's virulently anti-Semitic spiritual leader Youssef Qaradawi, who just happened to return to Cairo two days before the rally for the first time since his February trip when he delivered his fiery speech calling, among other things, for "the conquest of the al-Aqsa Mosque."
The rally event, dubbed “Friday of Al-Aqsa Support," was called to promote the "battle against Jerusalem's Judaization," in observance of the anniversary of the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine which the Palestinians and their Islamist supporters condemn to this day.
The imam of Al-Azhar mosque, Muhammad Ahmed el- Tayeb, exhorted the crowd: “Al- Aksa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews... We shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds [Jerusalem]. We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there.”
An Egyptian newspaper, the Egypt Daily News, reported that Abdel Rahman Al-Mor, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s advisory bureau, said that "the most important step to a free Palestine is to prepare the young generation for the upcoming battle."
Eldad Beck, Ynet’s Arab affairs correspondent, reported that other speakers at the rally delivered "impassioned, hateful speeches against Israel, slamming the 'Zionist occupiers' and the 'treacherous Jews.'"
The crowd was riled up. In addition to their recital of the "kill the Jews" passage from the Koran, protesters chanted such nuggets as:
- "Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come."
- “Our beloved Aqsa, your sun will never set.”
- “Islam regains its pride or we die as martyrs.”
The rally has received very little attention by Western media. Running under the banner of its newly formed Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to project an image of moderation between the ultraconservative Islamist Salafis and the liberal parties whom the Brotherhood characterize as secularists wanting to reject Islam altogether. It's as if they were adopting former President Bill Clinton's triangulation strategy. Their audience is not only the Egyptian voters who are likely to give them a controlling number of seats in the Egyptian parliament. Their audience also includes Western leaders and opinion makers. And they are succeeding.
The New York Times praised the Muslim Brotherhood's "unrivaled organization and sophistication" in its November 29th front page article on the Egyptian elections. Indeed, if one just relied on the New York Times for information about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, one would think it is no different than any well-organized political group in the United States:
Teams of young members sat with laptop computers at strategic points, like outside mosques, around Cairo to help voters locate their polling places, helping anyone but providing the information on slips of paper advertising their candidates.
Lines of as many as a dozen Brotherhood members wearing the insignia of the group’s newly formed Freedom and Justice Party stood outside polling places to help maintain security, and in some places they performed services like walking elderly women to designated lines.
The party’s secretary general, Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, said on Monday night that 40,000 members had turned out to secure polling places in Cairo, and afterward members volunteered to clean up the litter left behind.
How civic minded! The only problem is that such accounts ignore what the Muslim Brotherhood is really all about. The Brotherhood is using Egypt's flawed electoral process, backed up by its tacit alliance with the country's military rulers, to achieve its anti-freedom objective of imposing its Islamist ideology on Egyptian society and then exporting it in concert with Iran. With sharia law and their jihadism to guide them, the Islamists can be expected to institutionalize continued persecution of religious minorities such as the Coptic Christians, marginalize women and suppress freedom of speech and the press in the interest of protecting Islam against blasphemy. Once they have consolidated their power domestically, the Muslim Brotherhood will be ready to join Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah in a campaign to destroy Israel.
Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has a special affinity with its parent. Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu has said, "We have the same ethics as the Muslim Brotherhood; the principles are the same."
The Muslim Brotherhood's triangulation strategy is working. It is getting away with positioning itself to the voters in Egypt and to Western leaders and the media as a moderate form of Islam. Perhaps compared to al Qaeda, its tactics to gain power are currently less violent. But its end game is the same.
Like the Nazi Party did in the 1930s, the Iranian Islamists did in 1979 and Hamas did in 2006, the Muslim Brotherhood is embarked on a hijacking of the electoral process to subvert any chance of democratic freedoms in Egypt. And our own leaders are helping them along, moving dangerously close to fully embracing the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership of a new elected civil government in Egypt as a "democratic" alternative to the current regime.
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