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But really, that’s not much of an accomplishment.
On the 15th of February, I wrote this response to a Wall Street Journal article that had, in my opinion, failed to reflect the dangers inherent in the Muslim Brotherhood’s surge to the forefront of Egyptian politics.
Today, the benighted New York Times informs us that Gee, the Muslim Brotherhood is taking over the Egyptian revolution – and that might not be a good thing! “The Muslim Brotherhood,” we are told, “an Islamist group once banned by the state, is at the forefront, transformed into a tacit partner with the military government that many fear will thwart fundamental changes.”
Well, better late than never, but one would think that, arriving at the obvious conclusion more than a month later than yours truly, the Old Gray Lady might compensate for her tardiness with wisdom. Or insight. Or something. One would be disappointed, because instead, we are subjected to more of the thoughtless schlock that so effectively raised my ire in the Wall Street Journal article. For instance, we are treated to the highly ironic, and completely unchallenged assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood, “has never been a revolutionary movement,” which would come as quite a shock, I’m sure, to Hassan al Banna, who founded the Brotherhood in part, to toss the British out of Egypt. It would also surprise Sayid Qutb, the Brotherhood’s most prominent theologian during the time that the Brotherhood joined with the Gamal Abdul Nasser and the Free Officers to overthrow the monarchy. It would surprise anyone, as a matter of fact, who knew the slightest bit about the Brotherhood, such as their motto, which states,
Allah is our objective.
The Prophet is our leader.
Qur’an is our law.
Jihad is our way.
Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
In an apparent campaign to derive income from stating the obvious, the article trundles on, spewing out gems like, “…there is growing evidence of the Brotherhood’s rise and the overpowering force of Islam.”
The Times goes on to explain that the Muslim Brotherhood, comprised as it is of a network of civil institutions, (as I mentioned a month and a half ago) is in a better position to benefit from early elections because it has a base – and access to that base – that newer parties can only dream of. So when a referendum was offered for early elections, nobody with a brain should have been surprised that the Brotherhood pushed for a yes vote, and couched its campaign in religious terms. “A banner hung by the Muslim Brotherhood in a square in Alexandria instructed voters that it was their “religious duty” to vote “yes” on the amendments.” (Somebody call Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who famously assured us the the Brotherhood was “largely secular.”)
The point of all this is that nothing here should come as a surprise to anyone who knows anything about Islam or the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brothers, in building civic institutions and in meeting the needs of their members and their members’ families since 1928, have been doing nothing more amazing than putting their motto into practice. In raising successive generations of Egyptians who are delivered by Brotherhood doctors, grow to attend Brotherhood schools, and are provided with jobs by the Brotherhood, the leaders of the organization are no less revolutionary than were members who used violence to accomplish their goals. A revolution is no less a revolution if it overthrows the current system quietly, is it? So now that circumstances have paved a path to power for the Brotherhood, it should be expected that the emergent Egypt will reflect the values of the motto written above. When someone tells you what they’re going to do and then does it ceaselessly in the face of opposition for 83 years, it would be remarkable if they stopped doing it when they rose to power. I hate to break this to the New York Times, but if you’re only just now catching on to all this, you really shouldn’t be bringing that fact to our attention.