The news from Egypt is different every hour, but right now it looks as if the Egyptian people may soon enjoy the democratic elections they have so firmly demanded. (Either that, or a messy military-led coup.)
But would elections do them any good?
It’s hard to know. Freedom and democracy are devoutly to be wished for, but the possibility of an ascendant Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is alarming at best, both for Egypt and for the rest of the world.
CNN recently revealed that the Brotherhood has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to candidates in Islamic democracies—candidates who are expected, upon taking office, to use their positions to further the Brotherhood’s goals.
In other words, the organization that now helps rally for reforms in Egypt has a history of using such reforms to further its own agenda. That agenda, the worldwide institution of Sharia law, is profoundly anti-democratic, and the Brotherhood will not hesitate to use democracy against itself. Unfortunately, both the Brotherhood and some of its most important leaders are popularly considered to be moderate voices—a fact that both endangers those who listen to them, and prevents real moderate Muslims from being heard.
The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, whose belief that jihad and death were intimately intertwined still motivates Brotherhood actions. A decade after its founding, the Muslim Brotherhood had over a million followers in Egypt alone. Today its adherents are all over the globe, including in the United States, where advocates at Virginia’s International Institute of Islamic Thought coined the term Islamophobia in an effort to gain sympathy and “beat up their critics.”
The Brotherhood’s motto remains unambiguous: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Widely recognized as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist entities, the Brotherhood has birthed groups like Hamas, whose tactics are neatly representative of the sort of radical Islamism the Brotherhood seeks to spread.
Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated protesters claim to be upset by the ruling party’s assault on democracy, but historically their own assault has been much worse. Claire Berlinski writes,
I find it unfathomable, a true national security emergency, that the words “Muslim Brotherhood” mean so little to most Americans… The first thing you must grasp about the Brotherhood is its ideology: Its goal is the establishment everywhere of an Islamic state governed by Sharia law. In al Banna’s own words, it seeks “to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”… The Brotherhood’s essence is immoderate: It is at its core unremittingly anti-secular, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and anti-Western.
Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi is the Brotherhood’s de facto spiritual leader, and a key figure in its quest to set up global Sharia. He has spoken openly in favor of suicide bombing, wife beating, and female genital mutilation. A fierce anti-Semite, Qaradawi has called the holocaust a “divine punishment” and praised Hitler because “he managed to put them [the Jews] in their place.” And, lest you think such travesties don’t affect you, he has also forbidden the sale and advertising of American or Israeli goods, stating,
“America is a second Israel. It totally supports the Zionist entity. The usurper could not do this without the support of America. “Israel’s” unjustified destruction and vandalism of everything has been using American money… America has done this for decades without suffering the consequences of any punishment…”
Qaradawi has encouraged the killing of Israeli women and children, including pregnant women, on the grounds that babies might grow up to join the Israeli army. He teaches that Muslims have a duty to support Hezbollah. And, though he has written in favor of democracy in the Muslim world, he admits that a Muslim democracy would be very different from those found in the West because “…in Islam there are some fixed principles that cannot be changed.”
The fact that the Brotherhood has joined the demands for democratic elections in Egypt ought to be overshadowed by the fact that the group subscribes to a philosophy that seeks to “destroy the Western civilization from within.” Yet, few realize that radical Islamism poses a danger even more insidious than outright violence. Robert Spencer writes,
There is a new attempt to confuse the American people about the nature of the threat we face. It’s a large-scale mainstream media effort to deny both that there is any attempt to bring Sharia to the United States, and that Sharia is anything to be concerned about in the first place. Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence of attempts to establish the primacy of Islamic law over American law, and much to indicate that Sharia is anything but benign.
Egyptian tyranny is tragic, and should be stopped. But tyranny, it seems, is among the least of democracy’s worries.