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Egypt And The Muslim Brotherhood

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Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood
Not 1776
Part 3 of a series

Mike Scruggs

Many Americans have the impression that the protestors in the streets of Cairo are “the people” and are comparable in motivation to the American patriots of 1776. There are some authentic political grievances being voiced by the protestors, but these grievances are not really central to their larger objectives. They are only the froth on top of a deeper brew of tumultuous agitation for power. Beneath the froth are violent ambitions to establish, not democracy, but totalitarian forms of socialism and Islam. The vast majority of these protestors have three things in common: hatred of Hosni Mubarak, hatred of Israel, and hatred of the United States. Their hatred of Mubarak is strongly linked to his cooperation with Israel and the United States in keeping Middle East peace. Mubarak is still popular with ordinary non-activist Egyptians who value stability and remember his war record.

The protestors also fall into three main organizational loyalties: the Muslim Brotherhood, the National Association for Change, and several socialist organizations, the most prominent of which is the April 6 Movement. The April 6 Movement is named for their support of a workers’ strike on April 6, 2008. However, it is the Muslim Brotherhood that is orchestrating the protest and mobs.

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is thought to be the largest single opposition to Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP). At least one-third of the voting population is thought to be sympathetic to MB political and social objectives. The Brotherhood is officially outlawed, but 88 members were elected to Parliament’s lower house running as independents in 2005. This was nearly 20 percent of the 444 elected members of the People’s Assembly. The NDP got the other 80 percent. Mubarak got 89 percent of the Presidential vote the same year. Voter turnout, however, was a mere 23 percent, but according to a Pew Research poll, only 59 percent of Egyptians prefer democracy to other forms of government.

Mubarak cracked down on the MB following the 2005 election, and most of the MB independent candidates were swept out of office in the 2010 parliamentary elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood has kept a low and deceptively peaceful profile until recently. Their objectives are, however, stated in writing. They believe in the universal dominance of Islamic Law (Sharia), Holy War (Jihad) against all who oppose Islam and Sharia Law, and the destruction of Israel. They are strongly anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish. In October 2010, their leader, Mohammed Badie, called for Jihad against Israel and the United States. The Muslim Brotherhood is the political mother of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist organizations and has been a guiding influence on al-Qaeda. In fact, al-Qaeda’s deputy commander is Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, who still has political ambitions in Egypt.

The National Association for Change was founded by Mohamed ElBaradei and a group of opposition leaders in February 2010. ElBaradei, until recently, was Director General of the United. Nations-sponsored International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. He only returned to Egypt on January 27, 2011, but has made himself available as a spokesman and possible presidential candidate for the opposition parties to replace Mubarak in the 2011 elections. ElBaradei supports legalizing the Muslim Brotherhood and recently stated that “they are as much a part of the Egyptian movement as the Marxist Party or any liberal party.” With Muslim brotherhood backing, he could emerge to negotiate an interim national salvation government. As head of the IAEA he seemed to favor Iran and believes that Iran or any other nation has a right to nuclear weapons.

The April 6 movement is a Facebook-connected coalition of students and young professionals skilled in the latest internet and cellular communication innovations. They number about 70,000 and are often the most visible protestors on television. Like their clinched fist symbol on a red and black background, they tend to be militantly socialist. They are concerned about free speech, jobs, Mubarak’s nepotism, and Egypt’s stagnant economy—which they seem unable to relate to Egypt’s socialism. They are also anti-Israel and anti-American. The protest activities of April 6 and several similar socialist organizations are being orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The revolutionary coalition of Islamist and militant socialist organizations was not visible to most of the Western media until the fall of the Tunisian government on January 15, 2011. The fall of Tunisia was a catalyst for similar protests in Egypt. However, the underlying Islamist agitation really began with the fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza in 2008 and 2009, leading to a continuing naval blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, Egypt’s cooperation with Israel in the blockade outraged the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The issue was causing widespread unrest when President Obama spoke in Cairo in June 2009.

The recent Pew Foundation Research also revealed some other results that shed light on the possibility of Islamist revolutionary success in Egypt. A huge 85 percent of Egyptians view Islam as a positive influence on government, but only 48 percent believe its current influence is large. A shocking 49 percent have a favorable opinion of Hamas, and 84 percent believe apostates from Islam should face the death penalty.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration misrepresents and soft peddles the influence and militancy of the Muslin Brotherhood.
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