The Muslim Brotherhood Unmasked

December 22, 2011

jihadWhile the current administration has a stake in referring to the Muslim Brotherhood as “moderate” and “largely secular,” there is a reality very different from the view at Foggy Bottom.

The Brotherhood is a popular movement of Islam founded in 1928 by Hasan al Banna, the most prominent representative of what is sometimes referred to as Islamism. For al Banna, whatever ails the Muslim world – the umma – can be addressed by the simple sentence: “Islam is the solution.” Religious law – Shariah, or “The Way – is to be restored to its central place as an organizing principle for every sphere of life.
From the Muslim Brotherhood’s point of view, whatever ails the world can be traced to the West’s pernicious influence. The West stole scientific secrets, deprived Muslims of their religious faith and converted them into docile subjects. While resentment is the main current of Islamism, it has curiously united with modern mass media to spread the faith. Similarly, while the West is deplored, the technical achievements of the West are often welcomed, and even aspects of democracy – such as the civil code – which can be exploited to advance Islam, are admired. The Brotherhood openly calls for free elections, but only as a way to gain and legitimate its authority. This duality is what confuses the detractors of Islamism. Hoping for the best, some critics rely on their assertions of what we would like to believe, that the Muslim Brotherhood is indeed “moderate” and “largely secular.”
In the recent Egyptian elections, journalists distinguished between the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood and the extreme Salafists — without noting that al Banna considered himself a Salafist, as apparently do most of the members of the Brotherhood. The Islamist synthesis of modernity and tradition is attractive to those torn between these two ideological perspectives. But make no mistake, the Muslim Brotherhood accepts modernity only to the extent it confirms an uncompromising commitment to religious dogma and imperial political designs.
According to the Islamist world view, Allah has vouchsafed to mankind a full and perfect doctrine of human behavior. And to the extent the political order is predicated on divine decree, there isn’t room for rejection, whether it be in the name of democracy or individual rights. Laws cannot be passed that explicitly challenge the commands of Allah. If people can be permitted to do what Allah has forbidden, Shariah law can never be compatible with liberal democracy. If the Koran, written by the Archangel Gabriel, at the behest of Allah, says the consumption of alcohol is forbidden, there is no authority that can grant legislative sanction. In this case, as in so many others, the religious value system guarantees “civilized” behavior. So when Islamists say they want representative government, what they mean is legislation compatible with the Koran.
Who is the ultimate arbiter of state-based legislation? The imams who reflect the wisdom and compassion of Allah. For the Brotherhood, there must be absolute loyalty to fixed and eternal rules, a condition that inevitably suffocates research, free will, science and art.
Egypt is now caught in a web woven by the Muslim Brotherhood. Democracy without the Brotherhood is inconceivable, and democracy with the Brotherhood is impossible. The movement cannot be denied if free elections are permitted, but the infrastructure of democracy cannot be created so long as there is a formal adherence to Shariah.
Yet ,in most Arab countries the Muslim Brotherhood is the best organized group. This grants it an advantage over liberal rivals that are splintered into many fractions. If the West confronts the Brotherhood’s leadership, it merely confirms the belief that the conspiracists are right in theor beief that the West is trying to undermine Islam. If the West does not confront the Islamists, the liberals are bound to be defeated. Damned if you do; damned if you don’t. In a Kantian sense, democratic impulses should – at some point – rise to the surface, especially if Brotherhood policies do not produce jobs or adequate food supplies. Dictatorships have a way of destroying themselves when the “eternal verities” that they hold onto cannot yield the basic human needs that have been promised. It is one thing to be a good Muslim who prays five times a day; it is quite another thing to rely on one meal a day for sustenance.

Herbert London is president emeritus of Hudson Institute, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book Decline and Revival in Higher Education (Transaction Books).


Dan Lungren questions Paul Stockton – Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Defense: Are we at war with violent Islamist extremism?

December 20, 2011
Watch the verbal acrobatics. Let’s go to the videotape.

(Carl) On Wednesday, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) opened a hearing to examine the emerging threat to the military from homegrown terrorists within the U.S. and named the armed services as the “most sought-after” target for radical Islamist extremist groups.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R.-Calif.) asked Paul Stockton, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, whether “we are at war with violent Islamist extremism.”

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

From an Arab Spring to an Islamist Winter: Demonstrators Dispatched by Mosques

October 30, 2011
Arab Spring
Arab Spring

(Hudson) The “revolutionaries” who sodomized and lynched Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi chanted the famous Islamic battle cry “Allahu Akbar!” [Allah is Greater].
When the leaders of the revolution announced Gaddafi’s death at a press conference, even secular Muslim journalists started chanting “Allahu Akbar!”
A few days later, the leader of Libya’s National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, declared at a rally in Benghazi that his country would now become an Islamic state.
“As a Muslim country, we have adopted the Islamic Sharia as the main source of law. Accordingly, any law that contradicts Islamic principles with the Islamic Sharia is ineffective legally.”
At this stage, it is still not clear what version of Islamic law the new rulers of Libya are planning to enforce.
Will Libya take example from Iran, Sudan and Saudi Arabia where adulterers are stoned to death and convicted thieves have their hands cut off and beheaded in public squares?
Or will Libya endorse a more “moderate” version of Islam, as is the case in many Arab and Islamic countries?
Either way, what is clear by now is that the post-Gaddafi Libya will be anything but a secular and democratic country, but one where there is no room for liberals and moderates.
Those who thought the Arab Spring would bring moderation and secularism to the Arab world are in for a big disappointment.
The results of the first free elections held under the umbrella of the Arab Spring have now brought the Islamists to power in Tunisia.
But the Islamists who won the election in Tunisia are already being accused by their rivals of being too “moderate” because they do not endorse jihad and terrorism against the “infidels.”
What happened to all those young and charismatic Facebook representatives who told everyone that the uprisings would bring the Western values and democracy to the Arab countries? Some of the secular parties that ran in the Tunisian elections did not even win one seat in parliament.
What many Western observers have failed to notice is that most of the antigovernment demonstrations that have been sweeping the Arab world over the past ten months were often launched from mosques following Friday prayers.
This is especially true regarding Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Jordan.
Thanks to the Arab Spring, the Islamists in these countries are beginning to emerge from their hiding places to become legitimate players in the political scene.
The writing on the wall is very big and clear. In a free and democratic election, those who carry the banner of “Islam is the Solution” will score major victories in most, if not all, the Arab countries.
The Palestinians were the first to experience this new trend back in 2006, when Hamas defeated the secular Fatah faction in a free and fair parliamentary election held at the request of the US and the EU.
The leaders of the Arab Spring have failed to offer themselves to their people as a better alternative to the Islamists. As far as many Arabs are concerned, this is a faceless Facebook revolution that has failed to produce new leaders. The Arab Spring is becoming the Islamist winter.


West’s Fears over Spectre of al-Qaeda among Rebels

March 30, 2011

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: It should come as no surprise to the West that intelligence officials have identified “flickers” of al-Qaeda among the Libyan rebels seeking to overthrow the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Since widespread anti-government protests erupted in Libya last month Col Gaddafi has repeatedly claimed that al-Qaeda was actively involved in stirring up the unrest. At the start of the uprising he even made the bizarre claim that al-Qaeda had supplied Libyans with pills that induced them to revolt. “Our children have been manipulated by al-Qaeda,” he declared.
Saif al-Islam, his second eldest son and heir apparent, has also made much of al-Qaeda’s role in the revolt, warning the West that it has made a “terrible mistake” in backing the rebels. “Believe me, one day when you wake up, you will find that you support the wrong people,” he said after French warplanes had bombed Libya’s air defences. “You’ve made a terrible mistake.”
While the Gaddafi regime has undoubtedly exaggerated the extent of al-Qaeda’s influence in their country, there is nevertheless disturbing evidence that the Islamist terror group is seeking to turn the current political unrest to its advantage.
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a militant Islamist group committed to the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Libya, was set up in 1995 by groups of Libyan jihadi fighters who had returned home after fighting with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union.
The LIFG later established ties with like-minded organisations, particularly al-Qaeda’s North African wing, which is predominantly based in Algeria and has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against European targets. » | Con Coughlin | Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Poll Reveals Frightening Popularity of Revolutionary Islamism

December 20, 2010

Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (The Middle East in Focus)There’s a lot of interesting material in the Pew Foundation’s latest poll of the Middle East, a survey that focuses on attitudes toward Islamism and revolutionary Islamist groups. The analysis that accompanies the poll, however, is not very good, so here is mine.
For example, in evaluating attitudes toward Hamas and Hizballah, Pew says that they receive “mixed ratings from Muslim publics [while] opinions of al-Qaida and its leader, Usama bin Ladin, are consistently negative….”
Really? Well, in Jordan, for example, 55 percent say they like Hizballah (against 43 percent negative) while 60 percent are favorable (compared to 34 percent negative) toward Hamas. Yet this is even more impressive than the figures indicate. Jordan is a staunchly Sunni country whose government opposes the ambitions of Iran and Syria. Hizballah is a Shia group which also is an agent of Iran and Syria. For a majority to praise that organization—conscious of strong government disapproval—is phenomenal.
The figures for Hamas can be more easily explained by the Palestinian connection. Yet the difference between the two in terms of public opinion isn’t that great. And it also suggests that support for Fatah and the Palestinian Authority—Hamas’s rival–must be very low in Jordan. Remember that the majority of Jordanians are also Palestinians.
Why do people support these groups? Obviously, one reason is that they fight Israel (a country with which Jordan is at peace) but sympathy for the revolutionary Islamist aspect of Hamas and Hizballah must be a huge factor here. Indeed, there is not necessarily any conflict between these two aspects. The Islamists are considered to be better fighters than the nationalists, while making war for the next generation is more attractive to those backing Hamas and Hizballah than is making peace. Finally, let’s not forget that both of these groups are very anti-Western and anti-American.
But now let’s look at al-Qaida. In Jordan, 34 percent are favorable toward that terrorist group while 62 percent are negative. That outcome, however, contrary to Pew’s spin on the numbers, is not at all encouraging. Remember that al-Qaida carried out the September 11 attacks. Moreover, it has conducted terrorist attacks in neighboring Iraq and, most important of all, in Jordan itself. The fact that one-third of Jordanians—whose country is generally considered the most pro-Western in the Arab world–like al-Qaida is chilling indeed. Then, too, this preference cannot be attributed to anti-Israel sentiment.
So one-third of Jordan’s people favor the most extremist terrorist group—despite the fact that it has murdered Jordanians—and roughly half or more like revolutionary Islamist organization that are clients of their own country’s nominally biggest threats. What does that say about the hopes for moderation and stability?
Turning to Egypt, “only” 30 percent like Hizballah (66 percent don’t like) 49 percent are favorable toward Hamas (48 percent are negative); and 20 percent smile (72 percent frown) at al-Qaida. This is more encouraging than the figures in Jordan. But remember that not only is Egypt solidly Sunni but the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, the leaders of Islamism in Egypt, don’t like Hizballah because it is a Shia group. The Egyptian government has accused Hizballah of trying to foment terrorism in Egypt. The Egyptian government also views Hamas as a threat.
Roughly speaking, one-fifth of Egyptians applaud the most extreme Islamist terrorist group, while around one-third back revolutionary Islamists abroad. This doesn’t tell us what proportion of Egyptians want an Islamist government at home, but it is an indicator.
And just remember that in two countries considered U.S. allies and receiving U.S. aid, one-third and one-fifth of the population, respectively, support the group that killed 3000 Americans on September 11. The Obama Administration’s response is that this is the reason it has to follow certain policies: to win over those who are most antagonistic and to keep others from becoming more radical. The problem is that these policies don’t achieve those goals. What determines these views are structural and communal issues within each country.

Here’s an example. In Lebanon, attitudes divide along sectarian lines. While 94 percent of Shia Muslims support Hizballah (only 5 percent are negative), 84 percent of Sunnis are unfavorable (only 12 percent are positive) toward it. Christians are 87 percent negative (and only 10 percent positive). This shows why Hizballah cannot just take over Lebanon itself, but of course Lebanon is largely being taken over by Iranian-Syrian power plus their local collaborators, of which Hizballah is only one of the elements.
What are the Lebanese figures on al-Qaida? Only three percent positive and 94 percent negative! Why? Because the Christians and Sunnis don’t want that kind of regime, while the Shias, who tend to support Hizballah’s Islamism, knows that al-Qaida hates Shias.
Finally, here’s a word on Turkey where public opinion is the opposite of that prevailing in Jordan. In Turkey, Only 5 percent like Hizballah (74 percent negative), just 9 percent like Hamas (67 percent unfavorable), and merely 4 percent are positive (74 percent are hostile) on al-Qaida. Yet the current Turkish Islamist regime is a big supporter of Hamas and Hizballah. Clearly, supporting revolutionary Islamist groups—either through Islamism or the fact they are fighting Israel—is simply not popular in Turkey. Hamas and Hizballah don’t even do much better than al-Qaida.
So, Turkey’s people are more moderate than its government, while Egypt and Jordan are more radical than theirs.
Let’s look at two other indicators of attitudes: Islamism versus “modernizers” and attitudes toward Islamic punishments. The first point of interest in terms of the great ideological battle is that large proportions of people in these countries deny that such a struggle even exists! Only 20 percent in Jordan, 31 percent in Egypt, 53 percent in Lebanon, and 52 percent in Turkey acknowledge that there is a struggle.
Why is this? One can’t definitively tell. I suspect that they may want to avoid taking sides since they live in countries where democracy doesn’t really prevail and authorities punish dissenters. Or perhaps they think that the Islamists are more capable of conducting modernization or that the current regime is sufficiently Islamic.
Nevertheless, those who said that such a struggle does exist (remember this is between only 20 percent in Jordan to 53 percent in Lebanon of those asked) took the following sides:
Jordan, 48-38 modernizers; Egypt, 59-27 Islamists; Lebanon, 84-15 modernists; Turkey, 74-11 modernists.
Other than the horrifying figures in Turkey—which one day might be cited to explain an Islamist revolution there—the numbers in Jordan are pretty scary as well. Almost 40 percent favor an Islamist regime and they know that doesn’t mean the current monarchy.
How to explain the other two countries? In Lebanon, Hizballah is seen as a champion of the Shia community. It is supported for “ethnic” reasons more than because people want an Islamic Republic. Of course, Sunnis have to take into account that if Lebanon were to become an Islamic Republic it would be a Shia one.
As for Turkey, while the ruling AKP government has a hard core of supporters at roughly 30 percent, even most of these people don’t want an Islamist state, just a more Islamic-oriented one.
Finally there is the attitude toward Islamic punishments. Again, the outcome in Egypt and Jordan is very revealing. In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.
I would expect that these attitudes don’t differ much from public opinion in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.
The figures for Jordan are roughly the same: 70 percent (stoning), 58 percent (whipping/amputation), 86 percent (death for converts).
Again, the numbers for Lebanon and Turkey are quite different:
Lebanon, 23 percent (stoning); 13 percent (whipping/amputation), 6 percent (death for converts)
Turkey, 16 percent (stoning); 13 percent (whipping/amputation), 5 percent (death for converts)
Yet Turkey and Lebanon are ruled by regimes which are in the Islamist camp, that is, they view themselves as close to the Iran-Syria-Hamas-Hizballah alliance.
What all of this analysis shows is that a future Islamist revolution in Egypt and Jordan is quite possible. So overwhelming is the support for this movement that there is nothing the West can do except ensure the current governments remain in power. As for Lebanon, there is a strong basis for resisting incorporation into the Iran-Syria empire, and in Turkey—where there are free elections—the current regime might well be overthrown.
Remember that Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab governments—notably Saudi Arabia—are so opposed to Iran not only because they hate that country’s non-Arab, Shia, radical Islamist standpoint, but also since they fear its growing power will set off revolutions within their own countries.
The bottom line is that in all four of these countries the radical Islamist, side is winning. And the West is basically asleep in recognizing that threat.

This article was published on PajamasMedia. I have included the full text here with improvements for your convenience.
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Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.


Muslim Brotherhood Declares War on America; Will America Notice?

October 7, 2010

This is one of those obscure  Middle East events of the utmost significance that is ignored by the Western mass media, especially because they happen in Arabic, not English; by Western governments, because they don’t fit their policies; and by experts, because they don’t mesh with their preconceptions.
This explicit formulation of a revolutionary program makes it a game-changer. It should be read by every Western decisionmaker and have a direct effect on policy because this development may affect people’s lives in every Western country.
OK, cnough of a build-up? Well, it isn’t exaggerated. So don’t think the next sentence is an anticlimax. Here we go: The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has endorsed anti-American Jihad and pretty much every element in the al-Qaida ideology book. Since the Brotherhood is the main opposition force in Egypt and Jordan as well as the most powerful group, both politically and religiously, in the Muslim communities of Europe and North America this is pretty serious stuff.
By the way, no one can argue that he merely represents old, tired policies of the distant past because Badi was just elected a few months ago. His position reflects current thinking.
Does that mean the Egyptian, Jordanian, and all the camouflaged Muslim Brotherhood fronts in Europe and North America are going to launch terrorism as one of their affiliates, Hamas, has long done? No.
But it does mean that something awaited for decades has happened: the Muslim Brotherhood is ready to move from the era of propaganda and base-building to one of revolutionary action. At least, its hundreds of thousands of followers are being given that signal. Some of them will engage in terrorist violence as individuals or forming splinter groups; others will redouble their efforts to seize control of their countries and turn them into safe areas for terrorists and instruments for war on the West.
When the extreme and arguably marginal British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary says that Islam will conquer the West and raise its flag over the White House, that can be treated as wild rhetoric. His remark is getting lots of attention because he said it in English in an interview with CNN. Who cares what he says?
But when the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood says the same thing in Arabic, that’s a program for action, a call to arms for hundreds of thousands of people, and a national security threat to every Western country.
The Brotherhood is the group that often dominates Muslim communities in the West and runs mosques. Its cadre control front groups that are often recognized by Western democratic governments and media as authoritative. Government officials in many countries meet with these groups, ask them to be advisers for counter-terrorist strategies and national policies, and even fund them.
President Barack Obama speaks about a conflict limited solely to al-Qaida. And if one is talking about the current military battle in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen that point makes sense. Yet there is a far bigger and wider battle going on in which revolutionary Islamists seek to overthrow their own rulers and wage long-term, full-scale struggle against the West. If it doesn’t involve violence right now it will when they get strong enough or gain power.
More than three years ago, I warned about this development, in a detailed analysis explaining, “The banner of the Islamist revolution in the Middle East today has largely passed to groups sponsored by or derived from the Muslim Brotherhood.” I pointed out the differences—especially of tactical importance—between the Brotherhood groups and al-Qaida or Hizballah, but also discussed the similarities. This exposure so upset the Brotherhood that it put a detailed response on its official website to deny my analysis.
Yet now here is the Brotherhood’s new supreme guide, Muhammad Badi giving a sermon entitled, “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny,” translated by MEMRI. Incidentally, everything Badi says is in tune with the stances and holy books of normative Islam. It is not the only possible interpretation but it is a completely legitimate interpretation. Every Muslim knows, even if he disagrees with the Brotherhood’s position, that this isn’t heresy or hijacking or misunderstanding.
Finally, this is the group that many in the West, some in high positions, are urging to be engaged as a negotiating partner because it is supposedly moderate.
What does he say?
–Arab and Muslim regimes are betraying their people by failing to confront the Muslim’s real enemies, not only Israel but also the United States. Waging jihad against both of these infidels is a commandment of Allah that cannot be disregarded. Governments have no right to stop their people from fighting the United States. “They are disregarding Allah’s commandment to wage jihad for His sake with [their] money and [their] lives, so that Allah’s word will reign supreme” over all non-Muslims.
–All Muslims are required by their religion to fight: “They crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” Notice that jihad here is not interpreted as so often happens by liars, apologists, and the merely ignorant in the West as spiritual striving. The clear meaning is one of armed struggle.
–The United States is immoral, doomed to collapse, and “experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading towards its demise.”
–Palestinians should back Hamas in overthrowing the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and unite in waging war on Israel.
Incidentally, what Melanie Philips has written on this issue fits perfectly here:
–Rational calculations of the kind applied by the West to its adversaries, mirror-imaging, assuming that Muslims won’t act in a revolutionary and even suicidal manner want a better future for their children, etc., do not apply to the Islamist movement:
“Allah said: ‘The hosts will all be routed and will turn and flee [Koran 54:45].’ This verse is a promise to the believers that they shall defeat their enemies, and [that the enemies] shall withdraw. The Companions of the Prophet received this Koranic promise in Mecca, when they were weak… and a little more than nine years [later], Allah fulfilled his promise in the Battle of Badr….Can we compare that to what happened in Gaza?….Allah is the best of schemers, and that though Him you shall triumph. Islam is capable of confronting oppression and tyranny, and that the outcome of the confrontation has been predetermined by Allah.”
This says: It doesn’t matter how long the battle goes on, how many die, how much destruction is unleashed, how low your living standards fall, how unfavorable the odds appear to be, none of that is important or should deter you.
In the real world, of course, the Islamists are unlikely to win over the long run of, say, 50 or 100 years. But those views do mean that these 50 or 100 years are going to be filled with instability and bloodshed.
Equally, Badi’s claims do not mean all Muslims must agree, much less actively take up arms. They can have a different interpretation, simply disregard the arguments, and be too intimidated or materialistic or opportunistic to agree or to act. Yet hundreds of thousands will do so and millions will cheer them on. And by the same token, neither the radical nor the passive will assist in moving toward more moderation or peace or compromise.
Well, will the problem go away if people in the West condemn “Islamophobia” or make concessions or apologize or produce a just peace? No.
His words provide some important points for people in the West to consider:
“Resistance is the only solution…. The United States cannot impose an agreement upon the Palestinians, despite all the means and power at its disposal. [Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and it is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan. [All] its warplanes, missiles and modern military technology were defeated by the will of the peoples, as long as [these peoples] insisted on resistance – and the wars of Lebanon and Gaza, which were not so long ago, [are proof of this].”
First, the more the likelihood that U.S. policy might obtains a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, the more anti-American violent activity will be sparked among the Islamists and their very large base of support, the more Iran and Syria will sponsor terrorism. Desirable as peace or even progress toward peace might be, the West should have no illusions about those things providing regional stability, and they will produce more instability.
Second, U.S. actions of apology, concessions, and withdrawals—whether or not any of the specific steps are useful or desirable—they are interpreted by the Islamists and by many in the Middle East as signs of weakness which should spark further aggression and violence. There are hundreds of examples of this reaction every month. Here’s a leading moderate Saudi journalist explaining how many Iraqis and other Arabs are viewing the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq means that it is turning the country over to Iran. Wrong but an accurate show of that very common Middle East way of thinking.
Indeed, this last factor explains the Brotherhood’s timing. Note that he says nothing about fighting Egypt’s government, which won’t hesitate to throw the Brotherhood leaders into prison and even to torture them. Still, the coming leadership transition in Egypt, with the death or retirement of President Husni Mubarak, seems to offer opportunities.
The new harder line coincides with the Brotherhood’s announcement that it will run candidates in the November elections, another sign of its confidence and increased militancy. The Brotherhood is not a legal group but the government lets members run in other parties. Its candidates won about 20 percent of the vote in the last elections, especially impressive given the regime’s repressive measures. If the Brotherhood intends to defy Egyptian law now there will be confrontations, mass arrests, and perhaps violence.
Most important of all, however, Badi and many others sense weakness on the part of the West, especially the U.S. leaders, and victory for the Islamists.
Even former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is warning about such things. Blair comes from the British Labour Party. Many conservatives understand these issues. But the West can never respond successfully without a broader consensus about the nature of the threat and the need for a strong response. Where are Blair’s counterparts in the left-of-center forces in North America, the kind of people who played such a critical role in confronting and defeating the previous wave of anti-democratic extremism, Communism?
In August 1996, al-Qaida declared war on America, the West, Christians and Jews. Nobody important paid much attention to this. Almost exactly five years later, September 11 forced them to notice. Let it be said that in September 2010 the Muslim Brotherhood issued its declaration of war. What remains is the history of the future.