Egypt: Secular protests or Muslim Brotherhood
4 Feb, 2011 22:02
“Final Friday” is coming to a close in Egypt, but protests and uncertainty remain. One thing is for sure, Egyptians want foreigners out of their inner affairs so they can build their own government.
The world and Egyptians alike do not want America meddling in Egypt, especially given the US support for Mubarak over the past 30 plus years. While the US openly supports democracy, and realizes the people of Egypt want change, they have been careful to support neither side calling for restraint but not dismissing past support for Mubarak. American media and political pundits have been quick to push their agendas. Many conservatives in the US are worried change may bring about a radical Islamist government. They oppose such an option at all costs, even if it is democratically elected.Dr. Emile Nakhleh, a former senior intelligence officer who served as director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the CIA explained the US and Obama administration specifically is careful, and continues to watch Egypt because it is an important nation in the region. He pointed out Egypt has played pivotal rolls in the Middle East peace process, the global fight against terrorism, and is generally a center piece for stability, all of which work to the interests of the west. However, he explained it is not wise of the US to ignore or discount the Muslim Brotherhood. “You really cannot engage Muslim majority countries, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, any Muslim majority country, without engaging Islamic political parties in those countries,” he said.He explained a new beginning was not possible without at least engaging the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.Currently, the Muslim Brotherhood is not leading nor did they start the democracy movement. Nakhleh agreed secularism is leading the call for change. “The Islamic political movement is playing catch-up. They are playing a smart political game in order to be involved in the process,” he commented. Right leaning FOX News, owned by News Corp., has been quick however to ignite a fearmongering campaign targeting the Muslim Brotherhood.“The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t just operating overseas; we’re not done with them yet. We showed you, in their own words, that their goals include the transformation of America into an Islamic state – the destruction of the western world,” FOX News host Glenn Beck said. Ana Kasparian, the co-host of The Young Turks said the American people are being misinformed by the US media.“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “What Egypt wants right now is to westernize their own country. What they are looking to do is set limits on their president, term-limits. Basically establish social justice.”Glenn Beck failed to explain the protests were ignited by a democratic secular movement and continue to be secular. “The Muslim Brotherhood actually was surprised by the protest,” Kasparian remarked. She added, “If he knew anything about the Muslim Brotherhood he would know they denounce violence, in fact they denounce violence to the point that Muslim extremists denounce them. How come he never talks about that on FOX News? It’s because it’s all about fearmongering. It’s all about paranoia to get people’s attention and to increase the ratings. Making a rather strange comparison, MSNBC’s Chris Mathews said, “The Muslim Brotherhood has a pow-wow role here with the Tea Party. They are the ones who keep you honest and decide if you’ve stayed to long.”Beyond both movements being a challenge to authority, there is little to connect the two, said Kasparian. The comparison did not add to the Egypt dialogue or discussion.
Investigative Journalist Wayne Madsen explained the Muslim Brotherhood is being careful to avoid being demonized, and show they do have democratic credentials.“They are being very careful here,” he said. “They don’t want to give ammunition to the FOX News’ of the world and the John Bolton’s and all these other crazy right wingers.” Madsen argued the group is not Islamist, just Muslim bent. They want to be a part of the future government but not build an Islamic state.