The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is seen by many as a moderate Islamic group that can live in harmony with the International community and adopt elements of modernity.
Whilst it is fair to say that the MB is relatively pragmatic compared to the Salafi Islamic groups and — unlike al-Qaida — they do not directly use terrorism to promote their agenda, it is also fair to say that since the Jan. 25 revolution the MB actions and statements have revealed the real intentions of this group.
The following can assist us in understanding the real intentions of the MB:
1. Intolerance to secularism:
The MB repeatedly refused to accept the word "secular" to describe the new Egypt after the revolution and turned 180 degrees against the prime minister of Turkey (Erdogan) after he made a statement to the Egyptian people that encouraged secularism. This stand against secularism is a clear indication that their slogans saying they will not make Egypt a religious state like Iran are simply not true.
The refusal of the MB that a woman or a Christian can be the president of the country further clarifies that the MB will not accept true equality between citizens, which is a fundamental component to secularism.
Since the MB controlled the Egyptian Parliament they could not wait for a long time to welcome the Hamas leader inside the parliament, to arrange for him to speak at al-Azhar mosque, and to ask for expelling the Israeli ambassador from the country. This anti-Israeli and pro-Hamas attitude clarify why the MB — despite their statement that they will respect the International agreements of the country — cannot be entrusted on respecting the Arab-Israeli conflict.
3. Anti-freedom attitude:
Despite the general statements that the group will respect personal freedoms, their leading members such as Essam al-Irian made it clear that they will not allow women to wear bikinis and will not allow selling of alcohol in the country. Additionally, once they attained power on both houses of the parliament they tried to have parliamentary control over the press and media.
4. Anti-‘true’ moderation:
The MB expressed animosity to those who showed some true moderate views. For example, they kicked Abu-Alfutuh from their organization, did not welcome al-Ghanushi of Tunesia, and attempted to change the current Sheik of al-Azhar (Dr. Ahmed al-Taiib). The latters may not be defined as true moderates by many; however, they certainly showed clear support for some moderate views within the religion. These views included a clear and unambiguous support for personal freedoms — something that the MB failed to do.
5. Anti-women's rights:
The MB reacted strongly against the decision of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) to re-institute the Supreme Council of Women that aims at protecting women rights in the country. Many of the MB members — especially female members — spoke on Egyptian TV against, and showed anger toward, this decision.
The MB recently selected 100 members to create the new constitution for Egypt. To the surprise of many they ignored leading experts in writing constitutions (such as Ibrahim Darwish) and Egyptian Nobel Prize winners (such as al-Baradeii and Ahmed Zewail) — and instead they choose the Salafi member of the parliament who demanded that the country must stop teaching English to its young students as he sees this as a form of Western invasion to the Muslim culture.
7. Anti-Western banking system:
As a tactical step the MB has not yet shown direct confrontation with the West. This is likely because at this stage they need western support against the military. However, the recent resistance the MB showed to the loan of the World Bank that was going to be given to Egypt to assist its economy is an indication that the MB will try to end Western banking systems in the future.
The decision to make obstacles against this loan — which was supposed to give the country a badly needed good financial credit — is a clear indication that the MB will put its religious beliefs that Western banks are “Haram” (Un-Islamic) above the benefit of the people of Egypt.
To conclude, despite the fact that the MB has been trying to portray itself as a group that can live in harmony with the free and modern world, analysis of their actions after the Jan. 25 revolution in Egypt reveals the opposite.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam."Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
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