New York Times: Muslim Brotherhood’s intentions “unclear”

Here is a study in preposterous moral equivalence: note the attempts to describe the Brotherhood in terms of inaccurate portrayals of the Catholic Church and of evangelical Christian groups in America. Also noteworthy is the author’s reliance on the word of an Emory University researcher who describes Hamas as a “national resistance fighting Israeli occupation.”

Not that any of this should be surprising. The folks at the New York Times are the same people that brought you this gem about the Fort Hood jihadist, Nidal Malik Hasan: “the gunman and his motive remain an enigma.”

Similarly, the end result here is a story that portrays the Brotherhood as an ideological jellyfish whose exact intentions are impossible to grasp.

Are they really? Brynjar Lia, the historian of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, wrote: “Quoting the Qur’anic verse ‘And fight them till sedition is no more, and the faith is God’s’ [Sura 2:193], the Muslim Brothers urged their fellow Muslims to restore the bygone greatness of Islam and to re-establish an Islamic empire.”

And regarding America, a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum had this to say: The Muslim Brotherhood “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” — Mohamed Akram, in “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”

But their intentions are “unclear.” “As Islamist Group Rises, Its Intentions Are Unclear,” by Scott Shane for the New York Times, February 3:

WASHINGTON — After maintaining a low profile in protests largely by secular young Egyptians, the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition force, appeared to be taking on a more assertive role Thursday, issuing a statement asking for President Hosni Mubarak to step aside for a transitional government.

“We demand that this regime is overthrown, and we demand the formation of a national unity government for all the factions,” the Brotherhood said in a statement broadcast by Al Jazeera.

The Obama administration has spoken cautiously about the future role of the Brotherhood, which has long been banned by Mr. Mubarak’s government, saying only that all parties must renounce violence and accept democracy. But one of the few near-certainties of a post-Mubarak Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge as a powerful political force.

The Obama administration has secretly met with Brotherhood elements and green-lighted their participation in a post-Mubarak Egypt.

The unanswered question, according to experts on the region, is whether that will prove a manageable challenge for the United States and Israel or a catastrophe for American interests in the Middle East.

The Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is the oldest and largest Islamist movement in the world, with affiliates in nearly every Muslim country and adherents in Europe and the United States. Its size and diversity, and the decades-old legal ban that has kept it from genuine political power in Egypt, make it difficult to sum up simply. As the Roman Catholic Church encompasses leftist liberation theology and conservative anti-abortion advocacy, so the Brotherhood includes both practical reformers and firebrand ideologues.

Fact check: One Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was instrumental in putting the brakes on liberation theology in the Catholic Church, warning of the threat posed by its reinterpretations of the Gospel. And anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows that opposition to abortion is not some loopy “conservative” hobby horse, but one one of the most high-profile moral causes of the entire Church. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared in November 1989 that “No Catholic can responsibly take a ‘pro-choice’ stand when the ‘choice’ in question involves the taking of innocent human life.”

So, tell us again what the Church “encompasses,” Mr. Shane. Or, just continue muddying the waters about the Ikhwan. (Read on, and he brings evangelicals in on it, too.)

Which of those tendencies might rise to dominance in a new Egypt is under intense discussion inside the Obama administration, where officials say they may be willing to consult with the Brotherhood during a political transition. But Bruce Riedel, a veteran observer of the Muslim world at the Brookings Institution, said the United States has no choice but to accept the group’s role.

“If we really want democracy in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is going to be a big part of the picture,” said Mr. Riedel, who was working as the Egypt desk officer at the Central Intelligence Agency when Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981. “Rather than demonizing them, we ought to start engaging them now.”

Would Lake Superior State University kindly consider banning the term “engagement” in their annual list, where the word is used as a euphemism for doing business with thugs?

American politicians and pundits have used the Brotherhood as a sort of bogeyman, tagging it as a radical menace and the grandfather of Al Qaeda. That lineage is accurate in a literal sense — some Al Qaeda leaders, notably the terror network’s Egyptian second-in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, have roots in the organization. But Qaeda leaders despise the Brotherhood precisely because it has renounced violence and chosen to compete in elections.

“The Brotherhood hates Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda hates the Brotherhood,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. “So if we’re talking about counterterrorism, engaging with the Brotherhood will advance our interests in the region.”

Again with the “engaging.” And Hamid is depending on an audience who believes al-Qaeda invented violent jihad, and has no clue of the content of Sharia law or the imperative to impose it by any means necessary. In translation, Hamid says it’s in our interests to choose currently-slower jihad over fast jihad.

Mr. Hamid said the Muslim Brotherhood’s deep hostility to Israel — which reflects majority public opinion in Egypt — will pose difficulties for American policy. Its conservative views on the rights of women and intolerance of religious minorities are offensive by Western standards. But he said the group was far from monolithic and was divided between those who will never accept Israel’s right to exist and those who accept a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine exist side by side.

“Yes, in their heart of hearts, they hate Israel,” Mr. Hamid said. “But they know they have to live in this world and respect the geopolitical scene.”

While they have to. One of the Brotherhood’s leaders in Egypt, Mohamed Ghanem, has already said the Egyptian army should prepare for war with Israel.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by an Egyptian schoolteacher and imam, Hassan al-Banna, as a grass-roots association whose goal was to promote the reform of Muslim society by a greater adherence to Islam, through preaching, outreach and provision of social services.

“It was a bottom-up, gradual process, beginning with the individual and ultimately reaching all of society,” said Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, a political scientist at Emory and author of “Mobilizing Islam,” a 2002 book on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood. “It’s roughly analogous to the evangelical Christian goal of sharing the gospel. Politics were secondary.” […]

On what planet does “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19) equate with the Islamic imperative to achieve total domination of a society by all means necessary, and to offer unbelievers conversion, subjugation, or war (Qur’an 9:29)?

Asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said on Monday that the United States would work with any group that showed “adherence to the law, adherence to nonviolence, and a willingness to be part of a democratic process, but not use that democratic process to simply instill yourself into power.” Some experts on the Brotherhood said the group has met the requirements of nonviolence and participation in elections in Egypt for decades.

But even among specialists, the degree of uncertainty about the Brotherhood’s future role is striking. Several admitted to uncertainty about whether participation in governance would have a moderating effect on the group, or whether moderation may prove to have been a convenient false front to be cast off if the group achieved real power.

Bet on it. The group has been busily downplaying its religious message, but cannot hide an agenda that has been decades in the making.

Skeptics point to the example of the Palestinian group Hamas, the Brotherhood offshoot that has often used terrorism. Ms. Wickham, of Emory, said Hamas is a national resistance fighting Israeli occupation and thus not a model for a future Egyptian Brotherhood….

Nope, nothing to see here. Nobody is a threat to anybody, except when they kind of are. End of discussion.

WaPo notices that Coptic Christians in Egypt are fearing the advent of a Muslim Brotherhood regime
Reza Aslan praises group dedicated to "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within"
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Comments

  1. says

    Forget about the Catholic church. What I really want to know is what are those “practical reformers” the article mentions advocating in practical terms. If they’d told us that they would be informing us. By using equivalences instead and never talking about actual contents and what they practically mean they disinform rather than inform the public.

    The media’s first and foremost purpose and duty are to inform. They’re systematically betraying this duty for a very long time and therefore should be dismissed. Dinosaurs like the New York Times have stopped functioning properly a long time ago and should go extinct and be replaced by other, younger, fresher, curious, diligent, responsible, smart, multilingual people with a real commitment to informing the public – you know, “we the people” who are supposed to take political choices that will profoundly affect our lives and the lives of others. To do that we must be well informed.

  2. says

    “The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by an Egyptian schoolteacher and imam, Hassan al-Banna, as a grass-roots association whose goal was to promote the reform of Muslim society by a greater adherence to Islam, through preaching, outreach and provision of social services.” — headline

    Really, I thought that the Brotherhood’s single, overreaching goal is to establish a worldwide Caliphate …

  3. says

    The folks at the New York Times are the same people that brought you this gem about the Fort Hood jihadist, Nidal Malik Hasan: “the gunman and his motive remain an enigma.”

    Yes, that is indeed classic. Quite hilarious, really. It’s a line we should never let the NYT live down. It becomes funnier as time goes by.

  4. says

    Wow, I thought this post was Robert’s. Marisol fools me that way every so often. She manages somehow to live up to the impossible standard set by Spencer on these issues. She’s sumpin, ain’t she?

  5. says

    In order to help the typical NY Times reader in his ignorance of the true nature of things Islamic, the Times provides an analogy to something else the NY Times reader is ignorant of the true nature of. Blindness coming to aid blindness.

  6. says

    Brynjar Lia is correct.

    It has probably been referenced before on JW, but for those who have not seen it, a veritable manual for the theoretical underpinnings of the Muslim Brotherhood is available at:

    http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Milestones%20Special%20Edition.pdf

    Not only does this single file include the full version of Qutb’s ‘Milestones’, but also two important long pieces by Hasan al-Banna, including ‘Kitab ul Jihad’, and a small book by a favorite of the influential Yemeni al-Awlaki, one Ibn Nuhaas. And more.

    Never let it be said we were not told. The smoke and mirrors game currently played by the Ikhwan ensures that idiots like the NYT and others in high places who can not find their ass in the dark with both hands will continue to be fooled because they want to be fooled.

  7. says

    We don’t know why these buzzards are circling but we have numerous reporters on the scene trying to figure it out. So far, it’s unclear. We’ve ruled out any dying or dead animals right away but we’ll let you know what we find out as soon as we draw our conclusions.
    Thus they treat the muslim brotherhood. They’re just not sure what they intend to do. How could one know anything about them? It’s not like they’ve posted their manifesto online or anything. It’s not as though they had sworn to destroy us and it was on record anywhere.
    How could their intentions be anything but unclear?

    islam is a lie and
    Truth is killing it.

  8. says

    Oh please! “…Its Intentions Are Unclear”. On what planet? Their motto has Adolf Hitler’s motto. “It’s the Jews!” How clear can you get?

    We all know where the MB is going. Does the NYT have to get a clearer picture? ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ and ‘Jews’. That’s all I need to know.

  9. says

    Oh my word. Why must journalists smear Christianity in their bid to defend Islam?

    Clearly Islam and Christianity have different ideas as to what sharing their respective faiths mean. All you need do is look at Christ’s earliest followers,and look at Muhammad’s earliest followers, and see how they spread their beliefs.

  10. says

    Why is the US government even considering “engaging” the Muslim Brotherhood? They are no different than the theocracy running Iran, in my view, but there doesn’t seem to be any rush to engage the Iranians. The MB’s goals are clearly evident, ie, the imposition of Sharia, the destruction of Israel, and the reestablishment of the caliphate. In my opinion, the US governement should make it quite clear that it will not engage in any dialogue with a MB-led Egypt and that monetary or military aid to such a government will desist immediately.

    I think the protesters are deluded, thinking that life is going to get better than what they had under a secular-minded Mubarak, when in actual fact their situation under an Islamic theocracy can only get worse. They will be begging Mubarak to come back, but sadly, a new MB-led Egyptian government, in my opinion, will have no problem employing a more Iranian-style method of silencing its critics.

    Just my two cents.

    Ima

  11. says

    “The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by an Egyptian schoolteacher and imam, Hassan al-Banna, as a grass-roots association whose goal was to promote the reform of Muslim society by a greater adherence to Islam, through preaching, outreach and provision of social services.

    Meanwhile, Christians who attempt to preach, outreach, and provide social services are persecuted, harrassed, kidnapped, tortured, burned out of their houses, executed, forced to leave or convert to Islam….by such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood….

    When you hear Muslims say Islam is a tolerant religion…you will know they are lying…

  12. says

    Related, at BBC: ‘Day of departure’ rally in Egypt
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12362826

    A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Issam al-Aryan, denied that his group would put forward someone for the presidency, telling the BBC that it would prefer the opposition to nominate a consensus candidate.
    “We want a civil state, based on Islamic principles. A democratic state, with a parliamentary system, with freedom to form parties, press freedom, and an independent and fair judiciary,” he added.

    High sounding goals, if totally out of character for what Sharia implements in practice. They have to go the whole gamut of Muslim Brotherhood’s Sharia implementation, via either fast or slow Jihad, before the people can revolt again to truly implement real democratic secular freedoms, under constitutional laws to protect those freedoms. They have a very long row to hoe if Muslim Brotherhood’s group comes to power, very long. It’s not just another civil political party, there’s a lot of anti-freedom, anti-secularism baggage attached… you know, the ‘Allah akhbar’ thingy.

  13. says

    What I find very disturbing is that when the mainstream media (I like to call it the BS media) discusses the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, it consistently fails to point to its tragic track record on governance in Sudan. There, it was not only operating legally, but has had its people in power for decades. The Muslim Brotherhood’s National Islamic Front which took over from a democratically elected government in 1989 there immediately embarked on the intense Islamization of the country, and spawned genocides, ethnic cleansing and other carnage in the Nuba Mts, Ruweng oil fields, S. Sudan and now in Darfur.

    Also, during the mid 1990s it hosted the Pan Arab Islamic Conference which brought radical terrorist groups from all over the world to Khartoum, for a series of meetings. The guest of honour at this conference was non other than Osama Bin Laden himself.

    The Muslim Brotherhood has already clearly demonstrated its methods of “governance”. Just look at Sudan’s tragic history over the past 20 years. There is no “unknown” factor here.

    Such an ommission can not be a simple oversight. Either this author is incredibly ignorant, or there is a serious whitewashing attempt going on.

    hen the NYT and other BS media generate thick smoke clouds like this to hide the truth about their new bed partners, we would do well to follow the alleged example of Bill Clinton — DON’T INHALE

  14. says

    For what it’s worth, I believe a country such as Egypt with a largely Muslim population is incapable of instituting democracy and freedom because the people do not understand that state and religion must be separated in order to create a truly free society. The majority of anti-Mubarak demonstrators may believe that by toppling a dictator they will gain their freedom and create a democratic government. But what they don’t seem to comprehend is that until they throw off the yoke of Islam, they will continue to live in holy slavery. In this case, the Muslim Brotherhood will ensure that Sayyid Qutb’s form of fearsome Saudi-style Islam will be implemented in Egypt, thus preventing any real movement toward peace and freedom.
    As for its intentions, the MB was responsible for the assassination of Anwar Sadat for his role in signing a peace treaty with Israel. Indeed, the MB’s intention concerning Israel has been clear for decades i.e., genocide and annihilation. Their intention for the West” apparently the NYT is unaware of this objective even though it has been restated manifold times” is international jihad against Western imperialists. The fact that the Obama regime has entered into secret talks with the MB shows how truly naïve (or cognizant) it is concerning the devil about to be unleashed in Egypt.

  15. says

    The Muslim Brotherhood began planning the global jihad when the Mideast Oil Boon began. That is why the oil wealth was not used to build up Muslim societies. Under Islam there is a built-in power base wherein all Muslims (ummah)”belong” to Mohammad’s Allah and are required to submit to Sharia, which imposes an obligation to support “legal” (sanctioned by an Imam) fatwa/jihad with everything (i.e., financially, violently, passively, etc.). Thus, the Muslim masses are told by those using the oil wealth that their sacrifices (poverty,caught in the crossfire, etc.) are “noble” in conquering of the world for Islam.

    In promising the Muslims Islamic Democracy, the West inadvertently fed the Muslim masses false hope of finally benefiting from oil wealth. Unfortunately and especially in Iraq and Afghanistan,the ummah were just used as fodder for luring our troops into the decade-long distraction to weaken/kill off our troops by the global jihad (jihadis from all over the world are sent to kill our troops). And, Muslims are really no better off than they were before. They just have the “right” to vote in Sharia and global jihadis.

  16. says

    “They’re systematically betraying this duty for a very long time and therefore should be dismissed.”

    Agreed.

    The “4th Estate”, traditionally charged with informing the populace of the workings of the current government, has been rendered a political arm of the liberal left in the US.

    That is irrefutable, though I offer anyone here to try to challenge that assertion.

    Even Fox News is complicit in this undermining of the true, foundational, impartial, objective, unsolicited information, as it applies to Islam and what exactly is occuring in Egypt at the moment, that as a contrast, JW honestly puts forth on a daily basis.

    This is a pedagogical, non-secterian site. I for one will state with absolute authority, that this site always hits its mark, in terms of elightening, as the “4th Estate” was originally charged, and has now obviously abdicated that charge, regarding the reporting of the reality of Islam.

    Marisol Seibold is a most important cog in this truth machine.

    Thank you, Marisol.

  17. says

    “The “4th Estate”, traditionally charged with informing the populace of the workings of the current government, has been rendered a political arm of the liberal left in the US.”

    Not just in the US. This seems to be a global phenomenon in all democratic countries. This is an obstruction of democracy and I can’t even begin to say how dangerous it is on so many levels.

  18. says

    Much appreciated!

    I thought it was worth calling out the mis-characterization of Catholicism and the evangelical movement in this story to show what a biased and misinformed report it was across the board. The obfuscation about the Brotherhood and inaccurate portrayals of Catholics and evangelicals are part of a package deal here. You can’t trust the report on the one, and you can’t trust it on the other.

  19. says

    Yes. You go, Marisol. (I first thought this piece to be Roland Shirk’s, so I looked closely for its author.)

    SHARI’AH FREE

    Lan astaslem! No dhimmitude here!

  20. says

    “On what planet does “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19) equate with the Islamic imperative to achieve total domination of a society by all means necessary, and to offer unbelievers conversion, subjugation, or war (Qur’an 9:29)?”

    Good catch, Marisol!

    Yes, it was very worth your calling attention to this outlandish mischaracterization of Evangelical Christians. How ridiculous for Mr.Shane to equate muhammad’s evil message to subjugate others for islam through intimidation or violence – with that of Jesus’ message of salvation, love, hope, peace and eternal life – as a person exercises his or her own free will.

    muhammad is the total antithesis of Jesus Christ the LORD.

  21. says

    “How could one know anything about them? It’s not like they’ve posted their manifesto online or anything. It’s not as though they had sworn to destroy us and it was on record anywhere.
    How could their intentions be anything but unclear?”

    That’s a big “sarc”, right, A.I.?

  22. says

    “The “4th Estate”,
    It was Michael Savage that said, “The 4th Estate has become the 5th column.”
    Truer words were never spoken.

    Here in Alaska, in Anchorage, the local CBS affiliate was running stories on Joe Miller the Conservative candidate for Senator. They called his office and left a message on a machine. We’re talking about the head of the news department and the number 2 person as well. They failed to hang up their smartphone properly and the conversation they had was recorded.
    They discussed ways to undermine Joes campaign, ways to attack him personally. They talked about how they might connect him to some child molester or other undesirable.
    Although they were eventually fired after all the excuses and explanations in the world failed, it was quite clear to me that this kind of work is being done by Leftist “journalists” all over this nation. Some 90% of our “journalists” are registered Democrats. One would expect there to be some bias based on that alone,and they express their bias openly and with contempt for the Constitution that gives them the power to lie to us and betray that which defends them. Agggh…

  23. says

    They just have the “right” to vote in Sharia and global jihadis.

    Brilliant summation, Mary. They have not got anything near resembling Democracy in their future intents, not while they continue to conflate their Allah worship with good governance. When even our Secretary of State and the UK Prime Minister come out with similar statements, you know it has finally penetrated the thick walls of our western governments. But as David Square said, Egyptians are not really ready to hear this ‘separation of state and religion’, nor do they fully understand the power of ‘freedom of speech’, the ‘rule of law’, and as their attacks demonstrated, they have little appreciation for ‘freedom of the press’ either. All such necessary conditions to implement freedom and democratic constitutional governance cannot survive in the polluted world of oil-money politics, nor can it survive in a culture of police enforced Mohammed-mythology, conspiracy theories, institutionalized poverty, and general public acceptance of idiotic lies. Such a culture is doomed to go through the hells of fire. All their demonstrations for ‘freedom’ will get is their “right” to vote for Sharia slavery. I am dismal in my assessments of Egypt, Islamic Africa and south Asia, and all the Middle East. As Mrs. Clinton said, they are facing a ‘perfect storm’, and the clean up will be hell.