Friday, January 28, 2011

The Egypt Game

Egypt is imploding, Mubarek's officials are tripping over each other trying to get out of the country, a highly disgruntled public has taken to the streets, and they may or may not have the support of the police...
With the internet blocked and most communication on lockdown, who knows what's really going on? There's only a thin trickle of news and all of it is bad. We DO know that the Muslim Brotherhood (which is extremist, militant, fundamentalist, radical....take your pick, it's a political force with an acknowledged Islamist agenda) is a major player. No surprise there: they've long considered Mubarek & Co. a shill for US interests as well as way too secular for their tastes. Mubarek returns their sentiments exactly: whatever his flaws, he's had their number for a long time and rightly considers them dangerous.

And here's a SHOCKER: Ahmad Rehab, spokesman of CAIR, is NPR's Cairo correspondent! You can listen to his report here. (He claims he's there on his own and not as a representative of CAIR, although their mandate appears to be identical.) He acknowledges that Muslim Brotherhood is Islamist, but then he goes on to explain that Americans are shortsighted and simplistic and that this sort of Islamism is really a "grassroots pro-democracy movement." I guess that makes the Taliban a grassroots democracy movement, too. Mmm, how evil of us to think otherwise!

Rehab never says that the Muslim Brotherhood is NOT an Islamist organization.  He can't deny that because MB is up front about their totally-not-hidden agenda. So he tries a different spin: sure, MB is Islamist, BUT THAT'S OKAY--Islamists are just benign little humanitarians out doing good works.

Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al-Qaida, CAIR--a consortium of grassroots pro-democracy movements.

NPR's biases are usually pretty amusing, they're so transparent--but this is sickening. You have to wonder how they would have represented the Hitler Youth: a boys and girls club dedicated to nature studies? Perhaps the beef industry should start promoting itself as an animal rights organization--that would throw PETA off their scent! (Or at least, PETA members who also listen to NPR.)

Don't forget that Egypt receives the second biggest chunk of foreign aid from the US. (Israel is the only country that gets more.) Mubarek is bad news, but if he's replaced with the Muslim Brotherhood, we may find ourselves in a position of supporting a state that is actively working to destroy our government and our allies.

But back to Cairo: even though Egypt has been leading the news feeds for days, WBEZ/NPR's Worldview host, Jerome McDonnell hosted two "Middle Eastern specialists" to inform the erudite, self-important NPR target audience that Americans know practically nothing of what's going on and this should be much, much bigger news.

Both of these men (the broadcast was today, and if you want to poke around NPR's website you might find their names) are professors at DePaul University--yet ANOTHER Islamocentric hub, though nominally a Catholic school. And more of the same re: American ignorance about Egypt.

Anyway: one of the profs actually said that Egyptians are dismayed that Obama hasn't made good on his promises to the Muslim world.

Whoa. Now we're supposed to establish diplomatic ties with a religion? A religion that, moreover, continually explains that there is no caliph or grand mufti or whatever you would call the equivalent to the pope, a religion that constantly insists that it's not monolithic, that it's way too diverse and complicated to--oh, I don't know--unequivocally take a stand against religiously motivated violence?

Never mind that Obama has been bowing and scraping to Arab leaders out of deference to his beloved Islam since the minute he took office. He is the most islamophilic leader on the planet. I don't want to go off on the tangent that he may, himself, be a Muslim--although Muslims consider religion patrilineal, and Obama pere was definitely a follower of the Prophet. So, on that level--that Obama of all people hasn't delivered his promise to the Muslim world--I beg to differ. He has, a thousandfold.

But really--the "Muslim world" is now a diplomatic entity with all the state privileges that implies? Israel is a Jewish state, and Vatican City is a Catholic state, but the US doesn't have ties with the "Jewish world" or the "Catholic world." And we do have relations with coutries that identify themselves as Islamic republics (the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for example). Apparently that's not enough--we have to initiate some sort of outreach to members of a specific religion on a foreign policy level.

So now Egypt is an example of the Muslim world that we've supposedly been dissing for lo these many centuries. Non-Muslims in the Muslim world, who already live under constant threat of annihilation, are yet again reminded that they don't count for much, although if they keep their mouths shut and their eyes down and comply with shariah, they might not get killed. 

Pro-Muslim commentators on Egypt should be especially sensitive to this now, given the overt persecution of the non-Muslim minorities in that country.  Within the last month, the Coptic Egyptians have endured vicious attacks that--we are told--do NOT represent the will of the Egyptian people and do NOT represent Islam. But now Egypt can be reduced to Islam? Well, they must be way ahead of the game in their effort to eliminate any competing faiths.

My prediction is that Mubarek will soon be history, and the Muslim Brotherhood will hold the reins of the next government, grassroots pro-democratic leanings or not.

My hope is that Ahmed Rehab decides to remain in Egypt so that he can continue to wallow in the ever-interesting Muslim world...and stay out of mine.

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