No need to be afraid of us
The Muslim Brotherhood believes that democratic reforms could trigger a renaissance in Egypt
Wednesday November 23, 2005
The violence that has erupted across Egypt in recent days is the result of government panic at the success of the Muslim Brotherhood - even in the rigged polls that pass for elections in the Arab world's most populous country. As the second round of voting opened on Sunday in Egypt's tightly restricted parliamentary contest, around 500 of our members were arrested at dawn and machete-wielding thugs attacked our supporters at polling stations. But the provocations of a corrupt, oppressive government - backed by the most powerful countries in the world - will not intimidate either our organisation, which has survived for 77 years, or the Egyptian people, who have increasingly come to trust us.
...We are committed to democracy and to respect fair election results, whatever the outcome.
...What we want to do instead is trigger a renaissance in Egypt, rooted in the religious values upon which Egyptian culture and society is built; for we believe these values can effectively deal with the obstacles that have hindered reform and development. At present, political life in Egypt is plagued by apathy; only a few parties with puny followings are officially allowed to join the political process. The priority is therefore to revitalise political life so that citizens can join a real debate about the solutions to Egypt's chronic problems and the sort of future we want for our country. We believe that the domination of political life by a single political party or group, whether the ruling party, the Muslim Brotherhood or any other, is not desirable: the only result of such a monopoly is the alienation of the majority of the people.
Our aim in seeking to win a limited number of seats in parliament is to create an effective parliamentary bloc that, in conjunction with others, can energise an inclusive debate about the priorities of reform and development. Not a single political, religious, social or cultural group should be excluded from Egypt's political life. The objective must be to end the monopoly of government by a single party and boost popular engagement in political activity.
Second, we would hope to contribute to achieving significant political and constitutional reforms: in particular, to remove restrictions imposed by the regime on political activity and give the parliament a much bigger say than it has now. Without real powers to question the executive, parliament will remain a mere facade. Third, we would hope to contribute to greatly needed social, cultural and economic reforms. Such reforms can take place only once the grip of the state executive is regulated by an independent legislature and independent judiciary.
The success of the Muslim Brotherhood should not frighten anybody: we respect the rights of all religious and political groups. So much damage has been inflicted on the country over the past century because of despotism and corruption that it would be impossible to embark on wider political reform and economic development without first repairing the damage to our basic institutions. Free and fair democratic elections are the first step along the path of reform toward a better future for Egypt and the entire region. We simply have no choice today but to reform.
Has there ever been such a transparent attempt to fool liberals into believing that the terror-supporting Muslim Brotherhood is just a bunch of liberal activists?
Transparent or not, it obviously works at least in the UK's liberal newspapers. As Scott Burgess points out, the president of the Brotherhood has said that suicide bombs against civilians is legitimate, America is Satan and Islam will invade America and Europe. A slightly different message than they present to al-Guardian, but then again - isn't this part of the invasion of Islam to Europe?
The Muslim government that they are working tirelessly toward will have no tolerance for minorities, free speech or dissent. But hypocritically using these issues to get support from the West is a whole different ballgame.