Trager offered abundant evidence to justify the charge. Despite suggesting that they would respect Egypt’s past treaties with Israel, Brotherhood leaders clearly view Israel in much the same way as their Palestinian offshoot, Hamas. One Brotherhood MP Trager interviewed displayed an image of a burning Israeli flag in his office. Brotherhood leaders also regard Sharia as the primary basis of Egyptian laws, and there are indications that the Egyptian government is preparing to put in place Sharia-based laws like bans on interest banking, alcohol, so-called immodest dress, and mixed bathing on Egypt’s regionally famous beaches. And for all their lip service in support of democracy and free speech, a Brotherhood-dominated government is unlikely to respect either. As Brotherhood leader Abouel Fotouh told Trager, “It’s not allowed for Christians to come and say that the Sharia is wrong.”
Less than a year after Hosni Mubarak’s fall and the celebrations of Tarir Square, Egypt’s future is looking decidedly bleak. Along with the even more extreme Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood now holds nearly 70 percent of the seats in Egypt’s government. All indications are that it is trying to realize its long-held conviction that “Islam is the solution.” Given that possibility, the least one would expect from America’s diplomats is to avoid justifying the Brotherhood’s aims by giving its top leaders an uncritical hearing and pledging American support for a Brotherhood-led government. Yet that is exactly what Kerry and the Obama administration have done. It won’t be long before they regret it.
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