If we look beneath the rhetorical facade, we find that both these supposed moderates have simply redefined their notion of “democracy” and “human rights” to fit into the sharia pigeonhole. Badie, for example, reportedly told a rally last year that “it is not permissible for democracy to allow what is forbidden (haram) or forbid what is allowed (halal) even if the entire nation agreed to it.” In addition to condemning gay marriage, he included in the “forbidden” category the right of a Muslim woman to marry a Christian man:
[W]e will not allow under the pretext of national unity that a Muslim woman would get married to a Christian man which violates the Islamic law.
Al-Katatni’s idea of a civil, democratic state is simply one that is not run by the military. He explained in his interview with al-Jazeera that “we all know that the country should be governed by an elected civil body and the army should go back to their barracks.” He said in the interview that the principles guiding the Freedom and Justice Party are “the principles of the Islamic Sharia law and they are included in the Egyptian Constitution.”
Al-Katatni demonstrated last November his view of the limitations imposed on free expression under the “the principles of the Islamic Sharia.” Not content with confining himself to Egyptian law, al-Katatni denounced the French magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohamed. He called the magazine’s exercise of free expression in the secular state of France a heinous crime and demanded that the French government take all legal and professional penal actions against the publication.
Meanwhile, back in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood joined the ultraconservative Salafists in backing a lawsuit against a wealthy Coptic Christian, Naguib Sawiris, who has publicly raised concerns about a government dominated by Islamists. He has been charged with committing “blasphemy and insulting Islam” for posting a cartoon of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie Mouse on Twitter.
“Sawiris is one of the biggest supporters of the Egyptian liberal parties,” Wagih Yacoub, a Coptic human rights activist, said. “What the Islamists are trying to do is break him down. They are trying to scare him…The [Muslim] Brotherhood is among those behind the war on Sawiris.”
Aidan Clay, regional manager for the Middle East of the International Christian Concern, a non-governmental organization that campaigns on behalf of persecuted Christians world-wide, said that the Muslim Brotherhood’s support for the lawsuit against Sawiris “is one more example that any attempt made by the Brotherhood to appear moderate is merely a façade.”
As part of that facade, al-Katatni has promised that the rights of Coptic Christians will be respected in the new “democratic” Egypt and pointed to Coptic Christian membership in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party as proof of its inclusiveness. Yet out of nearly 9,000 party members, as of May 2011, there were only 93 Coptic Christians – slightly over 1%. Christians today make up approximately 10% of Egypt’s population.
True, the Freedom and Justice Party reached out to a Coptic Christian, Rafiq Habib, to serve as the party’s vice president. But the Muslim Brotherhood could not have found a better front man for its agenda.
Habib, who has had a long-term relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, believes that the state must be governed by religion to which man-made laws are subservient. He opposes the secular model of a democratic state for Egypt and has said that Christians must learn to live under Islamic rule:
The Egyptian society will continue to be an Islamic society and the Christians must return to their conservative identity and join it in one identity as happened before. If we go back 50 years, the whole society looked conservative and very Islamic, though the Christians were a little cautious of the Islamic identity. But if we go more than 100 years back, we find that Christians were unified with the Islamic society under Islamic Sharia and under the Islamic state and there was no problem… Sharia as a basis can reshape the nation-state to Islamic state in 2 or 3 years if applied.
This is a reformulation of classic dhimmitude – non-Muslims living submissively under sharia law and giving deference to their Muslim neighbors.
In its detailed analysis of the dichotomy between the Muslim Brotherhood’s words and actions, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research concluded:
The ambiguous and loophole-ridden rhetoric of the Brotherhood casts serious doubts on the belief that it could serve as a coalescing force for moderation and liberal reform.
The Obama administration eased the Muslim Brotherhood’s path to power by actively engaging with it as if it were something that it clearly is not – a moderate democratic organization that believes in equal rights for all of its citizens and is committed to maintaining a long-standing peaceful co-existence with Israel.
The Obama administration was not simply reacting to events within Egypt and choosing the least undesirable alternative to support. It helped shape those events, starting with its insistence that members of the Muslim Brotherhood attend Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in June 2009.
The Egyptian people have elected the members of their new parliament and decided in overwhelming numbers that it should be dominated by Islamists. That is their choice. But we can respect their right to make their own choice in a free and fair election without sugar coating the implications of that choice for peace and human rights. The Obama administration has decided instead to become an active partner in the Muslim Brotherhood’s taqiyya.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
To get the whole story on why the Obama administration empowers Islamists, read Jamie Glazov’s book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
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