The makeover of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has begun. Some in the media are “debunking” the frightening “myths” about the Muslim Brotherhood, and others argue that he’s a potential ally. The Obama administration continues to infer that critics of the Brotherhood are simply alarmed by the word “Muslim” in the group’s name.
“We judge individuals and parties that are elected in a democratic process by their actions, not by their religious affiliations,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when asked about the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is very similar language to that of William Taylor, the State Department’s Special Coordinator for the Office of Middle East Transitions. He oversees the spending of American taxpayer money in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. He said, “What we need to do is judge people and parties and movements on what they do, not what they’re called.”
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor defended meetings between U.S. and Brotherhood officials with, “We believe that it is in the interest of the United States to engage with all parties that are committed to democratic principles, especially nonviolence.” Most famously, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper portrayed the Brotherhood in a positive light to Congress, embarrassingly stating that it is a “secular” group. He continues to tout the Brotherhood as a “moderate Islamist” group that can counter Al-Qaeda.
The Taliban and Hamas were joyful over Morsi’s victory in Egypt’s presidential election. They would laugh at suggestions that Morsi could be a U.S. ally. His first order of business with the U.S. is demanding the release of the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist plots. Of all of the things he could discuss with the U.S., his first priority is the release of a convicted terrorist.
The foreign policy of Morsi will be pro-jihad. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s foreign relations committee was upset on French television that he wasn’t informed that he’d be on the program alongside an Israeli journalist. He refused to communicate with him. On June 14, the Brotherhood Supreme Guide preached that jihad against Israel is a religious obligation. Muslims are required to engage in “Jihad of self and money” towards the goal of “freeing it [Jerusalem] from the filth of the Zionists and imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine.”
Thomas Joscelyn points to how, in 2011, Elliot Spitzer asked Morsi about his views on terrorism and recognizing Israel’s right to exist on CNN. Morsi avoided giving a clear answer on Israel, saying, “This is a heavy question. It’s out of faith. It’s ridiculous to ask about the future.” He emphasized, “We are against Zionism,” but not Jews as a whole. When asked about his stance on terrorist attacks against Israel, he said, “We do not use violence against anyone. What’s going on [in] the Palestinian land is resistance.” He is very conscious of what semantics to use when speaking to a Western audience.
During the campaign, a hardline cleric named Safwat Hegazy spoke at one of Morsi’s campaign rally. He declared, “We are seeing the dream of the Islamic Caliphate come true at the hands of Mohammed Morsi” and “the capital of the Caliphate and the United Arab States is Jerusalem.” Morsi nodded his head, only feet away. At the same rally, a speaker performed a song that told Muslims to “brandish your weapons, say your prayers.” He sang, “Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas. Indeed, all the lovers of martyrdom are Hamas.”
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