The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Barack Obama for recognizing and legitimizing the Islamist, anti-Semitic, anti-American Muslim Brotherhood, which is currently a part of the interim Egyptian government. A U.S. official claimed as justification of this move that The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is changing It is in our interests to engage with all of the parties that are competing for parliament or the presidency (Tim Mak, U.S. recognizes Muslim Brotherhood, Politico, June 30, 2011).
The Muslim Brotherhood also known as The Ikhwan was founded in 1929 by Hassan Al-Banna. Before and during World War Two, it collaborated with Nazi Germany. It was also the precursor of Al Qaeda and other Islamist terror movements. Its leading intellectual figure, Sayyid Qutb, is the source of the argument used by Islamists that governments not ruled by sharia are apostate and, therefore, legitimate targets of jihad. As Jayshree Bajoria of the Council on Foreign Relations has written, Establishing an Islamic state based on sharia is at the center of the Muslim Brotherhoods ideology, both in Egypt and among the groups many offshoots abroad. Middle East experts Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke have written that the Muslim Brotherhood followed the path of toleration and eventually came to find democracy compatible with its notion of slow Islamization. Shadi Hamid, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institutions Doha Center, has described it as the mother of all Islamist movements.
Last year, the Muslim Brotherhood leader, Muhammad Badi, spoke enthusiastically of jihad and called for a state based on Islamic law. He also spoke optimistically about the U.S. heading for a collapse. His second-in-command, Rashad Al-Bayoumi, emphasized earlier this year the objective of abrogating the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The Muslim Brotherhood platform, leaked in August 2007, calls for jihad, states that Islam is the official state religion and Islamic sharia is the main source for legislation. It also states that the president and legislative branch will be advised by clerics, who must approve decisions and that non-Muslims will be barred from the presidency, which is also held to be unsuitable for women. The Brotherhoods slogan is Islam Is The Answer. Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood both seek a new Caliphate and their disagreement has been over tactics, not goals. Under repression in Egypt, the Brotherhood renounced violence domestically, but not globally and, in particular, not against Israel, against whom it calls for jihad. It has adopted slogans such as “Islam is the solution” and “jihad is our way. The Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, Hamas, is a blood-soaked terrorist organization which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the worldwide murder of Jews.
The Obama Administration has sought to engage with this bitterly anti-Semitic, anti-Western anti-America organization even before this years political upheaval in Egypt. In June 2009, ahead delivering his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, President Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood leadership to attend, including Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, the head of its parliamentary bloc. Following the Obama Administrations early and ill-advised call for the Hosni Mubarak regime to go, then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called for a host of non-secular actors a clear allusion to the Muslim Brotherhood be part of a future government; Obama adviser Bruce Riedel argued that America should not be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood; while Obamas National Intelligence director James Clapper described the Brotherhood as being largely secular and not particularly extreme.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, From early in his Administration, even before the current upheaval in Egypt arose, President Obama has gone out of his way to legitimize this vicious Islamist movement that has inspired jihadists all over the world. The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to eliminate Israel, Western democracy and indeed non-Muslim governments throughout the world. It is absurd to ignore this because the Brotherhood has found it tactically expedient not to publicly emphasize all its goals or because it believes it can ease its way slowly into power by using democratic processes that will come to an end as soon as it attains ultimate power.
President Obama is legitimizing a fundamentally illegitimate movement. President Obama should be opposing and exposing the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood with all his might, not engaging it, now that it has benefited from his dangerous and ill-advised policy of supporting the removal of the Mubarak regime and calling for elections in Egypt at a time when clearly only extremist, Islamist elements can prevail.
A 2007 University of Maryland survey shows that 67% of Egyptians favor all Arab countries untied as one Islamist state. A 2010 Pew poll indicates that 74% of Egyptians favoring the imposition of strict sharia (Islamic) law. The death penalty for those who convert out of Islam is supported by 84% of Egyptians. So a Muslim Brotherhood takeover is possible. It is the very antithesis of what the Obama Administration should be encouraging. It is stunning and alarming that the Obama Administration is facilitating the strengthening of a dangerous anti-Israel, anti-American group like the Muslim Brotherhood.
A Muslim Brotherhood regime would take control of a massive Egyptian army, twice the size of Israels, trained by the U.S., possessing ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, hundreds of U.S.-made warplanes, thousands of tanks and dozens of ships, purchased with over $40 billion of U.S. military aid. The Muslim Brotherhood may not attain ultimate power in Egypt in the immediate future, but its path to such power is being laid today and facilitated by President Obama.