But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Are the Muslim Brotherhood Actually Bad for Egypt?


Muslim Brotherhood kicks puppies and eats babies, but they don't have a man-sized safe in their office

Neocons and other violent interventionists keep talking about how bad it would be if the Egyptian people were to gain their freedom, because there is popular support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and if they were part of the government that would, obviously, be a really bad thing…even worse than a dictator like Mubarak who outlaws many religious beliefs and slaughters people for their political ideology.

But wait…it’s not “obvious” that this organization, the Society of Muslim Brothers, is any worse than the Christian Coalition in the US. And America doesn’t deserve a dictator just to keep the Christian Coalition out of political power. What’s more, it seems the Muslim Brotherhood is usually more akin to the Salvation Army, except they’re Muslim instead of Christian. Let’s look deeper, and see which interpretation is true.

Who Are They?

What is this group, so ominously touted by the neocon supporters of Hosni Mubarak?

Just like the Christian Coalition, it is a voluntary social and political movement, organized around the idea that followers of their religion should choose to live by the tenets of that religion.

People who think that a religion’s members should live by their beliefs? If anything, that seems like a truism, to me. A “well, no duh” sort of thing.

Also like the Christian Coalition, some of its members, sometimes, want laws passed that happen to support their morality. I don’t like that in either case, but I will fight against anyone who wants to imposing a dictator over people who would vote for such laws. Hopefully, you will too, since the Christian Coalition voters are American.

And let’s be real, it’s not always bad if religious beliefs become law: the Ten Commandments that both Muslims and Christians accept include prohibition of murder and theft. Do I want murder legal because a religion wants them banned?

Of course not.

Everyone Agrees

Before we get into the claims against the Muslim Brotherhood, let’s mention the part that is not denied by anyone:

What everyone agrees about, regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, is that they mostly do community service, charitable efforts, and other good works. I think even the worst neocon would admit this, if you pinned him down on the subject. There are probably hundreds of thousands of people, of diverse cultures and races, who are alive right now solely because of the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood. Again, this is not even disputed.

But what about their Dark Side?

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are charitable, but they still seem evil overall. If the Muslim Brotherhood is like that, I’ll oppose them.

The "Be Prepared" Emblem of Death, replete with the infamous Green Stars of Evil

The Accusations

Many Conservatives and Liberals in the media seem perplexed by the claim that Egypt should remain a dictatorship, but whenever they have a neocon on, or that Israeli ambassador,  or some “former CIA officer”, they’re told that it’s because of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is accused of three general things:

Be Prepared

Glenn Beck was shouting, the other day, about how the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto on their website is “Be Prepared”.

Well, yes, I’m not sure you could be more obviously, patently evil than to have the motto Be Prepared. To the right, you can see a variation of this logo. It is for another religious organization, that requires its members to take an oath of obedience to their god much like the Muslim Brotherhood does. Worse, the bearers of that symbol are, unlike the Society of Muslim Brothers, actually members of an openly paramilitary organization.

Surely such symbols should be banned, along with target and sniper scope graphics.

Of course the Boy Scouts will probably object.

To be fair, the thing the Society of Muslim Brothers emphasize that Egyptians to be prepared for, right now, is war with Israel.

Beck seemed to infer that this means they’re planning to attack Israel…which makes me worry about his reading comprehension, because the quotes he read off their own website to “prove” this clearly were saying that the government of Israel might attack Egypt for overthrowing the dictator they’d helped keep in power for 30 years. What they say is that the Mubarak government can be brought down by cutting off the gas pipeline to Israel, which will bankrupt Mubarak’s dictatorship…but that this will cause war with Israel. In other words, Israel will attack, because they want the gas and, the Muslim Brotherhood believes, will even cause the death and destruction of war to get it.

I don’t blame any of Israel’s neighbors for fearing that it will go to war with them. It’s done so before. The people of Israel, themselves, fear this of their own government. The recent threat had been an unprovoked attack against Iran, but now Egypt is the popular target. I join with the people of Israel and the Society of Muslim Brothers in opposing any violent aggression on the part of Israel against any other country.

To be fair, I and most Israelis, Jews, Egyptians, Muslims, Coptic Christians, Protestants, Catholics, atheists, and every other non-sociopath, oppose all initiation of aggression, by any country or person against any other. We’re opposed by the neocons and other self-described Marxists, but that’s another debate.

While we’re at it, Beck keeps mentioning Islamic Socialism, a bizarre fringe movement that goes against the basic belief of Islamic fundamentalism that socialism is evil. As it happens, the Muslim Brotherhood is on the “socialism is evil” side. They believe in voluntary charity, not coercive socialist government like Mubarak and Saddam Hussein imposed.

Sinead O'Conner crazily associating all Catholics with the IRA terrorists

They’re Muslims

Then there’s the claim that the Muslim Brotherhood is evil because its members believe in…well…Islam. If you’re one of the poor rubes who’s fallen for the “Islam is a religion of evil” scam, I don’t think there’s much that will convince you otherwise.

The Koran saying something like “kill any unbeliever who supports tyranny over innocents or Muslims” gets quoted out of context as “kill any unbeliever”, but that contextual lie has been pointed out plenty of times by now, you should have been capable of learning, and responsible enough to do so.

The few craziest, most old-fashioned Muslim rules are no worse than the crazier Jewish or Christian rules. Should we all sacrifice doves when our babies are born? Stone women who have sex out of wedlock? Burn witches? Those aren’t just Islamic rules, they’re old Christian and Jewish rules, too. And the vast majority of  followers of all three religions have outgrown such nonsense.

Likewise, like how everyone who’s murdered an abortion doctor is Christian, but it does not mean Christianity is murderous, so it is with Muslims who kill people in the name of their religion. The Catholic terrorists murdering random Protestants because of their religion in Ireland don’t prove anything about their religion, and neither do Islamic terrorists.

But, even more fundamentally than this, it’s hypocritical for anyone to claim that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to govern themselves because of their religion, when so many in the socialist world hate Christianity the same way, and think that Americans, who are majority Christian, are similarly unable to govern themselves. Should we have tyranny imposed on us, to keep Christian mores from becoming law? Again I say “no”, and I’m not hypocritical enough to turn around and deny another country or religion the same right.

It’s also worth noting that the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni, while the Islamic Revolution in Iran is Shi’ite. That’s important because these two groups are oppose each other completely. It’s not like Protestant vs Catholic…they literally see each other as Satanists. There’s never going to be any real collaboration between the Muslim Brotherhood and the current Iranian government. They’re more likely to help overthrow the Iranian tyranny, too.

And they’re also the most spiritual, historically least violent form of Sunni Islam, they are Sufi. To quote a previous article here:

Pretty much all of the terrorist organizations in the world that are focused on the United States are Wahhabi, funded and trained by our allies in Saudi Arabia, and often closely coordinated with our allies in the Pakistani military.

Wahhabism is a crackpot fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam. Think of Sunni as being like Protestantism, a relatively liberal branch of the religion overall, and Wahhabism as being like the Protestants who dance with snakes and talk in tongues.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the terrorist organizations in the world that are Islamic at all are Shi’ite. This is the second of the three branches of Islam, and the most basic one, with an older lineage than Sunni Islam. Think of that as being somewhat like Catholicism…most Shi’ites are peaceful, but you have the crazies, like the Irish Republican Army is for Catholicism. You can’t really blame the rest for those nutjobs in the IRA targeting other peoples and religions.

And then you have the Sufi. These are a bit like the Mormons are to Christianity. They’re a “third way” sort of group, very peaceful and focused a lot on mysticism and spirituality, not the practical mechanics of the Big Two. No terrorist organizations, in the whole world, are Sufi. Some Muslims say they’re so different that the Sufi aren’t even Muslims, at all.

In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood are in a struggle against the violent, hateful Wahhabi movement, as well as considering themselves the polar opposite of Shia. In fact, the “Jihadi” movement of Al Qaeda and their ilk are excluded from the Egyptian uprising, perhaps because the Muslim Brotherhood are a part of it.

They’re Out to Get You!!!

So that just leaves crazy conspiracy theories: The Muslim Brotherhood secretly wants to bring about apocalypse, supports assassination of people they think are evil, et cetera.

I’ve seen more credible evidence of the fundamentalist Christians supporting those exact same things. In fact, I have personally known wealthy, powerful Christians in the US who are part of the Christian Eschatologist movement, and literally believe that they should try to bring about Armageddon, to hurry Jesus’ return, by supporting evil, oppressive government.

But in both Christian and Muslim cases, I assume that there are fringe elements who are like that, but that I can’t assume the whole group does, since it disavows them adamantly.

The 15 Principles of Egyptian and American Founding Fathers

In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood is so against those things that it has “15 Principles of Agreement” that it wants to institute in Egypt, that you would support, too.

The only disagreement the Founding Fathers of America would have with the Muslim Brotherhood’s 15 Principles is that Thomas Jefferson and friends opposed a standing army and standing police force. Is anyone seriously going to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for implicitly endorsing those two forces, but requiring them to stay out of politics?

The 15 principles could have been written by the Founding Fathers...but they might have pared it down to 10

Here are the 15 principles the Muslim Brotherhood says it wants for Egypt, each one summed up:

  1. Nobody may govern except at the consent of the people
  2. Free and fair elections
  3. Freedom of personal and religious conviction
  4. Freedom of establishing religious rites.
  5. Freedom of expression and the press
  6. The right to form and exercise political parties
  7. The freedom of assembly, as long as there’s no violence
  8. The right to hold peaceful demonstrations
  9. The right to a regularly elected, representative government
  10. The right of every man and woman to vote
  11. The right of every citizen to run for election and hold office
  12. The right to a truly independent judiciary, no special courts except for legitimate internal military affairs
  13. Prosecutors, public defenders, and criminal investigators must be three independent groups, from each other and the Minister of Justice, and anyone accused should have the right to appeal.
  14. The military must stay out of politics, only defending the nation’s external security.
  15. The police must only protect society, and is banned from interfering in politics or with political opposition

Please take a moment to read the full text of the 15 Principles of Agreement of the Muslim Brotherhood.

I wish our own government seemed to believe in these 15 principles.

Let’s make every elected or appointed official in the United States include them in his oath of office. And every government bureaucrat, while we’re at it.

If even a large segment of the Muslim Brotherhood believe at least somewhat in the 15 Principles of Agreement, then they’re probably no worse than our own government. And I see no evidence that they’re any worse. Individuals in that movement, yes…same as every other movement. But not the overall social organization.

Should we, in America, continue our government’s habit of supporting dictators in our name, like Mubarak, just in case the Muslim Brotherhood might be popular there?

Not even if they’d turned out to be “bad”.

It was ironic that I saw the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, the other day, quote Mubarak as paraphrasing Douglas Casey, that American foreign aid is “a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries“. He seems to have been mockingly referring to his own receipt of sixty billion dollars, from US taxpayers, over the past few decades.

This needs to stop.

About these ads

February 6, 2011 - Posted by | International, Philosophy, Politics, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 Comments »

  1. being a benevolent organization is the largest front. The oldest trick in th book. Lebanon (Hamas is a benevolent sociaty!!), Spain during the Civil War, etc. look at final motive, not means to the end.

    Comment by Sarracen | August 19, 2013 | Reply

  2. Reblogged this on isragul and commented:
    Even though there are tiny mistakes. This is a really good work.

    Comment by isragul | July 16, 2013 | Reply

  3. As a Muslim, I really appreciate your work.

    Comment by isragul | July 16, 2013 | Reply

  4. Dumb as fuck

    Comment by Jony v | November 2, 2012 | Reply

    • The perfect poster child argument for the fearmongering side.

      Comment by kazvorpal | November 2, 2012 | Reply

  5. One note on Israel, they have NOT been the initiators of all attacks, as you seem to imply, but don’t state explicitly. “I don’t blame any of Israel’s neighbors for fearing that it will go to war with them. It’s done so before.” Starting in 1948 when they were legally recognized as a nation by the EU they were attacked (they were not the aggressors) by many of their neighbors several times, (its hard to count 1967 for either side as Israel and experts agree it was “preemptive”). Just a small correction.

    As well, I think a lot of the fear of Islam has to do with the US seeing a lot of the countries where the laws are made according to the Koran (obviously every state is slightly different) where woman’s rights are decades behind where they should be. Sure, Christianity has outgrown a lot of their old-fashioned rules, but it appears most of the mainstream Muslims appear to have not outgrown theirs, which makes people very nervous.

    Obviously, viewing Egypt’s 15 principles it shows they appear to be on the right path to equality.

    Comment by Jared | October 6, 2011 | Reply

    • The sociopaths who dominate the political world like to ignore WHY Israel was attacked in 1948. It wasn’t because the neighboring governments hadn’t known about the nation-building process and were suddenly angry, it’s because the response of the evil terrorists who immediately usurped power in Israel was to slaughter thousands of Arabs/Muslims in what were now the borders of Israel. As the Israeli government eventually acknowledged, some whole villages were killed down to the last woman and baby…while, of course, hundreds of thousands of Arabs, Muslims, and even Christians were ethnically cleansed in less fatal, but similarly brutal ways, driven from the borders of the new country.

      If we gave New Mexico back to the American Indians to be their own country, and their first response was to start slaughtering many non-Indians while driving the rest violently from the new country, I can tell you that I would be all for attacking to stop them.

      And none of that changes that, in 1969, it was Israel who was the aggressor, initiating a war of conquest against a helpless country they don’t even claim to be the threat. It was just empire-building insanity.

      As for women’s rights in Islamic countries, that no more gives us the right to violate their sovereignty than it would have when Christian countries were similarly repressive. That’s for them to outgrow, not us to impose on them by force.

      And why didn’t we attack the worst perpetrators, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, instead of treating them like allies and propping up their brutal regimes when their own people wanted them out?

      Comment by kazvorpal | October 19, 2011 | Reply

      • You seem you list some facts while completely ignoring others. Once the UN resolution was announced, “The chairman of the Arab Higher Committee said the Arabs would “fight for every inch of their country.”” The neighboring countries were certainly aware of the nation-building, there were attacks from both parties, with Arabs killing unarmed civilians, (Hadassah medical convoy massacre) as well as Israelis, they were no better, except that technically they were fighting on Israeli territory.

        To make your New Mexico analogy work, the people in New Mexico would have to know about the move for several years, then angrily declare they would never move from their position, then violently attack the incoming Indians (or the Indians attack first, either way their is fighting). What should have been done is a peaceful relocation by third-party forces, but that wasn’t done, and I don’t think it could have been done peacefully.

        When you say 1969, you are stating the date of the “War of Attrition” which was started when Egypt shelled well, itself, except that Israel now occupied their territory. If you mean 1967, then Israel did do a preemptive strike, although it was not against some “helpless country” it was against Egypt, who was gathering thousands of troops near the Israeli border, along with Syria and Jordan, where they intercepted orders for the Jordan army to attack Israel. Would they really have attacked… no one really knows, it’s a best guess scenario.

        It is hard to point fingers at Israel when you take into account the Yom Kippur War, a sneak attack that the Arab nations started (Egypt and Syria) when they BROKE CEASEFIRE to attack Israel. As we all know, this ended disastrously for the Arab nations.

        I never suggested we should violate their sovereignty to free woman, but I am curious as to how you morally determine when it is right to “violate” someone’s sovereignty.

        I realize they may eventually outgrow this but many people are more comfortable with Israel, as they allow freedom of religion, allow Muslims to pass through Israel to visit Mecca, do not oppress women, etc. This is a contrast to many Arab nations, which persecute other religions, do not allow women rights and would kill Isaelis that want to travel in their borders.

        I also never stated that I support Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, and I wish the US would not support them. Frankly, I barely care what happens to the Middle East, I think we need to stop meddling there.

        Comment by Jared | October 20, 2011 | Reply

      • FYI, in case you missed it, I posted a response, feel free to post back if you have anything useful to say/add.

        Comment by Jared | November 6, 2011 | Reply

    • wooah…. Women’s rights decades before where they should be? I’m a bit startled by that claim.

      Women in islam, can own land, be in a business, and carry out almost everything anyone else can. They cannot however dress without modesty, and leave for a long trip without the company of someone they are not allowed to marry (sibling, uncle, father). The reasoning is very sound and very smart. Women today where skin tight jeans, the whole aspect of a women today has become sexual. Islam gives women the dignity of self. They are judged not on beauty, but on their actions. In islam, many marry a women not soley on beauty, but also on her level of education, her manners, and her religious belief. Women are not to leave on long trips without company. That may seem ridiculous to some and repressive, but lets look at the facts. Countrys that are majority muslim and abide by muslim ‘old fashiond’ rules, such as Syria, report that about .7 rapes occur per hundred thousand people. When put into the most recent studies in the U.S. about 28.6 rapes occur per hundred thousand people. This is repettive in the comparison between majority muslim country’s and ‘modern’ western countries.

      if anything is radical, its today’s feminist movement. At some point a line needs to be drawn. Women shouldn’t be allowed to where cloths that exposes 90% of their body, not because their ‘rights’ are being opressed, but because it is logical, modest, and safe. Same rules apply to many guys. Guys can’t wear skin tight clothing, they are advised to dress modest, and they are supposed to cover from their belly buttons to their knees.

      My point is not that women are not opressed in many muslim countries, because they are, it is that Islam isn’t doing the opressing it is the very patriarchal mentality that is so common within the region.

      Comment by Amer | June 18, 2012 | Reply

      • Amer, there is nothing inherently immodest about tight jeans. There wouldn’t even be anything immodest about nudity. Whether the standard is Victorian England’s ridiculous fear of ankles, or some desert culture’s fear of exposed faces, or America’s fear of breasts, it’s all culture-specific taboo. None of it has anything to do with what’s actually bad sexuality.

        Don’t imagine modern feminism to be advocating sexual openness, though. In the US, at least, the official sort of feminism has become insanely prudish and sexually repressed, itself.

        Comment by kazvorpal | June 29, 2012 | Reply

      • wooah… Let us start deconstructing your argument here:

        First you say that women can “carry out almost everything anyone else can”. That is the largest lie I have heard in a while… In Saudi Arabia (Islamic law) women JUST RECENTLY gained the right to VOTE. I would certainly call this decades behind any civilized nation. Of course, at least the women can marry who they want… oh wait. http://www.care2.com/causes/from-forced-marriage-to-forced-divorce-in-saudi-arabia.html. They are required to ASK PERMISSION. Well, at least they can say NO when someone asks to marry them… oh wait: http://www.wluml.org/node/4634. A woman in Saudi Arabia is FORCED TO MARRY AT AGE 10. At least the father now regrets it… think of all of those who don’t. At least she can get a divorce… oh wait, she needs her husbands permission to divorce (how stupid is that).

        Now on to the crowning achievement. Low rape rates. What a great achievement! I wonder why that rate is so low?? http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/11/15/saudi-arabia-rape-victim-punished-speaking-out. Oh wait, maybe because all the evidence shows women that it is better if they never speak of it because the “punishment” could be worse than the crime. Oh, another reason… “Women also face discrimination in the courts, where the testimony of one man equals that of two women”. http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/nea/154472.htm. It must be hard to convict a man of rape when his testimony is worth that of TWO women. So don’t try and lie and say that rape rates are “better” under Islamic law… that is easy to claim when you change the definition of rape.

        Also, don’t try and wiggle out from under this saying “Islam isn’t doing the oppressing, it is the very patriarchal mentality”, because the COURTS in SA are the ones UPHOLDING these laws. If someone is “very patriarchal” in the US, the oppressed woman goes to the authorities and the man is tried (and if found guilty) goes to jail. That rarely happens in Islamic countries, when a mans word is worth much more than a woman’s.

        Comment by Jared | June 30, 2012 | Reply

  6. [...] 9.     Are the Muslim Brotherhood Actually Bad for Egypt?: wp.me/pmUrV-t2 10.  Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood, Perceptions and [...]

    Pingback by Egyptian Youth forced out Tyrant through Peaceful Protests-Message for Youth of Oppressed Nations « Faith Forum 4 Peace | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  7. MB [Muslim Brotherhood] is not the issue. They are not in majority, not in power, they believe in democratic system. No one should be afraid of Islam, people love it because it provides, quality, justice and fairness for all. Comparing Iranian Shi’a Revolution with any democratic change in Egypt or any other country with majority Sunni population is a folly. Mainstream Sunni Islam does not follow the doctrine of Imamate [combined religious, spiritual and political leadership, some what similar to the Popes of old] which is peculiar to Shi’a Islam. The theocracy has doctrinal and theological sanction in Shi’a Islam.
    Sunni Muslims believe in Caliphate [represented the political unity, not necessarily the theological unity of Muslims in one person]. Sunni Islam dictates that the head of state, the caliph, should be selected by Shura – elected by Muslims or their representatives. Followers of Shia Islam believe the caliph should be an imam descended in a line from the Ahl al-Bayt, which Khomeni modified to Fiqh-Valayat[Guardianship of the Jurist or Providence of the Jurist (Arabic: ولاية الفقيه, Persian: ولایت فقیه, Urdu: ولایت فقیه, Wilayat al Faqih) ].Hence Sunni Islam is more democratic domination of theocracy as in Iran is neither feasible nor possible. In the 1400 years of history of Islam, never ever the theologians ruled, the ‘Four Rightly Guided Caliphs’ were the special companions of Prophet [pbuh], however the theologians like Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Massud, Abu Hurairah and later Imam Abu Hanifa, Hambal, Shafia, Malik, Ghazaali etc remained committed in their original work. The advised the rulers and guided the people on Islamic matters. The Taliban rule in Afghanistan is an other distortion of Islam, they were basically students of Islamic schools, not scholars who joined the struggle for the independence of their country from oppression of foreign forces and local tribal mlatias. Their ruthless application of Shri’a with limited knowledge of Islam though established peace in Afghanistan but represented a distorted primitive image, not shared by majority of Islamic scholars.
    In Pakistan religious Islamists political parties never got enough votes to form their govt, except in NWFP province, their performance was poor and were thrown out in next election . People only look towards them due to anti US sentiments, with the hope of corruption free govt but they prove no different. [see article by Ayaz Amir: http://peace-forum.blogspot.com/2011/01/clerics-on-march.html%5D. Main issue of Muslims world is to have full control on their resources and way of life. The want to have corruption free good government which should provide security, justice, economic stability, jobs, fair distribution of wealth, eduction healthcare and social welfare. Unfortunately corrupt dictators cling to power with US/Western support, by exploiting the bogey of “Religious Fanatics (Muslim extremists)”these puppets of West are hated by people due to corruption and misgovernment. Any one who genuinely wants to help the Muslim world, they should support the dedicated, honest leadership enjoying the real trust of people, any other approach will be counter productive. The issue of extremists should be left to the Muslims themselves, they know well how to deal with them. The foreign interventions provides some legitimacy to the cause of extremists, hence an indirect support to them.
    Any effort to keep MB or any political group out of democratic process on mere apprehensions, negates the spirit of democracy, would result in pushing them to extremism.

    Comment by A.Jak | February 8, 2011 | Reply

  8. A good, well researched analytical work.
    Aftab Khan/Abbujak

    http://Peace-Forum.blogspot.com

    Comment by A.Jak | February 6, 2011 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers

%d bloggers like this: