Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders 311 (R).
(photo credit: Amr Dalsh / Reuters)
A member of Egypt’s interim military-government said unease over the threats
that the Muslim Brotherhood poses to prospects of democracy in the country are
exaggerated, and that the Islamist movement has a right to partake in political
RELATED:Egyptians rally to demand swifter reforms,
justiceEU ready to expand dialogue with Muslim
“They are not seeking to have a religious country,” said Maj.-Gen.
Mohamed Said al- Assar, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in
remarks quoted by Bloomberg News.
“They have to have the same rights as
“Day by day, the Brotherhood are changing and are getting
on a more moderate track,” he said. “They have the willingness to share in the
political life... they are sharing in good ways.”
Assar said the army
remains committed to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, but Cairo will have to
“adjust to the changes in the region” and resolve outstanding regional disputes
including the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The comments came Monday while
addressing the Washingtonbased US Institute of Peace, a US government-funded
The general failed, however, to assuage his hosts’ concerns
that national elections scheduled for later this year could be less than fully
transparent to the outside world.
“Visitors can visit the election
facilities and they can see by their own eyes, but not on a monitoring or
observation basis,” he said.
Assar’s comments come amid growing public
anger over the slow pace of political reform and of filing indictments against
officials linked to ousted president Hosni Mubarak, as well as the army’s
growing ties with the Brotherhood.
For weeks protesters have occupied a
protest camp in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, sparking counter-demonstrations
of dozens of army supporters.
On Saturday more than 300 people were hurt
in clashes between the two sides as protesters marched on the Defense Ministry
while military police and anti-riot officers stood idly by.
Ibrahim, a widely published author on Islamist organizations, wrote Monday that
the future promises to be bright for the Brotherhood, banned for decades under
Egypt’s successive military rulers.
“Things are looking good for Egypt’s
Muslim Brotherhood, the grandfather of all Islamist groups. Despite the
organization’s hegemonic aspirations – which include “eliminating and destroying
the Western civilization... so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made
victorious over all other religions” – the Obama administration recently
announced that it ‘welcomes dialogue’ with the Brotherhood; so did the European
Union,” he wrote on the website of the Hudson New York think
Earlier this month US Secretary of State said Washington is
“re-engaging” in “limited contacts” with the Brotherhood in a bid to promote
regional democracy, and Clinton’s European counterpart, Catherine Ashton, said
the EU is “open to dialogue with anyone who is interested in
Ibrahim’s article linked to the Brotherhood’s 1991
“Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North
America,” publicized by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Proecess’ [sic] with all the
word means. The Ikhwan [Brothers] must understand that their work in America is
a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization
from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of
the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious
over all other religions,” the memorandum said in English.
level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared
ourselves for jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform jihad and work
wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes.
secular parties concerned with the temporal, it has a divine mandate – a
totalitarian vision – to subdue society to Sharia,” wrote Ibrahim, a fellow at
the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Middle East Forum.
1952, Ibrahim wrote, the “Brotherhood learned the virtues of patience and
perseverance. To play the game on the enemy’s terms–whether by rejecting
violence, by going to the kafir [unbeliever] ballot box, by leading us to adopt
the ‘pluralistic’ language of the West.
“Over the decades, Egyptian
society has become more Islamist and more sympathetic to the Brotherhood –
thanks in no small part to the organization’s grassroots
Moreover, both in Egypt and abroad, many truly believe that the
Muslim Brotherhood organization has reformed, which would be worthy of note if
the facts corresponded to such a wish. They don’t.
Many people also
believed that Khomeini would bring democracy to Iran,” he added.
passage of time in the West has also helped the Brotherhood: Western politics
have descended into idealism and fantasy–culminating today with Washington
reaching out to Islamists. Would they have reached out to the Nazis?” Ibrahim
“When all is said and done, the Brotherhood wants the same thing
all Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists want: the enforcement of Allah’s
draconian anti-infidel laws to govern the earth. They are just smarter – more
patient – than their impulsive counterparts in the West.”