Is Egypt headed down the same road as Nazi Germany?

It would be dangerous to ignore the similarities between Morsi's Egypt and Hitler's Germany.

Egyptian protester on barrier surrounding palace 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
Egyptian protester on barrier surrounding palace 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
The current political atmosphere in Egypt closely resembles that of 1933 by Germany. Much like Hitler and his Nazi party, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi came to office after a narrow democratic electoral victory. Both were elected during a time of great upheaval among the masses when the populace was yearning for change. Morsi, who was jailed under the rule of deposed president Hosni Mubarak, can be seen to share with Hitler a desire for revenge against the established social order and intolerance toward adversaries. Both Hitler and Morsi sought to overthrow the established order.
During the past six months, Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party have taken all necessary measures to consolidate his grasp on power. Similar measures were taken by Hitler in 1933, including control of the media, the army, local municipalities, the police force and jurisdictional institutions. In Egypt,only close allies of Morsi were appointed to key positions. In September 2012, former members of deposed president Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party were fired from the National Council for Human Rights, a watchdog organization of the Egyptian government. In every area that the Brotherhood assumed control, accusations of corruption and loyalty to Mubarak’s regime were used in an intense cleansing campaign.
The Muslim Brotherhood portrays itself to be benevolent and compassionate, yet its Nazi-esque actions against political opponents and discrimination towards minority groups belie this notion.  Using an Internet army of holy warriors, opponents are subjected to vicious defamation campaigns which include accusations of betrayal, atheism, dishonesty, espionage, and corruption. Formerly prominent leaders in society from leftwing and liberal camps, such as diplomats Amr Mussa, Hamdin Sadahi and Mohamed Al Baradie, have been persistently targeted by holy e-warriors. In the battle between “holy versus evil,” imams are instructed to engage in propaganda campaigns favoring the new regime.
Whenever there is any hint of political debate, mass rallies organized by paramilitary groups wearing green shirts linked to the Islamists take to the streets. Intimidating adversaries in this manner is a tactic that was honed in Nazi Germany, first by the SA and later by the SS. The leader and sponsor of the Brotherhood’s paramilitary wing is Khairat Al Shater, a businessman who spent 20 years in prison for terrorism. The paramilitary groups have the additional duty of sabotaging demonstrations organized by political opponents, resorting to all possible means including Molotov cocktails and sexual harassment of female opponents.
Because they are motivated by a “holy” ideology and are prepared for personal sacrifice, the Islamists are at an advantage over their opponents and are thus far more likely to gain the upper hand on the street.
During the current political turmoil, the president awarded himself complete power and juridical immunity over his decisions, including the unilateral drafting of the new constitution. Despite Morsi’s cancellation of the constitutional declaration this past Saturday, Islamists are ignoring the calls from liberals to scrap the December 15 referendum on the new constitution, insisting ironically that it is needed to complete a democratic transition.
Safwat Hegazi, a preacher and propaganda mastermind of the MB, made the outrageous claim that the constitutional redraft represents the wishes of 90 percent of Egyptians, and further accused opponents as being “a bunch of morality dishonest traitors,” Hegazi’s defamation speeches share astonishing similarities with those of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.
Unfortunately a narrow majority of impoverished and deprived Egyptians still hold onto the hope that the new regime will fulfill its promise of changing their fortunes – both in this world and the next. The poorer classes are indispensable to the MB, not least of all for their “rent-a-crowd” value, in which thousands are transported from the countryside to the cities for counterdemonstrations in support of Morsi.
History has shown that fascist and fanatic ideologies flourish in times of chaos and depression. In an emotional speech that marked the launch of Morsi’s presidential campaign earlier this year, self-proclaimed imam Hegazi declared that the ultimate goal of the MB is to establish a “United States of the Arabs,” or Caliphate, with Jerusalem as its Capital.
The unfathomable silence of the US and other western democracies in the face of these developments serve as painful reminders of similar foreign policies of appeasement undertaken by former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain towards Hitler.
I can only hope that ordinary Egyptians heed the lessons of history because if they don’t, the Egyptian nation—my nation—is headed for the abyss.