Egypt’s Sisi – a Muslim leader with much-needed moral clarity

Egypt has both waged and won an ideological war.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sits in the chair reserved for heads of state before delivering his address during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 201 (photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sits in the chair reserved for heads of state before delivering his address during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 201
(photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
Over the past 16 months I’ve met three times with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. There is no doubt in my mind that no other world leader has more effectively won the ideological war against radical Islam. It is astonishing how he came to govern during the most trying time for that Middle Eastern country.
During the first visit, the delegation met with Jehan Sadat, widow of Anwar Sadat, and Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allamand. It was former president Sadat who signed the peace pact with Israel in 1979, one that is still in effect today. Mrs. Sadat assured our group that she wanted to do “everything to make the country – to elevate the standard of the people.”
You may recall that on January 25, 2011, thousands of protesters packed Tahrir Square in Cairo. The world watched in horror as what was called the Arab Spring swept through Egypt. Millions of demonstrators took to the streets in every major city across the Middle East. More than 90 police stations were set afire. This was the same protest that plagued Syria, creating a human catastrophe and costing the lives more than 350,000 countrymen.
The Muslim Brotherhood had essentially commandeered the entire nation and was destroying it. As a result, Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi was elevated to the role of president. He was ousted by Sisi in 2013. Not only did he bring stability to Egypt, Sisi has initiated a program that impacts every level of society. I was astonished when we met with Egyptians who told our group how strongly they were opposed to the Brotherhood.
Winning an ideological war is not an easy task to accomplish. The United States tried in Afghanistan and Iraq, but has not won an ideological war. Egypt has both waged and won such a war. The world needs to listen to and heed Sisi. I’m not entirely sure anyone comprehends exactly how such wars are fueled and fed. His success plan needs to be implemented throughout the entire Middle East and, in fact, globally.
When we first met, I told him, “Combating terrorism is a human right; you saved Egypt.” The war on terrorism in that country would have been completely lost, had it not be for Sisi. Can you imagine the catastrophe that would have occurred if Egypt, with its 100 million Muslims, had become another Syria?
Sisi is being attacked by the liberal Left on what it perceives to be human rights allegations. It is very reminiscent of what was done by former president Jimmy Carter to Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran. That country was our strongest Muslim ally in the Middle East in the 1970s. During an interview with Farah Pahlavi, widow of the late shah, she explained to me:
During the whole of his campaign, Carter had proclaimed the theme of human rights, the freedom of the people, which in reality has to be treated with caution, taking the economic and cultural context of each country into account. The Iranian opposition saw an ally in Carter for future struggles, and the rush of demands (on the shah) in the spring of 1977 would doubtless not have been so great, had another man been elected to the White House.
Asadollah Alam, appointed prime minister by the shah in July 1962, was Pahlavi’s personal confidant. Alam, in his autobiography, wrote of Pahlavi’s concerns over the election of Carter. The shah opined: “Who knows what sort of calamity he [Carter] may unleash on the world?” The shah was also concerned that the Russians would invade Afghanistan, Iraq would declare war against his country, and that there would be an Islamic revolution in Iran.
At the same time, with the hope of improving the US image as the benevolent superpower to the post-Vietnam world, Carter created a special Office of Human Rights, and the shah emerged high on the agency’s list of leaders to monitor. Washington put pressure on Pahlavi to relax his control and allow more political freedom. This prompted the release of more than 300 political prisoners, saw censorship relaxed, and the court system overhauled, which had the unforeseen side effect of allowing greater freedom for opposition groups to meet and organize. Carter became a champion of selective human rights, and by so doing, introduced the world to one of the most heinous regimes in history: the new Islamic Republic of Iran. Far from protecting US foreign policy interests, Carter made whatever concessions he deemed necessary to be seen as the president of peace – no matter the cost.
Where in the Middle East can a Muslim ally with such moral clarity be found, one who not only stands strongly against the Brotherhood but aggressively initiates a reeducation program in the mosques and schools of Egypt? Where could one find an ally such as this, who is fighting a war of terror against ISIS in the Sinai with Israel? Or a Muslim ally who has mobilized hundreds of thousands of his fellow countrymen as policemen to defend Christians, even with their own lives? During the 2017 Christmas celebrations, Sisi assigned troops outfitted in combat gear to protect worshipers at churches in Cairo and towns across Egypt.
Sisi asked for prayer of those gathered with him during our historic first meeting: “Please pray for me. Please pray for Egypt, because we are in a battle,” he said.
The same liberal-left moral relativists who forced the shah out of power are still operating today, and are hard at work to depose Sisi. Sadly, those liberals have a difficult time seeing moral issues clearly. These humanists reject absolute standards of good and evil, right and wrong.
These liberals see jihadists not as terrorists but as freedom fighters, little George Washington types who simply need tolerance and support. Those with moral clarity are cast aside onto the scrap heap of history, while the world continues its downward spiral toward destruction.
The writer is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author with 89 published books, including The New Iran. He is the founder of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, of which Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was the chairman. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.