Westerners are looking at what is happening on the Egyptian streets and wondering if it is good for an oppressed people to protest against a semi-dictatorial regime. Most of these young protesters cannot find jobs, and inflation has ravaged the middle class, to say nothing of the gulf between the very rich and the very poor.
On the surface, this is an understandable situation. But before you judge the motives of the protestors, you must know who is really behind those young people on the streets. The Muslim Brotherhood has been thirsting for power in Egypt for many, many years. Founded back in the 1920s, the aim of the Muslim Brotherhood was to topple the British rule and its puppet Egyptian government. Their goal then was to draw Egypt back into their militant-Islam, Sharia-following, anti-western, anti-Christian fold.
In the early 50 s, the Brotherhood cooperated with Colonel Gamal Abdul Nasser and his Free Officers revolution, thinking that they could use him to fulfill their ambitions. But Nasser outwitted them and instead used them to fulfill his personal ambitions. Once he came into power, he threw them into prison. And in prison they stayed until 1971 when Nasser died and his successor Anwar Al Sadat, who was more sympathetic with their Islamic thinking than Nasser was, released them.
The irony is that, in 1981 the same Islamic militants to whom Sadat gave freedom were the very people who riddled his body with bullets on that fateful day of October 6th. His deputy Hosni Mubarak immediately took the reins and, for the past 30 years, he has tried to learn from the mistakes of both of his predecessors, Nasser and Sadat. One had imprisoned the Islamic militants, and the other had set them free. Mubarak faulted between doing one or the other, and walking that tightrope bought him time (30 years). But, as someone once said, When you stand in the middle of the road, you can be hit from either side.
Islam and Democracy
In America today, those on the left and some on the right who have very little knowledge or understanding of the ethos of Islam and why democracy and Islam could never coexist, are making very naive and silly statements. While we in the West believe that we the people empower government to act on our behalf, Islam believes that the power comes from Allah directly to his prophet and the successors to his prophet the Caliphs who then reinforce Allah s Sharia (law). Talking about democracy and elections to Islamists would be less effective than whistling Dixie.
However, clever Islamists use these words like democracy and election as means to topple secular regimes. And once they take over the reins of power, democracy takes on another meaning, namely killing your opponents. You don t believe me?
In 1979 in Iran, when the demonstrators (many of whom were not Islamists) toppled the government and the Shah left the country, Khomeini used secular minded Muslim Iranians such as Abulhassan Bani Sader and others to his benefit. But once he got established, he killed every one of those freedom-loving, democracy-seeking secular Iranian intelligentsia, thus tightening the Islamic noose around Iran, which is still there today.
In the middle of the 2000s, President George W. Bush pressured the Palestinians to have free and fair elections. It happened. Hamas won the election and took power. And the moment they came to power, they began to kill their opponents so that another election would not take place until they were finally pushed out of the West Bank into the Palestinian territory of Gaza.
Look at what is happening in Gaza today and you will have a very good idea of what could happen in Egypt if Hamas s friends and allies, the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt come to power. It will not only spell disaster to the west and to Israel, but also to the Christians and the secular-minded Muslims. Sadly, the naivet of the Obama administration may help bring about this disaster sooner than anyone could have imagined.