by Joseph Klein
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government, which has the support of the Obama administration, has just issued arrest warrants for five activists on false charges that they allegedly used social media to incite violence against the Muslim Brotherhood. These activists include a blogger who played a key role in the 2011 revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi was following through on his threat to the National Salvation Front and other opposition groups, which he issued last Sunday in the wake of clashes between protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo: “There is a president of the republic and there are emergency measures if any of them makes even the smallest of moves that undermines Egypt or the Egyptians. Their lives are worthless when it comes to the interests of Egypt and Egyptians. I am a president after a revolution, meaning that we can sacrifice a few so the country can move forward. It is absolutely no problem.”
In addition, the Muslim Brotherhood itself filed complaints against 169 opposition figures, which included a former presidential candidate who now works in television.
At the same time, sexual assaults against women have skyrocketed during the Morsi regime’s rule. And the Islamists who have been elevated into power blame the women for the violence against them. For example, an Islamist police general and lawmaker was quoted by the New York Times as proclaiming that “a girl contributes 100 percent to her own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”
A lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party blamed the attacks on women who dared to protest peacefully alongside of men: “How do they ask the ministry of Interior to protect a woman when she stands among men?”
The Muslim Brotherhood also issued a statement against the UN Convention on Elimination of Violence Against Women and called the final outcome document adopted earlier this month non-Islamic. It objected, for example, to the provision that calls for granting wives “all the right to sue their husbands with charges of rape or harassment.” It opposed equality in inheritance. It opposed the idea of withdrawing the authority of divorce from husbands and authorizing it to the judiciary as well as sharing property after divorce. It opposed any initiative to stop polygamy or to “allow Muslim women to marry a non-Muslim.”
And yet we get deafening silence from the Obama administration. Instead, the Obama administration forges ahead with its plans to provide F-16 fighters, Abrams tanks and over a billion dollars of financial aid to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government despite his crackdown on dissidents and the deteriorating plight of women in Egypt.
The Islamists are laughing at us. Egyptian cleric Dr. Khaled Said, in an interview aired on Al-Hafez TV (via the Internet) on March 17, 2013 described American foreign aid this way, as transcribed by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI): “If the revolution declares a framework for dealing with the West and America – they will accept it, kiss our hands, and double the aid they give us. We consider this aid to be jizya [poll tax], not regular aid. They pay so that we will let them be. The aid constitutes jizya.”
This is the government that President Obama has chosen to support and fund. And now we may be seeing history repeat itself in Syria. As it ratchets up military support for the Syrian opposition, the Obama administration is welcoming the selection of Ghassan Hitto, a Syrian Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer who is a naturalized American citizen, to head the Syrian opposition’s new interim government. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “This is an individual who, out of concern for the Syrian people, left a very successful life in Texas to go and work on humanitarian relief for the people of his home country. We’re very hopeful that his election will foster unity and cohesion among the opposition.”
Hitto was voted in by 35 of the 49 opposition coalition members who cast ballots. However, a number of members walked out in protest because they were upset at what they believed to be Hitto’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood. One liberal dissident complained about the new interim opposition government: “The government is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Qatar government.”
While living in the United States, Hitto helped found the Muslim Legal Fund of America. At least half of the Board of Directors of the Muslim Legal Fund have ties to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Association of North Texas. Hitto himself reportedly served as the Vice-President of CAIR’s Dallas Fort-Worth Chapter in 2002 and is currently listed as a director of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Muslim American Society (MAS) Youth Center of Dallas.
Earlier this year, Hitto shared the podium at a fund raising dinner for Syria with the keynote speaker Imam Shakir, whom in the past has expressed hope for the conversion of America to Islam and adoption of Islamic law in America as well as having said that the US war machine is the single greatest threat to world peace.
The Obama administration’s policy towards encouraging Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamists over the more secular members of the opposition in country after country in the Middle East is part of a very disturbing pattern. The policy is either insane because it amounts to doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results or, more likely, it represents a deliberate decision to rely on the Muslim Brotherhood as a counterweight to what the Obama administration considers to be the more dangerous al Qaeda jihadists. If so, the policy is doomed to fail because the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda are made from the same Islamist cloth, even if their tactics may differ in the short term.
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