Brotherhood under Media Attack - A Test of Democracy
|Wednesday, February 16,2011 18:18|
Television commentary during the Egyptian revolution has revealed the ignorance of some people about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in what the West fears is a potential theocratic coup.
There are some balanced voices however, including, James Clapper, director of National Intelligencewho told a congressional hearing that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.” However, those who are intent on defaming the MB and belying the unfolding events in Egypt and the numerous interviews and statements by MB representatives, insist that the Brotherhood supports terrorism and terrorist causes.
Loosely applied in the worldwide media, the word ‘terrorism’ has become a cliché that is often misused to conjure up fear in the masses, generating distrust and hatred for specific individuals and groups. The Muslim Brotherhood is apparently under media attack.
Clapper asserts that the Muslim Brotherhood is a powerful and influential religious-political force and according to a 2009 studyby WorldPublicOpinion.org, sixty-nine percent of Egyptians think the Brotherhood favors democracy. The behavior, stance and ongoing committed to democracy demonstrated by the Brotherhood in the period before, during and after the People’s Revolution indicates its role as a moderate, pro-democratic group that struggles to voice the will of the people and uphold their rights.
On the other hand, Doug Schoen, advisor to four Israeli prime ministers, said in a warning tone in his commentary for Foxnews.comthat he believes there is “at least a 50 percent chance, if not more, that a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood or a party with a generally similar approach and orientation will gain political powerin Egypt and win the next presidential election.” Clearly, Schoen is not so much fearful of the moderate Muslim Brotherhood as he is of Egyptians in general, as he fearfully considered a Zogby poll that was conducted in 2010 showing that 75% of Egyptians think Egyptian life would improve when clerics take a more central role in the political life of the country. Given the corruption, repression, brutality and mismanagement of the previous secular regime, which was obviously favored by Schoen, any amount of ethics and rule of just law would be hateful to both him and the Israelis whom he advises.
Schoen, responding to his paranoia about all things ‘Islamic’ shows distrust in the Muslim Brotherhood’s use of images and words such as “freedom” and “liberation”. Anxious, he decries his belief in some sort of conspiracy theory that this is all a ploy by ‘so-called fanatics’ who have a secret agenda. At the same time, Schoen’s fellow countryman, Hillary Clinton was so impressed by the dignified peaceful behavior and stance of the Egyptian People’s Revolution, of which the Brotherhood is a significant part that she wants to make it an example of democracy and peaceful protest worldwide.
New fears emerge among Western thinkers as Egypt’s military rulers formed a panel of experts that include Sobhi Salah from the Brotherhood, a reformist, to be part of making initial changes to the country’s constitution.Most of the rhetoric about the Brotherhood is centred round Israeli interests and fear of the Brotherhood having a secret identity of an Al-Qaida-like or Taliban-like persona. However, the Brotherhood has clearly stated that it respects the international treaties that have been made and its official policies emerge from its 16-member Guidance Bureau and are clearly outlined on its official website.
The Brotherhood has clearly stated that it respects all international treaties and agreements and this includes those made with ‘Israel’. The point that pro-Israeli Westerners fear is that many Egyptians believe the 1979 treaty lacks legitimacy but even as George Washington University professor Nathan Brown pointed out, revoking a peace treaty is a far cry from declaring war. At the same time Essam El-Erian reiterated that ‘there is no threat of war and that the people are not pushing for war, adding that it is not our duty to protect Israel from Palestinians. We are not guards for Israel’.