The Muslim Brotherhood is not a threat

Among all Islamist political organizations, the Brotherhood is probably one of the last to ever be suspected of extremist influences.

Courtesy of http://www.investigativeproject.org.

“I’m fed up,” complained President Hosni Mubarak about ruling Egypt, “But if I resign now, there will be chaos. And I’m afraid the Muslim Brotherhood will take over.”

His fear is echoed by several prominent American politicians, including Republican presidential hopefuls Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. They suggested that the deposition of Mubarak would most likely lead to an Islamic government in Egypt, a change many perceived as worse off than the status quo. But why should we prefer a 30-year-old authoritarian regime to a potential democratic government involving the Brotherhood? And why are we fearful of Islam as an obstacle to democracy?

The word Islam is almost synonymous with terrorism to many Americans. We often perceive any Islamic political organization as inevitably violent and even necessarily evil. However, while there is a presence of extremism in Islam, the public often neglects the much more dominant and moderate factions such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood’s recent record of violence was but one highly disputed assassination attempt at the ex-President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954. Since then the Brotherhood has adopted a nonviolent reformist strategy which Bin Laden criticized as “betraying jihad.” Among all Islamist political organizations, the Brotherhood is probably one of the last to ever be suspected of extremist influences.

Not only is the Brotherhood non-violent, but it has also consistently outperformed the Mubarak regime in enabling progress in Egypt. Since Mubarak’s presidency, the Brotherhood has drawn many students and professionals alike. Moreover, the Brotherhood has continued to advocate for Islamic reforms, a democratic system and a vast network of Islamic charities helping the Egyptian poor.

All evidences show that the Brotherhood is a much needed impetus for peaceful democratic reform in Egypt. In contrast, the Egyptian government’s relentless oppression of the Brotherhood as well as Mubarak’s stubborn hold to power make the regime an antithesis to democracy. It is no wonder that the Egyptian people felt the urgency to rise up for democracy and regime change.

If Mubarak and his friends in the U.S. Congress are concerned about the Egyptian people’s well-being, why would they continue to misrepresent the will of the Egyptian people by demonizing Islam and denying democracy to a Muslim nation?

Again, self-interest is at work. Mubarak has been striving to present himself as the “better” option for the Egyptian people, as if the country must choose between an authoritarian and an extremist rule. Similarly, out of self-interest, politicians such as Pawlenty and Gingrich would maintain a U.S.-friendly regime in the Middle East at the expense of true democratization in the region. The opinions of these politicians mirror those of their constituency. A recent Rasmussen poll showed that 60 percent of Americans think it is more important for the United States to be allies with any country that protects our national security than it is to be allied only with countries that have freely elected government.

The contradiction between the United States’ official stance and its actual goals only lead to two conclusions: first, the United States is not actually concerned with spreading democracy, using it as a public relations tool. Second, the American public believes that Muslims are incapable of building their own democracy.

The reactions of both Mubarak and his American supporters to the Egyptian uprising reveal their prejudice against Islam. Unless we challenge the existing distortion of Islam in the American society, the true process of democratization in the Middle East as well as the image of the United States in the region will remain hindered for years to come.



You can contact Zhao at zli19@u.rochester.edu.

    39 Responses to “The Muslim Brotherhood is not a threat”

    1. Adam Ondo says:

      First, I never personally insult people in my articles or comments, unless they personally insult me first, in which case they drew first blood, so I am right in retaliating. If you haven’t noticed, I speak in theoretical and broad terms, never singling people out, but then other people attack me personally. And that’s not including what people post on Facebook.

      My articles do not violate any rules of etiquette. The comments that some people (not you, but others) post about me, do cross that line, because they become personal.

      Secondly, my articles are not grammatically poor, neither are the essays, poems, or plays that I write, because those things actually matter. My comments may have mistakes, but that’s because I don’t edit them, because that would be a waste of time.

      I am a tiny bit arrogant, I’ll give you that.

      And I’m sorry if you find me calling things how I see them disrespectful, but I don’t see you (or anyone else) refuting my claims. My evidence is real. My claims are substantiated by proof. Mohammad exiled / enslaved Jewish people living in Medina and Mecca, though it was their land. He is a traitor. He is also a scoundrel, in the sense that he is a pedophile / vandal. Islamic clerics and rulers are extremely misogynistic, even the one at the mosque in New Jersey that testified in the SD v. MJR case. Also, George F. Kennan’s policy of containment was an ingenious one, though rollback is my personal favorite.

      And I understand different cultures very well, I just don’t like certain ones. That being said, having positive relationships with states run by brutal, misogynistic, anti-Christian dictators is not a good idea and it alarms me that so many college students have failed to mature past their idealistic, left wing beliefs.

    2. Xiao Yang says:

      “my articles are not grammatically poor…”

      While I don’t care much for grammar, I would hardly concur on this statement, Adam. I just went through one of your articles briefly:

      “President Obama, on the other hand, has called the settlements illegal, an opprobrious stance for the President of the United States to take.”
      What’s the “opprobrious stance”? Speaking about something is not a stance; it conveys a stance.

      “The Palestinians blow up buses and check points, killing dozens of Jewish people, but Hillary Clinton wants to condemn the Israelis for demolishing a vacant building.”
      Some obvious problems with senses here.

      “After hearing of Secretary Clinton’s rebuke, Huckabee stated, “I think we ought to be more concerned about Iran building bombs than Israelis building bedrooms.” He is right in his reasoning — the United States should get its priorities straight.”
      Right in his ‘reasoning’? That must imply he’s wrong in some other sense, or you could have simply said “He is right”. What is it?

      “As the first line of defense against Iran, Israel has a responsibility to use the materials we have given them to execute their duties in protecting Judeo-Christian nations from Islamofascist countries.”
      “A responsibility…to execute their duties” is repetitive. Either say they have a responsibility to do something, or they should execute their duties in doing something.

      “In 1981, Israel used F-16 fighter jets to lead an air raid on Iraq’s Osirak Nuclear Reactor”
      To ‘lead’ an air raid? They were the only jets used in the raid; nothing followed them.

      “Preventative measures like this must be taken; preemptive strikes are necessary in securing our safety.”
      Unlike what many college students seem to think, a semicolon is not a substitute for connectives.

      “Some worry about lack of concrete evidence”
      The lack? A lack?

      “I feel Israel needs to follow former Vice President…”
      You feel ‘that’.

      “In addition to working on its nuclear program, Iran recently positioned warships in the Red Sea, near the Suez Canal, in an attempt to provoke Israel.”
      ‘working on…positioned…’ Inconsistent tense here.

      “One can only pray that Mr. Lieberman and his right-wing party, Yisrael Beiteinu, can become the majority in the Israeli government.”
      You don’t have to pray for this – they ‘can’ become the majority, just that it’s unlikely. You could instead say “One can only pray that [...] becomes the majority.”

      Again, I don’t care much for grammar, and I probably made a dozen grammatical mistakes in this post. But hopefully being pointed out your numerous grammatical flaws by someone who speaks English as a third language would give you some sense of humility, Adam. Please spend more time writing and proofreading your articles and less time attacking other people who disagree with your views.

    3. Adam Ondo says:

      1. He is right in his reasoning = his reasoning is solid (maybe I didn’t have the best word choice, but it is not grammatically wrong).

      2. “The Palestinians blow up buses and check points, killing dozens of Jewish people, but Hillary Clinton wants to condemn the Israelis for demolishing a vacant building.” – I may be blind, because I wrote it, but please tell me what is wrong here (sensory? I don’t know what you mean).

      3. Yes, “a lack” was a typo, I’ll admit it. I also don’t need “can” when praying for something. “Lead” is the wrong word to use. And yes, the semi-colon is pushing it, but preemptive strikes and preventative measures are very similar ideas.

      4. The part about “duties and responsibility” and your other “grammatical errors” are quite trivial. Also, I write somewhat colloquially, so what you perceive as wrong, could be considered okay. And please don’t be offended, because your English is really quite amazing, but sometimes if it’s your third language, you may think certain nuances are errors, when in fact they are not.

      I do admit, you did find a few minor mistakes, but nothing like the “they’re” instead of “their” that you taunted me about. Those mistakes are found in my hastily written comments.

    4. AHMED SEEDAT says:

      Adam Ondo, you say you are a dual major in history and political science. From the looks of it, you are interested in maybe taking political office and trying to make some changes in our government. So… knowing this I have an honest question to ask.

      I am a muslim. One of those fire breathing dragons you are spewing so much hate about. One of those morally corrupt fools.

      I was wondering how long till I should start planning to leave the United States? If you get to hold some place in office in the United States I have no doubt that you would push to rid the US of all of the “Muslim threats”. Would you kill me? Perhaps deport me to my “native” country? How about containment camps? Would you put little harmless me in one of those?

      Seriously, let me know. Love Ahmed.

      PS: I know what you would do. =(

      • Adam Ondo says:

        I wouldn’t kill you unless you took up arms against me. Just don’t try to use Sharia law in our courts (like in SD v. MJR), support building mosques near ground zero, try to take public office (like Keith Ellison), or aid terrorists and you should be able to stay under the radar.

        And I would only support the use of concentration camps if armed Muslims actually invaded the US, which probably won’t happen. But I support the internment camps used during WWII against the Japanese (Michele Malkin’s book on the subject gives the reasons why).

        But if you are against Western civilization and customs, like some Middle Eastern immigrants to America have said recently, I would highly suggest you return to the Middle East, because I won’t let America change if I have the power to keep it like it is.

    5. NAOMI AHSAN says:

      Mr. Ondo,

      If you do hope to be elected to office someday, you will need to be more careful what you say in public forums and I’m not sure what you can do about what’s already been said. Ahmed Seedat told you that he is Muslim. That is the only information it sounds like you have about whether or not he should be in public office. The “identity” of Muslim cannot be interpreted as any kind of political stance in a secular country where the First Amendment protects religious freedom. If you believe that mosques should not be built near Ground Zero, you are entitled to that opinion, but the fact it is a mosque is not enough in an American court of law– such a view is distinctly un-American. There were Muslims who worked in the Twin Towers who died on 9/11 as well, and Muslims in our military who risk and sacrifice their lives for this country.

      Your comparison of Muslims and Japanese is also highly suggestive of racism. Muslims do not have one race or one country. If any entity wished the U.S. ill and tried to invade, we are duty-bound to protect this country, but not at the expense of the values which it was founded upon. Then I would question who exactly is getting protected– clearly not the Japanese, during WWII.

      Furthermore, the insistence that America not change– as opposed to that America should be protected– is just silly.

      • NAOMI AHSAN says:

        p.s. from your comments about Muhammad, (peace be unto him):
        “Mohammad exiled / enslaved Jewish people living in Medina and Mecca, though it was their land. He is a traitor. He is also a scoundrel, in the sense that he is a pedophile / vandal. Islamic clerics and rulers are extremely misogynistic, even the one at the mosque in New Jersey that testified in the SD v. MJR case.”
        - when you know that a lot of people venerate this man as one of the most perfect human beings to ever exist, you are also aware that your comments are going to be hurtful. Is there any person alive who you honor enough to be offended if someone said things like this about them? Maybe your mother? Do you really have no value for the feeling of others to make such strong insults? It’s incredibly foolish to make comments like that about anyone on such a level– Muhammad (peace be unto him), Jesus (peace be unto him), Moses (peace be unto him), etc. Are you even aware that those men are also considered some of the closest to God in the Islamic faith? Regardless, you have to be able to imagine how this feels; why would you wish to inflict that on a number of people who have caused you no harm? Can there be any good intentions here? If you have issues about anything in early Islamic history or the faith, there are, firstly, more sensitive ways of expressing them.
        - furthermore, you were not there, you have no photos or video or anything…that’s not proof. There is nothing to back up any of what you said. Being Muslim is a lot more than believing Muhammad (S) was a good man– it’s about God more than any human being.

        This is not any way to convince people not to be Muslim, or to earn favor for your views in general.

        • Adam Ondo says:

          Sorry, but we don’t have photos or videos from most of history, but we have records, records that historians agree on, which is what we teach people, so that argument is really quite horrible.

          And if my mother was a pedophile or created a religion that would go on to conquer Jerusalem, then I would say the same thing about her.

          I’m sorry if you find the truth to be insulting. It doesn’t mean we should ignore it.

      • Adam Ondo says:

        If Muslims think it is a secular country, then why use Islam as a defense against rape in New Jersey courts? And the land the mosque is on could be seized via imminent domain, which would bypass any religious problem.

        And internment camps were racist, but it is okay to be racist or discriminatory when a race or type of people are invading your country. It would be dumb to not search Arabs and Persians in airports just because singling them out may be discriminatory. How many people that look like Paris Hilton, or Antonio Banderez, or Charlie Sheen have hijacked planes. Why search them? Discrimination might be necessary in times of war.

        And America shouldn’t change, people should assimilate to it, melt and blend in (it is a melting pot after all).

        Finally, there are a lot of conservative politicians with my views in Utah, Texas, and many other states, and countries like the U.K, Germany, France, Russia, and Israel. So I’m not afraid of not being elected, but thanks for your concern.

        • Aaron Burro says:

          Oh, Adam, your name is on your comments and this stuff is Google-able. You can point to all politicians in Utah you want, but you should really be a little careful saying that “it’s okay to be racist” no matter what follows that horrible statement. Not just because it could impact your future career aspirations, but because it just makes you sound like a horrible person. Racism is different than using intelligence to make efficient security measures. We’ve had more white male terrorists commit atrocities in America than Muslims (unsurprisingly, though, you likely wouldn’t consider the Arizona shootings or the Oklahoma City bombings “terrorism” precisely because they were committed by people who look like you).

          The fact that one horrible person accused of a horrible crime in NJ tried to use a defense that was later rejected doesn’t mean that it’s part of a international Muslim conspiracy, unless you would like me to paint all white men with radical political ideas as being the same as Jared Loughner.

          And, unfortunately, EMINENT domain couldn’t be used by the government to stop the construction of the community center blocks away from the World Trade Center site. Unless you would like to also get rid of all the other houses of worship and communal gathering spaces within the vicinity of the WTC site, you wouldn’t be able to prove that your seizure was part of a cohesive, unified, legal zoning plan. But thankfully the good people of New York didn’t elect crazy, philandering, homophobic, sexist Paladino. In fact, the people who have the very most to fear, Manhattan residents, rejected Paladino’s attempts to turn the WTC site into an anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-First Amendment hate space by a margin of 75%.

          • Adam Ondo says:

            True, there are white terrorists, but I was talking about hijackers (successful or not), who have been Muslim (underwear bomber, shoe bomber, 9/11, Pan Am Flight 103, and the list goes on).

            And when Jared Loughner committed his crime, people did not take to the streets of St. Louis and Austin to celebrate like the people in Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Egypt did after 9/11. People that looked like Jared Loughner did not write reviews praising him like Muslims did bin Laden.

            Also, Mike Lee said the same things Paladino did about the Mosque and other issues (and he agrees with my views on the Middle East) and he won 62-33-5 in Utah. The good people of Utah aren’t afraid to stand up for American values, even though the people of NY apparently are.

            • Aaron Burro says:

              Considering that the people of Utah weren’t attacked on 9/11, I think you’re a little bold to say that we are “afraid” to stand up for American values. Unlike the people in Utah, we actually are exposed to people of all races and faiths on an hourly basis – - – which might make us a little less likely to cower in fear of whatever vague “threat” we hear about on Fox News. We deal with it on a daily basis, every time I get into the subway, walk up to the 60th floor of my office building with a clear view of the Statue of Liberty, I’ve venture to guess that we have a little more perspective on how to deal with threats on our streets than people in Utah. I think you’ve said more than enough.

            • Adam Ondo says:

              Well, in Utah we don’t have to deal with threats every time we leave our house, so I think we may be onto something. And the reason we don’t deal with threats on a “daily basis” like you do is that we just take care of criminals with the firing squad and keep people out of office or run people out of town if they threaten our community. If places in the NE would take after Texas, Kansas, Utah, Missouri, and the like, then things would be a lot different up here and maybe you wouldn’t have as many threats to deal with.

            • Taylor B. says:

              “And the reason we don’t deal with threats on a “daily basis” like you do is that we just take care of criminals with the firing squad and keep people out of office or run people out of town if they threaten our community.”

              Or you just kill them (Mountain Meadows Massacre). Thats a great way to keep unwanted people out of your community.

    6. Aaron Burro says:

      Adam, you are wrong, offensive, and good GOD, you don’t let up, do you? The reason why 9/11 happened isn’t because NYS doesn’t have the death penalty (hard for the death penalty to be much of a motivator with suicide bombers), because we elected a bunch of terrorists to office or because the hijackers were traipsing about NYC causing trouble and we chose not to do anything. No, Adam, the reason why most terrorist groups don’t wreak havoc in the mountains of Utah is because (a) it’s not a symbol for the rest of the United States, and everything that the United States stands for and (b) it’s not densely populated like Manhattan.

      Enough, already, don’t bring up 9/11 when you were sitting comfortably in elementary school when it happened and pretend like you’re some big boy know-it-all. Stop it, put your head back in your books, open up your eyes, and take college seriously as a opportunity to grow as a decent human being. You say awful, awful shit about Muslims, with your name proudly pasted to it – - – I literally cannot wait until you try to apply for jobs and people do a quick Google search and see all the awful things you have to say.

      • Adam Ondo says:

        No, the reason 9/11 happened was because the Clinton administration ignored Al-Qaeda (read the Bin Ladens or The One Percent Doctrine) and Saudis were allowed into America. Epic fail.

        And my relentlessness is my best quality. And I have internships and jobs lined up. And I use my articles as part of my resume and the people I work with agree with them and think that I’m the voice of reason in a liberally dominated America.

        And I’m a decent human being. All I want to do is improve my community, my country, and protect people. Unless you think those things are bad, then I may not be considered decent.

    7. Jonathan Swift says:

      Adam, I have read many of your articles and comments on this site without reply. I’ve watched with dismay as you embarrassed yourself and my alma mater with a barrage of opinions ranging from (rarely) benign, to wrong-headed and naive, to downright offensively bigoted. Your comments here on this article have driven me to reply with this alias, because they are, quite frankly, shocking. Never before have I seen you or anyone else on the Campus Times’ volunteer staff spew such insular, hateful, and downright un-American words.
      I’ll ignore, for a moment, how wrong you are about the causes of the horrible attacks on 9/11 or how naive and argumentative you sound – others have effectively criticized you on those points in this and other comment threads. What really angers me is your shocking suggestion that New Yorkers – Americans – are to blame for the tragedy that occurred nearly a decade ago. I was not in New York City (where I’m writing from now) on that day – I was actually on the U of R campus where you now sit in smug insularity and type your hate-mongering. As I tried to call friends in NYC, I also turned to the comfort of the wide circle of friends and colleagues I’d met at Rochester. Together, we – all of us from different backgrounds, some of us actually practicing the faith you so fear – worked through our shock, grief, cynicism, and fear. Even as details of the evil plot that led to that crime became clear, we never thought of turning on one another or of blaming the victims who perished in those towers.
      Most of all, I never dreamed that, nearly ten years later, I would read a future fellow alumnus of the U of R use the freedom of speech he professes to hold so dear to blame the citizens of New York for what happened to them. I’m as sickened as I am saddened, Adam. I desperately hope you’ll listen to me and go to a quiet spot on campus (maybe the Jeremy Glick memorial plaque) and consider how carried away you’ve gotten in your attempts to be controversial, clever, and right. I likewise hope that the Campus Times staff, rather than silencing you, will prevail upon you to stop sullying the formerly decent reputation of their paper with your hate speech. Maybe sticking to sports articles for a while will help.
      Just in case you take none of this to heart, though, I will be archiving this and other comments of yours (not that Google and the Internet Archive won’t do the same) – I have no idea how credible such evidence will be in the political races of the future or how much the citizens of the areas in which you seek office will care about your warped viewpoint, but it will be nice to know that I have it.

      • Adam Ondo says:

        All of my opinions can be found in Michelle Malkin’s books, Ann Coulter’s books, Bill O’Reilly’s books, and everyone I know agrees with those people. Mike Lee of Utah shares my views, as do other conservative politicians. Armed forces people agree with me. Israelis have praised my work. I tell some people what they want to hear. You may not like it, but like I said, liberals and Muslims won’t agree with me (or O’reilly or Mike Lee).

        And I never blamed the people of NYC, I blamed the weak policies of a liberal administration and the fear that liberals have of doing what is necessary in this war. War is war. My comparison to Japan is a good one.

        I’m not embarrassing myself. If I were at BYU or Liberty University, the school newspaper would be full of Pat Robertson and L. Paul Bremer and Bibi supporters. I wouldn’t be considered weird.



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