Democracy Project Triumph? Islamists Surge Ahead in Egypt's Elections
by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
December 2, 2011
It would be hard to overstate what a catastrophe the Egyptian elections are shaping into. Reports about stage one of the long process show not only that the Muslim Brotherhood may be getting over 50 percent of the vote; an even more extreme Islamist party — called “Nour” — is apparently getting between 10 and 15 percent.
In a bit of sleight-of-hand I’ve noted before, the media describes as “Salafists” the elements that are even more extreme Islamists than the MB. This is a device to help the Obama administration’s assiduous campaign to airbrush the Brotherhood into a “moderate” organization — one that National Intelligence Director James Clapper so memorably (and ludicrously) described as “largely secular.”
Do not be deceived. The MB is itself a Salafist organization. Salafism is a retro-refom movement that seeks to return Muslims to what is seen as the pure Islam of the founding generations (the Salafiyyah — the “righteous companions” of Mohammed). MB founder Hassan al-Banna was a Salafist. So was Sayyid Qutb — the most important MB theorist of the second half of the 20th Century. So is the MB’s leading sharia jurist in modern times, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi (despite efforts by his delusional Western fans to portray him as a modernizing reformer). The difference between MB Salafists and more extreme Salafists (like the difference between the MB and al-Qaeda) is much more about methodology than ideology). It is akin to the difference between Saul Alinksy organizers and the New Left radicals of the ’60s and ’70s. The MB has always believed in working with (and penetrating) government, and boring into society’s institutions, in order to Islamize society gradually. More extreme Salafists reject secular society and refuse to interact with its government — on the theory that such interaction corrupts them while legitimizing the secular government. But the goal of both sides is precisely the same: to install sharia law as the foundation for Islamizing the society.
The fact that Islamists even more extreme than the MB are not only participating but winning substantial seats in the election is a disaster on at least three counts. First, it demonstrates yet again the weakness of the secular democrats who have been portrayed, fraudulently, as the dynamic force of the “Arab Spring.” Second, it will push the dominant MB into an even more aggressively Islamist posture. Third, it will have the perverse effect of helping the Obama administration and Western Islamophiles continue to portray the MB as comparatively moderate. Of course, the Brothers are only ostensibly moderate in comparison to Nour (with whom they’ll be delighted to collaborate) — objectively speaking, they are virulently anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israeli (indeed, anti-Semitic).
The Islamist ascendancy in Egypt, enabled by the West’s democracy fetishists and its Leftist allies of the MB, will have immediate disastrous consequences — in the imminent drafting of the new Egyptian constitution; in the eventual Egyptian presidential election next year; in overcoming the Egyptian military’s half-hearted attempts to stem the Islamist tide; in the deteriorating security of 8 million Coptic Christians (about 10 percent of the population); in a radically new and more threatening Islamist threat to Israel on a long border it has not had to worry about for the last 30 years; and in ensuring (in cahoots with Islamist Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, a longtime MB intimate) that the Brotherhood will take over Syria when Assad falls — probably sooner rather than later.