Qaradawi’s Odious Vision
The “Arab Spring” and the treason of the intellectuals


Contra the witless, agenda-driven pre-election assessments by mainstream media outlets — such as the estimate reported by New York Times correspondent David Kirkpatrick that the Brotherhood would receive only 10 percent of the vote — Hudson Institute analyst Samuel Tadros accurately forecast a fundamentalist “tsunami.” Tadros described the most salient results of the actual balloting as follows:

In nearly every single district in Egypt with the exception of a few in Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood came in first place, followed by the Salafists’ Islamic Alliance. The gap between both groups and the rest of the parties is humongous. . . . The Egyptian Bloc performed relatively well, but that is simply a reflection of Christian votes. There is a clear correlation between the bloc’s numbers and the number of Christians in a district.

The Egyptian voting results are entirely concordant with recent public-opinion polling data, which demonstrate that at least 60 percent of Egyptians have “fundamentalist” — i.e., traditional, mainstream — Islamic views, while just 20 percent are secular in orientation. For example, 84 percent of Egyptians favor killing “apostates” who forsake Islam, and 77 percent agree that thieves should have their hands amputated.

These overall trends have been accompanied by tragic outcomes — as have all earlier “Islamic revival” movements of the early, pre-modern, and modern eras. Egypt’s Copts have faced a pogrom, and their churches have been demolished. Even the silent, vestigial remnants of the dhimmi Jewish communities of North Africa have been attacked; in Tunisia, a temple was firebombed, and in Libya, a lone Jew of Libyan descent returned to help his “Libyan Muslim brothers” of the National Transitional Council, but was forced to flee for his life by Muslim mobs apparently enraged by his expressed desire to restore a synagogue. Lastly, there have been several episodes of rape of women foreign reporters attempting to cover the unfolding events.

The largely ignored anti-Christian violence and persecution wrought by the Islamic resurgence animating Egypt’s “Arab Spring” was brought to the fore during the Republican foreign-policy debate in South Carolina. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich frankly acknowledged and condemned this ugly phenomenon:

Candidly, the degree to which the Arab Spring may become an anti-Christian spring is something which bothers me a great deal. And I would certainly have the State Department intervening on behalf of the Coptic Christians, who are being persecuted under the new system, having their churches burned, having people killed. And I’d be pretty insistent that we are not going to be supportive of a regime which is explicitly hostile to religions other than Islam.

Finally, Egyptian expatriate author and essayist Nonie Darwish was raised a Muslim in Cairo and educated at the American University there. She offers this wistful, sobering perspective on the tragic, ongoing failure of imagination painfully evident almost a year after Qaradawi’s Tahrir Square khutbah in her forthcoming The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of the Revolutions in the Middle East:

I dreamed and still dream of a real Arab Spring, where the majority of the people will stand behind an enlightened leader at Tahrir Square in a magical moment of truthful courage and say, “We need to change course and to change ourselves. What we suffer from is not imposed on us by Mubarak, but by Islam controlling the state and the legal system, and this must end. It is time for the snake of Sharia to retreat back to Mecca, so that we can liberate beautiful Egypt, Persia, and the rest of the Middle East from this Arabian cultural curse.” If Muslim nations reject such an enlightened leader and continue to seek an Islamic Ummah, then the future of stability and peace in the Islamic world will be grim indeed.

Julien Benda, in his classic 1928 La Trahison des Clercs (The Treason of the Intellectuals), decried with prophetic accuracy the way the abandonment of objective truth abetted totalitarian ideologies, which led to the cataclysmic destruction of World War II. The treason of Western intellectuals in our time remains their nearly complete failure to study, understand, or acknowledge the heinous consequences of the living, corollary Islamic institutions of jihad war and hatred of Jews and infidels.

Andrew Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism and the forthcoming Sharia versus Freedom, the latter with a foreword by Andrew C. McCarthy. This essay was adapted from a lengthy version posted here.


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