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Egypt’s Predictable Unraveling
The Brothers are playing for keeps.

Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi

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Andrew C. McCarthy

As Egypt under the heel of Mohamed Morsi unravels, here’s the late-breaking news: The Muslim Brotherhood is the enemy of democracy.

This has always been obvious to anyone who took the time to look into it. Nevertheless, it has not been an easy point to make lo these many years. Even as the Justice Department proved beyond any doubt in court that the Brotherhood’s major goal in America and Europe — its self-professed “grand jihad” — is “eliminating and destroying Western civilization,” to have the temerity to point this out is to be smeared as an “Islamophobe.” That’s the Islamophilic Left’s code for “racist.”

Nor is it just the Left. Like the transnational progressives who hold sway in Democratic circles, many of the neoconservative thinkers who have captured Republican foreign-policy making encourage “outreach” to “moderate Islamists” — a ludicrously self-contradictory term. The idea is to collaborate in the construction of “Islamic democracies.” That’s another nonsensical term — to borrow Michael Rubin’s quote of a moderate Muslim academic piqued by the encroachments of Turkey’s ruling Islamists, “We are a democracy. Islam has nothing to do with it.” That is clearly right. Yet, to argue the chimerical folly of the sharia-democracy experiment is to be demagogued as an “isolationist.” It is as if the Right can no longer fathom an engaged foreign policy that concentrates solely on vital U.S. interests and treats America’s enemies as, well, enemies.

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Of course, it is neither Islamophobic nor isolationist to observe that Islamic supremacism is derived from literal Muslim scripture; that it is a mainstream interpretation of Islam whose adherents, far from being limited to a “violent extremist” fringe, number in the hundreds of millions and include many of Islam’s most influential thinkers and institutions. These are simply facts. Nor is it Islamophobic or isolationist to contend that any sensible engagement with Islamic supremacists — very much including the Muslim Brotherhood — ought to be aimed at their marginalization and defeat, not their cultivation and empowerment. This is not a popular view; opinions amply supported by unpleasant facts are rarely popular. But following it would strengthen pro-Western Muslims while promoting an American global engagement that is essential, effective, and affordable. That is the very antithesis of Islamophobia and isolationism.

The central contention here has been that the Muslim Brotherhood is an innately, incorrigibly Islamic-supremacist outfit. Wherever it establishes a presence, it seeks — as gradually as indigenous conditions require, and as rapidly as they allow — to implement its repressive construction of sharia. Wherever it gets the opportunity to rule, it uses its power to impose this sharia, despite resistance from the society’s non-Islamist factions.

This is not a mere theory. Egypt, the world’s most important Arab country, is violently convulsing before our eyes in direct reaction to the suffocation that is Islamist rule. So, will we finally take the lesson? Will we finally come to understand why democracy and Islamic supremacism cannot coexist?

Western democracy has Judeo-Christian underpinnings. At its core is the equal dignity of every person. This sacred commitment, ironically, enables our bedrock secular guarantee: freedom of conscience. It is anathema to the Brotherhood. As their guiding jurist, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, teaches: “Secularism can never enjoy general acceptance in an Islamic society.” This is because “the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of sharia.”



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