The Corner

Re: Security, Extremism and Terrorism

In his thought-provoking piece on the homepage today, Bishop Nazir-Ali makes some useful refinements to the points raised by British prime minister David Cameron in his recent speech on multiculturalism. Not all are pertinent to the United States — where, for example, Christianity is not the country’s established religion — but some are, such as the importance of distinguishing moderate Muslims from extremists. Nazir-Ali explains: “By moderate Muslims we do not mean those who are lukewarm in the practice of their faith, but those who interpret it to enable peaceful coexistence and respect for fundamental freedoms.”

Many U.S. policymakers have argued that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a “moderate Islamic” group. While in recent times Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has eschewed violent tactics and supported elections, the writings of its leaders (see here) have long promoted a governing vision that is radical. Even current writings aimed at winning American support during this pivotal time are hardly reassuring. Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fotouh, a prominent and long-term member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s “Guidance Council,” recently argued in a Washington Post op-ed that the Muslim Brotherhood is an exemplar of “moderation” because it has adopted nonviolent tactics. He also reaffirmed support for Islamic law in Egypt and waxed euphoric about its virtues: “Sharia is a means whereby justice is implemented, life is nurtured, the common welfare is provided for, and liberty and property is safeguarded.” This utopic portrayal neglects to mention individual freedoms of expression and religion, or equal rights under the law for religious minorities — these omissions should raise a red flag.

American policymakers should not support or promote Egypt’s various political movements and parties until they have ascertained that Bishop Nazir-Ali’s “moderation” litmus test is met. Without the unqualified embrace of fundamental freedoms concerning religion and expression, no constitution can be considered “democratic,” nor any political party “moderate.”

Nina Shea is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center on Religious Freedom.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More