Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, says he will be a “leader for all Egyptians.” That sounds a lot like the sorts of lies his fellow Muslim Brothers have been telling for months, only to renege on them when they can. We ignore the true character and ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood - in Egypt, elsewhere in the Mideast, in the wider world and here - at our extreme peril.
In fact, the Brothers’ bait-and-switch gambits are standard operating procedure for their secretive organization. After all, from the Brotherhood’s inception in Egypt in 1928, it has been a revolutionary organization committed to the imposition worldwide of a totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine they call Shariah.
The unattractiveness of that brutally repressive agenda to non-Muslims, and even many Muslims, has forced the group to operate largely in the shadows. It wages a stealthy, pre-violent “civilization jihad” to advance its goals until circumstances are ripe for conquest via violent jihad.
In the hope of attenuating the military’s opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise, the latter has utilized myriad subterfuges. In previous rounds of elections, the Brotherhood promised that it would not seek a parliamentary majority. Then, it did. It promised not to run a candidate for president. Then, it actually ran two of them.
As its power grew, the Brotherhood cynically abandoned others in the opposition in the hope of cutting deals with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the junta that ruled Egypt following the overthrow of longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak. When the SCAF cracked down on the eve of the second round of the presidential election, however, the Brothers were back in Tahrir Square making nice with those unlikely to fare well under Shariah - Christians, secular liberals and women to whom Mr. Morsi’s soothing words are obviously intended to appeal.
Another Brotherhood bait-and-switch was laid bare in a Wall Street Journal interview with the Brotherhood’s formidable deputy supreme guide, Khairat Al Shater. As writer Matthew Kaminski put it, “If the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, Mr. Al Shater would be in charge.” In other words, Mr. Morsi is a puppet for the leader of an outfit described by Mr. Kaminski as “a closed, rigidly hierarchical and disciplined quasi-Trotskyite organization.”
Khairat Al Shater revealed one more gambit in his interview with the Journal. Mr. Kaminski quoted him as saying, “the priority is ‘a close partnership’ with the U.S. which the [Brotherhood] expects to help it unlock credit markets and gain international legitimacy.”
On the occasion of Mr. Obama’s first “outreach to the Muslim world” speech at Cairo’s al-Azhar University in June 2009, he insisted that Brotherhood operatives be in the audience. He threw Mr. Mubarak under the bus within a few days of demonstrations erupting in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt (in stark contrast to his indifference to far larger and longer-running ones in Iran).
What is more, since the first “Arab Spring” uprisings in February 2011, Team Obama has engaged with the Brotherhood extensively - both here and in the region - and signaled its willingness to do so in government. Notably, in April, after the Brotherhood dominated parliamentary elections, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ordered the transfer of $1.5 billion in a lump-sum, no-strings-attached grant to Egypt.
The best hope for those who legitimately fear the Muslim Brotherhood and its unwavering - if only intermittently acknowledged - determination to impose Shariah in Egypt may be for the military there to continue to resist pressure to yield power to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Unfortunately, that pressure will be immense. It will emanate from, among others, the Obama administration. Team Obama’s support for the Brotherhood has become more and more aggressive and reckless. In the process, it is empowering not only the most serious enemy of any hope for freedom in the Middle East, but avowed enemies of this country, as well.
The next shoe to drop in that regard may be a decision by President Obama to agree to a demand from Egyptian Islamists to free one of their most dangerous leaders, Omar Abdul Rahman, the notorious “Blind Sheik” who ordered the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. That unrepentant terrorist subsequently tried to use his attorney, Lynne Stewart, to communicate from federal prison an order to his followers to conduct still more murderous jihadist acts.
Rahman’s return to Cairo - a jihadist triumph that would likely make the Islamists’ rapture at the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran in 1979 pale by comparison - has been urged most recently during high-level meetings in Washington by Hani Nour Eldin. Mr. Eldin is a member of the Blind Sheik’s designated terrorist organization, Gama’a al-Islamiyya. An incredulous House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter T. King, New York Republican, has written to Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano asking why such a dangerous individual was granted a visa by the Obama administration and for her position on the release of Rahman.
Subterfuge, subversion and sedition in the name of Shariah are the tradecraft of the Muslim Brotherhood. Team Obama’s enabling of the Brothers’ ascendancy in Egypt and its embrace of their operatives and those of other Islamist organizations in this country (see MuslimBrotherhoodinAmerica.com) is, if not actually illegal, certainly dangerous in the extreme.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio,” heard in Washington weeknights at 9 on WRC 1260 a.m.