Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mt 24 watch, 126: The Muslim brotherhood rises to prominence in Egypt

Jihad Watch informs us, from Al-Masry Al-Youm, English -- The Egyptian Today:

Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail announced his intention to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections.

He said that if elected he would implement Islamic sharia law and cancel the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Ismail was the Brotherhood’s candidate in 2005 parliamentary elections for Dokki in Giza.
The group announced earlier that it would not take part in the presidential elections and confirmed that it would compete for only half the seats in Parliament. But Ismail is the second Brotherhood member to have announced his intention to run for president in defiance of the group's leadership. The other Brotherhood candidate is Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, a liberal-minded Islamist . . . .

Abu Ismail said that his platform revolves around Islam, while "Mohamed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa, and Hamdeen Sabahi, the liberal candidates, will be unable to present a clear vision” for the country.

“If I could apply sharia in Egypt, all people, including non-Muslims, would applaud me four years later,” said Abu Ismail.

The sheikh said that no current presidential candidate represents the Egyptian people.
“We seek to apply Islamic law, but those who don’t want it prefer cabarets, alcohol, dancers and prostitution, as the implementation of Islamic law will prohibit women to appear naked in movies and on beaches,” Abu Ismail added.

This immediately brings to the fore the cluster of trends, challenges and issues that lurk beneath the Arab Spring uprising:

1 -->  All across the Middle East, the peoples have struggled under more of less oppressive and corrupt regimes, but the yearning to be free of oppression does not necessarily translate into a yearning for what a Western person would identify as liberal democracy that is protective of the rights of minorities or women.

2 --> In part in reaction to the colonial experience of recent centuries when Western powers rose to prominence and re-imposed Western rule on the lands that Islam conquered from Byzantium and other powers in its first 100 years from 611 - 711, but also in light of the inner dynamic of Islam as remembered through the filter of cultural and religious memories of a time of greatness a thousand or more years ago, there is an idealisation of the Islamic golden age.

3 --> There is a strong desire to reinstate the settled law of those heady days, Sharia, which is built on the Quran and Hadiths, including in particular the applications made of these key texts from Sura 9 (which as second to last Sura, takes precedence in Islamic theology):

YUSUFALI: But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. 

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. 

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
4 --> Thus, unfortunately, this foundational text in effect gives a global commission of conquest premised on dismissive slanders of Jews and Christians as accursed and deluded away from the truth of God. And, on successful conquest, Jews and Christians are subject to a servile status of Dhimmitude, i.e. protected person, on pain of marks of humiliation and subjugation under Allah's Law, Prophet and Warriors.

5 --> That already implies serious consequences for the Coptic Christians of Egypt, should full Sharia be re-imposed. For, inter alia, not only are they subject to a special, confiscatory poll tax, but they -- by theocratic law, i.e. the Sharia -- are deemed automatically untrustworthy and defective in character so that heir testimony in court is by direct ruling discounted relative to that of a Muslim and they are not to hold positions of authority over Muslims. Even, church repairs are to be undertaken only by permission.

6 --> Similarly, since the Jews of modern Israel are in the anomalous position of being Dhimmis who have taken control of land once under the power of Islam, this must be reversed. That is why Clause 7 of the Hamas Charter has that reference to the Gharqad tree Hadith that envisions a latter-day slaughter of Jews in Palestine, as they oppose the Mahdi.

7 --> Indeed, Hamas is in effect the Palestinian branch and derivative of the Muslim Brotherhood. So, it is reasonable to see the actions of Hamas as indicative of what is likely to happen should the Muslim Brotherhood begin t5o dominate the Egyptian political system.

8 --> But all of this is generic, what are we to make of this young man and his candidacy? 

9 --> Probably, he will not succeed, as he seems to be in defiance of the more patient strategy of his elders in the Brotherhood. However, his views are a few straws in the wind showing where things are blowing.

10 --> Here in the Caribbean we can do very little practically speaking about the developments in the Middle East, but they will continue to directly affect us through the instability in the price of oil. So, a very important step for us is, as far as possible, to move our economies out of dependence on oil, save for the inevitable requisites for transportation.

11 --> Where we have geothermal, wind or hydroelectric resources, we should seek to develop these. Elsewhere, we should look very seriously at new generation -- safer! -- nuclear technologies such as pebble bed reactors and molten salt Thorium reactors, as they come online over the next decade or so. (If that is to be, we must begin to build capacity now.)

12 --> Beyond that, we should begin to understand that we cannot passively rely on the international, regional and local news to give us the full story, or even the key parts of the well-warranted truth that we need. But, by now that should be quite obvious. (Let us learn to think critically for ourselves, and to carry out our own cross-checks to ascertain a prudently balanced view on important matters.)

And, most of all, let us pray and (where we have an opportunity) work for the genuine peace of not only the wider Middle East, but specifically for Jerusalem, for that is the lynch-pin to peace in our whole world. END

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