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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Salafist’

American Muslims Attacked During Hajj

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

American Muslims who traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform what they understand to be their obligation according to the Pillars of Islam were attacked by other Muslims wielding knives and other weapons.

This year’s annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the hajj, took place last week, Oct. 13-18. More than 10,000 American Muslims are believed to have participated in their pilgrimage.  For several who went on the trip from Detroit, the experience was traumatic.

A group of Shia Muslims traveled with Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini of Dearborn. Qazwini is the head of the largest mosque in metropolitan Detroit.

One of the many prescribed rituals that is part of the hajj is to travel to the Saudi Arabian city of Mina, 3 miles east of Mecca, where the pilgrims throw a prescribed number of pebbles at Shaitan (“Satan”), represented by three stone walls.

Hundreds of thousands of tents are set up in Mina, in order to accommodate the pilgrims.

After the Detroit Shias entered a tent in Mina reserved for Australian, American and European hajj participants, the violence began.

The American Muslims recounted being approached by a large group of people they later learned were Lebanese Sunni Salafist Muslims. According to an account in the Detroit Free Press,

The Salafis asked one of the Shia men if he was Shia, recalled Seyed Mothafar Al-Qazwini, a nephew of Imam Al-Qazwini. “He responded ‘yes.’ He was immediately attacked by three men, one grabbing him in a choke hold, the others punching him in the face.”

Al-Qazwini said the leader of the Salafis then shouted “Kill them all. Kill the Shia.”

In addition to the physical violence, the American victims reported the perpetrators screaming that they were going to rape all the Shia women who did not leave the tent in 15 minutes.

The Sunnis also referenced a 7th century battle in Karbala, Iraq between Sunni and Shia Muslims in which a Shia leader and family members were murdered by Sunnis.

“We will make this day like the day of Karbala. We will kill all your men and take your women as captives,” the Detroit Imam reported.

“During the attack, the men reportedly shouted “Our [holy pilgrimage] will be complete once we have killed you, ripped out your hearts and eaten them, and [then] raped your women,” according to a report in the Washington Times.

Al-Qazwini complained about the disinterest showed by the Saudi police in the complaints filed by his group.  He also said that a video of the incident taken on his phone by a member of the group was erased by the Saudi police.

State Department officials told a Detroit journalist that the hajj and interior ministries in Saudi Arabia “have confirmed that they are investigating” the incident.

Explaining Everything in Washington in 600 Words (Really)

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“I had always thought wishful thinking a motive frequently underrated in political analysis and prediction.”  –WALTER LAQUEUR

If you have never understood U.S. Middle East policy  here it is: The  (wrong) response to September 11.
What do I mean? Simple.

There are two ways to respond to September 11:

A. There is a struggle on with revolutionary Islamists which is a huge battle that is parallel to the Cold War or the Allied-Axis conflict. America must organize a united front to fight this battle against the Islamists:

Sunnis or Shia; Turkish, Iranian, or Arab; the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist, and al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah. And the Taliban.

B. Or, what appears easier, having a lot more allies and fewer enemies (I said seems) only to focus on al-Qaida. That’s the problem! After all, who else attacked the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Kenya? Etc.? And anyway, the conflict is probably America’s fault or a lack of communication.

That’s it. Honest. And guess what? The Washington insiders, “experts” (anything but), officials, lots of intelligence (people and also John Brennan, the head of the CIA), a lot of military officers, and lots of sectors of the Republican party (especially Senator John McCain) believe this.

It is not healthy in Washington for one’s career not to believe it.

But after all, it is understandable (albeit also inaccurate and stupid).

Look at this point:

Who do you believe is an enemy who wants to fight and hurt America and the West?

A. The Syrian and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods, the Salafists, al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, Iran, and Turkey.

B. Just al-Qaida?

See what I mean?

Think some more:

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists as allies?

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists to repress al-Qaida and so stop terrorist attacks?

Wouldn’t that be an easier task? One that would theoretically involve costing fewer American lives, less money, and be more popular with voters?

Of course.

And finally, of course, that’s what the president and mass media believe.

The problem is, though, that gets the Islamist ideology wrong. Al-Qaida and the other revolutionary Islamist have different tactics but not different goals. Learning that lesson will take years and be very painful. The wrong ideas are deeply embedded in large parts of the arrogant, ignorant, and financially interested establishment.

You should understand that: It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is a terrorist group.

It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is an anti-American group.

BUT  IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO CLAIM THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE TERRORISTS, HOSTAGE-TAKERS, AND ANTI-AMERICANS.
 
STRANGE, HUH?

Well, consider this from my mentor Walter Laqueur who is now in his 92nd year and still writing brilliantly:

“Another factor frequently overlooked is the reluctance to admit mistakes which also seems hardwired to the human brain.  Perhaps most important of all is the crucial factor of moving with the right crowd.  As Jean Daniel put it:  Better to be wrong with Sartre than right with Raymond Aron (originally it was Camus). Sartre might have been consistently wrong in his political judgment and Aron almost always right. But did it really matter very much?  Aron and Isaiah Berlin might have been right but during the cold war they were pro-American and this was not good at all– even if their American connections were mainly  with  liberals. This is how reputations quite often develop and how they endure. It is an interesting  issue certainly in need of further investigation.”

Hamas and Local Salafi Jihadist (Al Qaeda) Reconciling

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Abu Abdullah Al-Maqdis, a leader in Gaza’s Jihadi Salafist movement, affiliated with Al Qaeda, told the Asharq Al-Awsat  website that Hamas and the Salafist have been working towards a reconciliation in Gaza.

Al-Maqdis said the two will begin implementing their agreement over the next few months.

According to the site:

“The 8-point agreement reportedly includes clauses granting the Salafists freedom to operate in politics, the military, religious advocacy, and civil and social organizations. It also includes an explicit end to the phenomenon of political assassinations and the formulation of a joint committee to deal with any disputes that could lead to new crisis between the two groups.

In return for this, the jihadist Salafist factions will commit to the ceasefire and other decisions made by the ruling Hamas movement.”

Foreign intermediaries who helped arrange for the agreement include Islamic clerics from Kuwait and Qatar, as well as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a popular Al Jazeera Islamic televangelist who has been barred entry from the UK and France.

Al-Qaradawi, who openly supports suicide bombings against Israel, is known for his quote stating that Muslims will continue Hitler’s work:

“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them…Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

With the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas has been reaching out to other Islamic regimes for support, including Turkey and Iran.

A 21st Century Exodus: Dina’s Journey from Egypt to Jerusalem

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

This isn’t Cpl. Dina Ovadia’s first Passover in Israel. Slowly, slowly she seems to be moving away from her Egyptian past and becoming further ingrained in her Israeli present.

Instead of thinking about her bittersweet childhood in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Cpl. Ovadia fills her time with her army service and in preparing her home in Rimonim, in Samaria, for the Passover holiday. Today it is possible to say that she is far more Dina Ovadia than she is Rolin Abdallah – the name her family gave her as a security measure for a Jew living in an Arab country. But Dina herself grew up totally unaware of her Jewish heritage.

Dina is telling her winding, unbelievable story for the umpteenth time, but her eyes still well up with tears. Ovadia, now 22, left her family home in Alexandria for the last time as a young and curious 15-year-old girl. All she wanted was to fit in.

“Everyone always looked at me as though I was something different, the ugly duckling in the class. They asked me why I dressed the way I did, and why I spoke with my parents during the breaks, and why this and why that. I myself didn’t understand where it all came from. But I always had friends,” she says in impeccable Hebrew with a slight Arabic lilt. “I didn’t have a religious background in Christianity or in Islam. I never knew what I truly was. My parents didn’t keep the [Jewish] traditions, and I always assumed that we were secular Christians.”

Dina’s childhood detachment from her heritage gives unique meaning to every Shabbat candle she lights now and to every Jewish holiday that she did not know. And Cpl. Ovadia’s story is the Passover story, thousands of years old, expressing itself again in the 21st century.

“I have surely seen the affliction of My people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their pains” – Exodus 3:7

Rolin in Arabic means gentleness, but Dina was first and foremost a curious and rebellious child. She felt she had a right to belong, but she didn’t know where.

“I studied in a Muslim school. I started to grow up and learn the Koran, and then I already started to ask myself, ‘Why am I learning this?’

“I reached a stage where I got really into it, studying for tests, memorizing passages. At school they asked me to start wearing a veil to my Koran lessons. I didn’t like the idea – as a girl it seemed ugly to me,” she smiles. The disagreement led to her parents enrolling Dina in a private Christian school, where she was more at ease. “It was really fun and I felt freer,” she says.

Dina recalls how she tried to find herself among the troubling mix of religions. “We had a mosque next to the school, and the girls would go there to pray. I told this to my mother, slightly anxiously, and she was very angry. They forbade me from doing it again. I remember that I was hurt, and I started to tell them that because of that they won’t like us, and that I wouldn’t have any friends. It was the anger of a child. During Ramadan I would escape to my friend’s houses, and I even fasted on one of the days, because I always wanted to belong to something and I didn’t have a clear answer for what I was,” Dina explains.

When she told her parents that she had tried praying in a church, that didn’t make them any happier. They distanced her from every religion, without giving an explanation as to why.

The turning point occurred on a day like any other. Dina was studying for a history test, her brother and cousin were playing on the computer upstairs, and her mother, aunt and sister were also at home. Suddenly the sounds of shouting and shattering glass cut through the calm routine. “I really panicked, and immediately I thought that because we were different they had come to our house. I went outside and saw five masked faces – they were Salafists.” Five bearded men in robes, with clubs in their hands and rifles slung over their shoulders, broke through the electric iron gate at the entrance to the grand family home and demanded to know where the men of the house were. Their explanation was as simple as it was incomprehensible: “A’lit el’Yahud” – a Jewish family.

“I thought, ‘What the hell!?’ I didn’t understand why they were saying that we were a Jewish family. Anyone who was different, the stranger, was always called ‘the Jew.’ I was certain that they were mistaken. They entered the house. My mother said that the men weren’t there, and they threw her into the corridor, she slammed into the pillars, and she fainted. I started to scream – I was sure that they had killed her. And then I saw two of them going up the stairs. I heard shots. I was sure that they had murdered both my brother and my cousin.”

The Salafists went down the stairs and told the Abdallah family that they had a few days to get out of the country, and that in the meantime they could not leave their home. They threatened that if the children went to school, they would be kidnapped. Only then did they leave.

Luckily, the whole family escaped injury. The armed men shot at the boys’ heads, missing deliberately in order to scare them. “I think that today they would have just killed us all,” she says. From the moment of that home invasion, Dina’s life became entangled in a complex loop, while the two irreconcilable edges of her life began to unravel. “The Salafists would encircle the house in their vehicles, shooting into the air. That month even the school didn’t call. I slept with my mother – I was terribly afraid. My father told me that they are just thieves despite the fact that they didn’t take anything. ‘Jew’ was really a kind of swear word, he said; but I couldn’t believe him.”

A few days later, her grandfather gathered all of his family together and he revealed the truth. “He explained why he kept us from other religions and told us that we were Jewish, and we that we had little time to leave Egypt. He told us we were going to Israel. I remember the little ones at home were excited about it, but I wasn’t. I started crying and was so disappointed. I told him I did not want to move to that bad country. I rebelled against it.”

Dina knew very little about Jews as a child. “In school they always taught us to hate Jews and Israelis,” she says. “Let’s take Koran class for example. I would be sitting, taking a test, and would read a verse that said you need to kill Jews. I also remember during the Second Intifada, all the TV programs I watched that always said that Israelis are bad. I cried over the story of Mohammed al-Dura.

“My grandfather did his best to explain to us that they’re not bad, that we have to understand that in war, that’s what happens. At home we were always taught that all human beings are equal and you have to respect them for who they are, no matter what their background. In school they taught us that Israel is the enemy. They would say when I grew up that I would understand. During the Intifada I was even at demonstration, waving the Palestinian flag. It never even occurred to me that I was Jewish.”

The Jewish stereotype present in Egypt was similar to what was taught in the darker racial theories of the early 20th Century. “I knew that Jews were scary, were murderers, had big noses, ears and had beards. On television you would always see babies burning in Gaza, things I’ve never seen in Israel, but that’s what we thought.”

Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which I gave to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give unto them and to their children after them.’ – Deuteronomy 1:8

Before this dramatic turn of events, Dina tried to understand where all her friends had disappeared to. They hadn’t even called to say hello throughout the whole month.

“I had a really good group of friends,” Dina says. “We lived really close to one another, and we used to sleep over at each other’s houses. I begged my mother to go and see one of them, and in the end she let me go. I knocked on her door. She opened it, made a face and slammed the door on me. What my grandfather told me passed through my head at exactly that moment: we grew up together and just because she heard that I was Jewish she doesn’t accept me anymore? That really hit me. I said: I know that the Jews are bad, but look; I’m not bad. By this time, I had totally broken down. Right then I realized that this wasn’t the right place for me. They couldn’t accept me for who I was.”

Modern Exodus

The day of Dina’s aliyah was tinged with the sadness of leaving her house and turning her back on where she grew up.

“The whole situation had made me feel a lot of hatred, and I realized that I had nothing there,” she says. “It turned out that my uncle, who I thought had run away to France, had actually made aliyah to Israel and had enlisted in the IDF. In Egypt there is a mandatory conscription law, and when the authorities began to investigate, they found out the truth, and my family bore the consequences. But this moment was about to come regardless of any connection to my uncle.

“My parents understood that their children were all growing up, and that they no longer had answers to our questions. We didn’t take anything with us except our clothes. We just left our house exactly as it was. On that same day I saw how my friends were looking at us while we were packing our things, so I just closed the blinds. I finally understood that this wasn’t my home. It was as if Egypt itself was closing the blinds on me.”

After a brief flight to Istanbul and then on to Tel Aviv, Dina suddenly found herself in a land that just a month before she had felt so far away from, mentally if not physically.

“I was scared,” she says. “Who was going to welcome us? What if they didn’t like me? When I got off the plane all I saw was people smiling at us, and that made me so happy. My uncle, his family and the rabbi were waiting for us and smiling. It was weird – I didn’t understand the language, but I felt at peace, and from somewhere my friends’ rejection of me gave me strength – the strength to change myself.”

The family settled in Jerusalem, and Dina and her relatives joined a religious school. “I so badly wanted to fit in, but the first time I read the siddur, I was holding it upside down,” she laughs. Dina’s new beginning wasn’t free of difficulties. “One day I was walking down the corridor at school, and one of the girls said, “Hey, Arab girl!” and she and her friends started a fight with my cousin and me. Not a very nice welcome.”

After high school, Dina began her military service as an assistant Army Radio reporter on Arab affairs. She then moved to the military police for a short period, and finally joined the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, where she helps run new media in Arabic on a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Her sister Sima is set to join her in the Spokesperson’s Unit, and her brother is currently doing a selective Air Force course.

This article, lightly edited, was written by Florit Shoihet for the IDF Website

Morsi Empowers Army to Arrest Protesters but Thousands on Both Sides March

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Tens of thousands of Morsi supporters gathered peacefully at Nasr City’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque on Tuesday evening, three miles away from Cairo’s presidential palace, to “support the legitimacy of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi,” and to voice their intentions to vote for the draft constitution in Saturday’s referendum, Al Ahram reported.

The pro-Morsi demonstrators had blocked a nearby road, chanting “Islam is returning” “Yes to the constitution” and “Morsi is the elected president.” Placards emblazoned with Morsi’s picture and slogans supporting the constitution were on display among the crowd.

Also on Tuesday evening, tens of thousands of anti-Morsi demonstrators were rallying at the presidential palace to protest Saturday’s constitutional referendum, three miles away from Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City, where supporters of the president had gathered. Thousands filtered through openings that had been made by protesters in barriers erected by the military around the palace on Monday.

Chants of “Down with the Muslim Brotherhood” “Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide” and “Two cannot be trusted; the army and the Brotherhood,” echoed at the scene.

Despite an order issued by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi for Egyptian military to arrest protesters, many different groups, some opposing Morsi’s decrees and the proposed constitution, others supporting a vote in favor of the proposed constitution, were marching.

Morsi had what may have been his sole moment in the sun when the west was congratulating him on his efforts to help broker the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the eight day conflict that took place in November.  The ceasefire agreement elevated Morsi to the position of peace-broker of the Middle East. But, perhaps emboldened by the global accolades, the very next day Morsi issued a series of decrees that placed his orders above the judiciary, and consolidated virtually all power within his own hands.

The massive protests sparked by those decisions have brought Egypt to a virtual standstill, and Morsi has issued conflicting decisions, some countermanding ones decreed only hours earlier, as was the case with the raising of taxes on certain items like soft drinks, cigarettes and beer and then their rescission over the weekend.

When the opposition continued to protest Morsi’s rule, his latest response was to issue another new edict, this one empowering the Egyptian military to arrest protestors.  It was announced Monday that this new decree would be issued in the government Gazette, titled “Law 107,” and would take effect today through this coming Saturday, December 15.  On that day, Egyptians are scheduled to vote in a referendum on the new proposed Constitution, drafted largely by Muslim Brotherhood members and other Islamist extremists.

The opposition movement, is denouncing the intended vote.  They believe the draft constitution does not reflect the will of the Egyptian people.  If the vote goes forward, the referendum will “lead to more division and sedition,” the National Salvation Front’s spokesperson, Sameh Ashour, said in a statement issued on Saturday.

The president and his backers want to go forward with the vote on Saturday, they seem to be confident that the results will reveal widespread support for the proposed constitution.  Morsi has promised that if the constitution is rejected in Saturday’s vote, a new one will be drawn up according to the wishes of the people, rather than the Islamist-dominated parliament, which crafted the current version.  The opposition does not seem to take comfort in his assurance.

The Front and other opposition groups continue calling for demonstrations to reject Morsi’s decisions.

For weeks opponents have been accusing President Morsi of acting like a dictator and of being controlled by malevolent forces.  The Islamists have begun to fight back.  On Monday, leading Salafist preacher Saeed Abdel-Azim warned that if protests continue, there will be what he called an “Islamic revolution.”  He also claimed that the opposition is funded by “foreign agents” acting on orders of the U.S. which seeks to strengthen Israel by creating chaos in Egypt.

 

German Cartoon Riots: Clubs, Bottles, and Stones

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

In an explosion of violence that reflects the growing assertiveness of Salafists in Germany, on May 5th more than 500 radical Muslims attacked German police with bottles clubs, stones and other weapons in the city of Bonn, to protest cartoons they said were “offensive.”

Rather than cracking down on the Muslim extremists, however, German authorities have sought to silence the peaceful critics of multicultural policies that allow the Salafists — who say they are committed to imposing Islamic Sharia law throughout Europe — openly to preach violence and hate.

The clashes erupted when around 30 supporters of a conservative political party, PRO NRW, which is opposed to the further spread of Islam in Germany, participated in a campaign rally ahead of regional elections in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Some of those participating in the rally, which was held near the Saudi-run King Fahd Academy in the Mehlem district of Bonn, the former capital of West Germany, had been waving banners depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammad (see photo here), to protest the Islamization of Germany.

The rally swiftly disintegrated into violence (photos here and here) when hundreds of angry Salafists, who are opposed to any depiction of their prophet, began attacking the police, whose job it was to keep the two groups apart.

In the final tally of the melee, 29 police officers were injured, two with serious stab wounds, and more than 100 Salafists were arrested, although most were later released. A 25-year-old German protester of Turkish origin, suspected of having stabbed the two police officers, remained in custody on suspicion of attempted homicide.

According to Bonn’s police chief, Ursula Brohl-Sowa, “This was an explosion of violence such as we have not witnessed in a long time.”

Germany’s intelligence and security agencies say they are closely monitoring the Salafists, who are increasingly viewed as posing a threat to German security.

Salafism, a branch of radical Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, seeks to establish an Islamic empire (Caliphate) across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe — and eventually the entire world. The Caliphate would be governed exclusively by Islamic Sharia law, which would apply both to Muslims and to non-Muslims. Salafists also believe, among other disconcerting doctrines, that democracies — governments made by men as opposed to theirs, which was made by the almighty — legitimately deserve to be destroyed.

According to German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, “Salafism is currently the most dynamic Islamist movement in Germany as well as internationally. Its fanatic followers represent a particular danger for Germany’s security. The Salafists provide the ideological foundation for those who then turn violent.”

The interior minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, Uwe Schünemann, said, “The violence of the Salafists in Bonn has once again shown what is behind the mask of supposed religiosity: nothing but brute force.” He also said that the violence was “a direct challenge to liberal democracy as a whole.”

The interior minister of Bavaria, Joachim Hermann, said that: “We cannot tolerate violent retribution and revenge. We apply the rule of law, not Islamic vigilante justice.” He added that Salafists should be “brought to justice and severely punished,” and that “We have to monitor the Salafist scene even more. And we have to be more diligent in cracking down on hate and violence. We cannot allow that terrorists and violent criminals are free to operate under our noses. We need to take action against Salafism and its intolerant, fanatical ideology with all legal means.”

Despite these and many other pronouncements, Salafists still have free reign in Germany: Salafist preachers are known regularly to preach hatred against the West in the mosques and prayer centers that are proliferating across the country.

In recent weeks, Salafists have been engaged in an unprecedented nationwide campaign to distribute 25 million copies of the Koran, translated into the German language, with the goal of placing one Koran in every home in Germany, free of charge.

The mass proselytization campaign — called Project “READ!” — is being organized by dozens of Islamic Salafist groups located in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in Austria and Switzerland.

According to the German newspaper Die Welt, the Salafists have launched a “frontal assault” against people of other faiths and “unbelievers.” Die Welt has reported that German authorities view the Koran project, which fundamentalists are using a recruiting tool, as a “most worrisome” campaign for radical Islam. Security analysts say the campaign is also a public-relations gimmick intended to persuade Germans that the Salafists are transparent and “citizen friendly.”

A spokesperson for the Berlin branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) told Die Welt that “the objective of this campaign is to help bring those who are interested into contact with the Salafist scene to influence them in the context of extremist political ideologies.”

Rubin Reports: Egypt’s Elections – Titanic of Western Interests Meet Iceberg of Islamist Revolutionary Zeal

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/04/egypts-elections-titanic-of-western.html
Egypt will hold its presidential election May 23-24 with a possible run-off on June 16-17. It is impossible at this point to predict what’s going to happen but I can make a good guess. Eight weeks from now Egypt will be led by either a radical anti-American Islamist who wants to wipe Israel off the map or by a radical anti-American nationalist who just hates Israel passionately.
Let’s review the background and then analyze the likely events to come.
Since Egypt’s revolution began a year ago five propositions have monopolized the Western debate and coverage, all of which were wrong:
–That Egypt would become a real democratic state in which human rights and civil liberties would be respected.
–That this state would be dominated by moderate and modernist secular groups.
–That the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and a bulwark against the really radical Islamists.
–That the army is simultaneously the main enemy of democracy in Egypt that should be opposed and yet also the force that would keep Egypt stable and pro-Western.
–That the new Egypt would remain an ally of the United States or at peace with Israel.
Only the second has been reluctantly dropped by governments and mass media. All the others are still in place today! Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood has become the substitute moderate democratic hope. This blindness ignores all the daily evidence to the contrary.
The “moderate democratic” forces up until now have defined the military as their main enemy. Perhaps they still do so.  But they also woke up to realize that a constitution written by a vast majority of Islamists wouldn’t be a great thing for them. So they followed the classical Arab mistake of boycotting the constitution-writing process, thus ensuring that the Islamists will have even more power.
Two Islamist candidates—the Brotherhood’s Khairat al-Shater and the Salafists’ Hazem Salah Abu Ismail—and one secularist—Omar Suleiman—have been disqualified. The Brotherhood simply substituted Muhammad Mursi, leader of its Freedom and Justice Party, for al-Shater, who returned to his job as deputy head of the Brotherhood.  Mursi told a news conference, “We intend to make the Palestinian issue our main issue.”
The other main candidate is the radical nationalist Amr Moussa. His stances have varied depending on whether he thought he could hope for the Brotherhood’s backing. Since his main rival is the Brotherhood-backed Mursi, Amr Moussa is in a relatively anti-Islamist phase.  And that’s not to say that Moussa, albeit the lesser of two evils, is any great prize – though he is certainly preferable.

There are now a total of 23 candidates, though it is possible there will be a few more before registration closes April 26.  Aside from Mursi and Moussa, they include two other Islamists, three moderates, and a leftist.

In all of this, there is a hugely important point that’s been generally missed: Unlike the Brotherhood, the radical Salafists have not yet produced an alternative candidate.  A lot of its members are endorsing Mursi. Now the Salafist al-Nour party has genuine differences with the Brotherhood, though more over timing and the desire for power than anything substantive. Still, al-Nour may be splitting over the party’s support for Mursi. But if the dissidents don’t have a candidate at all, who will the 25 percent of al-Nour’s supporters in the parliamentary ballot support?

In theory, then, Mursi can depend on 75 percent of the electorate — the Brotherhood and al-Nour voters — based on the parliamentary vote!  He won’t get that many because a lot of those who voted for Islamists may want some balance in the government or just happen to like Moussa, whose anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Israel credentials are strong.

Still, will enough voters switch to Moussa to tilt the balance? Moreover, in a run-off between Mursi and Moussa, the former should be able to depend on stronger support from any al-Nour supporters who are ambiguous about how they will vote in the first round.

So nobody can predict the victor. Still, overall, one might better assume that Egypt is going to have an Islamist president and parliament just eight weeks from now, to be followed by an Islamist constitution.

As far as I can tell — and amazing as this might seem — there has been no preparation in the West for such an outcome.  In a Wall Street Journal op-ed we can read:

What is poorly understood in the West is how critical fundamentalists are to the moral and political rejuvenation of their countries. As counterintuitive as it seems, they are the key to more democratic, liberal politics in the region.

Of course, there is a grain of truth in what Reuel Gerecht said in his op-ed. If Islamists weren’t allowed to participate, there couldn’t be fair elections. And if they do participate and win, one can call the resulting system democracy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-egypts-elections-titanic-of-western-interests-meet-iceberg-of-islamist-revolutionary-zeal/2012/04/24/

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