Andrew McCarthy posted a very interesting story at National Review today about some recent events in Egypt. He reminds us that the hope of Egypt (and the ‘Arab Spring’) was that democracy and religious tolerance would spread through the Arab countries of the Middle East. Unfortunately, that hope has not been realized. The radical Muslims are even fighting among themselves.
A few weeks ago a Shiite mosque opened in Cairo.
The article tells the story:
It’s a 90 percent Sunni country, with even Christians vastly outnumbering the Shia. So, in their euphoria over the mosque’s inauguration, Shiite clerics heralded this Husseiniya (as Shiite mosques are known) as a symbol of rapprochement. The mosque would bridge the sectarian divide: a Shia center in this bustling Sunni city, yet a house of worship, thus emphasizing what unites rather than divides Muslims in one of Islam’s most important nations.
The initial story sounds encouraging–maybe religious tolerance could come to Egypt. Unfortunately, the tolerance didn’t last long–the mosque was shut down last week.
The article reports:
Yesterday’s euphoria is melting into today’s harsh reality. In Cairo, home to the Muslim Brotherhood and the sharia jurists of ancient Al-Azhar University, “democracy” has meant the rise of Sunni supremacists. Turns out they don’t do bridge-building. Their tightening grip has translated into brutalizing dhimmitude for Christians and increasing intolerance of Shiism — which the Sunni leaders perceive less as Islam than as apostasy, an offense that sharia counts as more grievous than treason.
The Muslim Brotherhood was born is Egypt in 1928 as a reaction to the secularization of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The purpose of the Muslim Brotherhood was (and still is) to set up a world-wide caliphate governed by Sharia Law. That is also the goal of the Shiite regime in Iran, but obviously the Shiites assume they will be the ones running the caliphate. This is going to get interesting at some point because of that basic difference of philosophy, but the differences will probably not be an issue until after the world-wide caliphate is established (isn’t that encouraging?).
The article further reports:
In the Brotherhood’s way of thinking, as best articulated by Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “democracy is just the train we board to reach our destination.” It’s a process, a conveyance, not a culture. In the case of Turkey, it was popular elections that enabled Erdogan to seize power and gradually transition a society away from democracy. In the case of Egypt, it is popular elections that have installed the Brotherhood and other Sunni supremacists, enabling them to orchestrate the much less challenging transition from an Islamic culture to a sharia state.
Because members of the Muslim Brotherhood are actively participating in our government at many levels, we are continuing to fund the Islamization of the Middle East. We are supplying people who want to destroy our way of life with the weapons to use in doing it. Until the American government takes an honest look at our policies in the Middle East (including Irag and Afghanistan where we have allowed Sharia Law to be written into their constitutions), the Muslim Brotherhood will quietly continue to consolidate its gains. Democracy is possible in the Middle East, but as the article by Andrew McCarthy states, democracy has to be introduced into the culture first.