|Chit-chat over a hummus and all is right, right? Right??|
Kristof chows down on his research on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Take his latest piece, "Democracy in the Brotherhood's Birthplace" in the New York Times of December 11, a follow up to one just days ago "Joining a Dinner in a Muslim Brotherhood Home", of the 8th. It's what I call "analysis by anecdote". It includes the quotes in the headline above: "moderate... non-discriminatory... a terrific partner for the West". What nonsense!
This is the style: you find someone -- a taxi driver most simply and obviously, or someone at a coffee shop near the town square -- you interview them, and, if they fit your world view of the situation, you quote them. Thus: "so-and-so has seen it all in her young life. Father in the Party, before the revolution, she has suffered in the aftermath of the breakdown of law and order in [insert country here], but her resilience and courage has seen her struggle through the worst of post-revolutionary [xxx]. She says 'da di da di da....', revealing a key aspect of the current situation which is [insert you bias here]".
Kristof does this "analysis by anecdote" by doing dinner. Thus (from "Joining Dinner" above):
First, meet my hostess: Sondos Asem, a 24-year-old woman who is pretty much the opposite of the stereotypical bearded Brotherhood activist.So, you see, she is "moderate", and therefore so must the Brotherhood be.
And, (from "Democracy in the Brotherhood's Birthplace"):
“They do good social work,” acknowledged Ahmed Kenawi, himself a social worker who hasn’t yet decided whom to vote for.And:
“The other parties, we just don’t see them,” said Samah Abdulkarim, a 25-year-old teacher who said she is supporting the Salafis. “Or, if we do see them, it’s only during the election season.”
I asked her if the Salafi parties would curb female professionals like herself, and she looked puzzled. No, she said, Salafis are good for women because they help needy women.So, you see, the Muslim Brotherhood is a caring charity and "good for women".
The way the Muslim Brotherhood has been covered in the MSM since the start of the revolutions in Arabia is like this: first was "who is this 'Muslim Brotherhood'? Never heard of them". Then, after a month or so, as they'd had a chance to read up on them, it was "my goodness me, they may be something not quite nice and democratic". Then, a while later when they realised that the MB was going to win big in the Egyptian elections it was back to default mode which is "well, they won big, but they're really just a social-working outfit and we can certainly work with them". Which is where we are now.
But the MB is a patient and clever outfit. It practiced its patience during the time, from Nasser to Mubarak, when it were suppressed and outlawed. Now it has power in its grasp, it's not about to endanger it by coming on all strong about their aims for establishment of Sharia law and abrogating the treaty with Israel. It will wait until its Brothers are firmly empowered and then implement their program. To remind what that program is, the motto of the MB is:
[just a minute here! I happened to be on the New York Times' website, so I thought I'd do a search of the Brotherhood motto there. It's nowhere on the site. Instead, just as an example of the liberal-left rosy-eyed view of the Brotherhood, I found this bit of nonsense, updated 9th Dec 11 (I wonder if the update is to make it more of the wussy pussy that Kristof argues it is):
The Brotherhood, a group that virtually invented the Islamist movement eight decades ago, is at its core a middle-class missionary institution, led not by religious scholars but by doctors, lawyers and professionals.] Source.Oh dear. I'm sure there are "doctors, lawyers" and so on. But there are also many, many out and out Islamists, like Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, its spiritual leader.
For the record, the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood is:
Allah is our objective
The Prophet is our leader
Koran is our law
Jihad is our way
Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
Now, if anyone is in any doubt is that still remains its motto, you need only read the writings of the many Brothers who are not the keepers of the sandwich and soup kitchens Kristof writes about above. In short, the men, and they're all men, who control the organisation. The most senior of whom is Al Qaradawi (passim), the "spiritual head" of the Brotherhood, who is a vicious anti-semite, would-be mass murderer, hater of infidels.
And then, in contrast to the naive ramblings of Kristof, we have the insights of Raymond Ibrahim, who is an Islamic, editor of the essential guide "The Al Qaeda Reader", who points out, inter alia, that the Brotherhood is the progenitor of Al Qaeda. And that they are patient, yet firm, in their resolve to bring Sharia -- and all its viciously sectarian, anti-semitic, misogynist, homophobic, 'honour-crime'-excusing doctrine -- to rule in Egypt.
This video is Ibrahim testifying before the Human Rights Commission at the US Congress, and here is the follow up.
Which do you believe? The naive anecdotal meanderings of Kristof? Or the doctrine-based, scholarly and learned observations of Ibrahim?
I know which one I do. I hope the Administration does too, though I doubt it. That's not to say they should not "deal" with the MB. But they should be clear-eyed about what they stand for. And that's simply this: a medieval view of the world, in which Jews are hated and to be killed, in which women are chattels, in which infidels are to be tolerated only if they pay a tax to Islam, in which Islam has to be spread to the world, preferably by proselytising, but by violence if necessary.
"Moderate"? "Non-discriminatory"? "A terrific partner for the West"? Not.
Update 27 Dec, Related:
Was the Arab Spring a Victory for Extremism? Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg, Dec 24
Update 14 Dec, Related:
Middle East: We're Going to Have a Revolution and We Can Do it the Hard Way or the Easy Way, by Barry Rubin, PJ Media, December 13. With more info on Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Another NYT columnist "does dinner" with the Salafists and finds them pussies. "In Egypt a Conservative Tradition Transcends Religion", by David Kirkpatrick, NYT, December 10. This was linked from the Rubin article above.