Islamist doublespeak vs. democracy
“At root they have an agenda which is profoundly anti-democratic. Because their politics are based on religious principles, the views of people of other faiths and sects are rejected, including the views of those who believe in the separation of politics and religion.”
– Letters, Gulf Daily News – Bahrain
The West is sadly mistaken if it believes supporting the Muslim Brotherhood (i.e. in Syria) will result in a government that embraces democratic principles.
The following highlights how Islamists use the democratic system to gain power, only to dismiss it in order to achieve their real agenda. This has been demonstrated in Tunisia and Egypt.
When ‘democracy’ can mean ‘Islamic republic’
From: Letters to Gulf Daily News – Bahrain, September 13, 2013
Time and again, we find Islamist movements across the Middle East hiding their real agendas in order to gain or hold onto power.
In Tunisia and Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-speaking spokesmen always go out of their way to play down any kind of intolerant social agenda for disempowering women, marginalising non-Muslim minorities and Islamicising society. However, we frequently come across them saying precisely the opposite in Arabic to their grassroots supporters.
In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood leaders have again and again stressed to the Western media the peaceful nature of their protests. For example, senior Brotherhood leader Mohammed Al Beltagi wrote in The Guardian newspaper: “We believe that our peacefulness is a more powerful weapon than all the killing machines employed by the army or the police”.
At the same time Al Beltagi was urging crowds to follow the example of Algerian Islamists who “offered a million martyrs”.
“You will sacrifice your soul to defend [deposed president] Mohammed Mursi’s legitimacy,” he instructed them.
A succession of speakers told Muslim Brotherhood supporters that those opposing Mursi should be “crushed” and Islamist cleric Safwat Al Hijazi declared on Al Arabiya TV that “I will spray blood upon those who spray water at Mursi”.
We have seen a similar trend among Islamist protesters in Bahrain, where English language spokespersons have always emphasised peaceful protest, democracy and human rights.
Meanwhile, leaders of the protest movement have stirred up their Arabic-speaking supporters by encouraging them to riot, burn tyres, block roads and attack the police. The “Declaration of an Islamic Republic of Bahrain” from February 2011 by leaders of the protest movement like Hassan Mushaima was never translated into English.
On one occasion, Ayatollah Shaikh Isa Qassim urged thousands of followers to “crush” the police – a somewhat different approach to what the opposition has taken when talking to the New York Times and the British Broadcasting Corporation!
Attitudes of these Islamist movements towards the US and the West have also been interesting. On one level, these movements know they need to engage America and European nations, so they have gone out of their way to sound moderate and conciliatory. Yet, at the same time these movements have a long history of opposing US policies – resulting in some very mixed messages.
When there were protests against US embassies across the region in 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Khairat Al Shatir tweeted to the US Embassy that he was “relieved none of @USembassycairo staff was hurt”. The US Embassy responded: “Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too” – in reference to copious Brotherhood tweets inciting protests against the same embassy!
COMMENTS/ANALYSIS: The use of the democratic process, only to dismantle it after achieving power, is simply a tactic of destroying/conquering from within. America should take note – similar tactics are being implemented in western nations.