Monday, February 7, 2011

Muslim Brotherhood Leaders Don't Always [Correction: Almost Never] Tell the Truth

By Barry Rubin

From Canada to the United Kingdom and far beyond, Muslim Brotherhood representatives are taking advantage of widespread sympathy and naivete to tell Westerners precisely what they want to hear (also known as lying). And overwhelmingly, the media seems to be accepting this version.

Here is a group that every day in every speech and publication (in Arabic) says basically: Down with America! Kill the Jews! Make Egypt an Islamist state! Then turns around and says in English: Peace, democracy, freedom, and we're really very nice guys! Are Western leaders and journalists dumb enough to be fooled by this? Obviously, the answer is: Yes.

Here's Brotherhood leader Muhammad Badi in a speech last October calling for Jihad against America which has still not been quoted by any Western news outlet:

"Resistance is the only solution…. The United States cannot impose an agreement upon the Palestinians, despite all the means and power at its disposal. [Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and it is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan. [All] its warplanes, missiles and modern military technology were defeated by the will of the peoples, as long as [these peoples] insisted on resistance – and the wars of Lebanon and Gaza, which were not so long ago, [are proof of this].”

Consider Kamal el-Helbawy, former Brotherhood spokesman and now leader of its forces in Great Britain. The BBC interview goes like this, the interviewer is Zeinab Badawi:

Badawi: "Is the aim of the Muslim Brotherhood to establish a state in Egypt that is governed by Sharia Law, Islamic law?"

El-Helbawy: "If the majority of the people and democractic practice allows it."

[Translation: Yes]

Badawi: That is your ambition to do that? You think it's a better way of living?

El-Helbawy: "Why not? And I do really... I'm astonished that the West that imported Christianity from the East, is against Islam that may come from the East as well."

Badawi: "What would an Egypt governed by the Muslim Brotherhood be like?"

El-Helbawy: "Freedom, consultation, equality, freedom of everything: Belief, freedom of expression, everything in freedom."

[Translation: Sounds good. But el-Helbawy's definition of freedom is Sharia as interpreted by the Brotherhood. You can make your own list of where this falls short. In the Brotherhood's platform there would be a council of Muslim clerics deciding what laws were acceptable and which where not. That's what the word "consultation" means here.]

Badawi: "Would a woman, for example, be expected to dress in a modest Islamic way, take the veil perhaps?"

El-Helbawy: "I said earlier many time on tv and in US papers and the press that if Margaret Thatcher ruled over Egypt, I will certainly support her a hundred times more than people like Mubarak."

[Translation: he's lying because he knows full well--though his listeners don't--that the Brotherhood's platform says that no woman can be president. Badawi might know it also but she doesn't follow up.

Badawi: "Would she have to wear a veil?"

El-Helbawy: "Not necessarily."

[Translation: Of course.]

Badawi: "Would you change the constitution in Egypt to make it one based on Sharia Law if you were in power?"

El-Helbawy: "We are neither Saddam Hussein nor Mubarak nor Ceau┼čescu."

Badawi: "What do you mean by that?"

El-Helbawy: "I mean we will never change the constitution unless the real parliament are able to do that and it is for the interest of the people."

Badawi: "But if you have a majority in the National Assembly if you won an election, would you seek to change the constitution in Egypt to make it one based on Sharia Law?"

El-Helbawy: "If every majority in the world did according their own interest and the national interest they should make a balance."...

[Translation: Yes. But remember that the Brotherhood doesn't have to have a majority on its own as it could find many allies who would also support the measure.]

Note that we are not talking just about the implementation of Sharia in the abstract--for which people might make some argument--but Sharia under an Islamist and every strict interpretation. This is a point a lot of people miss. The question is who is interpreting what Sharia means.

As one Canadian observer put it, "The Brotherhood representative here has been talking for years in very radical terms and suddenly he's changed his tune and is playing Mr. Moderation."

In the House of Commons in 2003 the MP Louise Ellman said:

"It is time that the spotlight fell on the Muslim Association of Britain, particularly the key figures, such as Azzam Tamimi, Kamal el Helbawy, Anas Al-Tikriti and Mohammed Sawalha. All of them are connected to the terrorist organisation Hamas. The Muslim Association of Britain itself is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood--an extremist fundamentalist organization founded in Egypt in 1928, and the spiritual ideologue of all Islamic terror organizations. It is militantly antisemitic and always has been."

You also wouldn't know some of the things el-Helbawy said before he went all soft and fuzzy. Here he is back in February 2009:

He argued that Israeli children could not be considered civilians because they were “future soldiers” and thus it was all right to kill them.He claimed: “A child born in Israel is raised on the belief that the Arabs are like contemptible sheep....In elementary school they pose the following math problem: ‘In your village, there are 100 Arabs. If you killed 40, how many Arabs would be left for you to kill?’ This is taught in the Israeli curriculum.”

The BBC later had to admit that this was a lie.  One day, the BBC and other media might have to admit that the great majority of things they wrote about the Muslim Brotherhood was a lie. By then, of course, it will be too late.

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