Family Security MattersBill Siegel
As Americaâ€™s relationship with its second best ally in the Middle East, Egypt, heads into transition, it is important for us to get clear about exactly what is and is not being determined. This is particularly critical as President Barack Obama seems to encourage the role of the Muslim Brotherhood so long as it â€œrenounces violence.â€
As written previously, Barack Obama needs to answer a critical question: Is the Muslim Brotherhood an enemy of the U.S.? If he answers in the affirmative, then all policies concerning the Brotherhood, foreign and more importantly domestic, need to be remade in the full light of public scrutiny. If he answers in the negative, he must be held to answer how, amidst endless voluminous evidence to the contrary, he arrives at such a position.
To date, Obama has merely stated propositions such as that the Brotherhood has factions, uses anti-American rhetoric, and does not constitute a majority in Egypt. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has added, â€œWe have significant disagreements (with the Brotherhood).â€ None of this constitutes any clear pronouncement.
One of Obamaâ€™s most utilized tools to avoid such clarity lies with the notion of â€œviolent extremism.â€ The suggestion is that if a group is not violent, there is no problem. It is time that this â€œshieldâ€ of violence is dismantled.
It is necessary to understand that the threat the West faces from many who operate under the banner of â€œIslamâ€ is much more than violence. Of course, there is violent terrorism as utilized over many past decades culminating in the U.S. in 9/11. But violence is merely a tactic used by some, and far from all, of those Muslims who share the greater goals of their expression of Islamâ€”the ultimate submission of the world to Shariah in order to please Allah. More significantly, violence or terrorism encompasses just one of three levels of activity or threat; the one with which we are most familiar.
The second level can be called the â€œCivilization Jihadâ€ as used by the Muslim Brotherhood itself. Two sets of documents (which should be required reading for all Americans) outline the Brotherhoodâ€™s worldwide plans to change the West from within, peaceably so as not to stir attention. An early 1982 document, â€œthe Project,â€ later found in Europe in 2005, details the goals primarily to transform Europe through a gradual takeover from within. Similarly, the 1991 â€œAn Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North Americaâ€ was discovered in the evidentiary material associated with the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial. It famously describes the Brotherhoodâ€™s job in America as â€œa kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and â€œsabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Godâ€™s religion is made victorious over all other religions.â€ (See Andy McCarthyâ€™s must read â€œThe Grand Jihadâ€).
(The third level of Islamic onslaught can be called the â€œInternational Institutional Jihadâ€ as it encompasses the various arenas in which Islamic-controlled countries work to compound their power to force changes through international institutions such as the U.N. and its largest voting bloc, the Organization of the Islamic Conference.)
In the Middle East, many of the Brotherhoodâ€™s strongest voices praise and encourage violence. After all, Hamas is the Brotherhood. In the West, however, the Brotherhood is patient and realizes it can accomplish much more by using the freedoms the West affords to destroy the West- the second level. Consequently, it has perfected the art, or charade, of the â€œmoderate Muslimâ€ in order to facilitate its strategy of infiltration into the West. Put simply, when certain expressions of Islam have power, that power is used to force submission. When lacking in power, other means are utilized until sufficient power is accumulated. Hence, while Robert Spencer creatively calls this level the â€œStealth Jihadâ€ in his book, Frank Gaffney and his Team B report, â€œShariah: The Threat to America,â€ calls this level the â€œpre-violentâ€ Jihad.
President Barack Obama has craftily framed whatever threat certain expressions of Islam present to America as those associated with violence. In particular, he has narrowed it down to Al Qaeda and sometimes the Taliban. Obama seems to have taken the bait when he was backed into a corner during his 2008 campaign. In order to show himself as a strong leader he accepted Afghanistan as an acceptable cause, but, to the exclusion of all other confrontations with any expression of Islam. As a result, while recognizing that the phrase â€œwar against terrorâ€ is troublesome as a war against a tactic, he essentially will only view us at war with those who employ violence. Equally troublesome, he accepts at its word any expression of Islam that renounces violence, automatically branding it as part of a â€œgreat and peaceful religion.â€
This is where the Egyptian protests become so crucial. The â€œwarâ€ that exists, whether or not the West wishes it so, is based on ideology, not tactic. In many respects, the Brotherhood is potentially a much greater threat to America than Al Qaeda. In all cases, all three levels of jihad complement each other and must be fully confronted. In this context, â€œrenouncing violenceâ€ is a meaningless measure in the face of all evidence of intentions.
Yet Obama, and his Hillary Clinton-led State Department, seem fully accepting of the Brotherhood so long as it, in some form, â€œrenounces violence.â€ That has also been their approach to all Brotherhood groups in America including CAIR, MSA, and ISNA and so on. These are the faces of the â€œmoderate Muslimâ€ in America and, yet, their underlying goals are anything but â€œmoderateâ€ in relation to the fundamental principles upon which America has been built. Obama invited the Brotherhood specifically to attend his Cairo speech following his election. And Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been very encouraging of Brotherhood figures in America. As long as the charade which casts the mere act of â€œrenouncing violenceâ€ as the criteria for acceptability is allowed to persist, the Brotherhoodâ€™s â€œgrand jihadâ€ will be empowered.
Obama and Clinton have suggested that the Brotherhood can be an acceptable party in the construction of the future of Egypt following the reign of Hosni Mubarak. They disingenuously frame their comments as if they are quiet observers from the sidelines, monitoring reports as they come as if without serious input. Unfortunately, the U.S. Constitution is not fully able to protect itself against those powerful enough who seek to use its freedoms to ultimately destroy those freedoms- the fundamental problem we have with the Brotherhood. Egypt, on the other hand, starts from a different set of rules and circumstances and its maneuvering forward must address the tightrope of allowing greater freedom and human rights (as the West normally uses those terms) while keeping enough dominance over those who seek to radically change its course. U.S. interests are seriously at stake.
Until the full facts are given light concerning who the Brotherhood is, what they seek to do and have already done, and, most importantly, whether their goals and intentions are as anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-true and full democratic principles as they appear, Obama will continue to support the charade that threatens ultimately to tear down not only Egypt but Europe and America alike. Not only must he be held to clarify exactly what his assessment of and policies toward the Brotherhood are; he must no longer be allowed to measure our enemies by whether or not they simply â€œrenounce violence.â€
Bill Siegel lives in New York and is a Contributing Editor to FamilySecurityMatters.org.