A speech by the new President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is a huge break with the usual rhetoric coming from public figures in Islam.
The full speech is here, but the key phrases are:
Among other things, Sisi said that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years” are “antagonizing the entire world”; that it is not “possible that 1.6 billion people [reference to the world’s Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live”; and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”
The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state.” The movement officially renounced political violence in 1949, after a period of considerable political tension which ended in the assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha by a young veterinary student who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The renunciation obviously did not apply to Sadat who was assassinated in 1981.
Al-Sisi is not a favorite of Barack Obama, whose administration has close ties to many members of the Brotherhood.
The Obama administration backed the Egyptian president al Morsi, a Brotherhood member and supporter.
While Sisi is undeniably authoritarian, he has not openly allied himself with jihadi terrorists as Morsi has. In his inaugural address, Morsi announced his intention to agitate for the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman from U.S. custody. Rahman, known in the U.S. as the “blind sheikh,” is implicated in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, and numerous other terrorist plots.
Morsi was the favorite of the Obama people and Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State at the time.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provided Morsi with verbal support in the critical days leading up to the June 24, 2012, presidential election. In a discussion hosted at the State Department three days before the election, Clinton said it was “imperative that the military fulfill its promise to the Egyptian people to turn power over to the legitimate winner.” She also warned about the danger of “backtracking,” to a military regime. The “legitimate winner” was Morsi and his opponent, a general.
Ahmed Shafiq, was a military man denounced by critics as a throwback to the Mubarak regime. Clinton’s uttering of these words in the eleventh hour of the campaign — without any warning about the dangers of Islamist government — could only have undermined him.
Clinton, of course, has a close “advisor” a woman named Huna Abedin, who has links to the Brotherhood. Wikipedia is unimpressed.
On June 13, 2012, Republican members of Congress, led by Michele Bachmann, alleged that Abedin “has three family members–her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations” These claims have been widely rejected and condemned by a variety of sources, and are generally regarded as a conspiracy theory.
Robert Spencer is not so sure.
And in Abedin’s case, there are ample reasons for raising these questions. Her father, Syed Z. Abedin, was a professor in Saudi Arabia who founded the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs, an organization supported by the Muslim World League, a Brotherhood organization. Her mother, Saleha Mahmoud Abedin, is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, the Brotherhood’s adjunct organization for women. The Brotherhood itself is in its own words, according to a captured internal document, dedicated to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.”
Now, back to al Sisi’s speech.
That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!
Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!
I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.
All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.
I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.
This is pretty strong stuff. I tend to follow what Robert Spencer writes, as he is a student of Islam albeit a controversial one.
Islam is not a monolith, and never have I said or written anything that characterizes all Muslims as terrorist or given to violence. To call attention to the roots and goals of jihad violence within Islamic texts and teachings, and to show how jihadists use those texts and teachings, says nothing at all about what any given Muslim believes or how he acts. Any Muslim who renounces violent jihad and dhimmitude is welcome to join in our anti-jihadist efforts. Any hate in my books comes from Muslim sources quoted, not from me. Cries of “hatred” and “bigotry” are effectively used by American Muslim advocacy groups to try to stifle the debate about the terrorist threat. But there is no substance to them.
It is not an act of hatred against Muslims to point out the depredations of jihad ideology.
If the Egyptian president agrees, maybe something will come of this. There are far too many people who close their eyes to the violent jihadist side of Islam. A few years ago, I read a very interesting book called The Persian Night, by an exiled former editor of a Persian newspaper. I wrote a review after reading it.
Among other things, Taheri explains the real difference between Shiism and Sunni Islam. They are quite major differences and I can see why the split has never been resolved. It is at least as big a difference as that between the Catholic Church and the various Protestant churches. For example, in Shiism the role of mullahs and the ayatollahs has been expanded and that of the Quran and even Mohammed are diminished. An analogy might be the role of saints in the Catholic Church vs the spare emphasis on Bible study among Protestant sects. The Sunnis would play the role of the Protestants.
That was just one item in an education about the Persians who have largely turned against the regime. Spengler has pointed out how Iranian women have stopped having children.
Muslim leaders show more panic about their own demographic decline than the most despondent Western pessimist. The presidents of Iran and Turkey, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tayyip Erdogan, both warn of that their nations may be extinguished in a single generation. For the most part, the English-language media has ignored their warnings, but they pervade the Turkish- and Persian-language press and blogs. The sense of impending doom that pervades much of the Muslim world makes these countries dangerous and unstable. The risk to world security is not the gradual triumph of Islam by demographic accretion, but an era of instability, social breakdown, and aggression impelled by despair.
The Iranian birthrate is as low as Europe’s. Islam badly needs a Reformation. At last, a Muslim leader said so.