Ibrahim Eissa, a fierce critic of the Mubarak regime and the editor of Egypt’s Al-Dostor newspaper, has a very interesting set of articles on the hysteria surrounding the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood taking power in Egypt. Why do so many prominent voices disparage them and act as if their taking power would represent as serious threat to the public welfare? What has the Ikhwan ever done to deserve such negative PR? And more importantly, what evidence is there that suggests any imminent possibility of the Ikhwan actually taking power?
My translation/ summary:
“I heard an Egyptian businessman say that he was going to liquidate all of his assets if the Muslim Brotherhood took power. I wondered what caused him to have such fear since the Ikhwan has never reached power, in fact the only thing they have reached is Tora Prison. … A government person once complained to me that “you want to government to permit free elections and avoid intervention so that the Brotherhood wins and takes over the country.” I replied ” Isn’t this an acknowledgement that the NDP’s platform has failed and has so little popular support that they need to manipulate elections to keep the MB from taking over?” This wasn’t the first time I heard from high-level NDP officials that they need to manipulate elections for the interests of “the people.” Everyone in Egypt, from the Government to the Opposition, even the people themselves, seems to think they have a unique understanding of what the people want. As if the the people are little kids who can’t think for themselves. … This is also the story that Gamal Mubarak and his allies sell to the US and the West to justify their interference in elections.
The Coptic Christians are equally frightened of the Ikhwan. Notice how the Church maintains a silence on most issues, except for one occasion — when an MB candidate is running for office. In this case, they break their silence and call on people to vote against him. … Coptic fear is manipulated by State Security who spread rumors such as that the MB is trying to convert unmarried Christian women to Islam.
There is also strong anti-Ikhwan sentiments from certain Intellectuals despite the fact that they are snobs who don’t “meet with the masses except in their elevators of buildings,” nor do they even know their neighbor’s names. Yet, they still feel qualified to talk, in the name of the people, about the dangers of Egypt becoming a “theocratic” state. (Of course the masses don’t know what a theocracy means).
What’s strange/ unfortunate is that these rumors reached their high-point during the Israeli aggression on Gaza whose people began to pay the price for being governed by a Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood. All of this talk about the danger of the Ikhwan reaching power in Egypt leads people to lose their judgement and to believe that what Israel is doing is only a natural attack against Hamas terrorism. As a result, the Palestinian Resistance pays the political price of this local hatred of the Ikhwan and leads to a preference for Ramallah- based forces which are a tool of Israel.
Given this anti-Ikhwani hysteria, now we are compelled to take a serious look at the question “Is it possible that the MB can actually reach power in Egypt?’ Tomorrow, God willing, I will try and answer this question. But I want you to remember that he Brotherhood has been around for 81 years and never reached power. Tomorrow, I will tell you the end of the story- that the Brothers will never reach power in Egypt, either through elections or by force.”
Expect part two tomorrow along with my thoughts.