CAMERA Letter in Baltimore Sun: A Closer Look at the ‘Moderate Muslim Brotherhood’

What’s so moderate about Muslim Brotherhood?
Your recent editorial regarding Egypt (“The revolution betrayed,” December 22) refers to “the moderately Islamist Muslim Brotherhood,” biggest winner so far in Egypt’s parliamentary voting, and to the country’s “weak secular and liberal parties.”

The secular and liberal parties are weak, if not uniformly secular or liberal, and they evidence strong anti-capitalist and anti-Semitic influences. But what is moderate about the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party so far could be campaign and coalition tactics, not strategy.

“Islamist” is a dry, academic term for Islamic fundamentalist. The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 to combat liberal Western influences in Egypt, specifically those brought by the country’s British imperial overseers and exemplified by America’s “Roaring ’20s.” The group’s credo still asserts that “Allah is our goal; the Prophet is our guide; the Quran is our constitution; Jihad is our way; and death for the glory of Allah is our greatest ambition.”
Under a government led by “moderate” Brotherhood members, would Egyptian Muslims be allowed to convert to another religion, women enjoy equality with men, or minorities like the Coptic Christians — 10 percent of the country’s population and now hunkered down in fear of renewed violence — exercise equal rights? The Sun earlier reported on a handful of former Brotherhood members who’d formed a new party, breaking away to support a “vision of Egypt that is more tolerant and secular than the political ideology of the Brotherhood (“Role of Islam in politics at crossroads in Egypt,” Nov. 27).
Your editorial view of the Muslim Brothers has leaped far ahead of your news coverage.

Eric Rozenman, Washington, D.C.

The writer is Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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