The Spring of Islamic Fundamentalism (GateStone Institute) by Georgy Gounev 08/02/12)
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To what extent should an Islamic leader be trusted when he proclaims
his intention to act in keeping with all the requirements of a
democratic political system and to respect the principles of
religious and political freedom?
The ability of the American media to ignore a "politically incorrect"
event, regardless of its importance, is familiar. One of the best
examples is the invitation issued by President Obama to the President
of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, to pay an official visit to the United
States during the September session of the General Assembly of the
The most frequently asked question in the immediate aftermath of the
presidential elections in Egypt is: To what extent should an Islamic
leader be trusted when he proclaims his intention to act in keeping
with all the requirements of a democratic political system? Also, how
much should an Islamic leader be trusted when he promises to respect
the principles of religious and political freedom?
What, for instance, is the value of the following statement: "Islamic
clerics will help lead the Revolution but then they step aside to let
others rule"? Or: "Criticism of the Islamic Government will be
Oops..! Sorry for the mistake! Those were not the words of the newly
elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi. These encouraging thoughts
were expressed by Ayatollah Khomeini on September 25, 1978, just four
months before his triumphant return to Teheran.
What Khomeini then did is well known; there is no need to repeat it
here. On August 18, 1979, however -- less than a year after his pro-
democracy statements -- the thoughts of the powerful dictator of Iran
had acquired a different direction. When he addressed the
participants in the demonstrations of some disappointed former young
supporters, the angry cleric issued the following warning: "I repeat
for the last time: "Abstain from holding meetings, from blaspheming,
from public protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth."
On February 2, 2011, The American Thinker published an article by
this author, exploring the similarities and differences between
developments in Egypt and Iran. While the mainstream media was elated
by what seemed a sunrise of democracy over the Nile, the article
stated: "[T]he demonstrations shaking Tehran at the time and Cairo
now have a clearly visible violent and Islamic component." It also
emphasized the prominent role the actions of President Obama´s
administration were about to play in shaping the future political
system of the most important Arab country.
As President-Elect, Mohammed Morsi promised to establish a "civil and
democratic state in Egypt." He also said he would appoint as Vice
Presidents both a woman and a Christian, and assured Egyptian
journalists that there would be no Islamization of the cultural life
of the country. Morsi added, however, that those journalists who had
published articles supporting the peace treaty with Israel would not
be allowed to practice their profession.
If one again compares the Egyptian developments with the Iranian
precedents, Mohamed Morsi currently is using Khomeini´s vocabulary
from September of 1978. The question is: What kind of statement will
he make if he reaches the degree of power Khomeini was enjoying in
August of 1979?
Secretary of State Clinton proudly declared in Cairo that the United
States did not have any preferences regarding the participants in the
Egyptian elections. Although her announcement followed a well-
established pattern of political correctness, at the same time it
reflected the completely wrong strategy of the Obama administration.
That policy is based on the absurd premise that by exposing Islamic
Fundamentalism as the main enemy of democracy and Western
civilization, American policymakers are endangering the United States
more than are the actions of the Jihadists. It was this "strategy"
that contributed immensely to the electoral victory of the Muslim
Brotherhood. Twenty-Five million out of eighty million Egyptians
preferred not to vote at all; the rest of the votes were almost split
between Mohamed Morsi and his main rival – General Ahmed Shafik, a
close associate of former President Hosni Mubarak.
American diplomacy had a better path to follow. A definite assurance
should have been given to the effect that the United States would
respect the choice of the Egyptian people. At the same time, if the
new Government tried to change Egypt´s political system by imposing
an ideology, that discriminated against women and minorities, and
that violated its peace treaty with Israel, it should not expect any
support from the United States.
One of the many questions Secretary Clinton could have asked
President-Elect Morsi was: "If the Brotherhood has so tightly
embraced the ideals of political democracy, how is it possible that
such a crucial change did not in any way affect the ideology of the
No one will be surprised that Mohamed Morsi failed to mention to Ms.
Clinton that the most essential part of his fiery speech delivered in
front of an enthusiastic crowd on May13, 2012 was the motto of the
Muslim Brotherhood: "The Koran is our constitution. The Prophet
Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of
Allah is our most lofty aspiration."
Wouldn´t it be logical to expect that before issuing an invitation to
Morsi to visit him at the White House, President Obama would ask his
future guest how, if he believes that the country must be subjected
to Islamic Law, he intends to defend the secular constitution of
If Jihad is the path Morsi wants to follow, then how can President
Obama treat him as his guest? It is understandable: Once he
contributed to Morsi´s ascension to power, the President has to deal
with him on the issues of international politics. This fact does not
mean, however, that Mr. Obama should lay down a red carpet for him. A
White House reception for Morsi will represent a huge boost to -- and
an endorsement of -- the "gathering storm" of Islamic Fundamentalism.
Weren´t the Jihadists the ones who murdered thousands of Americans,
and have openly stated that one of their most important goals has
always been to destroy the American political system?
If the occupant of the White House after November 2012 does not know
how to say the words ´Islamic Fundamentalism´, America will face
tough times ahead not only abroad, but at home as well.
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