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The Obama Administration’s Invitation To The Muslim Brotherhood

Posted on February 2 2011 5:00 pm
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Rich Lowry’s column in the New York Post yesterday entitled “Hope & Fear in the ‘Arab Spring'” should be required reading at the White House. Lowry reminded us that, while “every revolution against autocracy is initially stirring,” they don’t always end up as well as the American Revolution. He cited the promising beginnings of the French, Russian and Iranian revolutions that were

mere prelude to catastrophe, making the years 1789, 1917 and 1979 synonymous with the onset of tyranny and bloodshed

Will the current revolution in the streets of Egypt end well or badly? The Obama White House can’t directly control the outcome, although it appears to have succeeded in moving President Hosni Mubarak closer to the exits. Under strong pressure from Obama, Mubarak declared yesterday that he would step down this September, which will still not be fast enough for the protestors or, for that matter, Obama. However, the Obama administration has gone one dangerous step further. It is helping pave the way towards a potential disaster – the creation of a radical Islamic state under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that a reformed government replacing the Mubarak regime

has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner

Of course, the most organized “nonsecular’ opposition in Egypt – indeed, the most organized opposition of any kind – is the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Obama administration should have kept its mouth shut and worked behind the scenes with the popular, American-trained Egyptian military to enable a pluralistic, moderate government to emerge that is not a way station to an Iranian-style theocracy.  Instead, the administration announced that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in a reformed Egyptian government so long as it forswears violence. This should come as no surprise  – as I pointed out in my post yesterday, the Obama administration invited at least ten Muslim Brotherhood members to attend President Obama’s Cairo University address to the Muslim world in June 2009.

Jihad – the violent version, in case President Obama is still trying to figure out what the word ‘jihad’ means to the Islamists who use the term – is in the Muslim Brotherhood’s DNA. Perhaps the administration’s ‘experts’ missed the statement of a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that

the people should be prepared for war against Israel

At this point, I hope that the administration will quickly see the errors of its ways and take immediate corrective action. To do so, it must not only rapidly pull back Gibbs’ needlessly provocative statement about having to include “nonsecular” actors in a new Egyptian government.  More importantly, it should make it clear to the world that the United States does not support any group like the Muslim Brotherhood which engages in or sponsors terrorism and which would likely impose a rigid sharia-based theocracy on the Egyptian people if it got a chance.

I am afraid, however, that the Obama administration intends to take the opposite course. As I feared in my post yesterday, we are already witnessing yet another example of the lethal engagement this administration is pursuing with radical Islamists in order to gain approval in the Muslim world. In fact, as quoted in today’s New York Times, during a high level meeting at the White House with national security officials and invited Foreign policy experts, White House staff members

made perfectly clear that they did not rule out engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood as part of an orderly process (emphasis added)

This is in keeping with President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech itself engaging the Muslim world , in which he apologized for past Western colonialism. It is also in keeping with the Obama White House Ramadan dinner guest list that engaged two radical Islamists.

The first such guest was Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, an Islamic “charity” which was convicted in 2008 by a federal jury for giving more than $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.

One month after 9/11, Dr. Mattson described the extremist Wahhabism ideology that inspired the 9/11 terrorists this way:

It is the name of a reform movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islamic societies of cultural practices and rigid interpretation that had acquired over the centuries. It really was analogous to the European Protestant Reformation.

In a September 2002 interview with PBS, Mattson stated that she did not see “any difference” between Christian leaders criticizing Islam or al Qaeda on the one hand, and Osama bin Laden citing “Islamic theology to justify violence against Americans” on the other.

The second radical Islamic White House dinner guest was Salam Al-Marayati, a co-founder and director of  the Muslim Public Affairs Council.  On 9/11, Al-Marayati said if Islamic groups were suspects for the attacks, then Israel should be, too, since it had the

“most to gain” and could use the aftermath to “divert attention…. so they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.”

There may be little that the United States can do to prevent a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt if the Egyptian people and the Egyptian army let it happen. But to be complicit in helping to enable that outcome to be realized, the Obama administration is betraying both the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people and the national security interests of the United States.

Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.


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