The Muslim Brotherhood has turned, in some people’s eyes, into sacred cow. No one should ever criticize its members because, then, one will be criticizing Islam! We cannot accept this rule; the Brotherhood group is a political movement like all other parties.
In order to protect the group, a relentless campaign was launched against those who criticize the practices of the Brotherhood’s movement in Egypt. The defenders are trying to raise the regime above all criticism; they are shielding it with undeserved holiness, only because the group has called itself Islamic, and because its members bear prayer marks on their foreheads.
As for us, the Brotherhood is a political group that can be right or wrong, and it deserves appreciation or criticism according to its actions.
I want to say to the Brotherhood’s followers in the region: We have lived through this media terrorism for years, and such campaigns were waged against us many times, but they did not and will not succeed. There will come a day when the Brotherhood’s followers will realize what they realized from previous campaigns. We have experienced this terrorism many times before. When we discussed Hezbollah’s actions, we faced media terrorism from its followers who accused us of being traitors or Zionists agents.
Those who unjustly fought us yesterday over Hezbollah, have turned today against the group, attacking it with a language that we ourselves are ashamed to use.
The same thing happened to with regards to Iran. Those who defended it
claiming that it supports Islam and stands against Israel are now criticizing Iran more than our comments.
This is how they used to defend Bashar al-Assad’s regime when they believed his speeches about Arabism, Palestine and fighting the foreign forces; they were blinded regarding the crimes he committed not only since March 2011, when the Syrian revolution erupted against him, but even when he was killing tens of Lebanese leaders; they used to label the regime as being an “Objection Front.” They asserted that those who criticize the Syrian regime are supporting Israel. As such, they defended the crimes of the regime and his allies. We recall those who criticized us back when al-Qaeda rose to prominence. They defended the worst group Islam has known in its history. They defended al-Qaeda as if it was Khalid ibn al-Walid’s brigade that he had sent from his grave!
I say to all of those who hallowed Hassan Nasrallah, and offended us because of Iran, Bin Laden, and al-Assad: take your time and do not rush into judging those who are criticizing the Brotherhood in Egypt or elsewhere; this is politics and they are politicians not above reproach. Sadly and just after few weeks of reaching power in Egypt, some of the Brotherhoods did not hesitate to mislead and lie to the people. What they have said about their rival Dr. Mohamed al-Baradei, is a simple example of their way to discredit their opponents. They claimed that he had sold and ruined Iraq when he was the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency while all the observers know that he was one of the most honest Arabs who led international organizations, and he refused to implicate any international organization in the Iraqi conflict. All this was scrapped with the stroke of a pen, and a different history of the man was written for the sole sake of obtaining exclusive control of power and assassination of enemies’ character
I know that it is difficult for some to differentiate between those who are occupied with religion and those who are occupied with politics but raise religious slogans.
I believe that this is why the opportunists are resorting to the religion. Criticizing the Brotherhood in power does not mean that we are criticizing the prophet’s companions, but rather a normal political group. When we criticize a socialist movement this does not mean that we are against the values of social justice. When we criticize the Baathists and nationalists, it does not mean that we reject the concept of the Arab unity. This is why we should not yield to a campaign of slogans, whether it was religious or national. They have no immunity; these are politicians and political parties. If we stand against the “justice party” it does not mean that we support injustice, and if we stand against the “freedom party,” it does not mean that we are calling for slavery. These are just names like anyone’s name. People choose names in wish for what they stand for or in order to lure people.
Unfortunately, the same audience barely wakes up from intellectual fall before stepping into another one. The same mistakes are repeated but in different shapes and names. Those who sanctify holy cows, whether they were members of the Brotherhood or not, can pave the way for them. As for us, this does not concern us.
Abdelrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya. The article was published in Asharq Alawsat on Dec. 22, 2012