Egypt’s Brotherhood dangles threats at the West

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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Most of the Western remarks about the Muslim Brotherhood’s exclusion from governance in Egypt agree that the Brotherhood is controlling the keys to terrorism. The West can either instigate it or end it.

I cannot understand how the West believes the Brotherhood is actually administrating al-Qaeda, or even that it has political and religious powers directing armed groups. I cannot also understand how the Brotherhood’s rule would save the West from terrorism in the world.

This is nonsense. At the time of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s organized operations, the Muslim Brotherhood’s words were not heard or taken into consideration and their ties did not work towards halting the violence. The Muslim Brotherhood never succeeded in supporting al-Qaeda in any of its operations. The group was bragging about representing the other half of dynamic Islamists.

Ongoing violence

The ongoing violence since the 90s is directed by Islamic extremist groups expressing their intentions, ideas and a program. These groups have their own leaders, followers, and marketing means. We cannot confuse between these groups and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the National Islamic Front in Sudan, the Ennahda Movement in Tunisia, or any other political group Al-Qaeda, and the other jihadist groups do not recognize the Brotherhood or similar political movements; al-Qaeda believes that such groups are conspiring with the regimes.

Why does the West believe that Arabs and Muslims have to accept such political Islamist groups, even if they violated rights and sought to dominate institutions?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

On the other hand, why does the West believe that Arabs and Muslims have to accept such political groups, even if they violated rights and sought to dominate institutions? Why do they feel that such groups must be accepted and obeyed? That is what happened in Egypt, as the West is afraid to provoke these groups because, according to them, they can incite terrorism.

Why is the West ready to concede to them once these groups’ leaders blackmail the West? You either have to submit to their demands or they will wage violence against you; this is what leaders speaking on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, seeking to amplify their threats on English-speaking channels, made sure to convey to Western capitals.

The greatest dangers of terrorism groups come from al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria today; these are neither linked to the Free Syrian Army, which is fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, nor linked to any Muslim Brotherhood group, whether in Syria, Egypt or elsewhere.

The armed Jihadist groups in Libya and Algeria have nothing to do with any of the Islamic parties in these countries.

Two problems occur when the West supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt today and calls for solidarity and dialogue with them, in addition to the European Union’s intentions to hold its meeting next week for this same purpose. The first problem is supporting extremist leaders within the Brotherhood, who entangled the group with their practices that did not take into consideration the government’s rules, but rather, they only worked to dominate the country.

The Brotherhood's extremism

There are great leaders, such as Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh who seceded from the Brotherhood because of the extremism of the group’s leadership. The world, and not just the West, is expected to push the Brotherhood forces to support moderate historical and young leaders, not leaders such as the current supreme guide or Khairat al-Shater, Mohamed Beltagy, Safwat Hijazi and others.

The second problem is unsettling any possibility for political reconciliation, where extremists feel they are able to impose any solution on the Egyptians from outside.

Finally, surrendering to the blackmail of extremist groups did not succeed in modifying the behavior of these groups in the past and will not succeed today. It will rather strengthen terrorist voices, which believe that the West is ready to walk out on the largest Arab country. These are fascist groups that want to dominate the region; what will it be like when they will control Egypt under their own terms tomorrow?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on August 17, 2013.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.