Washington Post whitewashes Muslim Brotherhood's top leader
In its Sunday, Dec. 30, edition, the Washington Post features a lengthy profile of Mohammed Badie, the "supreme guide" and chief leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, that turns out to be a massive whitewash ("In 'Guide,' Egyptians find savior and foe" by Stephanie McCrummen, page A14.)
McCrummen introduces Badie as a "69-yer-old Islamist veterinarian" who, in the eyes of the Brotherhood, is "the modest and devout spiritual leader of millions of members who feel free at last to express their conservative religious identity and exert political power."
Readers are told that "Badie is a very quiet man who can repeat the verses of the Koran by heart," according to an adviser to Egyptian President Morsi. Badie's website also depicts him as a "patient man" who quotes Koranic verses "even when he talks about soccer."
McCrummen reports that Badie was arrested along with other top Muslim Brotherhood figures in the 1960s and "tortured by dogs, by whips, by tools," quoting a Brotherhood member who spent time in prison with him.
And, in another accolade, McCrummen emphasizes "the harmony between Badie and Morsi" as another Badie gift to Egypt.
While McCrummen rhapsodizes at length about all the positive traits of the Brotherhood's "Supreme Guide," she makes but a brief mention that to many secular Egyptians, Christians and moderate Muslims, he is a theocrat guiding Egypt toward an Islamist tyranny.
But Badie's dark side is but an aside, swamped by all the lovely testimonies thrown his way by adoring Brotherhood members.
Above all, most telling, is the total absence in McCrummen's piece of Badie's own pronouncements about Brotherhood strategy and tactics. In a lengthy profile, there isn't a single quote attributed to the Brotherhood's top leader. To communicate the real Badie, one would thing that the most important thing is to dwell on his own speeches and writings. But not in the Post.
It's not that Badie's views haven't been widely reported in the Egyptian media and elsewhere. Only a few weeks ago, he called on the Arab world to end negotiations with Israel and substitute "holy jihad" to eliminate the Jewish state. "Jews have dominated the land, spread corruption on earth, spilled the blood of believers, and profaned holy places," Badie declared.
To top it off, and for good measure, Badie also claims that Jews are intent on destroying Al-Aqsa Mosque atop Temple Mount in Jerusalem and rebuilding the Third Jewish Temple in its place. In an already turbulent region, this libel is the fuse for all-out war in the name of Islam.
Yet, none of this appears in the Washington Post's profile of Mohammed Badie. Not a single mention of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead, we get a sympathetic take on a violence-loving theocrat bent on lighting the Middle East ablaze.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers