Sanitizing the Muslim Brotherhood

As the Muslim Brotherhood begins to flex its muscle in the current Egyptian tumult, readers of the Washington Post may wonder why there should be any concern about its possible ascendancy to a position of great influence and power in any post-Mubarak regime.

According to the Post, the Brotherhood is more victim than potential victimizer.  It's a "fundamentalist Islamic party" that has "long been the target of various government crackdowns."  ("Islamic party eyes comeback in Egypt -- Long-banned Muslim Brotherhood poised for first real stake in politics" Feb. 8, front page, by Ernesto Londono).

The Post acknowledges that the Brotherhood has long "aspired" to transform Egypt into an Islamic state.  But Londono reassures Post readers that its stance is really "more moderate, reflecting the group's vow to cooperate with secular and more moderate Islamic politicians."

And who's there to corroborate the goodwill of the Brotherhood?  Well, for starters, there's President Obama who played down the threat that an empowered Brotherhood could pose to U.S. interests durng an interview on Super Bowl Sunday.  "They are well organized and there are strains of their ideology that are against the U.S.," the president remarked, leaving open the possibility that there may be other, more moderate strains.

Taking its reassuring cue from Obama, the Post sums up the Brotherhood in a neat, non-threatening package, thusly:  "The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 to promote Islamic values.  It became politically influential in Egypt the following decade as it sought to end British colonial rule.  Since Egypt's independence in 1948, a succession of Egyptian rulers has outlawed and suppressed the group."

Reading the Post, one would never know that the Brotherhood infiltrated the Egyptian Army and assassinated Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Or that the Brotherhood created Hamas and continues to encourage Palestinian terrorism and reliance on glorious "martyrs" like suicide bombers.

Or that the Brotherhood is firm in its belief and in full-throated sermons that "people will only obtain freedom through jihad."  As its leader proclaimed recently, "the history of freedom is not written in ink but in blood."

Or that the Brotherhood aspires to gradual conquests to turn, first, the Middle East, into an Islamist caliphate, and then expand such a caliphate to the rest of the world..

Or that women and Chrisitans would become powerless in Egypt or any other place that might come under Brotherhood rule.

Or that a Brotherhood-ruled Egypt would tear up its peace treaty with Israel, which the Brotherhood views as an illegitimate intruder into the Holy Land.

Somehow none of these inherent aspects of the Brotherhood and its agenda make it into the news pages of the Post.

It's deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra might say, when one recalls how reporters for mainstream media depicted Hezb'allah's early rise to power in Lebanon as a victory for downtrodden Shiites in that country, or how they sought to differentiate between the "military wing" of Hamas and the "more moderate political wing," leading readers to believe that one could do business with this terrorist outfit.

So again today, when it comes to the Brotherhood, we see a wolf in media-clad sheep's clothing.  Yet, make no mistake, the Brotherhood has been, is and remains a wolf  -- not a sheep.  The Washington Post to the contrary notwithstanding
If you experience technical problems, please write to