Saturday, December 03, 2011

3-Dec-11: The Islamists are marching...

The centrality of the religious factor in Arab public life is increasingly a talking point in media coverage as major changes wash across the entire area.

Under the headline "Jordan apology to Hamas baffles many", a mainstream Arab news publication is reporting today on Jordanian overtures to the most dangerous of this region's terrorist organizations.
The mea culpa was offered by Jordan's prime minister, Awn Khasawneh, for the 1999 decision to close the Islamist group's offices and expel its members - action widely believed to have been taken under pressure from the US. Calling it a "constitutional and political mistake", his regret was extended soon after Jordan's King Abdullah II appointed him to the premiership in October. Further, the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, reportedly is arriving in Jordan today for talks. Mending relations with Hamas has raised eyebrows among the king's loyalists and his detractors, and not only because Washington considers the Palestinian group a terrorist organisation. Increasingly, it is perceived as an attempt to outflank the king's domestic critics and bolster his standing in the Arab world... Beginning this year with calls to end official corruption, [widespread Jordanian] protests have escalated into angry demonstrations - increasingly by members of the monarchy's tribal support base. By reaching out to Hamas, however, suspicion has mounted that the king is trying to put off reforms by cutting a deal with the group's influential brethren in Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood. Their support could prove useful for restraining dissent..."
In Egypt, where the outcome of this past week's elections have been held back by the military who are the actual post-"Arab spring" rulers, first numbers are emerging and they bode ill for those who understand the close ties between the Muslim Brotherhood in its various forms, and jihadist terror. From AFP ("Islamists sweep Egypt elections") in the past hour (late Saturday night):
Early results from Egypt's first post-revolution election showed Islamist parties sweeping to victory, including hardline Salafists, with secular parties trounced in many areas.
Earlier today, there were reports that "the Muslim Brotherhood claimed the first round in the Egyptian parliamentary elections Saturday, after polls said it has won 40% of the votes. The official results of the elections are still pending."

In last week's elections in Morocco, the Islamist Justice and Development Party dominated, taking 107 seats out of the 395 seats, almost twice as many as the second place party. AP says this means "King Mohammed VI must pick the next prime minister from its ranks and to form the next government."

In elections in Tunisia in late October, the Islamist Ennahda party, banned for decades until January 2011, won 41% of the vote, securing 90 seats in the 217-member parliament. Today in the Tunisian capital, thousands of Islamists and secularists staged competing protests outside the parliament. Reuters says tensions are high:
"The latest round of protests was sparked when a group of hardline Islamists occupied a university campus near the capital to demand segregation of sexes in class and the right for women students to wear a full-face veil."
For the terrorist leadership of Hamas in Gaza, this is all great news. One of its more outspoken insiders, Musa Abu Marzouk, said this week the Egyptian win "serves the interests of Hamas", while his colleague Fawzi Barhoum, one of the Hamas designated spokespeople, said the election results we mentioned will "strengthen Hamas in the face of Israeli, American and European efforts" to isolate the terrorists.

Meanwhile an Arab voice of a different kind sees things via a different, more practical lens. Jeannette Bougrab, minister for youth in the government of France, and a self-described "French woman of Arab origin", said to the Le Parisien newspaper that that the electoral outcomes are 
"very worrying... I don’t know of any moderate Islam... There are no half measures with sharia. I am a lawyer and you can make all the theological, literal or fundamental interpretations of it that you like but law based on sharia is inevitably a restriction on freedom, especially freedom of conscience.”
Muslim Brotherhood activists "clash" with plainclothes
Egyptian police at an anti-Israel rally [Source]
The Moslem Brotherhood's official motto is: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Establishing an Islamic state based on sharia is at the center of its ideology. Egyptians - according to an April 2010 Pew Research Center poll  - very much like what it has to say about such core values as stoning adulterers (82% support), whipping and/or chopping off the hands of thieves (77%), and imposing the death penalty on apostates (84%)

They held a rally a week ago in Cairo's most prominent mosque, Al-AzharThis report says 5,000 people took part. The main preacher was its Grand Imam, Ahmed al-Tayeb who said: "The al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews…we shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds (Jerusalem.) We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there." The report says Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen, as well as Palestinian guest speakers, made explicit calls for Jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine. Time and again, a Koran quote vowing that "one day we shall kill all the Jews" was uttered at the site... Throughout the event, Muslim Brotherhood activists chanted: "Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come."

With the Egyptian election behind us, it's worth recalling what a leading expert on the Muslim Brotherhood ("Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood: In Their Own Words") wrote nearly a year ago:
The Muslim Brotherhood does not hide its global aspirations and the violent path it intends to follow to achieve them. The Brotherhood is meticulous in its step-by-step plan, first to take over the soul of the individual and then the family, people, nation and union of Islamic nations, until the global Islamic state has been realized. The principle of stages dictates the Muslim Brotherhood's supposed "moderation." However, that "moderation" will gradually vanish as Muslim Brotherhood achievements increase and its acceptance of the existing situation is replaced by a strict, orthodox Muslim rule whose foreign policy is based on jihad. 
And now it appears they're taking power in our largest neighbour.

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