The Times journalist explains:
American officials did not always carefully distinguish between Islamists, who advocate a leading role for Islam in government, and violent jihadists, who espouse the same goal but advocate terrorism to achieve it.
To say that a group like the Muslim Brotherhood just advocates “a leading role for Islam in government” is not quite the point. The issue: what do they want to do with this “leading role”? Might they have some agenda after they give Islam a leading role in government, such as destroying women’s rights, oppressing Christians, attacking Israel, forcing the people to conform to the Islamists’ definition of Islam, and smashing U.S. interests?
It is the ability of leading mass media outlets to produce sentences like the following that drives me to despair:
American hostility to Islamist movements, in fact, long predated Sept. 11, in part because of the United States’ support for secular autocrats in Arab countries.
In other words, it is all America’s fault for not being sufficiently sensitive in comprehending the perspective of the Islamist movements. What about the other, unmentioned, part: the fact of the Islamist movements’ hostility to America, their support for terrorism, their blood-curdling expressions of anti-Semitic hatred, and their stated intention of repressing everybody else at home?
Two brief historical examples: A) In March 2002, the Muslim Brotherhood announced it had established an armed wing, eight of whose members were ready to be suicide bombers in attacking Israel. B) When an Islamist inspired by Brotherhood leaders’ call for his murder tried to assassinate Egypt’s Nobel prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz, a top Brotherhood official testified in the terrorist’s defense that he was right to try to murder the aged author.
So is there any risk from the rise of revolutionary Islamists today? Absolutely not, explains the Times writer. According to him:
[Experts] suggest that Americans should not assume that the rise of Islamists puts the United States in greater danger from terrorists. The opposite may well be the case, they say.
More recently, of course, we have the formation of Salafist morality squads, attacks on churches, and the extremely radical rhetoric of the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential campaign when all the niqabs were lifted to show the ferocious hatreds and extremism underneath.