Ordered Liberty

Extortion—The Brotherhood's M-O

A U.S. government plane, left, lands at Yokota U.S. Airbase in outskirts of Tokyo on May 9, 2018, carrying three previously detained Americans held in North Korea for more than a year. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

In The Grand Jihad, my book about the Muslim Brotherhood, I noted the Brothers’ affectation of non-violent moderation when, in reality, their ideology preaches, prepares for, and practices forcible jihad. How, I rhetorically asked, does the Brotherhood pull this trick off? Well, it is pretty easy in the West, where the Brothers have the fortuity of dealing mainly with appeasers who are desperate to believe their lies. But for the most part, I argued, “the answer, very simply, is extortion.”

When not pretending to distance themselves from flat-out terrorist outfits like al Qaeda (the better to have Kool-Aid gulpers at the White House regard them as “moderates”), the Brothers leverage the atmosphere of intimidation created by violent jihad to advance the stealth jihad. Where necessary, the Brothers — while piously disavowing violence — will stoke the violence themselves. Remember, the Hamas terrorist organization is the Muslim Brotherhood — the global organization’s self-proclaimed Palestinian branch whose support has been a top priority of the Brotherhood’s international franchises (very much including in the United States) since Hamas’s inception.

For the most part, though, the Brothers exploit the mass-murderous proclivities of other Islamic supremacist organizations, essentially finishing the job for them. The job? Yes, it is all one job — sharia.

We would grasp this if we were not so mulishly uninformed about the enemy’s ideology. Islamic supremacists do not engage in wanton violence; they brutalize in order to advance sharia, Islam’s societal framework and legal code. Even if they occasionally disagree on tactics, al Qaeda and the Brotherhood are in complete harmony on the ultimate goal of imposing Islam on societies. To focus myopically on the tactical disagreements, as the West’s moderate-mania does, is to miss the forest for the trees. The Brotherhood is like the well-dressed mafia capo who knocks on your door — and whom you pay the loan-shark vig in the hope that the next visitor won’t be the al Qaeda button-man who breaks your knees before torching the place.

That’s a good image to bear in mind when you read Bridget Johnson’s informative post at the Tatler. I refer particularly to the excerpt from the al-Ahram report, describing General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s meeting, before Morsi’s ouster, with Brotherhood powerhouse Khairat al-Shater.

As I outline in Spring Fever, Shater, the Brotherhood’s charismatic “Deputy General Guide,” is probably the most significant Brotherhood figure in Egypt — more influential even than Supreme Guide Mohamed Badi. In fact, Mohamed Morsi was Shater’s protégé and only became the Brotherhood’s presidential candidate of choice when Shater, the preferred candidate, was dubiously disqualified from seeking the office by the transitional military regime, which saw him as more threatening.

So what happens in the meeting? With millions protesting in the streets, Sisi is actually trying to work things out — to persuade the Brotherhood to agree to a new popular referendum on Morsi’s presidency. Shater’s response? Naturally, it is the Brotherhood’s standard response: extortion. Shater, al-Ahram tells us, warned Sisi “that if Morsi were to leave, terrorists he [Shater] wouldn’t be able to control — some of whom he claimed he didn’t know — would launch attacks across Egypt.”

Gee, nice country you have here. Sure would be a shame if someone, totally out of my control of course, burned it to the ground.

We Western sophisticates don’t get it, but Sisi, an Egyptian Muslim, knows exactly where Shater and the Brothers are coming from: “You mean you either accept this or die,” he replies, adding, “Do you only want to rule us or kill us?”

Yes.

Egypt is a long way from anything resembling a real democracy, a culture rooted in liberty, equality, and a respect for minority rights. But those currently governing Egypt have figured out that you cannot have both a real democracy and the Muslim Brotherhood. Would that those governing the United States could figure that out.