PJM contributor and noted Middle East expert Barry Rubin gave an interview over the weekend where he addressed the issue of the received political and media establishment wisdom of the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood:
Q: How radical is the Muslim Brotherhood? Some people claim it isn’t.
Rubin: It’s absolute nonsense that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate. It’s very simple to explain: The regime suppressed the Brotherhood very seriously. These people were in concentration camps and were tortured under Nasser. They didn’t want to go back, so they began to be more cautious. Yet they are still extreme.
All you have to do is to read any speech by a Brotherhood leader or any of their publications. They have an English-language website that is very moderate – for the suckers. Just read the speech that the head of the Muslim Brotherhood gave last October. He declared Jihad against the United States.
The West is too dumb to survive if it buys this ridiculous lie. What we have to do is to look at the evidence. There is an article in MERIA (“Middle East Review of International Affairs) on what the members of the Muslim Brotherhood have done in parliament; there is another one on the Islamization of Egyptian education.
There is nothing moderate about the Muslim Brotherhood. There was a small moderate faction which was basically told to shut up. This is a hoax. It’s just like “Hamas is moderate” or “Hezbollah is moderate”. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is as radical as Hamas and Hezbollah. They don’t use violence, so people say: “They’re moderate”. They don’t use violence because if they did in the past, the regime would smash them. That’s why, not because they’re moderate.
Let me add something else: The Muslim Brotherhood has a strategy. There is the phase of “da’wa”, that is the period of recruitment and building-up, and there is the period of revolution. Up to now, they always stated that they are in the period of da’wa, the period of base-building. The question is: When will they decide that the period of revolution has begun?
None of the stuff is secret. Less than two years ago, they published their party platform. They don’t conceal that they aspire an Islamist state. Nobody has quoted it. Compared to this, the understanding of the Nazis in the early 1930s was brilliant. But we can’t afford to be stupid. We were told “The Muslim Brotherhood will not abrogate the peace treaty.” And then, all of a sudden, Muslim Brotherhood leaders started talking about abrogating the peace treaty until the deputy leader said: “Yes, we are going to abrogate the peace treaty.” That doesn’t mean that they are really going to do it in the end, but there is a chance that Israel could be in a state of war with Egypt. That’s serious and could cost the lives of thousands of people.
The whole interview is worth the read.