Christians leading fight against Ikhwan, but is it smart?
By Ray Hanania
For generations, the Muslim Brotherhood has been the fuel that has provoked some of the most vicious acts of violence in the Middle East against the governments and people in the Middle East.
And when the Muslim Brothers, often called the Ikhwan in Arabic, decided to go mainstream and “moderate” their activism by entering the elections in Egypt, many thought maybe they had changed.
Leaders of the Brotherhood protested side-by-side with secular protesters at Tahrir Square when Mubarak’s military attacked and beat them killing hundreds following the Jan. 25, 2011 pro-Democracy push that started Egypt’s current “revolution.”
For years, the Ikhwan were banned in Egypt because of their religious fanaticism and rhetoric against Egypt’s secular government. It should not have been a surprise, but it was, when the Brotherhood’s slate of candidates headed by Mohammed Morsi (Morsy) won the presidential elections and was sworn in as president on June 30, 2012.
It was a remarkable turn of events, except that many, including the Christians of Egypt, refused to believe that the Ikhwan had set aside their radical religious views to embrace secular Democracy. In fact, Morsi did not set aside his religious beliefs and began implementing programs reinforcing Ikhwan philosophies and provoking the opposition.
Morsi was immediately confronted by the former establishment, remnants that had not been imprisoned with the fall of Egypt’s dictator Husni Mubarak.
After one year in office, Democracy was brought to a disturbing halt by the Egyptian Military in a coup that has been racked by violence and death.
Right now the victims of the Military Coup are the Ikhwan.
But all anyone has to do to see what Egypt’s future is like should turn to the pages of Iran and recognize almost the identical sequence of events that had one day sparked the hope of minorities in the Middle East and today has turned Iran into a dark despot of religious oppression, intolerance and death.
Christians in Egypt are among those actively calling not only for the continued suppression of the Ikhwan but also, surprisingly, cheering for violence against the Brotherhood.
It is so unChristianlike. Christians do not cheer for killing. They don’t urge governments to murder people, even the most radical of religious fanatics like the Ikhwan.
Christians normally put their faith in God (Allah is just the Arabic word for God, the same God for Christians, Muslims and Jews). They also don’t undermine Democracy as a shortcut to “safety.”
Christians have been brutalized in the Middle East under the Romans and under every government that has conquered Palestine, including Israel. They have been brutalized in Iraq, Iran and in Syria.
The one haven for them has come under the “benevolence” of the dictators. In other words, in tyrannical oppression, Christians have accepted suffering but have been given favor by the dictators. In most cases, that is. Christians who have stepped out of subservience and have become active were targeted by the dictators and punished and even killed alongside the Islamic extremists.
That’s what happened in Iran. The country turned to Democratic elections, the first ever in the Middle East and a prelude to what might one-day happen in the Arab World – Iran is not Arab but is predominantly Shi’ite Muslim while the majority of the “Arab World” is Sunni Muslim. Christians are scattered throughout.
In 1953, Mohammed Mossadeq was elected Iran’s first President. Back then the term Islamic extremist did not exist. The West did not fear nor provoke or assault the Muslim religion as it does today. Instead, the West feared “Communism.” And the West believed that Mossadeq was a Communist.
The American CIA orchestrated a coup to topple the Democratically elected Mossadeq government and instead appointed a dictator to take his place, and to erase all remnants of Democracy.
You see, the West isn’t really interested in bringing Democracy to the Middle East or the Arab World. They are interested in using any means, including Democracy, to put people in power whom they like.
Mossadeq wanted to give the people of Iran control over their oil resources. The United States and its multi-National oil companies did not want that. They didn’t want Mossadeq to cozy up to the Soviet Union, which was the evil empire version of today’s Islamic Revolution and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Shah took control and began an oppressive campaign murdering hundreds of thousands of those who fought unsuccessfully to restore Democracy. The opposition to the tyrant Shah of Iran slowly transformed into a religious movement.
People in Iran were denied free speech. The only place where it was tolerated was in the confines of the Mosques. Christians in Iran were spared and not viewed as a threat by the Shah.
The same exact thing that Egypt’s Coup leader General Mohammed al-Sisi is doing rounding up, jailing and killing Morsi’s followers is what the Shah did to Mossadeq’s followers. Iran fell into a religious oppression that it may never awaken from.
The Shah didn’t destroy a movement. He only made it more powerful. In 1979, 26 years later, the Shah’s oppression forged a powerful religious fanaticism and the country was rocked again by a new Islamic revolution.
That’s the future that violence and more conflict poses for Egypt. The Christians joining alongside the secular Muslims and foes of the Muslim Brotherhood are blinded today just as the Shah’s supporters were blinded back then.
Christians believe that overturning Morsi and rewriting history will somehow protect them from the religious fanatics.
It won’t, unfortunately. All that will happen is that the religious fanatics will grow stronger and more determined. The option to assimilate into Democracy will be closed. As much as Morsi was not the perfect president, he symbolized what could have been a change in the religious fanaticism that threatens not only Middle East Christians, but secular Democracy in the Arab World.
Morsi is Mossadeq. Al-Sisi is the Shah. And one day soon, the people of Egypt will soon meet their own new Ayatollah. Because he is on the streets with the protesters being killed and he will rise and bring suffering to Christians and Arabs one day to Egypt.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com and follow him on Twitter at @RayHanania.)