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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who is a “Moderate Islamist?” A Guide to Understanding Obama's Blurred Mideast Vision

By Barry Rubin

The Muslim Brotherhood held a rally at Cairo’s most important mosque. Demonstrators chanted, “One day we shall kill all Jews.”

  • Question 1: How can you tell they are “moderate Islamists?”
Answer: They said “one day,” in other words, they aren’t going to do it this week.
  • Question 2: At the rally someone said: “In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything. The al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews.” Who was it?
Answer: Ahmed al-Tayeb, the “moderate” president of al-Azhar University and arguably the most important Muslim cleric in Egypt. Note: al-Aqsa Mosque is not under attack by Jews.
  • Question 3: Why did al-Tayeb talk this way in the context of calling for a Jihad against Israel?
Answer: Maybe he isn’t so moderate. But more importantly it is part of the general radicalization of Islam that is going to happen in Egypt now that the Brotherhood will be running the place and thus also his desire to survive rather than be branded a lackey of the Zionist-imperialist crusade to destroy Islam and have his head cut off. (See Question 1.)
  • Question 4: Can someone be a “moderate Muslim” or “moderate Islamist” and call for a Jihad to wipe Israel off the map?
Answer: Apparently yes. Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen made such calls at the rally yet the Obama Administration holds that the Brotherhood is moderate and the U.S. government supports its taking power in Egypt.
  • Question 5: How did the Muslim Brotherhood get the Jewish calendar wrong?
Answer: “Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come.” In fact, Yom Kippur was last October 8
  • Question 6: An elementary school teacher Ala al-Din said, “All Egyptian Muslims are willing to embark on Jihad for the sake of Palestine.” What does he teach little children in school?
Answer: that all Egyptian Muslims should embark on Jihad to destroy Israel.
  • Question 7: Why don’t American officials, journalists, and “experts” understand Islamists?
Answer: Ala al-Din explained it: “Why is the US losing in Afghanistan? Because the other side is willing and wants to die. We have a different mentality than that of the Americans and Jews.” In other words because they don’t understand that people in the Arabic-speaking world have “a different mentality.”
  • Question 8: Is this mentality somehow biological or innate in Islam?
Answer: No, it is the result of historical processes, political culture, indoctrination in school and mosque and media, dominant ideology, and from the demagoguery of leaders.
  • Question 9: Why don’t Western reporters see what’s going on and report it fully?
Answer: They weren’t’ wearing their glasses so they didn’t see the signs; they weren’t’ wearing their hearing aids so they didn’t hear the chants.

  • Question 10: But these journalists, along with the officials and “experts” are idols of the Western elite, so is there any precedent for this?
Answer: Yes indeed! See here on line 16.
  • Question 11: Who said that the Muslim Brotherhood is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence” and what is he doing now?
Answer: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and he’s still director of national intelligence.
Question 12: Who said “Parties committed to democracy must reject violence….And in a region with deep divisions within and between religions, they cannot be the spark that starts a conflagration” and does that person react to what the Muslim Brotherhood actually says?
  • Answer: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and no.
  • Question 13: What possible rationale could she have for not dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood’s bloodthirsty totalitarian orientation and intolerance?
Answer: See Question 1.
  • Extra credit question: Why will many Americans—including Jews–vote to reelect President Barack Obama despite the fact that his administration is whitewashing, supporting, and may soon be funding the world’s most powerful and genocidal-oriented antisemitic, anti-Christian, and anti-American group?
Answer: I don’t know. I only write about the Middle East.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction will be published by Yale University Press in January. Latest books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,
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