By Andrew C. McCarthy
It’s been quite a week to be the author of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.
My book was well received by the public and generously reviewed by some of the conservative press. In what passes for the “mainstream” media, however, it was mostly ignored and otherwise panned as Islamophobic hysteria. This was because the book had two themes that were deeply unpopular:
1. Islamic supremacism is not a fringe ideology but, instead, an entirely mainstream interpretation of Islam that is followed by hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide — the dominant Islam of the Middle East and, whether a majority or a strong plurality, the dynamic Islam in the rest of the world today, including the West. Its chief proponents are the Saudi Kingdom and the Muslim Brotherhood (Iran and its satellites compete with a Shiite version that is equally revolutionary, but there are vastly more Sunnis than Shiites). The Brotherhood rightly perceives itself as the intellectual vanguard of a global Islamic mass-movement with a ground-up strategy for Islamizing societies that prioritizes the implementation of sharia.
2. Islamists and Leftists are frequent collaborators. Though their disagreements are several and not trivial (e.g., women’s rights, gay rights, abortion), they are in harmony on basic, big picture matters. Both ideologies are totalitarian in the sense of wanting centralized control of people’s lives, down to the small details; both elevate the good of the collective (or the ummah) over the individual; both are vigorously anti-capitalist (something most Americans still do not know about Islamist ideology); and neither can succeed in achieving its grand design without suppressing the liberties and self-determinism of the citizen.
On point 2, some objected to my use of the word sabotage in the subtitle. The word is not something I came up with, though. I was quoting from an internal Muslim Brotherhood memorandum which described the Islamist mission in America as “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within” by means of “sabotage” (to be precise, by “sabotaging” the “miserable house” that is “Western civilization”). This concept of pretending one’s intentions are benign in order to bore into a society’s institutions and fundamentally transform them from within mirrors the Alinsky-style community organizing favored by the hard Left. Given that Islamists admit (at least among themselves) that they are committing sabotage, and given their propensity to make common cause with Leftists who employ the same transform-from-within strategy, I do not think there is much merit in this objection to the word sabotage. Put a different way, I think the real objection is that I spotlighted something they’d rather keep hidden.
In any event, informed by these themes, I’ve been arguing for almost two years that the so-called Arab Spring, far from an outbreak of democracy, is actually the ascendancy of new form of authoritarianism, namely, Islamic supremacism. It is more totalitarian than the dictatorships it is replacing. The Middle East uprisings feature democracy only cosmetically: There is the adoption of some procedures — mainly, elections and constitution writing — that are used in democratic societies (as well as in non-democratic societies). There is no democratic culture, nor any realistic near-term prospect of it. As the “Arab Spring” plays out, “democracy” is just a means of getting Islamists into power. Once in charge, they are certain to adopt policies rooted in classical sharia and supremacist Islam’s totalitarian nature. What results will be the very opposite of democracy.
The Left and other “Islamic democracy” project enthusiasts have either missed or obscured this inevitability. The Obama administration provides a great example. After facilitating the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt, President Obama first preposterously claimed there was no reason for concern because the Brotherhood really didn’t have much of a following there. The Brothers, of course, proceeded to win elections by 4-to-1 margins (on constitutional amendments and for Parliament ). So we further heard from the administration that the Muslim Brotherhood (you know, the “Allah is our objective, the prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” Brotherhood) is really a “largely secular” organization — something that was so laughably absurd that National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who read his statement to Congress from prepared notes, had to retract it within hours.
Soon came Version 3: Don’t worry about the Brotherhood’s going too crazy with all that sharia stuff because the Egyptian military is really pro-American and they’re the ones that run the country — they’ll never let it go to hell in a hand-basket. Alas, as I’ve pointed out several times (see, e.g., here, here and here), the Egyptian military, in which almost all able-bodied men serve, is a reflection of Egyptian society. In its rank and file, it is substantially Islamist, just like Egypt. Its history, moreover, is to follow the program of the dictator of the moment, not to lead. I’ve argued that the Egyptian military would be a pushover for the Brotherhood compared to the Turkish military, a more formidable force (in the sense of affinity for the West) that took Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan nearly a decade to tame. But I admit to thinking it would take Morsi at least a few months; it’s only been a few weeks, and he’s already cleaned house.
What has been amazing to watch in the last few days, though, is how what was Islamophobic hysteria about five minutes ago is suddenly such obvious fact that even the New York Times can acknowledge it. Indeed, the Brotherhood turns out to be “the Egyptian Kansas,” as the Gray Lady put it a week ago, reporting on the Islamist generals Morsi has found to replace the Mubarak generals:
Samer Shehata, a professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University, said American policy makers would be naïve to think that the positions held by Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood — including criticisms of the United States and strong support for the Palestinians — represented fringe thinking. On those issues, “the Brotherhood is the Egyptian Kansas,” said Professor Shehata. Their positions on foreign policy “reflect rather than oppose what the Egyptian center is thinking,” he said.
Wow, who knew?
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