Is the Brotherhood Trying to Export Political Islam?

Article Summary
The Muslim Brotherhood has flourished by capitalizing on popular protests that toppled dictators in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt. Hasan Modon argues that the group's successes mean it will seek to export its brand of political Islam to other nations, at the ultimate risk of further sectarian conflicts.

If the scenario envisioned for the future of the Arab situation — based on the way the experienced analyst Mohamed Hassanein Heikal sees development prospects in Egypt and the Arab world, and according to some reliable western data and sources from research centers and decision-making bodies — turns out to be true, we could say that Arab countries are heading towards a type of “Brotherhoodization.” This would mean the hegemony of political Islam, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, over all of the Arab countries. Furthermore, it would indicate the end of the “militarization” era or military dominance in these countries.

Excluding the special case of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, we can say that this “Brotherhoodization” has defined the political arena across the Arab world over the past few decades. This hegemony has been witnessed in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Libya and to some extent Tunisia. If we look at the first two Arab countries that were successful in achieving regime change and subsequently witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power — Tunisia and Egypt — we see that these forces in these countries have an excessive attraction to power and no longer care about society’s other issues. Let us not forget the debate in Egypt over the Brotherhood’s efforts to control major decision making posts or the complaints issued by Tunisia’s opposition against the ruling Ennahda Party and President Moncef Marzouki’s party. The latter is an ally of Ennahda in parliament and government, yet in a speech delivered on Marzouki’s behalf during the party’s last conference, he expressed his resentment against Ennahda seizing the entirety of the political and media scenes in the country.

When speaking on Arabic satellite TV talk shows, Brotherhood representatives and supporters do not use politically correct statements. Rather, they explicitly say that it is their right, as winners of the elections, to rebuild the country’s agencies in line with the dominant political and partisan tendency. This is something that has never been seen in countries with democratic traditions and which experienced a periodic rotation of power between major parties or party coalitions. It is as if the Brotherhood is in a rush to seize this historical moment that was only granted by a Western-American plan in the first place. Heikal probably noticed this when he said that the Brotherhood’s great joy at being recognized by the West prevented them from deeply considering the consequences of their actions if they go ahead with the “Brotherhoodization” of the state. This “Brotherhoodization” is intended to offset an earlier and ongoing US plan to promote the Shiite Islamic Dawa Party in Iraq, and to counter the Iranian factor. When considering the path the region is on, we should be prepared for anything.

Whatever our assessment of Qatar was following its independence, the state’s secular character has been successful in protecting the national fabric from being torn or dismantled in any way. If the building of religious states continues — whose features are becoming more and more obvious — the next debate will not take place between secularists and their opponents, which is a healthy and creative debate, but rather between representatives of different religions and sects. This would return the Arab world to the past, and give Israel its long-awaited golden gift: for Arabs to be drowning in their own sectarian disputes, thus strengthening Israel’s total dominance and allowing them to seize additional Palestinian and Arab land.

Found in: power, tunisia, muslim, ennahda party, ennahda, egypt

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