By Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen
Had the citizens of Greeley, Colo., been friendlier to the introverted Egyptian student Sayyid Qutb during his studies there from 1948 to 1950, he might not have become the Muslim Brotherhood's signature ideologue. But the lonesome Qutb resented everything America had to offer, especially individual freedom, capitalism, jazz and women's "open" sexuality.
Shortly after returning to Egypt, Qutb joined the Muslim Brothers (or Muslim Brotherhood) and committed to paper the dogma of the organization's founder, Hassan al-Banna, calling on all Muslims to resist modernization and live only according to the Islamic law, a theme Qutb expanded to include the "liberation" of Palestine, in subsequent writings of his own. The seeds of hatred for everything Western, which Qutb sowed half a century ago, have spread around the globe and are now growing like kudzu throughout America and the West.
Using the motto "God is our purpose, the Prophet our leader, the Qur'an our constitution, jihad our way and dying for God our supreme objective," and armed with al-Banna's master plan to expand Islamic fundamentalism, the Muslim Brothers began their jihad against the West.
Petrodollars turned the once small Egyptian radical organization into a global jihadist movement, spawning every Islamic terrorist group operating today. These include al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and many other often nameless affiliated groups responsible for terrorist attacks like the latest at Glasgow's airport and London's foiled car bombings. Nevertheless the U.S. Department of State is well on its way to legitimizing the organization by accepting the Muslim Brotherhood's self portrayal as "moderates" and "reformists." Indeed, this is how some U.S. officials described the MB representatives with whom they engage in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq.
Worse, while President Bush presents Israel as a model of democracy for Iraq, Foggy Bottom's efforts to legitimize the MB would lead to acceptance of the MB's Palestinian branch, Hamas, threatening the survival of the only Middle East democracy that Mr. Bush extols.
Yet, State Department officials argue that a rapprochement with the MB is critical for U.S. interests in the Middle East. That the Islamist fundamentalists are enemies of religious and individual freedom, democracy, capitalism and everything Western and American and that their many affiliates are the perpetrators of suicide attacks everywhere the State Department overlooks.
But when the president himself now praises a global, Saudi-led Islamic organization the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) set to destroy the West, the United States and its only real ally in the Middle East — Israel — why should State officials be far behind? Pandering to Saudis, the president praised the OIC gathering last week in Washington.
The Saudis established the OIC in 1969 in Jeddah, after a mentality deranged Australian Christian fundamentalist, Michael Dennis Rohan, tried to set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Saudis immediately convened all Arab and Muslim states to unify the "struggle for Islam" (Wahhabi-style), and ever since have been the OIC's major sponsors. OIC participants, including American Muslim organizations, follow the Saudi lead, "deploring" terrorism. Yet, they refuse to condemn attacks against Israeland all other "occupiers of Muslim lands." Still, Mr. Bush sings the praises of the "peaceful religion."
Offering his other cheek to Islamic fundamentalists does not make Mr. Bush a better Christian, merely a "dhimmi." A favorite Islamic jurist of the Muslim Brothers, Ibn Taymiyya, advocated that Islam is best spread by "men whose hearts are to be won over." Long ago, with generous Saudi financial incentives, the MB identified many State Department officials as such men. Are they now winning the president's heart?
The MB and Saudi mantra that Israel is the reason for the decades-long regional violence has so deeply penetrated the Western psyche, that officials everywhere, including Mr. Bush, fail to recognize the identical characteristics of the suicidal homicide epidemic afflicting Baghdad, London, Kabul, Tel Aviv and Glasgow, as a Muslim Brotherhood design. Their goal: kill as many infidels as you can.
Despite the evidence and repeated threats followed by terror attacks, Western officials treat Islamic fundamentalism rationally, as if the violence can somehow be negotiated away.
The State Department even commissioned a study to discover how best to negotiate and establish relations with the MB. An intriguing proposition perhaps, but not when the commissioned expert knows Spanish and Latin America, not Arabic, the Middle East, or Islam.
These days we see the "effectiveness" of Tony Blair's concessions to British Muslims before and after the July 7, 2005, attacks on London's transit system. Yet, Mr. Brown's new government now again seeks a "better understanding of the root causes" of Islamist attacks.
American and British leaders would better serve their nations if they understood that the disciples of Qutb and al-Banna take orders not only from Osama bin Laden, but also from the Muslim Brotherhood's Muhammad Mahdi Akef, who repeatedly claims, "the devil Bush and his allies [are] ... sowing terror and aggression worldwide." He also promises: "the jihad will lead to smashing Western civilization and replacing it with Islam which will dominate the world."
Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of American Center for Democracy. Alyssa A. Lappen is a senior fellow at the ACD.