Arab Spring and downfall of the Brotherhood
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls’ recent remarks over the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid have sparked a diplomatic row between Tunisia and France. Valls denounced the murder calling it “Islamist fascism” after Belaid was shot dead earlier this week.
Reacting strongly to the comments by the French minister, the Tunisian government later summoned France’s ambassador to Tunisia, François Gouyette, to protest his country’s interference in the internal affairs of Tunisia.
The French minister did not come up with anything new and he must be having some intelligence reports that made him look confident to say what happened was “Islamist fascism.” In fact, fascism is a product of extremism regardless of its national or religious basis. Therefore, those who do not know the Muslim Brotherhood leaders well think of them as infallible.
Interestingly, the desire of Islamic movements — whether radical ones or moderate — is to have a monopoly on power and this is part of their basic doctrine. These movements employ religion to achieve this goal. Seen in this way, the Muslim Brotherhood as a school of thoughts has been rich with fascism and the art of exclusion. No single member of the movement can express an independent opinion. Far from being tolerant, the history of the movement is full of cases where figures within the movement itself were ostracized. The situation is far worse when it comes to their attitudes toward other figures and institutions outside the movement.
But as a matter of fact the Muslim Brotherhood has now been exposed and this will also pave the way for their downfall in future. It issued a religious ruling allowing the NATO forces to intervene in Libya. Ironically, now they oppose the French minister’s interference in Tunisia’s affairs.
Moreover, Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Tunisian moderate Islamist Ennahda party, once said that there would be no retreat from a civil state, hijab would not be imposed and his party would not interfere in personal freedom of citizens. However, he was adamant to keep an article in the constitution that states that religion is the source of legislation in Tunisia. Later, he had to accept some modifications to be made to this article. Commenting on his visit to Washington and meeting with officials from the Zionist AIPAC, Ghannouchi said that he was advised to do so by Sheikh Yosuf Al-Qaradawi in order to secure American loans.
In Egypt, symptoms and aspects of Brotherhood’s fascism are coming to the fore. The party has started nationalizing press and media, suppressing the freedom of expression. Many of the prominent artists have begun to leave Egypt to the United Arab Emirates seeking stability and safety.
The fascism of the Brotherhood does not need French assertions. In fact it is a stark realty. Some of the Pan-Arabists consider this phenomenon as part of an international plot that aims to drag the Arab countries to the backward past.
The Brotherhood has not succeeded as a party, therefore, how it can succeed in running the affairs of a country. It views the state from a narrow partisan standpoint and this reflects the limit of the group’s political awareness. Not surprisingly, it deals with situations with the help of some religious verdicts and edicts and it thinks this will help them run and control diverse societies. It also believes that people will give in for the authority of religion.
Stephan Lakro, a political analyst, said that the Brotherhood members of Egypt are stunned by the resistance of the street. This scared them as they lack the political culture. Therefore, all of their pitfalls came to the fore. Undoubtedly, the Brotherhood is capable of making security and political decisions. But these decisions do not reflect experience in dealing with the political, economic and social reality. It sees presidency as merely an authority to issue decrees and this is a huge mistake. The problem is that the group thinks that it needs time for experiments while the street has become a force to reckon with that any elected president should take it seriously.
The Egyptian minister of defense recently said that Egypt is heading toward chaos unless dialogue becomes a key issue among all contending parties. In this light, Al-Azhar came up with an initiative that reflects maturity the president lacks.
It is worth mentioning that Al-Azhar has become a national reference point for all. It preempted the Brotherhood move when it selected Shawqi Ibrahim Abdel Karim as Egypt’s next mufti, particularly when the Brotherhood has done its best to control this position in their bid to control Egypt. The popular rejection of the Brotherhood’s hegemony on different institutions in Egypt and Tunisia should surprise no one. People realize that fascism — whether the one of the Brotherhood or Islamists or Shiites — is hurting and they reject it in principle. People have made a stand against totalitarian ideology as it is nothing but marginalization of others, exclusion and devoid of ideas.
Hoodwinking people is a tactic that some religious movements resort to. Recently, the Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie said that wheat in Egypt is abundant this year thanks to the decision of people who elected a God-fearing president. But wheat is abundant in Russia too although the regime is atheist, who does the supreme leader have to say on that?
The situation in the countries of the Arab Spring is getting worse at a time both President Muhammad Mursi and Ghannouchi have nothing but speeches and uncalculated decisions. This leads to uncertainties that could create an environment conducive to political assassinations and repression of freedom of expression. This puts these societies at the mercy of a new fascism that aims to gain power and not to find solutions or agreements with other forces. This new fascism lacks a political discourse that includes strategic visions and assure the people that Mursi’s era is different than the one before and that Ghannouchi’s era is different from that of Ben Ali.