July 12, 2011
Al-Azhar University in Cairo is the world’s oldest university and Sunni Islam’s foremost seat of learning. Late in June, Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb issued an 11-clause document declaring the institution’s official position on the prospective political order. The statement envisions a “modern” and “democratic nation-state” based on a constitution that ensures full separation among the different branches of government and guarantees equality for all citizens. The document also calls for respecting freedom of thought and opinion and voices support for human rights, including children’s and women’s rights.
By using the phrase “modern nation-state,” Al-Azhar put itself in opposition to Islamist voices that call for the revival of the pan-Islamic caliphate. In particular, Al-Azhar put itself squarely in opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. Joining Al-Azhar, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party issued a statement welcoming Al-Azhar’s declaration as “an important step” that put the nation on the right track toward “progress.” Also, by affirming that the state should derive legitimacy from a constitution that the people design, Al-Azhar is distancing itself from Islamist political movements which hold Shariah, or Islamic Law, to be the constitutional foundation of any Muslim society.
And what does our POTUS do? Extend a hand to the civil forces in Egypt fighting against the forces allied to the Muslim Brotherhood? That would be too droll for words. Something Bush might do. Our POTUS is too clever for that. In the same month of June that Al-Azhar issued its statement the Obama administration officially recognized the Muslim Brotherhood. Here is what Carl Rove had to say in an interview with Monica Crowley substituting for Sean Hannity
Well, you’re right. We shouldn’t have been surprised in one sense because he made such a big deal about meeting with our enemies in the 2008 campaign. But you would have thought having been in office now for two-and-a-half years, he would have been sobered by events and made another decision, this is frankly inexplicable. Why does the administration go out of its way months before the fall elections, to in essence give legitimacy and credibility to the Muslim Brotherhood by announcing formal contacts? What is to be gained by doing that except to advance the Muslim Brotherhood and make America look weak.
I mean, it looks like we’re the supplicant, please, can we met with you? … And why the president did it now and did it in such a public fashion is inexplicable. If he wanted to have contacts, let him be informal and off the stage. Why make this an act that basically gives legitimacy to the Muslim Brotherhood?
But what the media seems to have missed is that Obama reached out to the MB just when the civil forces in Egypt mounted a front against the MB. By recognizing MB not only did the POTUS legitimize the cause of the MB, he in effect thumbed his nose at Al-Azhar, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the forces for a civil society in Egypt. A civil constitutional society is the hoped for outcome of the “Arab Spring” in Egypt and elsewhere. How does that advance that goal? How about extending a hand to Al-Azhar and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party?
This is the typical inverse logic of the Obama administration. Suck-up to your ideological enemies and stick it to you ideological compatriots.
This man must be too brilliant for me. I plain don’t get it. Maybe if he just put a bust of the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in the Oval Office, where Churchill’s used to be, everything would be fine. Now why didn’t President Roosevelt think of that? If he had just put up a bust of Hitler in the, Hitler would have been so overcome with gratitude that WW2 could have been avoided.