MB responds to Marc Lynch’s Memo Published in Foreign Policy
|Monday, October 22,2007 14:33|
|By Dr.Ahmad Fahmy|
I read with great interest Marc Lynch’s memo to Muslim Brotherhood’s Chairman Mohammed Mahdi Akef (“Brothers in Arms,” September/October 2007). I believe that this memo should have been written not only to the chairman but to all brotherhood members, as the Muslim Brotherhood is a democratic body whose decisions are always made after proper consultations within its elected institutions.
In his memo, Lynch urges Akef to “use your political capital” and remain committed to democratic processes. But I feel that our commitment to democracy should not be the real concern of Western intellectuals and policymakers; Our belief in democratic processes is ideological, not tactical. The real concern should be the negative impact of government crackdowns on moderates and the entire democratic process in the
Lynch advises Akef to “watch what you say.” I may have to partially agree with him on that. Although Akef’s aim is winning the hearts of many Muslims with a war of words, diverting them from radicalism, I believe that winning peace in the world is a higher moral objective. The brotherhood is playing a unique role in the world today. It acts as a safety valve—and sometimes the valve needs to release excess pressure to avoid explosion.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a large organization representing a reformist school of thought. During its historical journey, different lines of thought have influenced the organization, enriching it by adding diverse ideas and opinions. It is therefore natural that some of the group’s leaders and members are more moderate and tolerant than others. Some are more pragmatic and more willing to engage in dialogue than others. But it has become increasingly clear over the past couple of years that the Egyptian regime has taken a ruthless stance against those moderate leaders.
Dialogue between moderate Islamists and the rest of the world would threaten the very existence of the authoritarian Egyptian regime. The regime seeks international support for its oppression by portraying us as radicals, terrorists, or theocrats. It is only through dialogue where such claims can be proven groundless. Therefore, the regime has tried to prevent such dialogue from taking place by keeping the moderate leaders of the brotherhood, such as Deputy Chairman Khayrat El Shater, behind bars, by resorting to illegal measures, and by engaging in a deceptive smear campaign against the movement and its leadership.
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