Should The US Work With The Muslim Brotherhood Into the Political Process?

Whom should the United States support when it comes to Egypt’s new beginning? Should we take sides? Can we live with the choices we make today? Should the US support integration of the Muslim Brotherhood back into the political process? What about the Arab League, Israel, EU, UN, and others? Do we dare pick sides? If we demand or strongly suggest a meeting of the minds in the politics of Egypt’s very different thinking groups, will that actually serve the will of the people?

Who will it serve? What about our own value system, do we dare project our ideals upon an Egyptian population? If so, to what avail? If the Muslim Brotherhood does not join in the political process in the future, and really why should they after the military took over and threw their butts back onto the street, after they were duly elected, all within one-year of that election, then will their differences be worked out. If they don’t join in the politics, will they instead resort to violence? If so, who loses, who might they attack, and how does this serve the United States interests in the region.

If you have as many questions as I do, then perhaps before you give your mind to the mainstream media propaganda or political correctness in all this – there is an interesting book I’d like to add to your reading pile, in fact, it might be wise to put it on top, the name of the book is:

“The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy” by Erick Stakelbeck, Regnery Publishing, New York, NY, 2013, 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1621570332.

In his book summary he’s put on Amazon, he states;

“The Muslim Brotherhood, or Ikhwan, has engaged in terrorism, assassinations, and anti-Western, anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence for almost a century-yet few Americans realize how powerful they really are. While we focus on al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, it’s actually the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest, most influential, and most anti-American Islamist group, that has become the preeminent voice and power in the Muslim world.”

What most people fail to comprehend is that what the Muslim Brotherhood says and does are often diametrically opposed, and we do have associated organizations of this group here in the US, not all of which should be considered friends to a Western way of living, or to the things we hold so dear – freedom, liberty, the pursuits of happiness, or the incredible diversity we have garnered through much hardship over the years.

Indeed, I ask that you please consider all this and think on it next time you watch the news and are led astray towards a different decision on whom you’d like to support in the Egyptian turmoil in the present period.

Culturist Tensions With My Muslim Friend

My oldest friend, Geeta, is a Muslim. I just saw her for the first time in six years. Geeta came to this country when she was 13 – the Ayatollah chased her family out. Her clothes, drinking habits and relationship patters – her basic values – are highly Americanized. Geeta is a rock n roll woman and someone I care deeply about. When we were kids, our differences did not bother us at all. But current political realities made this visit tense at the edges.

Geeta just returned from a month-long travel; she guesses that eighty percent of Iranians resent the Iranian government and it imposition of Islamic law. The economy and infrastructure are so messed up that most Iranians need to have three jobs to make ends meet. Iran’s development has fallen so low that they cannot refine their own oil and have to import gasoline! If you fought against Iraq you get a pension. If you didn’t, you are impoverished. She said Iran’s conservative election results reflect corruption, not popularity. Most Iranians, she reported, love Americans and Western products.

Geeta’s descriptions of Iran were meant to convey that Iran and Muslims are not inherently anti-Western. As her parents are currently in Iran, she worries about our wanting to bomb her country. She fears the demonization of Muslims. As a positive and contributing citizen, she resents being automatically considered a terrorist. Geeta’s only terrorism has only been against me in pinball. Her concerns illustrate that we needlessly increase our domestic and international tension when we demonize people and nations. Many Muslims are good Americans and there is a real chance that Iran will someday be a relatively benign partner.

Cultural affiliation, though, are real. And assimilation has limits. Likely due to the political climate and the multiculturalism of her native Oakland, California, Geeta still identifies Muslims as her people and her country as Iran. She even calls Palestinians “my people.” This need not be harmful. Geeta’s voting could restrain our impulse to go to war. Geeta identifies with Iranian sovereignty and does not want Islam to spread. My culturist views also respect Iran’s sovereignty and cherish our freedoms. If we follow culturist principles and do not needlessly antagonize Muslims domestically or internationally, citizen’s affiliation with non-Western civilizations need not be so bad.

We must be aware of cultural dynamics. Geeta’s description of Iran shows that twenty percent of the population can rob eighty percent of the population of their freedoms. If we invade Iran, as Geeta and any culturist can tell you, the percentage of Muslims that hates the West will rise internationally and domestically. If we target Iran’s nuclear facilities – and I think we must – we should be careful to avoid jingoistic demonizing of Muslims at home and abroad. Such talk would needlessly and insensitively hurt Geeta’s feelings and increase the odds of destruction from the Muslim community.

While I could discuss the culturist principle of isolationism with Geeta, I thought it would endanger our relationship to explain the correlated culturist policy that we should safeguard ourselves by stopping all immigration from Muslim nations until worldwide Islamic terror has long ceased. Immigrants identify with their homeland. If twenty percent of immigrating Iranians or their children wants Sharia law, increasing their numbers endangers us. Such an immigration policy would safeguard us and tell people living here that we value our nation and culture.

Looking backwards, I should have discussed all aspects of culturism with Geeta. The discussion could have been a test case to see if explaining Western interests could minimize the hurt from discriminatory culturist policy. Had I appealed to protecting the U.S. from the Sharia law Iran has been devastated by, our relationship may have survived the confrontation. Having seen what she has in Iran, Geeta likely appreciates Western freedoms more than your Western average citizen.

I regret that political events have shoved issues between us that we never had to consider as teenagers. I love Geeta and dearly value our friendship. Perhaps, our nation will follow wise culturist policy and the world will be fraught with less cultural tension when we next meet.

What American Muslim Anti-Islamophobia Activists Need to Understand About America

These are the United States of America, and I respect the right of every American, Muslim and non-Muslim to speak candidly to have his or her own opinion, and to speak their mind. However, I do not like when people tell one story to some people, and tell a different story to others. It is reported in prophetic tradition that the Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessing be upon Him) said: “Amongst those receiving the most severe punishment on the Day of Judgment, is the two-faced person. The one who goes to one group bearing a face, and to another group bearing another face”.

Speaking of having your own opinion, I personally do not like it when people immigrate to America, benefit immensely from what our country has to offer, make a few dollars, buy a house in the suburbs, and then starts trashing our country saying that America does not live up to their expectations. I’m not knocking anyone for expressing their views or criticisms. I’m talking about the one who completely trashes everything about our country and insinuates that there is no good here and that this is just an awful evil place. That’s just my personal opinion, and some of you may have your own opinions about my opinion and that’s your right. There’s no need for anyone to be offended, to be in a tizzy, or to unleash upon me a tirade of indignation. However, you can if you want to, just try not to make it personal. If you have a problem with my previous statement, then you’ll probably feel some kind of way about what I’m about to say next. Especially those to whom it applies.

New American Muslims should stop complaining so much about their new country and perhaps use the freedom and liberty afforded to them as American citizens to ask the hard questions about how we practice Islam outside the din of polemical debate, political rhetoric, and public relations considerations. Immigrant dominated national Islamic political and advocacy groups as well as the new class of Muslim activists – while advancing the argument that American Muslims are as American as apple pie – demonstrate in many ways, especially in the way they confront islamophobia, that they do not quite understand America.

While declaring that the principle cause of islamophobia (a term that I do not agree with) is that Americans do not understand Muslims and Islam, there needs to be a parallel acknowledgment by American Muslim immigrants, and anyone else who supports such an oversimplified, nonsensical notion, that there are lots of things they need to understand about America, and Americans whose acceptance they crave.

There is hardly any other personal liberty dearer to us than the right of every individual to speak his or her mind and to have our own personal views or opinions. To put it simply, we do not like being told what to think, or who we can like or dislike, or which religious group we can or cannot talk about. In America, if someone talks negatively about Christians, the whole of Christian America does not come down on them. It doesn’t elicit a nationwide, multi-denominational Christian rebuke, nor does it catapult the matter onto the American Christian agenda as the suggested topic for next Sunday’s sermon. That’s just not the way we do things in this country. Jews are criticized just as much as Muslims and are probably the most parodied religious group in America. The whole Jewish nation does not come down on every alleged anti-Semite, or scour the news hunting down people’s campaign worthy biases. Even if some Jews address it or some organizations say something (and that’s a big if), it doesn’t become a nationwide rabbinical campaign.

However, if someone, especially a prominent person or politician says something about Muslims, or God forbid articulates what Muslims activists believe to be an islamophobic sentiment, Muslim advocacy organizations capitalize on it and feeds it to the Muslim community as a campaign worthy issue, and from there it wafts into our nations mosques. That’s not cool. Not cool at all. If someone talks about Muslims, the whole Muslim community should not come down on them. That’s so freakin un-American.

When some people in our country demonized Muhammad Ali, he withstood it with dignity, now he is loved by some of those same folks. We excoriated al-Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), he withstood our criticism and we ended up making a movie about him. We said bad things about the Mormons. They withstood it and got their own state. I could go on and on but the point is, no one in the history of the United States has succeeded in silencing their critics simply by complaining and calling them bigots, racists, islamophobes, nigger-lovers, or any other verbal counter-punch.

With all the degreed and advance degreed professionals we have in the American Muslim advocacy department, it should be well understood that American Muslims will never succeed in shutting down all criticism of Islam and Muslims in America. We love that freedom of speech clause in the constitution and we’re not going to give it up. Even though some people may hold their tongue just to avoid the drama, Americans will continue to think and believe as we please, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. For every so-called islamophobe who cowers, or is silenced though bribery, professional censure or public pressure, another one pops up under the radar; in part due to the censure of the former. Some Muslims are still responding to statements made by Donald Trump more than three weeks ago.

During his Farwell Sermon, the Prophet (SAWS) re-emphasized Islam’s moral stance against racial and ethnic prejudice, and never once mentioned that we should concern ourselves with public image, chasing after peoples’ negative statements, or seeking acceptance of the people. What a pathetic irony, that more than 1400 years after the Prophet’s last sermon, some American Muslims find themselves obsessed with the image of Islam, having to challenge every act of bigotry, and getting approval of the people, while almost completely ignoring our own debilitating racial, and ethnic prejudices that violate the moral code of our religion, and fuel the negative images of Islam and Muslims, that we find ourselves so obsessed with.

Epilogue: So what do you suggest we do Imam? Answer: I suggest that we shift from responding to things politically to responding according to the dictates of our scriptures (Quran and Sunna). Simply put, we need to shift from political Islam to the religion of Islam and understand that they are not entirely the same. Yes, politics is a part of our religion, however, politics should be subordinate to religion, not the other way around. As Muslims we need to be more concerned with obeying Allah, and following the Prophet than we are with obeying our egos, and following our political action handbooks. It’s that simple. More on this later. In the meantime, God bless the United States of America.