Well, it’s two for two for the Muslim brotherhood in the NYT and WaPo today. On the op-ed page of the WaPo, we have Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fotouh, arguing why Democracy supporters should not fear the Muslim Brotherhood, and on the op-ed page of the NYT we have Essam al-Errian explaining What the Muslim Brothers Want.
Their messages are very similar to that of the Errian (Erian) articles on the MB website that I referred to here, yesterday.
- We are mindful, however, as a nonviolent Islamic movement subjected to six decades of repression, that patent falsehoods, fear mongering and propaganda have been concocted against us in Mubarak’s palaces the past 30 years and by some of his patrons in Washington. Lest partisan interests in the United States succeed in aborting Egypt’s popular revolution, we are compelled to unequivocally deny any attempt to usurp the will of the people. Nor do we plan to surreptitiously dominate a post-Mubarak government. The Brotherhood has already decided not to field a candidate for president in any forthcoming elections. We want to set the record straight so that any Middle East policy decisions made in Washington are based on facts and not the shameful – and racist – agendas of Islamophobes.
Contrary to fear-mongering reports, the West and the Muslim Brotherhood are not enemies. It is a false dichotomy to posit, as some alarmists are suggesting, that Egypt’s choices are either the status quo of the Mubarak regime or a takeover by “Islamic extremists.” First, one must make a distinction between the ideological and political differences that the Brotherhood may have with the United States. For Muslims, ideological differences with others are taught not to be the root cause of violence and bloodshed because a human being’s freedom to decide how to lead his or her personal life is an inviolable right found in basic Islamic tenets, as well as Western tradition. Political differences, however, can be a matter of existential threats and interests, and we have seen this play out, for example, in the way the Mubarak regime has violently responded to peaceful demonstrators.
We fully understand that the United States has political interests in Egypt. But does the United States understand that the sovereign state of Egypt, with its 80 million people, has its own interests? Whatever the U.S. interests are in Egypt, they cannot trump Egyptian needs or subvert the will of the people without consequences. Such egotism is a recipe for disaster. With a little altruism, the United States should not hesitate to reassess its interests in the region, especially if it genuinely champions democracy and is sincere about achieving peace in the Middle East…
The people of Egypt will decide their representatives, their form of democratic government and the role of Islam in their lives. For now, as we verge on national liberation from tyranny, Egyptians in Tahrir “Freedom” Square and all over the country are hoping Americans will stand by them in this crucial hour.
- In Egypt, religion continues to be an important part of our culture and heritage. Moving forward, we envision the establishment of a democratic, civil state that draws on universal measures of freedom and justice, which are central Islamic values. We embrace democracy not as a foreign concept that must be reconciled with tradition, but as a set of principles and objectives that are inherently compatible with and reinforce Islamic tenets.
The tyranny of autocratic rule must give way to immediate reform: the demonstration of a serious commitment to change, the granting of freedoms to all and the transition toward democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood stands firmly behind the demands of the Egyptian people as a whole.
Steady, gradual reform must begin now, and it must begin on the terms that have been called for by millions of Egyptians over the past weeks. Change does not happen overnight, but the call for change did — and it will lead us to a new beginning rooted in justice and progress.
These guys have an impressive degree of organization, an impressive degree of clarity (especially if you consider how chaotic and risky the situation is, in which they’re operating), an impressive understanding of the need for clear, dignified, and consistent communication to a wide variety of audiences, and an impressive ability to stay on message.
Maybe the Obama administration folks could go to them for some lessons in these matters?