Members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood began a weeklong charm campaign (offensive) in Washington on Tuesday, meeting with White House officials, policy experts and others to counter persistent fears over the group’s emergence as the country’s most powerful political force.
The revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak has rapidly transformed the Brotherhood from an opposition group that was formally banned – into a political juggernaut controlling nearly half the seats in Egypt’s newly elected parliament.
With its rise, however, have come concerns from Egypt’s secularists as well as U.S. officials that the Islamist group could remake the country, threatening the rights of women and religious minorities. Such alarms were only exacerbated by the Brotherhood’s recent decision to field a candidate in upcoming presidential elections, despite previous pledges that it would not do so.
As for us this is the “tell.” A tell is a poker expression when a person (opponent) is either bluffing or not; however, there is some kind of difference in their behavior or actions that usually “tells” the other’s what the player has in his hand.
With the greatest of respect; moreover, with a professional observation Muslims and the entire concept (ideology, religiosity) of Islam promotes this kind of idiosyncrasy within the behaviors of even the most devout people of the faith. However, not being a fool’s we believe that this happens to a degree in all religions.
Christianity perhaps leads in this category – with the Jimmy and Tammy Faye Baker’s or anyone just about on an international basis could easily convict most televangelists or those who claim to be the anointed Sheppard. Sticking as close to Scripture as possible we believe it is humankind’s involvement that creates the messiness.
In meeting with U.S. officials, Brotherhood representatives were expected to depict the organization as a moderate and socially conscious movement pursuing power in the interest of Egyptians at large.
“We represent a moderate, centrist Muslim viewpoint. The priorities for us are mainly economic, political — preserving the revolution ideals of social justice, education, security for the people,” Sondos Asem, a member of the delegation, said Tuesday in an interview with reporters and editors of The Washington Post.
In the interview, members of the delegation defended the decision by the group’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, to field a presidential candidate.
“We approached people outside of the Brotherhood that we respected, like people in the judiciary, but none of them would agree to be nominated,” said Khaled Al-Qazzaz, foreign relations coordinator for the party.
But the Brotherhood’s rise has already caused it to spar with liberal and secular groups. Liberals and Coptic Christians who were chosen to be part of the effort to draw up a new constitution recently walked out of meetings in protest, saying the body was unbalanced, with an overwhelming number of representatives from Islamic groups like the Brotherhood.
“We believe there is a dire attempt to hinder efforts of the constitutional assembly because its success would mean that we are on the right track, that the democracy is working and government is changing,” said Asem.
It is unclear how representative the visiting delegation is and how closely the values its members described mirror those of the core leaders of the Brotherhood. Those sent on the trip said they were chosen in part for their fluency in English and their familiarity and ease with American culture. But they did not include the decision-makers at the top of the Brotherhood’s leadership.
On two of the biggest questions among U.S. observers — the Brotherhood’s relationship with Egypt’s military and its position on U.S. aid to the military — the visiting delegation gave only vague answers.
Members of the delegation, who met with White House officials on Tuesday, are scheduled to meet with more U.S. officials in coming days, as well as at several events at think tanks.
Now — we say “Heads-up!” The group said on Saturday evening it has chosen Khairat al-Shater, its top strategist and deputy leader, as its candidate in the May 23 presidential election.
The Brotherhood had pledged last year that it would not contest the presidential election in an apparent bid to reassure the army and western countries that there would be no Islamist power grab.
It now says it has been forced to present a candidate by the intransigence of the ruling military council which has refused to sack the interim government and appoint a new one led by the main forces in the elected parliament.