Posted by | February 11, 2011 15:15 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

As the Egyptian Revolution continues to unfold, the right-wing media and parts of the mainstream media have been appallingly supportive of the Mubarak regime out of fear of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt. The misinformation in the media about the Muslim Brotherhood has been so disgusting that I feel compelled to set the record straight.

Myth: The Muslim Brotherhood started the protest movement in Egypt.

The Truth: The Muslim Brotherhood did not start, nor are they leading the current Egyptian protests. The protests started as a Facebook event created by the democratic, secular, youth movement in Egypt.

Myth: The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical terrorist organization that supports al Qaeda.

The Truth: The Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda hate each other. In fact one would be hard-pressed to find two organizations with more animosity towards one another. There have been unconfirmed reports that Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second-in-command and a man of Egyptian descent, was briefly a member of The Muslim Brotherhood as a teenager.

But when Germany’s Der Spiegel described al-Zawahiri as “the textbook example of a a member of the Muslim Brotherhood turned terrorist,” the Muslim Brotherhood was quick to publicly reject that claim. Dr. Mohamed Morsy, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Executive Bureau, said al-Zawahiri had never been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and has never conformed to the group’s ideology.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology shuns violence and the movement has never practiced it, Morsy said. “On the contrary we have been always adopting peaceful means for change.”

As far as what al-Zawahiri and the rest of the al-Qaeda leadership thinks of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to al-Zawahiri:

The freedom which the Brotherhood and other groups enjoy these days is only due to the military activities… But, instead of thanking the mujihadeen — or at least not speaking ill of  them–they have presented themselves as a mutually-agreeable alternative  to America and its agents, to insult and to defame the mujahideen…They should make an effort to improve the image of their organization after all the miserable situations in which they have become entangled — much as pledging allegiance to Hosni Mubarak and their silence while their brothers entered Kabul and Baghdad on the backs of Christian tanks.

Is the Muslim Brotherhood a fundamentalist Islamic movement? No question they are. But they are not terrorists; they are a peaceful alternative for those Muslims in the Middle East who oppose the United States, but denounce the use of violence as a tool.

Myth: If there were democratic elections in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood would win them and take over the country.

The Truth: According to a recent opinion survey in Egypt, the Muslim brotherhood only has a 15% approval rating in Egypt and its leaders receive just 1% of support in a presidential straw poll. They have about as much chance of taking over the Egyptian government as Dick Cheney does of becoming president. Which is precisely why the Muslim Brotherhood will not even field a candidate for president in the next Egyptian election.

I hope everyone realizes that whenever the Muslim Brotherhood is brought up in the media as a bogeyman for the purpose of fear-mongering, those fears are totally unjustifiable. The Muslim Brotherhood is one small segment of the complex web of organizations protesting the Mubarak regime in Egypt. In a country where half of the population is under 24, the secular, youth movement is far more relevant than the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are who the United States should be supporting.

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