The Muslim Brotherhood’s Cultural Disorientation.
(From Bernard Guetta’s analysis on today’s La Repubblica)
When it first started, in Egypt of last century’s 20s, the Muslim Brotherhood was a non violent Islamist movement having as a strategic objective to fight European Laicism and to oppose imitating the West. It was profoundly convinced that none of the European ideologies, from the right or from the left, would have consented Islam to rediscover its lost grandeur; and that the Arab World Renaissance must pass through regaining its religious identity.
Such ambition procured the Brotherhood an immense success and fame, so as by the end of WWII it counted 200 000 militants among its ranks, and its influence spread outside the Egyptian borders sweeping over the entire Middle Eastern region. However its programme, before such a rapid progress along with the great expectations such progress has aroused; couldn’t level with the international strength that by now it represented.
How to orientate? To ally the USA against Communism? To persevere into refusing the violence against Laic States born to the decolonisation, who fought it after failing to integrate it? To brandish democratic claims against dictatorships, or to castle inside the refusal of democracy, convinced that the power to be restored is that of God not the people’s?
While 4 major events of vast reach were radically mutating the perspectives of Islam itself, the Brothers didn’t provide any clear answer to these interrogatives; continuing to be hesitant though strengthened by the growing repression against them.
I. First: the Iranian Clergy did confiscate the Democratic Revolution that overthrew the Shah. So it is the Shia to realise the Sunni programme, the Brotherhood’s; thus creating a Theocracy which seduces the Arab world, exports the revolution everywhere and launch a strategic challenge to the Sunni states other than to the Muslim Brotherhood itself.
II. Second: Al Qaeda, born inside the ranks of the International Brigades of Islam (at the time organised, financed, trained and supported by the USA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to counter the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan), declare its war on the West and its Arab allies. Blood flow in rivers especially in the lands of Islam. At this stage, transformed into Terrorism, Islamism generated a wide sense of repulsion, and the Brotherhood became subject of growing suppression, especially after September 11, 2001.
III. Third: By the end of the 90s of century XX, the Turkish Islamists abandon violence and adhere to democracy, thanks to which they rise into power in 2002 and realise the spectacular economic boom of Turkey. The “Turkish Model” which fascinates the Brotherhood for its success, yet at the same time divides it because the Turkish Model accepted Laicism.
IV. Last: The Arab Spring.. Fruit of social tensions and the rebellion of an urban youth looking for liberty and freedom.. A phenomena which owes nothing to the Brothers whom promptly have taken advantage to confiscate it and climb into power, winning elections by the votes of an Arab society mostly Traditionalist and Religious.
Even though the Brotherhood is ruling, Islamism is anguishing.. The Iranian Theocracy survives by suppressive measures.. The Turkish Moderate Islamists became Conservatives, and today they are divided in two currents which coexistence seem more improbable day after day. On one hand there are those who propose to score a Liberal Puritan Centre Party to make of it a long course formation similar to the European Christian Democratic examples; while on the other hand others prefer to reaffirm their religious identity by re-Islamising the society and restore a moral order that at least half of the population refuse.
In Cairo and Tunis, ruling is wearing out the Brotherhood, who is more and more divided between those thriving convincingly towards the Turkish Model, and those who consider it only a side road.
In any way none of these is procuring any credit to Islam or Islamism.Pass On The Word.