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August 8, 2013

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's hate speech

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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During the one year of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi's rule, Christians, Shi'a, moderate Muslims, judges, media, business people, artists and any Egyptian critical of Morsi and his Brotherhood rule have been demonized and called "infidels" in the public square, in mosques, in the Brotherhood print and TV and above all at official functions where Morsi was attending.

The hate speech targeting of Shi’a resulted in their vilification in the minds of the masses, and for the first time in Egypt’s 1400 years history of being a Muslim country, under Morsi’s watch, a mob of Sunni Egyptians killed and maimed four of Egyptian Shi’a including their religious leader Sheikh Hassan Shihata. Morsi never issued a condemnation of the barbaric act.

What was next? The Brotherhood and their supporters could have murdered and maimed more of Egypt’s “infidels” – this time could have been Christians or liberal Muslims.

After the June 30 popular uprising, the army and the police were also added to the groups targeted by the Brotherhood’s hate speech. And the killing of civilians, army and police personal in terrorist attacks in Sinai and the rest of Egypt was never condemned, but cheered by the Brotherhood as revenge to the ousting of Morsi. Dr. Mohamed El-Biltagy, a Brotherhood leader said if Morsi returned to power, the terrorist attacks in Sinai would stop “in a second.”

In a recent broadcast Al-Qaeda terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahri said it is now a war between Islam and the believers and all other Egyptians including Egyptian Christian “Crusaders,” army, police and liberal and secular “infidels”.

Since the January 25th revolution all those killed protesting were called martyrs. But following June 30, only the Brotherhood members who were killed in clashes by the anti-Morsi crowds, or by the anti-riots police are called routinely “martyrs” by the Brotherhood and their media arm; Al Jazeraa TV channels.

The Brotherhood’s smearing of the June 30 popular uprising is a classic case of chopped logic. After the ousting of Morsi, not only they called the popular uprising supported by the army a coup but for local consumption the Brotherhood claims they are protecting Islam as it is threatened by Egyptian Copts and by secular and liberal Muslims (short hand for Infidels). But to the West they claim that they are defending democracy. 

Both are utter lies.

Well before 1928 when the Brotherhood was established, Egyptian Muslims since the seventh century practiced Islam as they know it; a religion based on love, moderation, beauty and the acceptance of the other. Egyptian scholars contributed intensely to Islamic sciences over the last 1400 years. Even Egyptian Christians insist that their religion is Christianity but their culture is Islamic.

As of for democracy, the Brotherhood never believed in it and their literature before the Egyptian revolution of January 25, 2011 is the best proof.

Moreover, after Morsi took office on June 30, 2012, the Brotherhood made a mockery of democracy; the none-elected leadership of the Brotherhood run the presidency. As a result, scores of Morsi’s assistants, all of them he himself appointed, resigned in protest of the no role of their boss in ruling the country.

As if this was not enough, Morsi became an elected-president-turned-a-dictator on November 22, 2012, making his decrees immune from any constitutional challenge by the highest court in the land. And to top it all he approved an Islamist constitution which does not reflect the values of the vast majority of Egyptians and which was approved only by 20% of the registered voters.

During the presidential election campaign the Brotherhood used religious rhetoric and launched a campaign of group defamation and hate speech against their political opponents. It was enough to call them “infidels” to deny them millions of votes. But the Brotherhood sold, and still are selling, the lie that Morsi was “freely elected.”

Dr.  Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt’s new VP said in a recent interview published by the Washington Post, “The last year was very bad. Mr. Morsi adopted a policy of exclusion. That backlash that you see right now is people saying, “We have been treated unfairly politically, economically, socially.” He tried to impose social values that aren’t sitting well with the majority of Egyptians, such as his own version of Islam, which is not shared by the majority of Muslims.”

Egyptian Qatari Islamic scholar-turned-politician Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an ex-Brotherhood member uses his weekly TV talk show on Al Jazeraa, with the blessings of the royal family, to spread hate against Egypt’s Shi’a, Christian and liberal Muslim groups. For spreading hate and promoting terrorism, al-Qaradawi is barred from entering several Western countries including Canada, and Al Jazeraa Arabic channel is not licensed to broadcast in Canada.

The vast majority of Western countries have laws prohibiting group defamation and hate speech. Many legal experts agree that defamatory or hate speech should not be classified as constitutionally protected speech, it does not merit the respect of any fair minded people and it should not be protected in international law or under the constitutional law of any country.

Group defamation is a form of abuse directed particularly at a community, or an individual belonging to that community; it includes defamatory utterances based on race, nationality, ethnic origin, sex, and religion.

I hope Egypt’s new constitution, which is currently being drafted, prohibits the use of hate speech especially during political campaign, and if used by a winning candidate then his/her victory will be null and void and he/she is handed a harsh prison term.

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