My Turn: In Egypt, a fight against terrorism
Our country is debating the role of the United States in the Middle East. The debate includes whether support for current reform efforts by the Egyptian people is consistent with democratic principles. Published here are observations of conditions in Cairo by a remarkable Egyptian woman who lives there. She has held responsible positions in national and international organizations and works for individual rights and democratic principles in Egypt and in the region. I met and worked with her in Amman, Jordan, at a regional Rule of Law conference of Middle East countries.
Her comments, quoted with permission, reply to my emails asking for her thoughts. Her words are both moving and frightening. They represent one view, to be sure, but are powerful and compelling nonetheless.
For obvious reasons, she is not identified.
I am Muslim. I don’t drink alcohol, I pray, did pilgrimage and went as often I could on Umrah (a pilgrimage to Mecca) to visit the Kaaba and the prophet’s resting place in Medineh. This is simply to tell you that if I and many other devout Muslims side against the Muslim Brotherhood, we are siding against terrorism.
To understand this, you need to be here, to live in fear, to lock your doors from the inside, to avoid being in the street, to see public buildings, government offices and churches on fire, Christians persecuted. Those like me, not veiled young or old, are considered whores.
It must be very hard for soldiers and officers to fight their own people. But violence breeds violence, and these people have been acting in the most appalling way. If they were or are allowed to stay in power, what is awaiting us is no less than a Taliban destiny. They had already removed from offices all those not belonging to their tribe. Yes Mohamed Morsi (the deposed president) uses the
word “tribe” to promise commitment to his clan.
They used democracy to jump on the wagon. But once they took power, they planned to stay – and no one on earth is to dislodge them.
So what about democracy? They consider it justifiable to do anything – and I mean anything – considering it as Jihad, meaning that doing it will take them straight to a promised paradise.
These people are outlaws and have their own tyranny that they want to impose. I saw them on YouTube and heard them speak on national TV, when they had the power to do it, threatening anyone who dared to contradict them. They justify murders, kidnapping, having sex with girls with a piece of paper, as this is in their view an outlet to the physical need of their men so that they can fight better.
They pretend to side with Israel and the United States, until when? Once in power they will make of Egypt a small emirate of a wider regional caliphate that will engulf all the Middle East, then spread and threaten the whole world. They are hateful, disgusting and they are bringing their curse to Islam itself.
I do not know what you would do if you saw your country, your wife, your kids, your neighbors in danger, and saw the world standing by the side of the aggressors. No we don’t want violence. No we can’t tolerate the sight of spilled blood. I wish there could be other means than violence. But you cannot fight a bullet except with a bullet.
There was no coup d’etat. The military listened to the people – maybe too late; they should have responded earlier. Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi (commander of the Egyptian armed forces) is a good man. He is not after power. He is after order. The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t want peace; it wants to take power again, continuing to lead the country into catastrophe.
Do you know that many male doctors now refuse to receive female clients? Having four wives is now the rule, not the exception. They are trying to enforce a law allowing girls to marry at age 9. The list of absurdities we have to absorb, tolerate and live with is too long. And this group wants to reduce us into little tribes, our women into harem, our children into little religious robots through their version of education.
I am not for violence; neither are my people. We do not want to fall again under military rule. We have to watch it very carefully, and I trust we are now capable of doing it. But members of the Muslim Brotherhood are lured by the obsession that they are waging a holy war where all is permitted. If they are right in their holy war, then the whole world is wrong and should abide by their rule. For the moment our only apparent savior after God is the military.
We simply cannot take the Muslim Brotherhood rule anymore. They consider they have the holy mission to cleanse the world from its sins, so nothing is to deter them. They are Middle Age Crusaders using the new millennium means to reach their goals. This is why it is so important to have our voice reach public opinion in the West, so that they are not tricked by those using human rights as a slogan for convenience.
You have true democracy. Given the chance to win our battle, we may get there, too. So help us God.
(Joseph Nadeau is an international judicial consultant and former New Hampshire Supreme Court justice.)