Egypt’s Leader Pinpoints a Real Enemy of Peace
by JBS President John F. McManus
In July 2013, Egypt’s military chieftain, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood-backed leader who had recently been elected President of the country. Egypt has experienced an escalating rocky period ever since that change in the country’s leadership.
Late in January, President Sisi blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for bombings in northern Egypt that killed as many as 30 people. A Muslim himself, Sisi described the Muslim Brotherhood as “the strongest secret organization of the last two centuries.” Some analysts of Muslim-dominated countries claim that the various militant Islamic factions – al Qaeda, ISIS, and others – are ultimately in league with the Brotherhood.
As the dawn of the new year of 2015 arrived, President Sisi courageously appeared at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University where he told a gathering of Islamic clerics of a need for a “revolution” within Islam. He called on them to assist in altering the world’s reputation of Islam as the cause of worldwide violence. The clerics listened but issued no comment.
Sisi then went to St. Mark’s Cathedral where he told the Coptic Christian congregation that “Egypt has brought a humanistic and civilizing message to the world for millennia, and we are here today to confirm that we are capable of doing so again.” The Coptic minority received that message with jubilation because it has experienced numerous attacks over recent years from militant Islamists.
Writing at World Net Daily, Middle Eastern reporter F. Michael Maloof claimed that Sisi’s condemnation of the Muslim Brotherhood has received the backing of Saudi Arabia but a rebuff from Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish leader has offered leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas “safe haven” in Turkey’s capital city and even shown support for ISIS.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi deserves admiration for attempting to reverse the gathering storm presented by militant Islamists. His call for moderation extends beyond his own nation. But the cool reception he received from Muslim leaders within Egypt does not indicate success. And it may indicate the possibility of trouble ahead, even personal retaliation aimed at the man himself. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood is working to repair its image while planning new steps to restore its power.
Jerusalem Post contributor Dr. Martin Sherman noted that Sisi’s speech at Al-Azhar University was delivered at the very location where, in 2009, President Obama delivered a speech to the clerics. Unlike the current Egyptian president who chided Islamic extremism, the U.S. President, in effect, boosted the Muslim Brotherhood and its ambitions. Dr. Sherman feels that Obama’s message in 2009 even “insisted on places of honor within the government for senior Brother representatives.”
The so-called “Arab Spring” that has brought misery to Libya, Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere has, in fact, spurred the rise of Islamic extremism. President Sisi hopes to reverse this trend and people of goodwill worldwide wish him well.
Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.