Muslim Brotherhood Dictators
|October 10, 2012|
My country is now held hostage to a new dictator who skillfully uses political deception to lull the public. Morsi is toying with the emotions of those who have relatives or friends behind bars; his pardon is aimed purely at gaining loyalty of certain people. It is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that he has failed to deliver on his promises of his first 100 days in power.
Many are unaware that under Morsi's rule, prisons are still open to those who hold critical opinions of the regime. During the past few months, there have been many cases of trials and imprisonment of children, young men and women accused of "offending" religion. This accusation has become a powerful tool in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood to repress independent thinking.
Last January, demonstrators in Egypt marched into the streets calling for freedom, but some of them did not literally mean the word “freedom.” Many of those who participated in the demonstrations that lead to the ousting of Mubarak were members of Islamic movements which helped the Muslim Brotherhood emerge victorious. It would be irrational to believe that Islamists want the same freedoms that we do. Their intellectual and cultural backgrounds contradict the meaning and value of freedom.
Even if they used the word freedom in their political programs or in naming the parties they established after the collapse of the Mubarak regime, the term is simply a motto they use to attract followers.
The value and meaning behind the word freedom has all but disappeared in Egypt. The restrictions that Islamists seek to apply through policy makes their slogans about freedom ring empty. Recent events in Egypt confirm this observation. Despite everything, the situation today is no better than it was under Mubarak.
I was one of many who suffered under the Mubarak era. Because of my writing, I was charged with offending Islam and the President, and jailed for four years. And yet, from reading the daily news during my voluntary exile in Europe, I feel very lucky to have been jailed by the former regime and not the current one.
Recently, a Coptic teacher, Beshawa Al Bohairi, was sentenced to six years for charges similar to mine. The reason given was that this teacher published pictures considered offensive to the Prophet, and because he used a phrase on his Facebook page that offended Morsi.
More recently, a fury and mass demonstration erupted, supposedly as a consequence of the trailer for the film, “Innocence of Muslims.” On September 11th, Americans were killed at the consulate in Benghazi and protesters tried to storm the American Embassy in Cairo. But what you probably didn't hear about is that a mob also gathered in front of the home of political activist Alber Saber.
Beshawa and Alber are not the only ones. Violations of freedom of expression have increased since Morsi took power. Court cases are regularly being brought by Islamists against journalists and other citizens simply for expressing their opinions. Morsi has become like a new God. We cannot speak about freedom of expression because his followers attack anyone that criticizes him. The number of court cases against anyone critical of the regime initiated by Morsi’s supporters could scarcely have been imagined during Mubarak era.
Civil rights, individual and political freedoms, and freedom of expression are at greater risk now than any other time. The cases of Alber and Beshowa are clear examples.
Western countries that supported the arrival of the Muslim Brotherhood as Egypt’s rulers have committed a crime. These countries now face very real risks because of the clear path and support given to extremist groups. The assault against the embassy in Cairo and the killing of the diplomats in Benghazi happened because of incitement by extremist groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The American people should realize that their government has extended a hand to a group of extremists who are no different culturally and intellectually from those who committed the attacks on September 11, 2001. Those who allow extremists to take power in Egypt are abetting a crime. Allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to come to power has dramatically increased the risks to American national security.
Mr. Amer is an Egyptian blogger who spent four years in prison under ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak. He is a blogger board member of CyberDissidents.org, a division of Advancing Human Rights.