|Yusuf Al Qaradawi's return to Egypt was received rapturously|
in Tahrir Squre
Against all the fatuous predictions by its commentators, The NY Times' Michael Stackman reports this morning: "In post-revolutionary
, where hope and confusion collide in the daily struggle to build a new nation, religion has emerged as a powerful political force, following an uprising that was based on secular ideals. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group once banned by the state, is at the forefront, transformed into a tacit partner with the military government that many fear will thwart fundamental changes." Egypt
Further: "In the early stages of the revolution, the Brotherhood was reluctant to join the call for demonstrations. It jumped in only after it was clear that the protest movement had gained traction. Throughout, the Brotherhood kept a low profile, part of a survival instinct honed during decades of repression by the state.
"The question at the time was whether the Brotherhood would move to take charge with its superior organizational structure. It now appears that it has.
'“The Brotherhood didn’t want this revolution; it has never been a revolutionary movement,” said Mr. Zarwan of the International Crisis Group. “Now it has happened; they participated cautiously, and they realize they can set their sights higher.”'
For all those who pooh-poohed the fears -- expressed by
and other less-than-infatuated observers -- that the Muslim Brotherhood was just biding its time, this reality bites straight into their naiveté. It seems that the reason the MB folks were keeping a low profile was they were simply hedging their bets, not because they had no interest in power. Slackman tries very hard to tone down the alarm: Israel
"This is not to say that the Brotherhood is intent on establishing an Islamic state. From the first days of the protests, Brotherhood leaders proclaimed their dedication to religious tolerance and a democratic and pluralist form of government. They said they would not offer a candidate for president, that they would contest only a bit more than a third of the total seats in Parliament, and that Coptic Christians and women would be welcomed into the political party affiliated with the movement.None of that has changed, Mr. Erian, the spokesman, said in an interview. “We are keen to spread our ideas and and our values,” he said. “We are not keen for power.”'
OK we'll give it time but please do not be surprised if in another few months Slackman reports back with further evidence of the MB's power grab. I hope I'm wrong but it seems as though their rise should have been predicted when Yusuf Al Qaradawi returned to Egypt to a thunderous welcome.