Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Muslim Brotherhood

Bewitched Animals and the Muslims Media

by Raymond Ibrahim

Hudson New York

Conspiracy theories emanating from the Muslim world are nothing new — a decade ago, Israel was accused of perpetrating the strikes of 9/11, today it is accused of perpetrating the bombings of a Coptic church — they tend to be dismissed in the West. Read more →

Thoughts on Chaos, Revolution, and Radicalism

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

Everywhere But Iraq?

No one quite knows all the causes of the unrest in Tunisia, now spreading to Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, or how this will all end, and whether this seemingly middle-class revolt dovetails to the 2009 demonstrations in Iran and the Cedar Revolution earlier in Lebanon. Read more →

Egypt on the Brink: Bradley Reveals Instability in Modern Egypt

by Raymond Ibrahim

Middle East Quarterly

A review of Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution by John R. Bradley (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

To the general reader, Inside Egypt is a good introduction to some of the problems rife in the most populous, Arabic-speaking country. From regime corruption and oppression, to widespread poverty and discontent, to human rights abuses and the plight of Egypt’s minorities, most of the important issues are here. Bradley, formerly a Middle-East-based foreign correspondent, also provides useful insights, such as how the current regime exploits the West’s fear of the Muslim Brotherhood to its advantage.

Unfortunately, there is a myopic tendency to view nearly every problem in Egypt as a byproduct of Husni Mubarak, Egypt’s president since 1981, and in Bradley’s view, the “most corrupt offender of them all.” Even things one might have supposed were products of time or chance—from the condition of Egypt’s Bedouin, who have led the same desperate lifestyle for centuries, to the radicalization of Muslims, a worldwide phenomenon—are somehow traced back to Mubarak.

While the Mubarak regime is responsible for many of Egypt’s woes, blaming all of the nation’s problems on it is misleading. By minimizing the Islamization of society and the influence of the Brotherhood, which the author claims “has made only limited inroads into the mainstream” since Egypt’s Muslims are “intolerant of extremist Sunni doctrine,” Bradley moves from fact-based evidence to conjecture and, perhaps, wishful thinking.

Indeed, this is the book’s chief problem. Bradley is convinced that, given a chance, through the elimination of Mubarak, Egyptians would create a liberal, egalitarian, and gender-neutral society. This tendency to project things that are important to the author (though often not to Egyptians) is highlighted by his fixation on homosexuality in Egypt. The topic permeates the entire book, including a rather out-of-place section recounting the in-and-outs of Western gay tourism in Luxor.

In short, while the book is a good primer for novices to Egypt’s culture and politics, the author’s own proclivities mar his objectivity. And while he is convinced that Egypt is a byproduct of Mubarak, one is left wondering instead whether Mubarak is a byproduct of Egypt.

©2011 Raymond Ibrahim

The Dangers of Democracy

by Bruce S. Thornton

FrontPage Magazine

The parliamentary elections that have begun in Egypt will impress only the most starry-eyed of democracy champions. Read more →

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