America’s leading Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Islamic Circle of America (ICNA), are demanding that the Obama administration take punitive action against Egypt in the wake of last week’s shooting of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators.
At least 81 Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators were killed in violent clashes with the Egyptian army. In calling for a stronger U.S. reaction, none of the groups mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood – the party of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
“We urge an end to the silence over the ongoing massacres of peaceful pro-democracy activists in Egypt by forces that receive billions of American taxpayer dollars,” CAIR wrote in a press release Saturday.
In a similar press release Monday, ICNA appealed to Americans to contact the White House and the secretaries of State and Defense to demand immediate action against “the undermining of democracy and the suppression of freedom of expression in Egypt.”
A more muted response came from ISNA on Wednesday, calling for an end to the bloodshed regardless of “[w]hether one agrees or disagrees with those calling for the reinstatement of an elected president…”
However, CAIR, ICNA and ISNA failed to express similar concern when Morsi’s regime engaged in its own violence and repression against dissidents.
All three groups have Muslim Brotherhood connections to the Brotherhood. ISNA was created by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States. CAIR was part of a Brotherhood network of Hamas-support groups called the “Palestine Committee.” And ICNA’s founders had ties to the Pakistani-based Jamaat-e-Islami, the Indian subcontinent’s equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood.
These American Muslim Brotherhood-aligned groups looked the other way while Muslim Brotherhood gangs beat up anti-Morsi protesters last December following Morsi’s decree assuming emergency powers and Islamists attacked Coptic Christianity’s holiest cathedral in April.
They similarly had no complaints when media reports showed that many in Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority was barred from voting in December’s constitutional referendum by Brotherhood activists. Silence was also the rule when the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights (ENCHR) found 1,137 examples of voting irregularities in Egypt’s constitutional referendum.
“The new constitution will guide all Egyptian institutions and it should set out the vision for the new Egypt, one based on human rights and the rule of law: a document which is the ultimate guarantor against abuse. The constitution must guarantee the rights of all Egyptians, not just the majority,” wrote Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, regarding Egypt’s draft constitution in November. “But the approved draft comes nowhere near this. Provisions that purport to protect rights mask new restrictions, including on criticism of religion.”
She also noted that the constitution “blocks the path to equality between men and women.”
Concerns about the dictatorial, totalitarian tendencies of their Egyptian ideological allies were completely ignored by those who now are protesting loudly about the supposed end of democracy in Egypt.
The groups also had nothing to say when the Morsi regime shut down an inquiry into the Egyptian army’s massacre of 30 Coptic Christians who were peacefully protesting in Cairo’s Maspero district in October 2011
When CAIR officials did comment during Morsi’s tenure, they defended his actions and questioned opponents’ motives.
“Why is the opposition & Mubarak remnants afraid of a [constitutional] referendum? Don’t they trust the ppl of Egypt?” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush wrote in a Twitter post last December.
They took a similar stand last month as millions of Egyptians took to the streets demanding Morsi leave office.
Neither Ayloush nor CAIR had anything to say about reports in the Egyptian press that anti-Morsi protesters were rounded up by Muslim Brotherhood militants and tortured at the presidential palace the next day.
They said nothing when comedian Bassem Youssef, also known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart,” was arrested for “insulting Islam” and insulting Morsi in April.
The mass uprising against Morsi was triggered by a widespread belief that he ignored the country’s daily needs and was more interested in monopolizing power for the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. None of the U.S.-based groups acknowledges that context.
“It is of no surprise to us to see that CAIR is twisting facts and taken up the cause of terrorists inside Egypt,” said Michael Meunier, president of Egypt’s Al-Haya Party and a leader in the secular opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. “Why was CAIR silent on the attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood on pro democracy protestors outside of the Presidential palace in July that lead to the killing of 9?”Or where was CAIR when the cathedral was attacked by the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR should condemn the Muslim Brotherhood leadership for pushing the poorest of their supporters to attack the army and face death in order to gain more leverage for negotiate for safe exit for the corrupt leadership.”
CAIR, ISNA and ICNA blanch when critics connect them to the Muslim Brotherhood. But their actions make it clear that loyalty to their Islamist ideology and to their Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood compatriots comes ahead of an even-handed approach to human rights.