Monday, February 21, 2011

Egypt gets its Khomeini

Up until now, the Egyptian revolution generally, and the Brotherhood in particular, has lacked a charismatic thinker, someone who could really mobilize the masses. Qaradawi is that man.

This may be a turning point in Egyptian history. On that day Yusuf al-Qaradawi spoke to a giant cheering crowd in Tahrir Square.

He praised the army – to ward off it’s repression and to encourage it to support a transformation of the country.

He preached caution and patience, working with the army.

And he also lavished praise on the pro-Islamist chairman of the committee to write the new constitution, which may not be a good sign at all.

There is one easily missed word in his speech that is the most significant. That word is “hypocrites.” In the Islamist lexicon, hypocrites means Muslims who do not practice “true” Islam according to the radicals. To take Egypt out of the hands of “hypocrites” is to put it onto the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood – or at least similarly minded people – which, contrary to the best and the brightest policy makers, intelligence analysts, experts and journalists, is not a moderate organization.

History may show that while president Jimmy Carter may have “lost” Iran, one of his successors may have helped give away Egypt. Is that alarmist? I hope so.