I disagree that America’s Islamophobia hurts only the US, but I understand the point the writer is trying to get at. America suffers greatly from the Islamophobia originating on its sure, especially in the eyes of the rest of the world, specifically Muslim majority nations.
How do Muslims in the rest of the world view the Islamophobic rhetoric coming out of America? The following article in Bikya Masr, a news source not known for its sympathetic view of the Muslim Brotherhood forwards one view from Egypt on “Muslim Brotherhood” conspiracies.
by Josephy Mayton
CAIRO: American Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann’s recent witch hunt against United States government officials and her accusations that they are part of a conspiracy including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate Washington in an effort to bring an Islamic state to the US could have dangerous affects for Egypt and the region.
Here in Egypt, the country has only recently elected a new president, hearkening in the democratic era. While not necessarily agreeable to all sides, all parties in the country believe that democracy is working, but Bachmann, many Egyptians argue, is dismissing this reality in her attacks against the Muslim Brotherhood.
“What we are seeing is a definite scary point in American politics,” began Egyptian writer and blogger Ahmed Hassan, who added that “while I am not a supporter of the Brotherhood, they are not who Bachmann is trying to show them as.”
The Minnesota Congresswoman has singled out Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as fellow Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison – the US government’s first elected Muslim official – as having ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and attempting to infiltrate the White House to push the Islamic group’s agenda.
Bachmann has leveled claims, but she has yet to substantiate her arguments, instead alluding to Abedin’s family being connected to “operatives” of the Brotherhood, continuing to assert that Abedin’s position “affords her routine access to the secretary and policymaking.”
While many have condemned her attacks, hearkening back to the 1960s when US Senator Joseph McCarthy also went on a similar witch hunt for Communists in the country, the reality is that Bachmann’s statements and assertions are far more dangerous for both American foreign policy and Egypt’s future.
Instead of creating a fearmongering campaign against all things Islam, Hassan and others believe Bachmann should be looking for ways to approach Egypt’s new President Mohamed Morsi, an American educated leader who was democratically elected to govern Egypt. The use of anti-Islamic attacks against the Brotherhood in Egypt, those on the ground here say, will only contribute to the ongoing mistrust between Arabs and Americans.
“We need to change how we speak about Islam and its groups. Not all groups are radical simply because they are Islamic,” the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) official Amr Darrag said. “The Brotherhood and the FJP are a democratically elected political party and all American government officials should respect that,” he added.
In Egypt, where fears of ultra-conservatism are taking hold and growing stronger by the day, Darrag believes that Bachmann’s attacks make it more difficult for the party to govern and work with the US on regional strategy, especially following the attack in Sinai that revealed a security vacuum that is likely to need an international response.
“Guilt by fantasy continues to be used by influential political and media figures to discredit American Muslim leaders as well as American Muslim institutions. These false accusations disregard Muslims’ contributions to American society and the democratic process,” wrote Arsalan Bukhari and John Albert for the Seattle Times.
That is the crux of the matter. Singling out Muslims within the US government needs to end, Egyptians believe. What they should replace it with, in both public speeches and in the media, “are honest and unbiased approaches to understanding the changes currently taking place in Egypt, where the Brotherhood, although conservative, is far from the ‘Islamist terrorists’ that Bachmann is alluding to,” said Hassan.