June 21, 2012

Western Muslims and the Voice of Egyptian Voters

Was over reading FrontPage Magazine this morning. To some people that I have communicated with, this alone defines me as a neocon of the highest order. No less than the abusers in the neocon crowd, these definers look for ways to tear down the people they disagree with, instead of their ideas. This personalization is a significant factor of why people get so divided over ideas.

Anyway, I read FrontPage AND Daily Kos. So what does that mean? That I am not afraid of different sources and ideas, but need them all to help develop my own thoughts. I am wary of the echo chamber, especially when the issue is controversial. Indeed, how is it possible to make an intelligent decision without consideration of competing views? Deliberative discourse is the food of an informed citizenry and democracy. Except to the partisan that could actually care less. More important to them is winning and imposing ideology.

All of this leads me to an essay by Nonie Darwish about the election in Egypt and Muslims in the West. Born in Egypt, Darwish is an Egyptian-American, the daughter of an Egyptian Army Lieutenant General, Mustafa Hafez, assassinated by the Israeli army in 1956. Her father was sent by Gamal Abdel Nasser to serve as commander of the Egyptian Army Intelligence in Gaza, then under supervision of Egypt, and he founded the fedayeen who launched raids across Israel’s southern border, killing some 400 Israelis between 1951 and 1956. During his speech announcing the nationalization of the Suez Canal, Nasser vowed that all of Egypt would take revenge for Hafez’s death. More about Darwish can be found here

Darwish noted that half of the voters in Egypt voted against the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia, while Egyptian voters in the USA supported the Islamist agenda in far greater percentages, perhaps even 95%. She finds that these voters in the USA are more radical than the Egyptian populace overall.

As to those who live in societies where there is relative freedom, Darwish raises a larger point:
Muslim immigrants to the West have, in general, rejected taking the hard role of positively changing their countries of origin and inspiring them with new ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights. Instead, Muslims in America have focused on building mosques with aid from Saudi Arabia rather than protesting against Iran’s execution of apostates and stoning of women. They have focused on defending and lying about Sharia in America rather than teaching values of life liberty and pursuit of happiness to their countrymen. They have focused on a message of anti-Semitism, blaming America and holding Israel apartheid weeks, rather than on assimilating in America, initiating peace dialogue or holding an olive branch out to Jewish students.
Contrary to logic and to the brotherhood of all humans and cultures, American Muslim groups have maintained the same high levels of hate, anger and victim mentality that exists in many areas of the Muslim world. And now Muslim Egyptians in the West have not only ignored the welfare of the 50% Egyptians who do not want to live under Sharia, but have also ignored the reasonable fears from Islam by the American public and instead insulted them as racists and “Islamophobes.”
Why are there so few Arabs and Muslims that speak out in favor of Western values and advocate adoption in their countries? Who better to address the issues than members of a group? Because of their position, they could have profound influence in helping to bring progress, democracy and peace, both at home and internationally, using a realistic approach to existing, intractable problems, and offering positive alternatives based on principles of human dignity and self-determination.

I hope that more voices like Darwish, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Simon Deng and the "Son of Hamas" are heard, unafraid to be truthful and self-critical. So far there are just a handful of individuals, and they are often shunned, but I think they offer our best chance.


  1. And G-d forbid one should ever POST at a 'non-approved' source (regardless of whether one's post contains anything 'objectionable' or not), then that opens one up to all kinds of other 'purity' attacks from certain quarters.

    Although I don't think there are 'only' the voices you noted, school. There is a significant Arab Muslim population in my corner of North Philadelphia (Front Street in Kensington under the El), and they're assimilated (in a Western style) quite well into our community at large, even if they aren't necessarily speaking loudly against certain backwards, medieval Middle Eastern societies. Western freedom and values are probably the reason they're here in the first place.

    1. Surely they are not the only voices. I was providing examples of people that do speak out in public, from first hand experience, and noting that they are relatively few.

      I agree that many Muslims, especially free thinkers, come west because it allows them the space to think and express.

    2. Understood, yeah. I get what you're saying on that, too.

  2. Interesting.

    I was unaware of the political disconnect between Egyptian-Egyptians and American-Egyptians.

    Good post and feel free to share.