The Brotherhood’s Dilemma

Prof. Marc Lynch

The question of the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) real attitudes toward democracy has rarely been of more
intense interest to American foreign policy. Despite recent electoral setbacks for the Islamic Action Front
in Jordan and the Moroccan Party of Justice and Democracy, Islamist electoral success (the Brotherhood
in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine, the AKP in Turkey) has thrown into sharp relief the dilemma posed for the
United States by promoting democracy: Free elections in today’s Arab world are likely to produce Islamist
victors.
The Egyptian government and many Egyptian skeptics alike accuse the MB of lying about its democratic commitments and working within the system in order to overthrow it. Inevitably, the specter is raised of an organization that
would, in effect, subscribe to the position “One man, one vote, one time”—and which, if given the opportunity, would impose a despotic religious law over an unwilling population. If this alarming picture were shown to be accurate, zatim
many Americans would back away from promoting democracy—as the United States has, indeed, done over the last year and a half.
Odgovarajući na, the MB paints itself as a peaceful, moderate organization committed to working within a democratic system—repressed because of its popularity rather than its extremism. It argues that the Egyptian regime, not the opposition, shows contempt for democracy and systematically undermines moderation and human rights. In its defense, it points both to its own public
rhetoric and behavior over the last few years, and to the regime’s repressive performance. If Islamist parties could demonstrate a genuine commitment to the rules of democratic politics and a genuine opposition to violent extremism, then many in the West might be more willing to accept their electoral success.

Filed Under: EgipatIstaknutomuslimansko bratstvoStudije & Istraživanja

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