Progressive Islam faces colonial secularism in Egypt: Analyst


Two years ago, when Islamic Awakening – dubbed by some as the Arab Spring – burst onto the Middle East, political observers got engrossed with the basic question of how the Western governments and their sympathizers and allies in the Middle East have condescended to the following two situations:

a) Replacement of dictatorial monarchist regimes, which have long served the Western interests and have been submissive to the West, with law-abiding and democratic systems.

Regardless of the West’s slogans in support of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, insightful observers mainly pay attention to the West’s track record in this respect.

For pragmatists, the history itself has much more to teach than the power-wielders. Pundits have long been aware of the fact that the US hostility towards Iran over the past 35 years is because of the fact that the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic model cut the hands of Washington from the decision-making process in Iran. This has been intolerable for the voracious US politicians and they stubbornly insist on their position.

Even the US involvement in toppling Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein was not aimed at removing the shadow of a vampire dictator over the Iraqi nation. Instead, Washington had come to the conclusion that Saddam was no longer a trustworthy element for enforcing Washington’s policies across the region and he was deciding arbitrarily as he did with his invasion of Kuwait.

As a result, from the outset of the Islamic Awakening, a question seriously arose as to the West’s reaction towards the developments which entailed Islamic, national, freedom-seeking and democratic nature: How does the West allow the Middle Eastern people overthrow its own allies?

b) What will be the West’s reaction to the emergence of Islamic attitude with political tendencies in the Middle East and the rise of political Islamist groups and parties in the face of West-oriented and secular figures and parties? For years, the West sought to portray a hideous and reactionary image of a social and political Islam, by supporting and creating the Salafis, Wahhabis and al-Qaeda and to that end they spent billions of dollars and spilled too much blood. Now, how will they allow groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly its progressive faction, come to power?

The two questions were so profound and complicated that they led some observers to credulously link the Middle East developments to the US plots in the region and construe the Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening as a US scenario. These observers devised this model in an attempt to make the two questions seem meaningless.

However, given the ongoing developments in Egypt and Syria, particularly the evident coup in Egypt and the detention of the legitimate president of the country, the abovementioned questions can be answered more clearly as follows:

a) The protest movement that started as the Islamic Awakening or Arab Spring in Tunisia and then spread to Egypt, Libya and Bahrain was not a premeditated Western scenario. However, it was a spontaneous reality born out of pent-up popular demands, which similar to other social movements and phenomena requires time and opportunity to emerge.

All these uprisings and awakening movements share four attributes: 1) emphasis on religious identity 2) freedom-seeking 3) democracy-seeking 4) independence-seeking.

Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the reorganization of the Middle East in the years following the World War I, the West has failed to present a better model than subordinate dictatorship for these countries.

The West has constantly refused to respect popular and self-sprung movements like Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and it has even countered them. Unfortunately, the West pushes ahead with its colonialist attitudes, but in the form of neo-colonialism, regardless of the political self-confidence of sovereign nations.

As far as the recent developments in the Middle East are concerned, the West was taken off guard with regard to the movement of Muslim and freedom-seeking people of these countries. Therefore, the West sought to highjack these popular movements by employing certain propaganda tactics which proved to be a failure as leaders, intellectuals, writers, and pundits prevented the Islamic movement from being hijacked by defending the independence and authenticity of the Islamic Awakening. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei was instrumental in elucidating the roots of the wave of Islamic Awakening.

b) After they failed to hijack the revolution and Islamic movements of the Middle Eastern nations and to bring their own subordinates to power through elections, the Western governments orchestrated a new scenario. On the one hand, they sought to invigorate the Salafis and Takfiris in different countries and, on the other hand, they tried to hinder Egyptian government’s efforts.

With regard to the first scenario, there is no doubt that Saudi Arabia and Qatar would have never dared to provide millions of dollars worth of arms and financial support to the Salafi and Takfiri groups, unless it had the US green light. Over the past two years harming the image of political Islam and progressive Muslims in the Middle East has topped the agenda of the Western intelligence and propaganda apparatus.

They know very well that the rise of a logical, progressive, and efficient Islam based on jurisprudence will defuse all Western plots in the Middle East. Therefore, they decided to portray a violent, rigid-minded and inflexible image of Islam by inciting sedition across the region.

One cannot deny some of the mistakes by Mohamed Morsi over the past year which provided the grounds for the street coup against him. The West turns a blind eye to the much more serious mistakes by their allies in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf. However, when it comes to portraying a government as inefficient, they prepare the grounds for opposition protests and fall of a government within a few weeks.

c) What currently happens in Egypt is not a clash between Morsi’s supporters and opponents. Such an interpretation will be too superficial. At deeper levels, a clash is underway between two views and discourses in the Arab world’s most inspirational nation, Egypt: Wisdom-oriented and progressive political Islamic versus the West-affiliated secularism.

The first one is an authentic, but inexperienced current, while the second is a dependent but experienced current. The first current is independent and relies on the Muslim world’s progressive views over the past century. The second relies on the plots and finance of the Western intelligence and propaganda apparatus. The first requires deliberation and enlightenment, but the second needs to work surreptitiously under multiple layers of deceit.

Today, the Egyptian people, particularly the real intellectuals and freedom-seekers, face these profound questions: Which front are they in and which front do they assist? Do they seek to revive the dictatorship and independence of Mubarak era in a new form or do they want to form a new Egypt based on democratic votes, law, and their national and Islamic identity?

Other Middle Eastern Arab countries are also monitoring Egypt to see which side will triumph. Most importantly, the failure of the first front is so critical for the West that after the blatant coup against the legitimate government of Morsi, the Egyptian Army and the security forces had the audacity to open fire at the Egyptian worshippers and spill the blood of Egyptian people on the streets of Cairo. It seems that more adventures loom over Egypt.

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