Johnson notes the naivete of many of the participants when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, who are assumed to use and think about words such as "freedom," "equality," "democracy," and "rights" in much the same way that we do. The reality, however, is much different. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood do not mean what we in the West mean by those words words--and and they are aware of our failure to realize that:
We think they are liberalizing Islam. They know they are trying to Islamize—to swallow whole—liberalism.For that reason, Johnson recommends dealing with specifics when speaking with the Muslim Brotherhood:
That’s why one participant (who must remain nameless under Chatham House rules) asked the constitution writers present to say whether or not they agreed with the following four “no”s (a cheeky reference to an earlier totalitarianism, that of Chairman Mao). First, no religious test for citizenship or for any public position, including president. Second, no second-class citizenship on the basis of religion. Third, no legal impediment or social restriction on the freedom of worship. Fourth, no imposition of religious identity upon the individual by society or state. So, free entry to religion—no coercion—and free exit from religion—freedom of conversion and apostasy.Alan Johnson reports that the silence in response to the question was deafening.
The question remains as to whether those in attendance noticed.
Technorati Tag: Muslim Brotherhood and Middle East and Islamism.