For days now, the mainstream and leftstream media have been telling us that the Muslim Brotherhood is not dangerous, not radically Islamist-but that even if they are Islamist that they are popular amongst the people. Western leftists view the Brothers as engaged in a Hamas-like form of soup kitchen social work/theocratic totalitarianism, but who nevertheless have earned the right to be democratically voted into power by the people. They have been invited to join the negotiations with Mubarak's regime. ...
Such journalists also claim that the Egyptian people in the streets are not "political," that they are impoverished, broken, barefoot warriors who have heroically risen up for jobs, food, and an end to corruption and tyranny. Indeed, the people may not be "political"-but their heroism may end up benefiting those who, unlike themselves, are already organized militarily, economically, and ideologically-like the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the other hand, unorganized though they may be, the people may still have views and beliefs. According to a June, 2010 Pew opinion survey of Egyptians:
Fifty nine percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics....Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion...When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version.
When given the opportunity, the crowds on the street are not shy about showing what motivates them. They attack Mubarak and his new Vice President Omar Suleiman as American puppets and Zionist agents. The US, protesters told CNN's Nick Robertson, is controlled by Israel. They hate and want to destroy Israel. That is why they hate Mubarak and Suleiman.
Is this Pew Center survey really true? What other indicators might we rely upon?
In the last week, we have seen massive coverage of the street uprising in Cairo on every major television channel and in print and Internet media of all political persuasions. No one has commented upon what the photos are showing us. Some say that a picture speaks a thousand words-and so it does. Follow along with me.
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