By Ryan Mauro, The Clarion Project
The Egyptian embassy has posted a letter by the ambassador to the U.S. thrashing the Washington Post for “toeing the Muslim Brotherhood line” and presenting the Islamist group as “moderate.” It ends by advising the newspaper to be more balanced in order to “save whatever is left of your credibility in the Arab world.”
The letter is a response to a Washington Post editorial eviscerating the Egyptian government for having a “violent and cynical nature.” It claims that President El-Sisi is suppressing freedom and democracy and that his oppression is benefiting terrorist groups in the Sinai like the Islamic State (ISIS).
“The outlet also consistently promotes the polished English of Muslim Brotherhood propagandists, while muting attention to that organization’s Arabic messages, which drive extreme Islamist rhetoric and call for bloodshed, martyrdom and terror,” Ambassador Mohamed Tawfik writes.
Ambassador Tawfik writes that the newspaper has also “gone out of its way to absolve the Muslim Brotherhood of their crimes.” He points out that the editorial claims that Egyptian police killed over 20 protestors. What the Post didn’t mention is that three of them were Muslim Brotherhood members killed by their own explosives and the “protestors” killed two police officers.
The Egyptian government’s website documents the violence of the Muslim Brotherhood and warns about how the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is promoting the Islamist group in the media and policy circles. Tawfik touches on this in his letter, writing:
“History shows how a small number of Western academics and lobbyists succeeded in repackaging the Muslim Brotherhood and selling it to their elites as the panacea for curing radicalism, rather than the Trojan Horse it really is.”
Tawfik reminds readers that the Brotherhood “is the mother organization from which modern day violent jihad has sprung” and that the preaching of Brotherhood cleric Sayyid Qutb continues to radicalize Muslims today.
The Egyptian embassy is also offended at the editorial’s indictment of the government for the shooting death of activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh. Videotapes show that she was killed by a police officer using birdshot.
While this is terrible, it is unfair to blame the entire Egyptian government for it. There is no proof of a cover-up. In fact, an independent commission authorized by the Egyptian government concluded that the police used excessive force and violated human rights.
El-Sisi admits police abuse is a problem and is urging security forces to be mindful of human rights. He said that he views all Egyptian women, including al-Sabbagh, as his daughters and declared her a “martyr.” He ordered an investigation into her death, and the interior minister has said he will arrest any police officer involved.
The Post ridicules President Obama for ignoring these alleged human rights abuses in order to continue security cooperation. The newspaper apparently hasn’t paid attention to how many times the Obama Administration has criticized the Egyptian government.
The Obama Administration signaled its opposition to the military’s popularly supported overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. It condemned Egypt’s crackdown on the Brotherhood and suspendeda significant amount of military aid to Egypt as punishment. The White House continues to falsely assert that the Brotherhood is non-violent.
The U.S. demands the release of former Egyptian President Morsi and imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood members. The State Department recently met with Muslim Brotherhood figures plotting El-Sisi’s overthrow, including one who had his picture taken with a top Hamas leader.
The tension between President El-Sisi and President Obama is palpable. The Egyptian government used the riots in Ferguson to hit America back for its crackdown on the Brotherhood. Egypt has been moving closer to Russia as a result of the lack of U.S. support.
This isn’t the first time that the Egyptian government led by El-Sisi has grappled with the Washington Post. In an August 2013 interview, El-Sisi fought back against how his country was being depicted by the American media. He bluntly said to the reporter:
“The title of the article should be ‘Hey America: Where is your support for Egypt? Where is your support for free people?’...What I want the American reader to know is that this is a free people who rebelled against an unjust political rule, and this free people needs your support.”
El-Sisi made the case that the Brotherhood qualifies as a terrorist group and its overthrow was necessary and demanded by the population. Indeed, the protests requesting the removal of the Brotherhood-led government were the largest in human history, dwarfing the crowds that forced Egyptian President Mubarak’s resignation.
El-Sisi said the Muslim Brotherhood ideology is “based on restoring the Islamic religious empire” and is an international organization in 60 countries. He explained that “Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood,” hinting at the inconsistency in America’s labeling of Hamas as a terrorist group but not the Brotherhood.
The Egyptian Ambassador’s written shredding of the Washington Post displays long pent-up frustration. It looks like the Egyptian government is ready to fight back against the false portrayals of the Muslim Brotherhood by American media outlets.