Political Islam’s ‘Disinformation’

July 16, 2013 12:49 pm 2 comments

Mohamed el-Beltagy, a Muslim Brotherhood member running for the lower house of the Egyptian parliament in 2011. Photo: Al Jazeera English.

How could the Muslim Brotherhood and other proponents of political Islam (including the violent kind) fool so many in the West for such a long time? Why did the West accept their demagoguery about “Islamic democracy” or “the rule of law” instead of recognizing that the former is an oxymoron and the later is Shari’a law?

The answers to these questions provide insights into both who the political Isalmists are and who we are, but one thing is clear: Ideologists of political Islam have not devised anything new in the lying or propaganda or demagogy departments. They have taken advantage of the various turns of the world, including what some call “the civilizational crisis of the West.”

The ideologues who invented “political Islam” have, from the beginning, understood the U.S. and the West very well. Knowing what they could get away with without alarming us permitted them to perpetuate their system of “democracy.” This was amplified by the personal ties they developed with Western intellectuals and political figures, their participation in Western civic life, and large financial contributions to Western academic institutions and cultural centers.

A simple explanation of why and how the West fell for this deception is that our openness facilitated this deceipt, and their largess dulled and blinded us.

However, there is more to it than that.

An expert on “disinformation,” Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest ranking intelligence agent to defect to the U.S. from the former Soviet Bloc, who recently published a book on this topic, says the West fell into the trap of “dezinformatsia” (Russian for “disinformation”). “Dezinformatsia” means gulling persons and organizations into doing one’s bidding.

Disinformation allowed the Soviets to influence, for example, national liberation and peace movements, and took the edge off the West’s instinctive negative reaction to propaganda. It also allowed the Russians to inject seemingly innocent and high-minded ideas into political dialogue. They twisted terms that many in America took for granted. The mantra “peace and justice” is perhaps the best example.

Others argue that political Islam’s ideologues learned a great deal from the Nazis – Hitler especially, given his courtship of Islamic leaders and his skill at playing the West diplomatically during the 1930s.

But we’re still left with the question of how political Islam became accepted in America.

At first, political Islam failed to raise our concern because it seemed medieval, minor, and far away. By the time September 11 rolled around, it had developed into a broad movement, well-funded and organized and deeply installed in many countries, including the U.S. (principally thanks to the Muslim Brotherhood and its student, charitable, civic and cultural organizations).

Warnings from Middle East analysts about what was being said in the Muslim world were legion in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The Islamist takeover of Iran in 1979 was political Islam’s first major milestone. By that time, however, the West had fallen into the lazy belief that the troubles in Muslim countries (as in all the underdeveloped world) were due to a lack of economic development and social injustice.

In part, we have the Soviets and the European Left to thank for our embrace of that belief. Post-Vietnam anti-Americanism of our own making made us susceptible to the notion that the U.S., West, and capitalism had made us sin against the rest of the world.  This was the time when Edward Said and his multitude of followers condemned the West for regarding Muslim countries as incapable of civil society and “normal” political behavior.

September 11 forced us to consider that Islamism (not Muslims) might not be as peaceful as advertised. Yet we failed to seize the opportunity to find ways to contain the Islamist menace. Instead, we refused to accept the truth. It is no accident that the “War on Terror” was the conceptual result of 9/11. Not even George Bush was willing to admit that we were in a war with political Islam, not terrorism.

From Bush forward, we’ve hedged our language.  In our usual naïve fashion, we hoped (and most still do, like too many German Jews in 1933) that the Islamists would just go away sooner or later.  After all, ideology doesn’t feed and clothe people, produces tyranny that all men abhor, etc. We believed (and many still do) that there were things that we could give to the Muslim world that would turn them in the direction of “normal nationhood.” These included generous financial assistance and what (to us) was useful rhetoric that championed human rights, freedom, participatory government, etc.

Nothing we did changed their dogma, lessened their hatred, or blunted their influence. As the problem deepened, we stuck to our guns (first, out of not knowing what else to do because we failed to understand who and what this adversary was and, second, because we lacked faith in our own values and achievements, or took them for granted).

Our response to the recent revolt against Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood displays once again that we will continue to proceed in the same vein. Read President Obama’s take on events.

Among other things, he said, “As I have said since the Egyptian Revolution, the United States supports a set of core principles, including opposition to violence, protection of universal human rights, and reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people.” However, there was not one word about how the Morsi government political bulldozer had abused all of these and decreed Shari’a law.

Obama was also dismayed by the undoing of a “free election” and the removal of the Morsi government.  Although last year’s presidential election was surely tainted by the Brotherhood, for Obama it was apparently free enough. Moreover, he was upset at the suspension of the Shari’a-based “constitution,” which violated individual rights and political freedoms.

Finally, Obama said, “The United States continues to believe firmly that the best foundation for lasting stability in Egypt is a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties – secular and religious, civilian and military.”

Although it may be seen as a simple plea for inclusiveness, Obama’s iteration of Egyptian democratic society as “secular and religious, civilian and military” not only offered succor to the Muslim Brotherhood, but also suggests roles for elements (religious and military) that have no place in democratic governance, which as Obama said, represents “the will of the people.” It is rather disturbing to hear a president of the country that for 237 years has stood for individual rights, civilian control of the military, and separation of church and state advocate against these values. All the while,  Morsi and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood made no secret that theirs is a global Islamic agenda, not just an Egyptian one.

Much like our president, the media did not bother with the facts. Why should they? The president’s words well-suited their interest in promoting political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood  as “moderate” and “reformers.”

It seems that decades-long exposure to disinformation has confused the West to the extent that we deny or excuse atrocities we have been witnessing in societies and countries governed by sharia. By so doing, we allow political Islam and its entities such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Iran, to manipulate us through our acceptance of false meanings of words and ideas. One can blame ideological Islamists for manipulating us, but we can only blame ourselves for misunderstanding their meanings of our words.

2 Comments

  • No evil 9, you sound evil.

    Algemeiner, great article!

  • Reading this article, even there is slight parts of facts in it as of speaking about Islam and Muslims, I cold not help my thoughts in realizing that this article was speaking about something real , but just changed the names of the players . Zionism was replaced with Islam, and Zionists/ Israelis were replaced with Muslims. Other wise all will fit perfectly and very much to the reality in our world today. Just a reminder to support such things, most of the facts of 9/11 points out to the suspicion of the same switch, and all was done to generate support of preset plans ,and then silence others, whom might think to protest or disagree.Only very mentally deprived individuals would fall for the story we have been told about who committed this criminal ,inhumane act.. Isn’t this conveniently coincidental? Following this targeted religious wars and persecution as a cover up for the real intentions is leading us to more destruction of our world and eternal conflict of discrimination and racism . There is no one religion better than the other, as they all equally as bad and could be as equally good if they manage to humanize us, and bring compassion among all people, without the bigoted labels, and superiority complex.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.