Is Islamism in Egypt really worth worrying about?

Based on this article, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has changed in recent decades and is changing still and yet is still too stuffy and old-fashioned for the younger membership. These are not your Ayatollah’s Islamists. Now they’re a lot like the American religious-right (only less violent, less bigoted and less ignorant). Really, they’re more like the center-right Christian Democrat parties of Europe than anything else. What’s the big deal?

There’s nothing wrong with worrying about things - even low probabilities need to be adressed. Do I think that the MB will seize control of Egypt? Probably not. Do I hope my government is making contingency plans in case they do? Absolutely.

The brotherhood is an organized party in a sea of disorganization. That gives them power beyond their numbers.
The Egyptians have to invent party organizations . They are starting at the beginning while MB is up and running.

On principle I do not think the Muslim Brotherhood’s fundamentalism is something to worry about at all. Regardless of how they may shape the Egyptian democracy that I hope is to come, I believe it is for the better of Egypt and Egyptians. Simply because they were democratically chosen. My support of democracy compels me to respect Egyptian decisions on who leads them, and to support their decision.

‘Worry’ in this context sounds too much to me like interfering. I sincerely wish this isn’t the case.

That’s the point. Not even the MB is anywhere near as dangerous as your scenario assumes. If it “seizes control” by winning a majority in the coming election (which it won’t), that’s no skin off Israel’s nose really; just means the new government likely will have an open-border policy with Gaza and not cooperate in any Israeli blockades. Which is all to the good.

They’re not that much like the American religious right, and nothing like the European Christian Democrats. They want to establish a theocratic state and codify their religious ideas into law, requiring even the non-religious to follow them. They mostly want to do this peacefully and democratically, but they still want to do it.

I’d hardly call that “all to the good”. It would be pretty disastrous.

The only intelligent answer is “We don’t know if the Muslim Brotherhood is something to worry about.” We hope not, but they might be. Regardless, we have absolutely no control over what’s going to happen in Egypt anyway.

There’s virtually nothing we can do except hope for the best- and we don’t even know what the best would be.

That is exactly what the American religious right wants. That, and all Jews to Israel – see Christian Zionism. (Though sometimes I suspect the real thinking there is to herd all the world’s Jews into one easy kill-zone.)

[shrug] Why should Gazans have to go hungry because some of their neighbors are violent assholes?

Gaza has to be opened some day. Israel will never know peace if Palestinians are kept locked up.

You just described a very real reason to worry for Israel’s government. Also, if you are drawing parallels between the MB and Christian Democrats, then Turkey’s AK Party can be used as a model. Erdogan recently likened his party to Christian democrats. Erdogan and the AK Party has not interacted well with Israel’s current government, leading to a breakdown in relations. So Israel has plenty to worry about if the MB is victorious in democratic elections.

They shouldn’t, of course - and the Israelis don’t want them to. Say what you will about Israeli policy, the people making it are not idiots or monsters, and they understand quite well that desperate people are easily radicalized. The Israelis want food in Gaza. However, the sad fact is that there are enough people bent on violence there that weapons and things that can be weaponized need to be kept out of Gaza. That’s the point of a closed border with Egypt, the naval blockade, and so on - the Israelis have no objection to aid going in, they just want to screen it first.

If the Egyptian border were opened, you’d likely see a lot more weapons flowing into Gaza, and fired at Israel. This would trigger Israeli retaliation. Which means more dead Palestinians.

The MB may be all that, but your linked article doesn’t exactly state it. It is about two guys, one of whom abandoned the MB, and I think it would be hard to describe either of them as “Islamists”, based on their published opinions. I’d be reluctant to generalize overmuch about the state of Egypt based on the opinions of exactly two guys. I know more than two Persians myself, and based on them Iran really ought to be a secular first-world nation …

I don’t think we have much to worry about guys who worked for Siemens, get sent to Europe on business trips, and seek to expand diversity while being Islamic at heart. However, at issue is how representative these guys are of the average Egyptian “Islamicist”. It could easily be that they are far more representative than the West gives credit (a recent survey supports this view) and it is tempting to react against the knee-jerk anti-Islamism one sees so much of - but one must resist the urge to commit a comparable, if reverse, error and imagine that those wishing for a theocratic state are really no danger at all.

Agreed that Gaza has to be opened up at some point - but for this to happen, there has to be a government in place that can ensure rockets won’t be fired at Israel. Right now, there is not a government that can or will do that - so the Strip has to stay blockaded.

Are you suggesting that a worry stems from having a party with religious label as part of the Government?

Gah! Duplicate post. Damned hamsters.

Chickens and eggs. The only government that could perhaps ensure this is Israel’s, by working to an accommodation under which people don’t want to fire rockets. I don’t think that accommodation can happen with a blockade in place.

I think this is the best position to take.

I do not know much about the US religious righit, but I should think this is a gross exageration.

I am not confident o f that relative to the current Israeli government. Seems to me one ca get quite blinded by ideology. The problems with the Turks, for example, look a lot like Own Goals to me.

Someone who holds this belief is not interested in two state solution and also, is not interested in making peace. It is only good for status quo.

Because, the real issue is what constitutes period in which there are no rockets fired and then blockade is over. At what point does Israel say, ok, that’s good, time to change things. Ten days? A month? A year?

Let’s go a bit outside the box, or turn things around, as it were: If you were one of the rocket-launchers in Gaza, how would you least want the Israeli government to respond to your attacks? (I mean, in terms of the good of your cause, not your personal safety.)

I know what you’re going for here, and you’re wrong. If Israel doesn’t respond, they’ll just fire again. Every dead Jew will make them look stronger and will be a boon to their cause.

Hold on… how did this turn into a Gaza thread?