Op-Ed: Egyptian Preacher for Martyrdom in Niqab Disguise
Ashraf RamelahAshraf Ramelah, founder and president of Voice of the Copts, has recently...
Sacrifices have been great in Egypt’s unrest, but Egypt’s military has made certain it is not in vain. So far the military, guided by the pro-democracy coalition, has had significant successes in chalking up freedom efforts. In its aim to dismantle the Muslim Brotherhood, the army has arrested and jailed a number of individuals representing its core leadership.
With the recent and surprising arrest of Safwat Hegazy (renowned and dedicated Muslim Brotherhood preacher on Egypt’s “wanted” list) near the border of Libya, many key influential Brotherhood religious guides have now been taken into custody. This includes members of the Morshed office (MB spiritual guides) who are behind bars -- the persons responsible for ousted President Morsi’s line – Khairat el Shater, Mohammed Badea, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and others.
On August 21, at a military and police check point a few miles from Egypt’s border with Libya, border patrols searched a private car and the people in it. Their stop-and-frisk included the removal of a woman’s niqab – Islamic face veil, headdress and robe – which covered a suspicious form. Hiding beneath it was Bedouin-garbed Safwat Hegazy, wearing a dark brown goatee disguise in place of his traditional full-cheeked, grey beard. The high-ranking longtime preacher of the Muslim Brotherhood was captured trying to slink across Egypt’s border.
Hegazy was an active speaker and dedicated promoter of Morsi’s 2012 presidential campaign and advocated for the liberation of Palestine, sizing up Jerusalem to be the new capital of both Egypt and the future caliphate.
Known for jihad rhetoric repeatedly stressing his own martyrdom to defend Shariah law and Morsi’s constitution, Hegazy instigated many to their deaths through acts of jihad. Now the inspirational Hegazy was caught fleeing the country. He was aided by a recent and convenient fatwa issued by hardliner cleric, Dr. Mouahmmad Abdulmaksoud, legalizing Muslims attending pro-Morsi demonstrations to shave their beards or alter traditional norms to deceive and avoid arrest by Egypt’s police and military.
Once in captivity, Hegazy denied his association and role with the MB saying, “I don’t belong to the Muslim Brotherhood” -- a direct contradiction to his machismo on August 8th from the Al Adawyia MB sit-in, “I will leave this place only as a dead body.” On the same date, during his interview on one of the Egyptian TV channels in a program called, Time of Ikwan, Hegazy boasted, “MB will lead the world and will be masters of the world.”
As the prospect of cohesive reorganization and renewed strength inside Egypt has dwindled for Egypt’s MB, forcing the issue of reenergizing itself outside the country, talent like the weak and cowardly Hegazy shows there is nothing to fear.
The Brotherhood’s deficit of character and skill for carrying out its themes is Egypt’s good fortune today. Arrogance and empty slogans have masked the incapacity of MB leaders to run or rule a schoolyard, much less a country.
The world needs to question the variables at play in Egypt making it possible two years ago for a religious-supremacist political party couched in pseudo-democracy and its banned organization to legalize and climb to the highest levels of power.
With the collapse of Morsi’s regime, the MB house of cards (its organization, ideology, massive network and influence) has begun to unravel with what looks like permanent and lasting damage under the efforts of Egyptians backed by a military loyal to the country.
A hurting Egypt will never again allow the MB a chance to prove its philosophy or politics. Furthermore, as the Egyptian MB organization crumbles, humiliated by the annihilation of its longtime dream, its operations around the world will suffer as Egypt’s MB represents the base of the core ideology in the international fight for political Islam.
World leaders viewed MB leadership (and still do) with respect, recognizing and indulging in its viability as a party with leadership potential – the psychological and political basis for the Brotherhood’s rise from the dank dungeons of Egypt and final surge to the top. This contradicts everything the world learned from previous dictators in Egypt who preserved their reigns by locking up MB members and banning their movement.
Having the West accept and approve its pinnacle of success in Egypt, the MB abused the power handed it and gave the impression it would outlast the dynasties of the Egyptian Pharaohs. But advancing an Islamist agenda offering zero to the Egyptian people who stood by watching the build-up of personal wealth and power within the MB organization and party in just a short time, the MB regime had to go before getting a foothold.
Manipulating a hungry and tired constituency, the truth of a depraved MB was soon identified by the Egyptian people and despised for its lack of authenticity and governance. Like a wavy image on the desert dunes, the mirage of MB governance disappeared once Egyptians came within proximity of its dissolute rule.
After 83 years of struggle to achieve its position, it took just one year of MB authority to foster against it a decisive freedom movement combining disparate elements from the Egyptian body marching toward a common goal.
The coziness of the West with MB terrorists is Egypt’s nightmare – much resignation, hopelessness and fear for Egypt now stems from it. Outsiders consider naïve the goal to obliterate the Egyptian MB terror organization in Egypt, not because it’s a losing battle for the military (the opposite appears to be true), but because foreign connections to the politically motivated MB run deep with relationships and investments in networks impossible to reverse, even if desired.
Yet inside Egypt now, the MB has even lost its “victimhood” card. And, more importantly, the Brotherhood’s ambitious goal to rule a nation and future caliphate by way of Egypt has vanished forever if the people of Egypt manage finally to have their way.
At this moment, the Egyptian MB and its ideology -- the golden goose of world terrorism -- is about to be fatally wounded. If so, this would assist the West in its battle against the MB planted on foreign soil, Al Qaeda, Hamas and other terror groups around the world.
There is only one thing now that could stop, alter or divert Egypt’s momentum -- the will of foreign leaders overruling Egypt’s majority.