August 3, 2005
Special Dispatch No. 949

Syrian Expatriate Asks: Who Are The Muslim Brotherhood Trying to Fool?

Dr. Wafa Sultan is a psychiatrist and a Syrian expatriate who resides in the U.S. On June 5, 2005, she published an article on the reformist website www.annaqed.com titled "The Muslim Brotherhood: Who Are They Trying to Fool?" in which she cautioned liberal opponents of the Syrian regime against believing that the Muslim Brotherhood has really adopted pluralism and democracy. On July 26, 2005, Dr. Sultan appeared on Al-Jazeera to debate Dr. Ahmad Bin Muhammad. ( To view this clip, please visit http://memritv.org/clip/en/783.htm ) The following are excerpts from Dr. Sultan's article on The Muslim Brotherhood:

"Has Something Changed in the Basic Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood? Or is it Nothing but a Big Lie?"

"Websites have recently overflowed with articles and reports discussing the Muslim Brotherhood organization. One can not help noticing the degree to which most of these articles and reports underestimate the intelligence of the readers when they attempt to prettify this organization's ugly image. I look at the expression used by the Muslim Brotherhood 'demanding to respect the beliefs and the opinions of others and to establish a pluralistic, democratic society that honors all people regardless of religion or sect.'

"I stop at this sentence and ask myself: Has something changed in the basic principles of the [Muslim] Brotherhood to make us believe that they have changed their attitude? Or is what they are adopting now nothing but a big lie required by current political exigencies, both international and domestic - as the folk saying goes 'act like a weakling until you are strong.'

"The crimes which they committed on the basis of their principles are still fresh in our memory, and the innocent blood which they spilled is still in our hearts. In the most recent statement which they issued following their conference, they attempted to wash their hands clean of the terrorist acts in Syria at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s and to pin it on a splinter group which, as they claim, adopted violence as a means to achieve its goals."

"Are They Now Praying to a Deity Other than the One Whose Name They Called when Shouting 'Allahu Akbar' While Shooting Down the Country's Best and Brightest? "

"However, slips of the tongue - if theirs was really a slip of the tongue - always reveal what is in the heart, and especially the heart of a hypocrite. In that statement, they said: 'The Muslim Brotherhood organization has nothing to do with this splinter-group that used violence against the pillars of the regime.' Against the pillars of the regime?! Was Muhammad Al-Fadil, who was assassinated by these criminals, one of the pillars of the regime, or was he one of the pillars of the Faculty of Law at Damascus University?! Was Dr. Yusef Al-Yusef, whose body they riddled with bullet in front of the medical school at the University of Aleppo while shouting 'Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar' - was he one of the pillars of the regime, or an ophthalmologist who didn't have anything whatsoever to do with the regime?...Were the students in the artillery school, who were attacked by their commander, First Lt. Ibrahim Al-Yusef, and within seconds turned 200 of them into [a collection] of scattered limbs…were all these pillars of the regime? And if they were, as the Muslim Brotherhood claimed in their statement, then why do they disown that 'splinter group,' rather than taking it in? Aren't they themselves against the regime?

"What has changed in the Brotherhood's basic principles to make us believe that they have changed their positions? Have they adopted a new book other than their old books, in which they found justifications for their acts? Are they now praying to a deity other than the one whose name they called when shouting 'Allahu Akbar' while shooting down the country's best and brightest from among the scholars of science and law, for the sole reason that they belonged to groups that did not embrace their basic beliefs and principles?

"Do they now believe in verses other than those that incite them to fight those who do not believe in their book and their Prophet, so that they [now] demand to respect the beliefs and freedoms of the other? Have they changed their view about 'those who have incurred Allah's wrath' and 'those who have gone astray,' [1] such that they are capable of building a pluralistic democratic society with respect for everyone?... Are they going to desist from accusing others of being apostates, while threatening to kill them, making them divorce their wives, [2] or deporting them? Has the woman become, in their understanding, a human being deserving of having her rights and wishes respected, and one that cannot be beaten up merely because a deranged, crazy husband suspects that she is not performing her conjugal duties according to his taste?

Expatriate Members of The Muslim Brotherhood are "Planning to Return from Their Safe Havens to the Scene of Their Crimes"

"We cannot deny the Muslim Brothers their Syrian nationality, nor do we want to, just as they cannot deny other Syrians their nationality, even though they want to. However, the coming stage requires of them, just as it requires of us, that they should enter the new Syria on the basis of sincere belief in this nationality, and not on the basis of beliefs and ideas which are morally illegitimate and which have long [been discredited]. Our religious or sectarian affiliation is no criterion for good citizenship. Love of Syria and respect for all Syrians, regardless of religious affiliation, is the only criterion. Can the Muslim Brotherhood and others who have been sullied by their shameful terrorist past - are they willing to abide by this criterion?...

"Do they have the courage to openly declare their new beliefs and apologize for their past so that we won't need to dig up their past? They are calling [now] for a pluralistic, democratic society ruled by the principles of justice and equality. On what basis are they going to build this society?...Have they changed their fundamental beliefs? Why don't they give an answer to this question?...They used to commit crimes [and then] escape to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Jordan [in order to find] a safe haven, and now they are planning to return from these safe havens to the scene of their crimes to participate in building a democratic pluralistic society based on justice and equality?!…

"The Syrian people are exhausted from the oppression and despotism of the [Ba'ath] regime which has borne down on them for more than 40 years. We suffered a great calamity when the Assad family and their band seized power in Syria, but we will suffer an even greater calamity if, when we get rid of this band, we find ourselves face to face with the Muslim Brotherhood - 'God forbid.' Are the [Syrian] opposition and secular and democratic parties, both in Syria and overseas - are they aware of this truth? Will they be able to thwart the Muslim Brotherhood's plan to corrupt the new Syria? Assad's monopoly on power was a violation of the rights of the people and has led us to a miserable life; however, we do not want to replace it with something even worse."

 

Endnotes:

[1] The wording is taken from Koran 1:7, where according to the standard commentators these descriptions refer respectively to Jews and Christians.

[2] In many Muslim countries, the law requires a man who is found in court to be an apostate to divorce his wife.


Please recycle
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization providing translations of the Middle East media and original analysis and research on developments in the region. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.
MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: [202] 955-9070 Fax: [202] 955-9077 E-Mail: [email protected]
Search previous MEMRI publications at our website: www.memri.org