Barry Rubin explains:
This is of gigantic importance (see if anyone else covers it). MEMRI has pointed out the opening of a Muslim Brotherhood campaign to replace Egypt’s current clerical hierarchy with its own people. If that happens…you can imagine. Once Islamists are in place making the “official” decisions on what constitutes proper Islam, an Islamist state cannot be far away. . . .[W]e should watch carefully this battle over who governs Islam in Egypt.
Rubin quotes MEMRI’s excerpts from an address delivered by Egyptian cleric Muhammad Zoghbi, which aired on Azhari TV on February 15, 2011. He called on the government-appointed religious leaders of Egypt to resign their positions; this includes the sheikh of Al-Azhar, which is the preeminent education center of Sunni Islam. “To save you a click,” Rubin writes, “here is what Muhammad Zoghbi of the Brotherhood says:”
“Al-Azhar was subjected to…the politicization of the positions of the sheikh of Al-Azhar and the mufti of Egypt, as well as the position of the minister of religious endowments. These positions must be filled through elections. By no means should these officials be appointed by the president….
“Therefore I say to the ‘sons’ of Al-Azhar: Let us all join the campaign, led by Sheik Khaled Al-Gindi, until we liberate Al-Azhar, just like Egypt was liberated….The president of Egypt must be subordinate to Al-Azhar and respect it….
“Therefore, I say to the sheikh of Al-Azhar…resign immediately….The mufti and the minister of religious endowments should step down, leaving their positions to God-fearing imams….”
Rubin then translates the lingo:
“God-fearing” imams means Muslim Brotherhood cadre. The president of Egypt “must be subordinate” to al-Azhar means an Islamist state. This strategy also suggests that the Brotherhood is recognizing that it will not choose Egypt’s next president–who is more likely to be the nationalist Amr Moussa–so it must start building an independent base of support outside of the government’s and president’s control for its long march toward Islamism at a later date.
But I guess we can rest assured that the Muslim Brotherhood is a secular organization, or something.
Over at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, IPT News notes that the brotherhood’s bylaws have disappeared from the the Brotherhood has removed its explicitly worded bylaws from its English-language website. (The bylaws are still available via an archived version of the Web page.) They certainly didn’t need to have gone to the trouble to confuse the Obama administration.