Syria's Choice: Murderous Secular Regime or Islamic Fundamentalists
As Syrian dictator Bashar Assad continues to slaughter his people, there are growing indications that the Islamists are increasing their efforts to replace his regime.
What started as a secular Facebook revolution against the Assad regime is now beginning to look more like a jihad [holy war] led by Muslim fundamentalists.
The Muslim Brotherhood is clearly seeking to hijack the anti-Assad protests, in both the political and military fields.
In the past few months, there have been many signs of a "return to Islam" in Syrian society. Large banners urging women to wear the hijab have appeared in Damascus and other main cities and many restaurants and hotels have stopped serving alcohol in keeping with Islamic law. This is in addition to the fact that many of the daily anti-Assad demonstrations are being launched from mosques, especially after Friday prayers.
The Muslim Brotherhood is by no means a "moderate" organization. Its motto leaves no room for questions about its true intentions: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad [holy war] is our way. Dying for the sake of Allah is our highest hope." Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, has come out in favor of suicide bombings, which he cslled "evidence of God's justice;" the death penalty for homosexuals; the beating of women; a genocidal a hatred of Jews: "O Allah, do not spare a single one of them….kill them down to the very last one," as he put on al-Jazeera on January 9, 2009 [www.MEMRI.org]; and, as he said on April 14, 2004, boycotts of America and Israel: "Our duty is to make them as weak as we can."
According to reports in the Arab media, Islamic fundamentalist groups have been smuggling weapons into Syria from Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Most of these weapons have fallen into the hands of Muslim fundamentalists, who are now waging a guerrilla warfare against Assad's security forces, the reports say.
Syria's fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood organization, which was banned by the Syrian dictator's father, Hafez Assad, decades ago, has come back to life thanks to the uprising that was initially launched by secular forces.
"We have a desire to coordinate the position of the opposition," declared Zuhair Salim, a spokesman for Syria's Muslim Brotherhood. "We are supporters and not creators."
As has been the case in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya, Syria's Islamists did not show their faces in public at the beginning of the anti-Assad uprising. Instead, they preferred to wait in the shadows to see where the uprising was headed.
Muslim Brotherhood officials have already found their place in the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which was formed in Istanbul last September with support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the US State Department.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood has not joined the council officially, it has many representatives there.
Out of the 19 members of the council's general secretariat, four belong to the Muslim Brotherhood and six are "independent" Islamists.
The participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian National Council is seen in the context of the Islamists' hitherto successful bid to hijack the Arab Spring.
What is disturbing is that while the US and many European governments have endorsed the Islamist-dominated opposition council, they have also turned their backs on secular groups that are opposed to the creation of a Sharia state in Damascus.
Last week Assad hinted at the possibility that his country could fall into the hands of Islamists when he warned that Syria would become "another Afghanistan" if the West intervened in favor of his enemies.
For many Syrians, the only choice today is between a murderous secular regime led by Assad and Muslim fundamentalists seeking to turn their country into an Islamic state. Assad's brutal crackdown on his opponents, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,000 Syrians, as well as his failure to implement major political reforms, is driving more people into the open arms of the Islamists.
The recent victory of the Islamists in the Tunisian elections is serving as a catalyst for the Muslim Brotherhood to double its efforts to replace the Assad regime.
Comment on this item
by Soeren Kern
The problem of Islam in public schools has been allowed to snowball to vast proportions... not hundreds but thousands of British schools have come under the influence of Muslim radicals.
Bains was also instructed to stop teaching citizenship classes because they were deemed to be "un-Islamic," and to introduce Islamic studies into the curriculum, even though Saltley is a non-faith school.
Schools should not be allowed to become "silos of segregation." — Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
by Peter Martino
Europe's biggest failure vis-à-vis Turkey is another example of its unwillingness to face unwelcome truths: that whenever Islamists go into politics, they never turn out to be moderates.
EU leaders are now, belatedly, coming to realize that Erdogan is not their friend.
by Timon Dias
"Both materially, and in essence, sovereignty unconditionally and always belongs to Allah." — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister, Turkey.
What is surprising is that so many Western politicians, including EU-minded ones, apparently still ignore what the consequences could be of such an ideology. Do they really assume it could never happen to them?
by Gordon G. Chang
The second thing we get wrong about China is that it is safe to ignore periodic Chinese threats to incinerate our cities and wage war on us. They employ salami-slicing tactics, as with Scarborough Shoal... so that they do not invite retaliation.
If we cannot say these things clearly and publicly, the Chinese will think we are afraid of them. If they think we are afraid of them, they will act accordingly.
Chinese leaders do not distrust us because they have insufficient contact with us. They distrust us because they see themselves as protectors of an ideology threatened by free societies.
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
If the government fails... to assert its power in the months to come it will become a de facto Somalia II.... Soon, these militias, if they have not already done so, will have their own government that will contest the decisions of the paper government of Tripoli… Indicators show that it is already fragmenting into three countries." — Professor Mohamed Chtatou, University of Mohammed V, Morocco.
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