While the Egyptian government has been waging war on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic radical groups, the U.S. Administration and some Europeans are continuing to hamper efforts to combat terrorism.
Many Egyptians and moderate Arabs and Muslims were shocked to hear that the U.S. State Department recently hosted a Muslim Brotherhood delegation. They were equally shocked when an EU court decided to remove Hamas from the bloc's list of terror groups.
The State Department's hosting of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders has outraged Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Sisi, who has been waging a relentless war against the organization over the past year.
One member of the delegation, Muslim Brotherhood judge Waleed Sharaby, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom, as he held up the organization's four-finger "Rabia" sign. (The gesture is named for Cairo's Rabia Square, where counter-demonstrations backing ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi -- who is from the Muslim Brotherhood -- took place in August 2013.)
While being hosted by the State Department on a visit to Washington, Muslim Brotherhood judge Waleed Sharaby (left) flashed the organization's four-finger "Rabia" sign. At right, ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (from the Muslim Brotherhood) displays the Rabia sign.
"If the White House is out to offend some of its closest Arab allies and is intent on heightening their suspicions, it's succeeded," wrote Middle East expert Linda S. Heard. "If there's a plot, then it's unfolding," she added. "Just two days after the controversial visit, the Brotherhood called for a war against their fellow Egyptians."
A statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood said, "It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in a process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising fight, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom."
The Egyptian government condemned the hosting of the Muslim Brotherhood officials by the State Department. Egyptian Foreign Minister Same Shoukry denounced the State Department's move, saying, "The Muslim Brotherhood is not a political party, but according to the Egyptian law, which must be respected, it is designated as a terrorist organization."
The timing of the meeting between State Department officials and Muslim Brotherhood leaders could not have been worse for many Egyptians -- it took place shortly after Islamist terrorists killed 31 soldiers and wounded 45 others in a series of attacks on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
Although the Islamic State terror group took credit for the attacks, Sisi held the Muslim Brotherhood responsible. "Egypt is waging a war against the strongest clandestine group over the past two decades," he said. "This organization has secretive arms, secretive thoughts and secretive forums."
Egyptian columnists and newspaper editors have also attacked the U.S. Administration for its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
"The U.S. Administration is continuing to jeopardize its relations with Egypt by appeasing Muslim Brotherhood," remarked columnist Ezzat Ibrahim. "The Muslim Brotherhood is seeking to return to the political arena through the American door and terrorist attacks. The U.S. policy appears to be devious and unreliable."
Another Egyptian columnist, Mohamed Salmawi, launched a scathing attack on the U.S. Administration; he accused it of deception and double standards. He said that the meeting between U.S. officials and Muslim Brotherhood leaders exposes the U.S. Administration's deceptive policy toward Islamic terror groups.
"The U.S. Administration says it is combating these groups at home while it is supporting them abroad," Salmawi wrote. "This meeting has grave indications because it shows that Washington has not abandoned its policy of double standards toward Islamic terrorism.
Salmawi also took issue with the U.S. Administration for turning a blind eye to the hypocrisy and double talk of the Muslim Brotherhood. "One of the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood, for example, told the world that he welcomes the Jews of Israel," he added. "But this same leader announced in front of the Egyptian people that they should march in the millions to liberate Jerusalem from the occupation of the Jews. [Ousted President] Mohamed Morsi, before his election, described these Jews as descendants of apes and pigs. In English, the Muslim Brotherhood says one thing and in Arabic something completely different."
Said Lindawi, a prominent Egyptian international affairs expert, said that the meeting of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders with State Department officials means that the Obama Administration has given the organization a green light to carry out terrorist attacks against Egypt.
"The U.S. Administration has refused to recognize the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group," he said. "The Americans continue to insist that the Muslim Brotherhood is not responsible for the terrorist attacks in Egypt."
By embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, the U.S. Administration has sent the wrong message to moderate Arabs and Muslims. This is a message that says that Washington believes that there are good terrorists and bad terrorists.
Judging from the angry reactions of Egyptians, it has become obvious that most moderate Arabs and Muslims no longer see the U.S. as an ally in the war against Islamic terror groups. What is even more disturbing is that they view the U.S. as an ally and friend of the terrorists.