Joel Brinkley, currently a Professor at Stanford who spent most of his career as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, has a column in the San Francisco Chronicle titled Islamists in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia not democratic.
The thesis of the column is that Westerners who took Islamists at their word that they would promote democracy and freedom as part of the Arab Spring were fooled. Brinkley counts himself among those fooled:
Ever since Islamists took office in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, they have been trying to convince us that they are advocates of moderation, democracy, women’s rights and individual freedoms. And most people in the West, after jubilantly watching the Arab Spring’s amazing revolutions last year, wanted to believe them.
But now we can see that these Islamic groups are taking us for fools…
We should never have believed them.
Already we hear the predictable warnings from Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu: This could be Iran 1979, a revolution for freedom that installs the Islamists. But this is not 1979, and Egypt’s Facebook-adept youth are not lining up behind the Muslim Brotherhood, itself scarcely a band of fanatics.
“Your” former colleagues at The NY Times deceived their readers:
Sheik Qaradawi, a popular television cleric whose program reaches an audience of tens of millions worldwide, addressed a rapt audience of more than a million Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the uprising and honor those who died….
On Friday, he struck themes of democracy and pluralism, long hallmarks of his writing and preaching….
Scholars who have studied his work say Sheik Qaradawi has long argued that Islamic law supports the idea of a pluralistic, multiparty, civil democracy.
“You” were surprised. “We” are not.
“We” have nothing for which to apologize. “You” do.
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