“I want to see the Muslim Brotherhood decisively and permanently defeated. I don’t care if they surrender or die, as long as they lose.”
“Like all terrorist organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood has only one commodity to trade in. Blood.”
Well those seem a bit extreme, wouldn’t you say? The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is a transnational Islamic political organization that was founded in Egypt in 1928. This organization is the country’s oldest and largest Islamic group whose ideology is based on the Sunnah and the teachings of the Kor’an. Most recently, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, who is a member of the MB, was overthrown by the Egyptian military and forced to resign on July 3, 2013. Because Morsi is a member of the MB, the MB has been outraged and has been in a never-ending conflict with the military since. What I find interesting about this is according to the majority of almost every medium of media throughout the world, the MB is portrayed as the evil “terrorist” group- but are they really? Who are the forever loving “good guys”, and who are the eternally hated “bad guys” in this situation? The ones that fairly won a democratic election, or the ones that overthrew the power-hungry president? Through my media-related-research, I’m going to answer that question by analyzing the 85-year-old history of the MB, what has caused this currently up-scaling, negative output of media towards the MB, and what influence the media creates on objective viewers about the MB.
An 85-Year Old History of Brotherhood
When examining any topic, it is important to identify the history and foundation of what’s being analyzed. Especially with a subject of conflict like this, without a basic understanding, it is difficult to hold an objective viewpoint on loaded media. As I have stated before, the Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Islamic political organization that was founded in Egypt in 1920 by an Islamic scholar by the name of Hassan al-Banna. In 1928, Banna began setting up branches of the MB throughout the country, which consisted of mosques, schools, and sporting clubs. They began their focus as a religious, social organization; preaching Islam, setting up hospitals, launching commercial enterprises, and even teaching the illiterate. By the late 1930’s, the MB began to fight against British rule in Egypt and engaged in a campaign of bombings and assassinations. In 1948, after the Arab defeat in the First Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian government disbanded the MB organization and arrested its members for attacking British and Jewish interests and the assassination of Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi. Once again, in 1952, during the Egyptian Revolution, the MB was disbanded and repressed for the attempted assassination of Egypt’s president at that time. Jumping ahead six decades, the MB was finally legalized again in 2011 when the regime of Hosni Mubarak (Egypt’s president from 1981-2011) was overthrown. Lastly, in 2012, Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president. However, one year later, on July 3, 2013, Morsi was himself overthrown by the military.
Why the Continual Hate Towards the Muslim Brotherhood?
In this section of the analysis, I’m going to discuss what the MB is currently doing that has created so much negativity towards them. Firstly, what’s important to note is that the MB is a movement, and not a political party. Their dogma was and is, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and dying in the way of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” The problem about that belief is that many people fear that when the MB’s highest hope is dying for Allah, then everything else is just a detail, including human life. This shows precedence when Morsi gave his final speech; he spoke about his willingness to sacrifice his blood in return for ultimate power. The MB took this as a call to urge Jihadists from around the world to come and be martyred in Egypt. Since Morsi has been overthrown by the military, many protests have been held all over the country, with many leading to violent fights with government security forces. Here’s a short video filmed on October 6th of a massive protest.
That day, October 6th, was meant to mark the 40th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli War but instead was replace with brutal clashes between police and the MB, along with other supporters. The result of the violent protest ended in 423 arrests, 268 injured, and 58 dead. So far, this has been the largest and most violent protest, however, there have been multiple other smaller protests that have occurred over the past few months in Egypt. Unfortunately, what’s happening is that every time the MB and/or supporters of Mohamed Morsi protest or express their opinions on the matter of Morsi leaving office, the government and military intervene and violence erupts. What I have also found is that the majority of the reporting media sources are government sponsored. So even if what the MB and/or Morsi’s followers were doing what was fair and just, they would never be portrayed that way across media. This would make the government and military look too bad, resulting in the MB as the ever-so continual “bad guys”.
Objective to Subjective
This last section will focus on how the current media has shaped my previously objective thoughts and opinions of the MB to subjective thoughts and opinions of the MB. Before collecting data and analyzing the conflicts between the Egyptian government and the MB, I had absolutely no idea who the MB was or the events happening in present day Egypt. Because of this, I can without a doubt say that I had a completely open, nonjudgmental mind when beginning this research. However, even from the first article I read, I began to have my opinion of the MB molded by the media. I began to see the MB has radical extremists whose only mission was to convert every human being on the planet to Islam. I read titles like, “Crush the Muslim Brotherhood” or sentences like, “In the war of ideas for the future of Egypt, the Brotherhood had nothing to offer but the blood of its followers and victims” and “It has no vision for the future except the same old corruption and authoritarianism cloaked in a deceptive Islamist garb”. Even when the media wasn’t talking about the MB directly, they still ended up directing some negative connotation towards them. Every media report on the MB mentioned the word “terrorist” at least once. Normally when reviewing media sources on a given topic of conflict, one usually finds sides to both parties. However, in the case of the MB, I was not able to. The only current piece of media on the MB that was even slightly positive was about a MB rapper who resists the Egyptian military with his music. In the end, with so much influence by the media, it was impossible for me to still keep an open mind about the MB. I was forced to having once had no bias of opinion to now having a strongly negative bias of opinion. Lastly, this video below is just another example of the influence media can have towards the MB. This is part one to an entire documentary related to the MB.
In summary, the media has a significantly influential effect on viewers. Through grasping an understanding of the growth of the MB and how they were founded, to how they are currently being affected by the Egyptian government, I have come to discover how great of an extent media can mold its viewers. After reading article after article and watching video after video, I was ultimately forced to come to a conclusion and answer my initial question, “Is the MB actually bad?” Through the use of media analysis, these facts that I have obtained, although as subjective as they may be, has led me to answer, yes.