Are Egyptians angry at Hillary Clinton because of Michele Bachmann?

Much has been written about the role of the internet and social media in the Arab Spring last year, particularly in Egypt, where protestors organized and communicated on Facebook and Twitter. But while global connectivity can help protestors overthrow dictators and tell the world their story, it also gives everyone access to the less-inspiring corners of the web. That was on display this past week during Hillary Clinton’s visit to meet with leaders in Egypt.

You may have read about the protests that greeted the Secretary of State in Alexandria. Egyptian Christians and secularists are concerned about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and they oppose the newly-elected president Mohamed Morsi. Protestors outside the U.S. consulate threw tomatoes and shoes at Clinton’s motorcade, jeered her with shouts of “Monica, Monica!” and waved signs with messages like: “Stop U.S. funding of the Muslim Brotherhood” and “Clinton is the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Amy Sullivan — "The Global Reach of Conservative Conspiracy Theories"

Samuel Helfont reviews Bassam Tibi’s discussion of Islam and Islamism.

IN FEBRUARY, The New York Review of Books’ website hosted a debate in which several prominent feminists criticized Human Rights Watch for issuing a report that whitewashed the record of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists poised to take power in the Middle East. Human Rights Watch responded by stating that this critique amounted to, among other things, “intolerance for Islam.” A year and a half earlier, numerous right-wing American activists launched a fierce campaign to stop the construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero. In doing so, many of them argued that Islam was to blame for the attacks of September 11 and rejected the idea that Muslims could also have been victims on that fateful day. At first glance, the views of these right-wing activists and those of Human Rights Watch appear diametrically opposed. In fact, they have a good deal in common. Most importantly, both consider Islam and Islamism to be indistinguishable. Only on that basis can they consider the construction of an Islamic cultural center to be a threat, or regard opposition to an Islamist political party to be the same as opposition to Islam as a religion.’

— Samuel Helfont, “Team Warfare

Despite their rhetoric, is there any reason to believe the Muslim Brotherhood are not radicals and theocrats?

Later, when pressed on the role of women at Georgetown by a liberal Egyptian activist, Asem said, “We are … working to improve the situation of women in society, getting to the root causes of the problem of the marginalization of women.” It remains unclear, though, how the Muslim Brotherhood’s longtime opposition to legislation banning female genital mutilation, which a Brotherhood parliamentarian recently reiterated, plays into the Brotherhood’s supposed concerns for women’s social role. And when CNN’s Brianna Keilar pressed al-Dardery on the Brotherhood’s clitorectomy stance, the parliamentarian suddenly got defensive. “The Egyptian people will decide for themselves what is good for them,” I overheard him telling Keilar. “It is not acceptable for anyone to tell the Egyptian people how to think this way or the other way.” Al-Dardery’s insistence on Egypt’s sovereign right to circumcise women was, perhaps, his most honest remark of the trip.

- Eric Trager, The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mendacious Charm Campaign in Washington

Photo courtesy of POMED