Mursi Hearts QutbPosted: September 2, 2012
The anniversary of the execution of Sayyd Qutb was an occasion for many of the Muslim Brotherhood members to remember one of their patron saints as a latter day Thomas More, a man who went to the gallows rather than bend his beliefs. Of course Nasser was hardly Henry VIII, and Qutb is no Thomas More. Whereas More’s Utopia recommends religious tolerance (excepting atheists) and gender equality, Qutb’s Ummah tolerates almost no one (save his faithful followers), and eyes women with his peculiar psycho-sexual pathology. This is but one of many reasons why the Brothers’ Nahda is no Renaissance. Still it would be churlish to deny the Brothers their saint, and the current leadership is Qutbist to a fault. As luck would have it, his followers have met radically different fates. Some are ducking drones in the lunar landscape of Afghanistan, while others are hobnobbing with the very same American leaders responsible for these drones.
President Mursi belongs to the second variety. History served up an ironic moment when it placed Mursi in Iran on the anniversary of Qutb’s death. Mursi blurted his views with the blunt sincerity of a true believer rather than the careful articulation of a political leader. In a country of Shi’a Islam he opened his speech by an arcane and obscure reference to the four Caliphs, consciously echoing Qutb. Some in the West, including the drone masters, naively applauded his attacks on Iran, while oblivious to the religious symbolism of his speech. Mursi made his declaration of faith in Qutb and directly rejected any form of Islam that is tolerant or syncretic. When historians rightly speak of the golden age of tolerant Islamic civilization, it is an age well past the first four Caliphs. Mursi the politician is also the student of Qutb. Let it not be said that he is not transparent.
When President Obama, reflecting on the Egyptian revolution, quoted Martin Luther King’s famous phrase that “the arc of history bends to justice”, little did he know that in less than two years he would shake the hand of an Egyptian leader whose cultural horizon is formed by a man who regarded Negro spirituals, sung by Dr. King, as “the primitive and coarse expression of the Negro’s bestial tendencies”.
History continues to serve up ironies.