Casey Sheehan Died for This?

Of the many outrages Cindy Sheehan has perpetrated since using her heroic son’s coffin as a pole-vault into national stardom, none has gotten less laudatory press than her recent intervention on behalf of 40 imprisoned members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. A typical headline adorning the Associated Press story declared, “Cindy Sheehan in Egypt for Islamists.” Yet none of this coverage – which has changed tone markedly since she decided to run against the Democratic Speaker of the House – has exposed the Brotherhood’s extremist ideology, its violent history – or the fact that MB members have called the terrorists who killed U.S. soldiers like Casey Sheehan “heroic.”

The elder Sheehan took to Egypt last week as part of a leftist contingent to insist the Egyptian government free a handful of Brotherhood members.  As AP recorded, “According to the Brotherhood, 3,245 members of their organization were arrested in 2007.” Some 40 of that number are on trial. The trial began a year ago against two-scores of its members, including its third most prominent member, Khayrat el-Shater (its “chief strategist and financier”), for money laundering – and terrorism.

Nonetheless, Sheehan felt obligated to give the MB an early Valentine’s Day hug, penning a letter to Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak. The second sentence denounced “the illegal and immoral U.S. occupation of Iraq.”  She continued, presenting three demands: Egypt must financially support MB family members of these “political prisoners,” protest any future harm to MB family members, and complete “the return of the personal belongings (including money and jewelry) of the families involved.”

Of course, such money could be immediately put to use in terrorism, as many in Egypt fear.

Yet Sheehan joined former U.S. Congressman Walter Fauntroy, leftist agitator Mahdi Bray, and her own campaign manager, Tiffany Burns, in a Valentine’s vigil against the Brotherhood’s military trial. Walter E. Fauntroy served as Washington, D.C.’s non-voting Congressman for some 20 years in the House of Representatives, becoming a founding member and former chairman of the far-Left Congressional Black Caucus. Meanwhile, this makes Mahdi Bray’s second trip to Egypt in solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood. Bray is a former SDS radical before converting to Islam and becoming a founding member of Sami al-Arian’s National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom. Bray’s MAS Freedom Foundation is an off-shoot of the Muslim American Society, itself founded by MB members. More than organizational ties, the group shares a common ideology and bloodlust with the MB. Bray once brayed, “Let’s all go into jihad, and throw stones at the face of the Jews.”

This rhetorical and ideological hatred is the Brotherhood’s stock-in-trade. Robert Spencer has called the Muslim Brotherhood “the parent organization of Hamas and al-Qaeda.” Founded 80 years ago by Hasan al-Banna, the MB seeks a worldwide Islamic caliphate that would enforce Shari’a law – the definition of Islamofascism.

Brotherhood members had been in de facto war against the state of Egypt since Islamist theoretician Sayyid Qutb indicted Gamal Abdel Nasser’s government as “the Party of Satan.” (Nasser executed Qutb in 1966.) Yet his influence lived on through members like Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two man in al-Qaeda, and many other anti-Muslim terrorists. Anwar Sadat brought MB out of the wilderness, and it now competes for parliamentary seats as part of the “Islamic Alliance.” Although the organization is formally banned by the secular-leaning Hosni Mubarak regime, its candidates often run as “independents” declaring, “Islam is the solution.”

Such Islamist ends did not pacify its most radical detractors. Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi attacked the MB for taking part in parliamentary elections in 2005, viewing any trifling with democracy as idolatry. Zarqawi asked, “How can anyone choose any other path but that of jihad? I appeal to the Islamic party: Abandon this strategy which is a losing one for Sunnis.”  Brotherhood members won 80 of some 150 elections it chose to contest and now hold 20 percent of parliamentary seats.

However, despite media criticism of Sheehan’s role, most coverage has painted the Brotherhood as a “progressive,” pro-democracy party oppressed by fascistic U.S. allies. John Walsh of the Harvard International Review gushes, “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood provides an example of the goals and methods of centrist Islamism.” Among its achievements, the cadre “has established a network of social services in neighborhoods and villages,” which fills “gaps in government services.”

Two fellow academics agreed in The Boston Globe. Joshua Stacher, who teaches history at the American University in Cairo, and Samer Shehata, who teaches Arab Studies at Georgetown University, wrote, “Unlike other Islamist organizations, such as Hamas or Hezbollah, the Brotherhood has no armed wing, and neither the U.S. Department of State nor the European Union considers it a terrorist group.”

Similarly, the New York Times coos that the MB “helped establish a local health insurance system…During Ramadan, [a member’s] charitable organization distributes free food.” It praises “the [Egyptian MB] national platform with its typically populist positions.” The Times charts these populist crowd-pleasers’ totalitarian trajectory – only to excuse it. “Turning Egypt into an Islamic state is an interim goal along the way to recreating the Islamic empire, or caliphate, of 1,000 years ago,” it reports. But not to worry: this would resemble “something like the European Union.”

Well, something like the European Union if it cut off people’s hands.

The Council on Foreign Relations – by no means a conservative institution – is a bit more open: “Strengthening the role of Islamic law, or Shari’a, is at the center of the Muslim Brotherhood’s identity as an organization, both in Egypt and among the group’s many offshoots throughout the Muslim world.”

…Including the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliate in Iraq, where the MB’s parliamentary representation, the Iraqi Islamic Party, has heaped praise upon the “heroic Iraqi resistance.” This encomium encompasses whomever killed Casey Sheehan, the event Cindy exploited to begin her perpetual revolution-and-media-whoredom.

Cindy Sheehan thinks so little of her son that she is willing to join forces with the movement whose extremist ideology spawned the organization that killed him and whose offshoot holds his killers up as role models.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s continued radicalism belies the prophecy of the founder’s youngest brother, 85-year-old Gamal al-Banna. Gamal recently said, “The real test of the Brotherhood is to let it enter politics. They will be in a different situation when they confront the necessities of ruling, and there are only two possible outcomes. They will have to compromise or fail.” This was precisely what the intelligentsia said about Hamas’ electoral victory in Palestine. Instead, Hamas instigated a brutal civil war against Fatah, which resulted in the strange sight of Palestinians fleeing for refuge into Israel in order to escape fellow Palestinian Muslims.

Whenever Islamists take power, they engage, not in community building and progressive anti-poverty programs, but in jihad against all who oppose them – including, sometimes before all others, their fellow Muslims. This is the process Sheehan wished to accelerate with her protest last week.

To be fair, this was Sheehan’s second trip in which she met with those who supported the killing of her son, undertaken putatively to honor Casey Sheehan. In August 2006, she joined Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, and a dozen Code Pink activists on a trek to Jordan to meet with Iraqi pro-terrorist leaders. On the trip, she met with members of the Iraqi parliament, including Sheikh Ahmad al-Kubaysi, who once asserted that foreign jihadists like those who killed Casey Sheehan “are guaranteed Paradise.” The group also pressed the flesh with Saleh al-Mutlaq, leader of the Iraq National Dialogue Front, who wrote, “terrorists [are] the honorable national resistance movements…we cannot give peace.”

If her exploitation of her son’s death during her hate-filled protest in the United States, or her trip to buss Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, did not convince the national media of her opportunism, nothing will. Yet only when she embraces those who justify her son’s murder can one grasp the full breadth of her betrayal, of her son and her country.


This article originally ran as the lead story on Monday, February 18, 2008, on FrontPage Magazine.