Is Egypt banning the Muslim Brotherhood a “good thing?”

On its face, the question in the title would seem silly. Of course, anything that is anti-Muslim Brotherhood must be a good thing. The Muslim Brotherhood is an evil organization that applauds, encourages, consorts with, and may very well be a terrorist organization. Asking if they should be banned would most likely meet with a hearty “hell yes” from most Americans. I would not disagree with the sentiment – based on the malicious rhetoric and disgusting acts carried out by members of the Brotherhood in the name of their god.

That said, I think the idea of banning a “political organization” has deeper philosophical problems than the ones we may consider at the start. Our hope in Egypt was to help mold and fashion a new society that valued democratic values like free speech and free association. While banning the Brotherhood may be what the “heart” wants, could it, in fact, cause more problems for the young democracy in the future?

EgyptMuslimBroHQThe banning of parties is what despotic or weak governments do. In China, only the Communist Party is allowed. In parts of Europe, National Socialism has been banned due to the evil, racist past of the party in Europe. Again, I understand the sentiment, but has the banning of Nazism cured racism in Europe? No. In fact, while Nazism has been banned in Europe since shortly after World War II, fringe radical Nazi groups have continued to persevere through the years. Today, one only needs to attend a soccer match in mainland Europe to see some disgusting displays of racism, eerily reminiscent of WWII Nazi Germany.

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Monday morning news broke that the Muslim Brotherhood had been banned by the courts in Egypt and that the same ruling also ordered that the Brotherhood’s assets be frozen and administered by the state. “The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation and its non-governmental organisation and all the activities that it participates in and any organisation derived from it.” It’s important to note that this is not the first time the Brotherhood has been banned in Egypt, and it’s obvious that the previous ban did little to stop the party from gaining influence.

Moreover, the move to ban the radical Islamist group seems to increase the danger that its members may turn to violence to try to regain their power, as opposed to using democratic means. Before the banning members of the group could try to work within the system to bring about the change they wanted to see in Egyptian society; now that will no longer be possible and many of its members may feel that violence is the only solution. Some estimates put the membership of the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood at over 1 million people. Imagine the havoc an organization of that size could wreak if they were forced to become an underground militant group.

egyptprotestI despise everything that Muslim Brotherhood stands for. I think that they are evil and that their views are disgusting. However, I believe that banning them from the public arena will do more harm than good and that it is in everyone’s best interests to allow them to operate by the light of day. If the Egyptian people are not strong enough to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood within the bounds of a democratic state, then they don’t deserve the liberty that our system provides.

That may seem overly harsh, but the benefits of freedom come at the cost of hearing hard things.


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