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Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
February 18, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood and the future of the Middle East

Conflict continues in Egypt. A week after Hosni Mubarak left office, some are beginning to question the military’s willingness to adopt economic and political reforms. Today’s New York Times profiles a populace which is increasingly concerned for the future of the revolution they sparked.

Of even greater global concern is the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the new government. The Brotherhood was founded in 1928. Hasan al-Banna, a 22-year-old elementary school teacher, led this Islamic revival movement after the Ottoman Empire collapsed following World War I. It accused the Egyptian government of being passive with regard to Israel. A member of the Brotherhood assassinated the Egyptian Prime Minister on December 28, 1948; four Brothers murdered Anwar al-Sadat in September of 1981 after he negotiated a peace treaty with Israel.

The Brotherhood produced Ayman al-Zawahiri, the doctor who is Osama bin Laden’s deputy in al-Qaeda. It also birthed Sayyid Qutb, the writer who inspired Osama bin Laden and radical Muslims around the world.

What are its intentions now? One Brotherhood official is quoted in the current Time magazine: “We believe in democracy and all its rules. We believe in the principle that the people are the origin and source of sovereignty and that the people choose their leaders in free and secret ballots.” By contrast, Niall Ferguson claims in the current Newsweek magazine that the Brotherhood is “wholly committed to the restoration of the caliphate and the strict application of Sharia.”

What no one disputes is that the Brotherhood is the best-organized opposition movement in Egypt. If elections were held today, many observers believe that the Brotherhood would gain a significant if not majority position in the new government. What would then happen to the treaty with Israel? To Egypt’s role as energy supplier to the Jewish state? What about control of the Suez Canal and oil shipments to the West which come through this channel every day? What role would a radical Muslim government in Egypt play in the larger Middle East?

These challenging days call God’s people to pray and to trust. We are to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2), asking God to give them wisdom (James 1:5-8). We must pray for Christians in Egypt, asking the Lord to protect them from persecution and meet their needs by his grace (Philippians 4:19). John Wesley believed that God does nothing except in answer to prayer. So intercede for Egypt and its role in the future.

And trust in the God who is not surprised by anything you’ve read this morning. Jesus was blunt: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Seek and fulfill God’s purpose for your life today, giving tomorrow to your Father. And know that the safest place in all the world to be is the center of the will of God.

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