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The ‘Few Extremists’ Keep Winning Elections

Islamists protest while holding a picture of Osama bin Laden and a copy of the Koran during a protest in Cairo

More depressing news from Egypt merely underscores the reality that the democracy unleashed during the Arab Spring is revealing a culture far more troubled than most Americans ever realized. It’s become almost an article of faith amongst Western apologists that our perceptions of the Middle East have been ruined by the “few extremists” and that painting contemporary Islam with a broad, jihadist brush is the essence of “Islamophobia.” But now that those few extremists seem to be in the habit of winning landslide elections, the new tactic appears to be casting the Muslim Brotherhood as “moderate.”

Of course, if we’re willing to constantly redefine the term “moderate,” then the apologists can never be wrong. After all, you can always find ever-greater shades of extremism in the Middle East. But the fact remains that the Muslim Brotherhood has a worldview that is not only incompatible with Western civilization, but so alien to the contemporary American experience that it’s often incomprehensible to our fellow citizens. If you catch an Iraq or Afghan vet in an unguarded moment — particularly if they were “outside the wire” and living close to the population for any extended period of time — the stories of local depravity, brutality, and hate (sometimes even from small children) are beyond shocking. And in those regions where we’ve defeated the jihadists, the system that replaces jihad is one that no American would enjoy.

To be perfectly clear, the only thing that prevents yet another force-on-force war of extermination against the Jews is the military weakness of Israel’s enemies. If Egypt were stronger — or Israel weaker — we would see another Yom Kippur War. The “Arab Street” would demand nothing less.

This article is crossposted at National Review Online.

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