Apparently Muslims can be Islamophobes. Who knew?
If you want any background on Hatem Bazian, suffice it to say he's a terrorist supporter with a long history of operating on American campuses and ties to the Muslim Brotherhood's front groups.
Steven Emerson, in his book American Jihad, quotes Bazian sermonizing at an American Muslim Alliance conference in May 1999, promoting the Islamic State of Palestine. Excerpts from the quote read, "In the Hadith, the Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews . . . and the stones will say, 'Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!'"
So this is the perfect guy to pen an Al Jazeera editorial accusing the Muslim Egyptian government of Islamophobia while using lib-speak direct from campus gender studies.
It's the worst of both worlds.
The military and the old hands at the Interior Ministry moved swiftly to redefine the opposition and in the process establish legitimacy by means of brute force and power utilised in "defending" the nation. To accomplish this task, the military unleashed a deliberate "Othering" campaign against the Brotherhood and its supporters that was highly Islamophobic, deploying a barrage of anti-Muslim tropes to achieve the desired outcome. The state and the privately-owned press worked to magnify and project this otherisation message, and in a short period the protesters in the encampments were no longer Egyptians protesting the military's undemocratic actions but "a terrorist breeding ground" threatening Egyptian national security.
The Muslim Brotherhood has a long history of terrorism and they were bringing weapons to their encampments, shooting bystanders and burning churches.
Those facts may be "Othering", but they are true.
But does Hatem Bazian really want to claim that Al Azhar Islamic University, which backed the new government, and General Al-Sisi, an Islamist in such good standing that he was Morsi's own choice, not to mention the Salafist Nour Party, are Islamophobes?
And if so, then doesn't Hatem Bazian use Islamophobe to mean Anti-Brotherhood?
Speaking from an American political lens, the Brotherhood and its supporters experienced a "Swift Boating" moment, and in a short period were redefined in the consciousness of many Egyptians
Were they really? Or was the pre-existing definition that had been blurred by sympathy for the Brotherhood during the Mubarak era reapplied?
More importantly, the military, official state religious leadership and the "liberal secular" forces used Islamophobia to defend their collective actions against those elected while casting themselves as the defenders of "liberal" values or true religious tolerance
Can devout Muslims even be Islamophobes? Does opposing Islamists make one an Islamophobe? Isn't opposing Al Qaeda then Islamophobia?
Adding more fuel to the fire is the systematic stoking of religious tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians with emphasis on assigning responsibility to the Brotherhood for fomenting attacks on some 30 churches across Egypt. The attacks on Coptic churches are an old Interior Ministry strategy intended to divide the communities, develop mistrust on the ground level and increase the feeling of insecurity that then can be harnessed to consolidate power by means of extracting cooperation through intimidation.
The attacks on Christians during the Mubarak era were also carried out by Islamists. But the liberals who lied about it then have stopped lying now.