One week ago, the Muslim Brotherhood was in charge of Egypt. Today it is calling for a violent uprising against the government it once led. As we’ll see today, Egypt’s revolt is bad for America, for democracy, and for Christianity. It has never been more urgent that Christians respond with the most powerful tools given to us by God.
The Arab Spring seemed to be a good thing—advocates for Western-style democracy calling for the overthrow of their unelected, despotic rulers. But once again, pro-democracy forces violated Samuel Huntington’s rules for democracy: unrest, followed by the tools of democracy (political parties, free press, trade unions, etc.), followed by voting. By skipping the second step, Egyptian elections handed the government to the Muslim Brotherhood, as it was the only organized political party of any significance.
But things soon went awry for President Morsi. Egypt’s security and police forces pressed for better pay and working conditions; his resulting animosity alienated the military, which has long been the dominant power in Egypt. Morsi alienated the judiciary as well, declaring himself above their review and moving to impose a more strict Shariah-based constitution. When a popular revolt against him began in early May, the army was quick to grant its wishes as a means of securing their own power.
Here’s why these developments are bad for democracy: the fall of the Brotherhood will discourage other Islamist groups from using the democratic process to advance their aims. “Bullets over ballots” will be the likely result in Syria, Jordan, and much of North Africa. The Egyptian revolt will strengthen monarchies in the Arab world as well, as they can claim that democracy doesn’t work in their culture. Most radical Muslims already reject democracy; now they are likely to escalate their violence against all who do not share their ideology.
This battle is more urgent than most of us realize, a point Lee Harris makes clear in his frightening The Suicide of Reason. He claims that when fanatics (those who are willing to die for their cause) band together in a tribal commitment against their enemies, they are historically far more likely to win than lose. Political persuasion, assimilation, and seduction (offering Western materialism and values) have failed so far in this battle with radical Muslims. At the same time, the frontier spirit and commitment to faith and family that empowered our democracy are in decline at the very time when we need them most.
What can you and I do? As you may know, Ramadan began last night. This annual observance unites the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims in a month of prayer, fasting, and contemplation. There is no better time to pray for Muslims to encounter Jesus than during these weeks; I commend “8thirty8” and the 30-day prayer calendar from Open Doors USA. Please join me in praying every day for 100 million Muslims to come to Christ this year.
Spiritual awakening is the only true answer for radical Islam. And it is the only true hope for America as well.