A Cairo military court against 40 members of the Muslim Brotherhood displayed the Egyptian government’s disregard for fundamental human rights. The Muslim Brotherhood has considerable support among the people of Egypt, but it has been denied the right to participate in the electoral process for fear a democratic election would witness them gaining a large number of seats in Parliament. Instead, their leaders are on trial for supporting terrorism. The “trial” proceeded without lawyers, journalists, or representatives from human rights groups being allowed to witness proceedings.
On one hand, President Bush proclaims his opposition to regimes which fail to adhere to democratic processes, on the other hand, he allies America with nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia which deny basic human rights. Perhaps, there is a short term gain for this approach, but in the long term, an electoral triumph for such groups as the Muslim Brotherhood spells further disaster for America’s ability to alter conditions in the Middle East. We tried this policy in Iran and witnessed the end of the Shah and assumption of power by Muslim fundamentalists who hate the United States. When will we ever learn the importance of dialoguing and interacting with diverse groups?