Egyptian protesters threw shoes and tomatoes at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s motorcade in Alexandria this week. The New York Times reported that their demonstration “delighted conservative bloggers in the United States” but “what has attracted less attention” is why they were protesting: a conspiracy theory cooked up by Islamophobes in the U.S. that the Obama administration is working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood:
Pressed by American reporters to explain where they got the idea that their new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, had been foisted on them through a U.S. plot, rather than the will of the majority, several Egyptians cited information gathered from American blogs or news sites.
An Egyptian-American Christian who met Mrs. Clinton on Sunday cited a recent assertion by Representative Michele Bachmann, a Republican, “that the Obama Administration is pursuing a closeted pro-Muslim agenda,” in a conversation with Time magazine’s correspondent, Abigail Hauslohner.
Rumors that the Obama administration has provided the Muslim Brotherhood with billions of dollars in aid remain an article of faith with many Egyptians who are convinced that Mr. Morsi’s victory was a sham, despite repeated efforts by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to correct the record on Twitter.
That’s right — Bachmann’s ludicrous allegation that the Muslim Brotherhood has “penetrated” the United States government convinced anti-Islamist Egyptians that the U.S. is backing their domestic Islamist opponents. The source for Bachmann’s ravings is Frank Gaffney, a conspiracy theorist who claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the government and that shari’a law is coming to the U.S.
Non-coincidentally, one Egyptian blogger, Sara Ahmed, said that retired Lieutenant General William Boykin had evidence that the U.S. was in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood, pointing to an episode of Gaffney’s radio show in which he hosted Boykin. The retired military officer has claimed that there ought be “no mosques in America” and that Muslims are “under an obligation to destroy our Constitution.” Underscoring why such rhetoric is so dangerous, Ahmed said that a senior official of Boykin’s level “wouldn’t say such thing without proof!”
The Obama Administration is quite wary of the consequences of the Brotherhood’s electoral victory for regional stability and has been prodding the Brothers to respect the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Meanwhile, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has publicly called on Bachmann to produce solid and irrefutable evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated the U.S. government.
An Egyptian newspaper editor told Matthew Bell that “a member of Congress even says US supports the Brotherhood!”