May 1, 2013
The Republican Party in America suffered from consecutive defeats in the Congress and Senate elections during the 1960s and 1970s. The party, which is economically conservative, could not confront the Democratic Party on several social levels, such as social justice, health and education. The Republican Party encourages bold capitalism and does not look after social security issues or equality between minorities. It has also not made any efforts to contain marginalized groups or the escalating number of migrants.
The Republican Party therefore needed to alter its policies in order to put an end to the electoral bleeding that went on for years. And so the party tasked a group of experts to place it back in its electoral position. After months of study, those experts noticed that there were areas, or rather entire states, distinguished by very negative performances in elections.
The voter turnout percentage was too low. These areas were in what is known as the "Bible belt," which is primarily in the southern part of the United States. Experts also noticed that the percentage of participation in rural areas was close to zero not due to lack of capabilities or awareness but because the residents of those areas did not feel that any of the candidates implemented the words of God and the Bible as they should.
This was the turning point toward the transformation of the Republican Party’s electoral rhetoric. It was also the beginning of it becoming a religiously conservative party in addition to being economically conservative. So it began to work toward gaining the sentiment of right-wing blocs with religious orientations. Instead of only competing with the Democratic Party on the economic front, it preferred to address other issues like women’s rights and abortion, in addition to other socially controversial topics.
Almost 40 years later, the Republican Party has transformed into a racist party par excellence. It hates minorities and marginalized sects in the country, supports the possession of arms, despises the world’s cultures, always supports wars and unconditionally loves Israel.
And so the party’s common name became the "stupid party." Bobby Jendal, one of the party’s representatives, said in a famous speech "we must stop being the stupid party."
Forty years of extremist right-wing policies led to the best of the dumbest of leaders, like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin.
The party’s racist policies have led many minorities to abstain from voting for it. For example, most Arabs and Muslims voted for the Republican Party because its conservative policies matched most Muslims’ and Arabs’ traditions. However, ever since George W. Bush became president and ever since the rise of the neoconservatives in the Republican Party, those Muslims and Arabs have voted for the Democratic Party. This happened although the Democratic Party is more liberal, but most Arabs and Muslims have seen that the conservative party has become one that is conservative on the racial level and one that spreads a rhetoric of hatred.
Since stupidity knows no religion, it also knows no ceiling or limits.
Several years ago, a group that called itself the Tea Party appeared in America. The group had more right-wing orientations than the Republican Party’s general policies. They are extremists who are more religious and stricter in their opinion that the Republican Party has become. This group has accused some of the party’s leaders of not being Christian enough.
The only thing that formed an obstacle for these extremists was the US Constitution, as it stipulates the clear protection of human rights from the church’s or religion’s teachings. Despite violations, the rule of the separation of state and church stood its ground.
Let’s now take a look at the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The group had a golden chance to repeat the Turkish model and unite everyone under one umbrella. But it preferred to go further toward a right-wing policy, ally itself with Salafi movements and play the guaranteed card of religion during elections.
But since it chose to outbid others by making use of what is sacred, the same sacred weapon was used against it. The Brotherhood is now burned by the right-wing weapon it pulled out against us. But Egypt burns along with it.
While the normal pious Muslim man’s biggest concern was fairly participating in governance in a manner that guarantees his rights and freedom to preach while not being afraid of being pursued or arrested, the Brotherhood turned it all the other way around via its media outlets and by maliciously using Salafists in a survival battle where the Islamic project must win and where God’s law must apply to all. The Hatt-? Hümayun definition of the Islamic project and its deviant understanding of God’s laws do not matter. The battle has become one that will be won by the man with the louder voice making more bids over everyone. With outbidding came hatred, the despising of minorities and disdain of others’ cultures and opinions.
With the absence of a clear separation between religion and politics like in the American Constitution, there is no ceiling for religious outbidding in Egypt.
If you open the door for religious outbidding in the country, someone who is more religious than you will appear. Someone who pretends to be more devout and pious will appear and say that you are not implementing texts (regardless of the texts’ interpretations) or that you are against Shariah (despite the flexibility of Shariah.) The result is that outbidding will not stop because there is always someone telling people they are not religious or Muslim enough.
The Brotherhood has outbid us, the Salafists outbid the Brotherhood and then the jihadists outbid both. The average citizen may ask, "Where is Islam amid this nonsense?"
You ruined religion through politics, and you ruined politics under the name of religion. You spread hatred among people. And so there is no more ceiling for extremism, racism and stupidity.
You may win the elections and the seats, control Egypt’s street by playing the religion card and hide behind the obnoxious game of sectarianism. But you have lost yourselves and pitted people against one another when you used sacred religion in the unsacred game of politicians.
God will not leave you unpunished and will not forgive you for what you have done to this country and religion. When civil war rages in this country, history will mark in which era it erupted and because of whom. And there is no power or strength except through God.
— Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian doctor, satirist, and the host of El Bernameg ("The Program"), a satirical news program broadcast by a private Egyptian television station. The press has compared Youssef with American comedian Jon Stewart, whose satire program "The Daily Show" inspired Youssef to begin his career. Despite all the controversy and legal debates it has sparked, El Bernameg has been a major success. It is constantly topping the regional YouTube charts, making Youssef’s YouTube channel one of the most subscribed to in Egypt.