Even before President Morsi’s accession to power in Egypt, many journalists, diplomats, and former officials traveled to Cairo to engage with the Muslim Brotherhood. In the forthcoming issue of COMMENTARY, I’ll talk a lot more about how so many Western officials came to see the Brotherhood as a partner rather than pariah. I won’t spoil that article, but not surprisingly, one theme is that the Brotherhood sometimes says one thing in Arabic and quite another in English.
The protests and riots in Egypt over the last couple days have provided a priceless example. While the Muslim Brotherhood’s twitter account in English said they were “relieved none of @USembassycairo staff was hurt,” their Arabic language tweets were praising and inciting the protestors. According to Al Ahram:
This reconciliatory tweet, however, was posted while the Brotherhood’s Arabic-language Twitter account and its official website were both praising the protests — staged against a US-made film judged defamatory towards Islam — and calling for a million man march on Friday. One Arabic language article on the Brotherhood’s site sported the headline ‘Egyptians rise to defend the Prophet’. Noting the contradiction, the US Embassy in Cairo tweeted a tart response from its own account: “Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too.”