On radio this morning, Glenn talked about the steady flow of misinformation that has come from the administration regarding the terrorist attack on the United States Embassy in Libya. The media has followed suit with even more misinformation – including Time magazine whose Managing Editor likened a radical Jihadist group to the Tea Party on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
On Morning Joe, Time’s Richard Stengel said, “We have a great piece by Bobby Ghosh, who’s been on here before about the rise of the Salafis, in the Middle East, they’re the Tea Party of Muslim democracy, and that’s a fantastic, insightful story as well.”
“Do you have any Salafis are?” Glenn asked. “Not really good guys.”
The New York Times ran an op/ed in August that described the Salafis as one of the most radical groups in the Middle East:
In Tunisia, Salafis started the Reform Front party in May and led protests, including in Sidi Bouzid. This summer, they’ve repeatedly attacked symbols of the new freedom of speech, ransacking an art gallery and blocking Sufi musicians and political comedians from performing. In Egypt, Salafis emerged last year from obscurity, hastily formed parties, and in January won 25 percent of the seats in parliament — second only to the 84-year-old Muslim Brotherhood. Salafis are a growing influence in Syria’s rebellion. And they have parties or factions in Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Yemen and among Palestinians.
Salafis are only one slice of a rapidly evolving Islamist spectrum. The variety of Islamists in the early 21st century recalls socialism’s many shades in the 20th. Now, as then, some Islamists are more hazardous to Western interests and values than others. The Salafis are most averse to minority and women’s rights.
A common denominator among disparate Salafi groups is inspiration and support from Wahhabis, a puritanical strain of Sunni Islam from Saudi Arabia. Not all Saudis are Wahhabis. Not all Salafis are Wahhabis, either. But Wahhabis are basically all Salafis. And many Arabs, particularly outside the sparsely populated Gulf, suspect that Wahhabis are trying to seize the future by aiding and abetting the region’s newly politicized Salafis — as they did 30 years ago by funding the South Asian madrassas that produced Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Salafis go much further in restricting political and personal life than the larger and more modern Islamist parties that have won electoral pluralities in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco since October. For most Arabs, the rallying cry is justice, both economic and political. For Salafis, it is also about a virtue that is inflexible and enforceable.
The article continues to explain they are also for gender segregation in schools and offices. They are even said to be more anti-West than any other Islamist group, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
That really sounds like the Tea Party, doesn’t it?