Study Guide: Muslim Brotherhood and more on Egypt

  1. Egypt revolt is 'step towards Islamic Middle East'

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Osama+bin+Laden+has+suffered+kidney+failure,+bone+marrow+disease,+liver+ailments,+cancer+and+depression+-+when+he+wasn%27t+playing+soccer,+raising+Arabian+horses+or+sneaking+into+Albani%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=u&tbs=nws:1&source=og&sa=N&tab=wn <http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Osama+bin+Laden+has+suffered+kidney+failure,+bone+marrow+disease,+liver+ailments,+cancer+and+depression+-+when+he+wasn%27t+playing+soccer,+raising+Arabian+horses+or+sneaking+into+Albani%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=u&tbs=nws:1&source=og&sa=N&tab=wn>

  1. QUOTE FROM 2000: "THE WORLD IS LESS, NOT MORE DANGEROUS, THAN A DECADE AGO. AMERICA IS RELATIVELY STRONGER TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE MISGUIDED CLAIMS OF MESSRS. BUSH AND MCCAIN."

http://books.google.com/books?id=N7byI1yLTJgC&pg=PA3357&lpg=PA3357&dq=%22THE+WORLD+IS+LESS,+NOT+MORE+DANGEROUS,+THAN+A+DECADE+AGO.+AMERICA+IS+RELATIVELY+STRONGER+TODAY+THAN+EVER+BEFORE,+NOTWITHSTANDING+THE+MISGUIDED+CLAIMS+OF+MESSRS.+BUSH+AND+MCCAIN.%22&source=bl&ots=c5fgw8Z5fv&sig=NAJG0o5X-Drfpj5QXXCc8ZmYAhY&hl=en#v=onepage&q=%22THE%20WORLD%20IS%20LESS%2C%20NOT%20MORE%20DANGEROUS%2C%20THAN%20A%20DECADE%20AGO.%20AMERICA%20IS%20RELATIVELY%20STRONGER%20TODAY%20THAN%20EVER%20BEFORE%2C%20NOTWITHSTANDING%20THE%20MISGUIDED%20CLAIMS%20OF%20MESSRS.%20BUSH%20AND%20MCCAIN.%22&f=false <http://books.google.com/books?id=N7byI1yLTJgC&pg=PA3357&lpg=PA3357&dq=%22THE+WORLD+IS+LESS,+NOT+MORE+DANGEROUS,+THAN+A+DECADE+AGO.+AMERICA+IS+RELATIVELY+STRONGER+TODAY+THAN+EVER+BEFORE,+NOTWITHSTANDING+THE+MISGUIDED+CLAIMS+OF+MESSRS.+BUSH+AND+MCCAIN.%22&source=bl&ots=c5fgw8Z5fv&sig=NAJG0o5X-Drfpj5QXXCc8ZmYAhY&hl=en#v=onepage&q=%22THE%20WORLD%20IS%20LESS%2C%20NOT%20MORE%20DANGEROUS%2C%20THAN%20A%20DECADE%20AGO.%20AMERICA%20IS%20RELATIVELY%20STRONGER%20TODAY%20THAN%20EVER%20BEFORE%2C%20NOTWITHSTANDING%20THE%20MISGUIDED%20CLAIMS%20OF%20MESSRS.%20BUSH%20AND%20MCCAIN.%22&f=false>

  1. U.S. open to a role for Islamists in new Egypt government

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-fg-us-egypt-20110201,0,2958266.story <http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-fg-us-egypt-20110201,0,2958266.story>

Muslim Brotherhood Logos

El-Baradei & National Association for Change

http://egyptelections.carnegieendowment.org/2010/09/22/national-assocation-for-change <http://egyptelections.carnegieendowment.org/2010/09/22/national-assocation-for-change>

  • The National Association for Change (NAC) is a broad opposition coalition pushing for pro-democracy constitutional reforms created by former International Atomic Energy Association head Mohammed ElBaradei and a close group of supporters.
  • The association is the product of an initial meeting in February 2010 at ElBaradei’s home of approximately 30 politicians, intellectuals, activists, and other prominent figures in Egypt who identified with the renewed call for democratic reforms that the return of ElBaradei has prompted
  • The Muslim Brotherhood’s endorsement of the National Association for Change’s signature campaign has given the initiative a significant boost and engendered hopes for cooperation between opposition forces with different ideological orientations in the 2010 elections. It has also alienated some NAC sympathizers who are strongly opposed to the Brotherhood.

El Baradei Quote

  • "The Muslim Brotherhood is a conservative religious group, like Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and Evangelists in the United States. They are a minority in Egypt and do not have power to undermine our constitution, which guarantees a civil government to lead the country", announced ElBaradei

El Baradei SOT (CNN, Jan 30)

  • “The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian model, has nothing to do with extremism…They are part of the Egyptian society, as much as the Marxist party here. I think this myth that has been perpetuated and sold by the regime has no - has no iota of reality

Rosie O’Donnell SOT (“The View,” ABC, 2006)

  • Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam (applause) in a country like America

RIOT PAMPHLET

Egyptian Activists' Action Plan: Translated

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/01/egyptian-activists-action-plan-translated/70388/# <http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/01/egyptian-activists-action-plan-translated/70388/>

Egypt protest leaflets distributed in Cairo give blueprint for mass action

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/27/egypt-protest-leaflets-mass-action <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/27/egypt-protest-leaflets-mass-action>

  • The leaflet includes aerial photographs with approach routes marked and diagrams on crowd formations. Suggested "positive" slogans include "long live Egypt" and "down with the corrupt regime". There are no signs of slogans reflecting the agenda of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. It advises demonstrators to wear clothing such as hooded jackets, running shoes, goggles and scarves to protect against teargas, and to carry dustbin lids – to ward off baton blows and rubber bullets – first aid kits, and roses to symbolise their peaceful intentions.
  • Diagrams show how to defend against riot police and push in waves to break through their ranks. "The most important thing is to protect each other," the leaflet says.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD / US CONNECTIONS

Jodie Evans, Bill Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn - Flotilla

http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2011/01/29/did-muslim-brotherhood-learn-day-of-rage-egypt-protest-tactics-from-obama-allies-bill-ayers-and-code-pink/ <http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2011/01/29/did-muslim-brotherhood-learn-day-of-rage-egypt-protest-tactics-from-obama-allies-bill-ayers-and-code-pink/>

  • Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans, accompanied by the former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn – organized an inside-outside game of political theater to bring pressure on the Mubarak regime to allow the aid for Hamas to be delivered though Egyptian checkpoints.
  • Evans and Code Pink lobbied Mubarak’s wife for assistance, as well as the U.S. embassy in Cairo. On the other hand, the group led hundreds of Western leftists in challenging the Egyptian government with boisterous street protests.
  • Code Pink was not shy about its support for Hamas. The group bragged that Hamas terrorists guaranteed their safety in Gaza. <http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2010/01/12/hamas-terrorists-guaranteed-code-pinks-safety-in-gaza/>
  • Code Pink had also allied itself with the Muslim Brotherhood. Code Pink took out banner ads on the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English language Web site asking jihadis to “join us in cleansing our country” <http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2010/01/11/obama-ally-code-pink-invites-muslim-brotherhood-join-us-in-cleansing-our-country/> of so-called war criminals which included former President George W. Bush and wife Laura.
  • Ayers & Dohrn participated in the Weather Underground’s 1969 “Days of Rage” in Chicago.  Last Friday’s rioting in Egypt was also called “Days of Rage.” It is telling that the protests Friday in Egypt were dubbed by the Muslim Brotherhood, a “day of rage.” <http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Egyptian+opposition+promises+rage+today/4182700/story.html>  The Brotherhood said its members will demonstrate “with all the national Egyptian forces, the Egyptian people, so that this coming Friday [today] will be the general day of rage for the Egyptian nation.”

Code Pink Ads on Muslim Brotherhood Website

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_D2s5woTPKs8/S0s1zFoD0rI/AAAAAAAABWA/VhrHTqLQr8o/s1600-h/MB_CodePink.jpg <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_D2s5woTPKs8/S0s1zFoD0rI/AAAAAAAABWA/VhrHTqLQr8o/s1600-h/MB_CodePink.jpg>

“Arrest the War Criminals” & “Women Say No to War”

Code Pink Statement published by Muslim Brotherhood

http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2010/01/11/obama-ally-code-pink-invites-muslim-brotherhood-join-us-in-cleansing-our-country/ <http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2010/01/11/obama-ally-code-pink-invites-muslim-brotherhood-join-us-in-cleansing-our-country/>

Code Pink Letter to First Lady Suzanne Mubarak

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jodie-evans/a-letter-to-her-excellenc_b_403245.html <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jodie-evans/a-letter-to-her-excellenc_b_403245.html>

  • At this year's end, we have organized a march of nearly 1,400 international citizens to come together and march with the families of Gaza on the anniversary of the terrible 22-day Israeli invasion. We know you share our painful feelings about the human rights violations in Gaza -- violations which must be all the more painful for their proximity to you. We appeal to your compassion for those women, men and children and the conditions in which they live. The delegates on this march are bringing winter jackets for children, as well as children's medicines and school supplies.
  • We once again ask you to intervene on our behalf. Please help us travel to Gaza from December 29-January 2 to deliver much-needed aid and to march hand-in-hand for justice and human rights for all.

Code Pink – Ayers, Dohrn, Evans pics from Egypt

http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2011/01/29/did-muslim-brotherhood-learn-day-of-rage-egypt-protest-tactics-from-obama-allies-bill-ayers-and-code-pink/ <http://biggovernment.com/taylorking/2011/01/29/did-muslim-brotherhood-learn-day-of-rage-egypt-protest-tactics-from-obama-allies-bill-ayers-and-code-pink/>

Code Pink Release posted on Muslim Brotherhood Website

http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=20231 <http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=20231>

Large Delegation, Mostly Americans Launch Campain Urging Obama To Visit Gaza From Egypt

GAZA FLOTILLA & MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE JEWISH CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS REPORT ON THE FLOTILLA.

YOU CAN READ THE ENTIRE REPORT HERE:

http://www.jcpa.org/text/Turkey_Muslim_Brotherhood.pdf <http://www.jcpa.org/text/Turkey_Muslim_Brotherhood.pdf>

IHH Was Not Acting Alone – The Role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood Network

  • The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant longterm development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas.
  • Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity. The AKP allowed key elements of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and above all the International Union of Muslim Scholars, led by Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, to operate freely on Turkish territory, with its active support, as witnessed by the large number of conferences held recently in Istanbul and sponsored and/or attended by Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
  • However, as this report demonstrates, the IHH was not acting alone but rather was an integral part of a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network comprised of seven NGOs with strong links to each other, to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and to the Turkish political establishment.
  • The Turkish/MB network has been supported by nearly the whole of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, whose affiliates, from a number of Middle Eastern countries, provided passengers for the Mavi Marmara. In addition, the Global Muslim Brotherhood frequently held press conferences and demonstrations to demonize Israel, initiated legal actions against Israeli leaders, and delivered aid to those in conflict with Israel. The Turkish/MB network played a major role in supporting the Gaza flotilla prior to its launching through statements and press conferences, and one of its most important leaders, MAZLUMDER Chairman Ahmet Unsal, was on board the flotilla. In the aftermath of the flotilla, the Turkish/MB network continued its support in more official statements, and at a post-flotilla event in Kuwait, Turkish/MB network leader Gazi Misirli revealed that MUSIAD had played a major role in funding the flotilla by “coordinating” donations. In addition, the Turkish/MB network was in ongoing contact with Hamas leaders

Wade Rathke

http://chieforganizer.org/ <http://chieforganizer.org/>

  • On his blog, Rathke wrote about Egypt:  “But in the meantime keep your running shoes handy and in good repair. The streets are on fire and we need to keep our feet in shape so the dogs can keep barking.”
  • Rathke is the founder of ACORN International

Wade Rathke & Drummond Pike

http://www.organizersforum.org/index.php?id=362 <http://www.organizersforum.org/index.php?id=362>

  • Both men are on the board of directors of the Organizers Forum
  • The mission of the Organizers Forum is: to strengthen grassroots organizations by increasing capacity and stability of these democratic structures, to link organizing networks, and to improve on the skills and strategies employed by both community and labor organizers.
  • The Organizers Forum plans to host its fall 2011 International Dialogue in Egypt where they will meet with labor and community organizers and other activists in Cairo
  • There are exciting changes and developments that are currently taking place in Egypt with elections coming soon to determine leadership transitions in what has been an autocratic regime, now challenged by the Muslim Brotherhood and succession and democracy issues

Muslim Brotherhood

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1235

  • Accordingly, the Brotherhood seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate spanning the entire Muslim world. It also aspires to make Islamic (Shari’a) law the sole basis of jurisprudence and governance. Toward this purpose -- encapsulated in the Brotherhood’s militant credo: "God is our objective, the Koran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations" -- the Brotherhood since its founding has supported the use of armed struggle, or jihad.
  • The Brotherhood supports the waging of jihad against non-Muslim "infidels," and has expressed support for terrorism against Israel, whose legitimacy the Brotherhood does not recognize, and against the West, particularly the United States
  • Outlawed in Egypt in 1954, the Brotherhood temporarily receded as a political force. It re-emerged under Anwar Sadat, a sympathizer of the group. Taking advantage of the Brotherhood’s militant aversion to secularism, Sadat sponsored it against his communist and socialist political opposition. Later, however, the Brotherhood joined the political Left in opposing Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel, believing the normalization of relations with Israel to be a betrayal of Islam.
  • Outside the Middle East, the Brotherhood has expanded its operations to the United States. Muslim activists affiliated with the Brotherhood have founded the Muslim Students' Association <https://mail.google.com/groupprofile.asp?grpid=6175> , the North American Islamic Trust, the Islamic Society of North America <https://mail.google.com/groupprofile.asp?grpid=6178> , the American Muslim Council <https://mail.google.com/groupprofile.asp?grpid=6146> , and the International Institute of Islamic Thought <https://mail.google.com/groupprofile.asp?grpid=6180> . The Brotherhood also reportedly exercises a strong influence in Muslim communities throughout Europe.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf <http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf>

The Brotherhood listed some 29 likeminded "organizations of our friends" seeking to realize the same goal. These included:

Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF)

http://www.adl.org/main_Terrorism/backgrounder_holyland.htm <http://www.adl.org/main_Terrorism/backgrounder_holyland.htm>

  • The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), once considered the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., has been shut down by the government for funding Hamas <http://www.adl.org/main_israel/hamas_facts.htm> .
  • On May 27, 2009, a federal judge in Dallas handed down sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years in prison to five of the charity's founders and former fundraisers. The federal government proved to the jury that the defendants funneled over $12 million to Hamas after the U.S. government had designated it a foreign terrorist organization in 1995.
  • The Justice Department contended that HLF provided more than $12 million to individuals and organizations linked to Hamas between 1995 and 2001. In addition, the group reportedly raised a total of $57 million since its incorporation in 1992, but only reported $36.2 million to the IRS.
  • A first trial ended in a mistrial in October 2007 when the jury failed to come to a unanimous decision on most counts.

TARIQ RAMADAN

  • Ramadan is a citizen of Switzerland
  • Ramadan's grandfather founded the Muslim Brotherhood
  • Ramadan has been banned from entering France
  • Ramadan was banned from entering the US in 2004 due to accusations of supporting the militant Palestinian group Hamas.
  • Labels US security policy as "draconian" and "hostile to freedom"
  • Declares there is a "double standard" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Often criticized as a "charlatan" who says one thing to European audiences and something else to Muslims
  • Time magazine named Tariq Ramadan one of the 100 innovators of the 21st century

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/08/nyregion/08muslim.html <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/08/nyregion/08muslim.html>

  • In the summer of 2004, Mr. Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, was preparing to travel to the United States to become a tenured professor of religion, conflict and peace-building at the University of Notre Dame <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/university_of_notre_dame/index.html?inline=nyt-org>  when the Bush administration revoked his visa <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/26/national/26scholar.html> .
  • The government cited a provision of the Patriot Act <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/u/usa_patriot_act/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier>  that allows the barring of foreigners who “use a position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.” Officials eventually pointed to Mr. Ramadan’s donations of about $1,300 from 1998 to 2002 to a Swiss-based charity that the Treasury Department later categorized as a terrorist organization because it gave money to Hamas <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/h/hamas/index.html?inline=nyt-org> , the militant Palestinian <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/p/palestinians/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> group.
  • Mr. Ramadan, now a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, contended he was unaware of any links between the charity and Hamas or terrorist activities. The professor, who had visited the United States dozens of times, said he believed that the organization was involved in legitimate charitable activities.
  • The civil liberties union challenged the exclusion in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Ramadan and three organizations that had invited him to speak: the American Association of University Professors, the American Academy of Religion and PEN American Center. His lawyers argued that the exclusion was an illegal form of censorship, motivated by the professor’s political views and criticism of American policy.
  • But he has also antagonized a wide range of critics, who have accused him of being a radical in a moderate’s clothing, and of speaking in contradictions. Some have tried to draw direct links between his teachings and the Islamic radicalism espoused by his grandfather, Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, a sometimes-violent political group in Egypt. But Mr. Ramadan, who has rejected violence in the service of Islam, accuses his critics of not reading him carefully enough — or not reading him at all.

Peace Professor Singled Out Jews of France,  NY Sun,  January 7, 2004

  • On November 14, 2003, the French newspaper Le Parisien published an article quoting a former French intelligence officer and investigator for the families of the victims of the September 11 World Trade Center bombing, Jean Charles-Brisard, that Mr. Ramadan was suspected by European intelligence agencies of meeting Al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri in 1991.
  • Mr. Ramadan in October published an article on an Islamic Web site,Oumma.com, singling out some of France's Jewish intellectuals for supporting the war in Iraq and thus, he said, placing the allegiances of their religion ahead of their obligation as scholars.
  • In it he wrote that the analysis of French Jewish intellectuals was "increasingly oriented toward a community-based concern that tends to relativize the defense of universal principles like equality and justice."

Tariq Ramadan: some call him "the most dangerous man in Europe", others "the Martin Luther of Islam". Just how sinister is he?

(New Statesman, June 1, 2004)

  • Most loaded of all was Ramadan's use of the term "communitarian politics" as a charge against the liberal intelligentsia. In French, it carries with it not only an attack on the intellectual integrity of individuals, but also a challenge to the fundamental principles of the Republic.
  • Ramadan was, in other words, not only accusing Jewish intellectuals of Jewish self-interest but also, in an echo of the Dreyfus affair, of deliberately acting against the interests of the state. This is precisely why the level-headed and highly respected Kouchner called him "a most dangerous man".
  • Ramadan's response to his critics is that he does not want to be drawn into "a discourse of hate". He adds that all Muslims must know how to rise above such predictable enemies. "There are certain insults which are unworthy and which we do not have to answer," he say

Court rules Swiss authorities wrong to fire Muslim teacher who defended stoning for adultery

(AP, April 3, 2004)

  • Tariq’s brother, Hani Ramadan, was suspended from duty in October 2002 after he wrote an article on Muslim Shariat law for the French newspaper Le Monde. Besides defending stoning for adulterers, he also said AIDS was a form of divine retribution against sinners

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2010/04/an-evening-with-ramadan.html <http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2010/04/an-evening-with-ramadan.html>

  • I cited quotations from al-Banna expressing pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic views; I quoted Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a follower of al-Banna who is a hugely popular TV preacher on Al Jazeera, expressing similar views. And I asked Ramadan why he had never acknowledged, let alone condemned, these things…
  • But he refused to acknowledge that his grandfather and the Muslim Brotherhood in its origins were characterized by anti-Semitic or totalitarian views. It seemed clear that there was a limit to what he would allow himself to say or think, and that I had found it.

http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/2004/time100/scientists/100ramadan.html <http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/2004/time100/scientists/100ramadan.html>

  • Detractors claim that Ramadan's messages are filled with a double language. His followers, they say, can decipher his words as a call to furtively spread fundamentalist Islam in society under the cover of modernism and integration.
  • Critics have denounced as anti-Semitic Ramadan's recent critique of "Jewish French intellectual" reaction to the intifadeh. They were appalled when he suggested last year a "moratorium" on the stoning of adulterers in order to consider the legitimacy of the act.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!