Rep. Keith Ellison: Muslim Brotherhood irrelevant [TRANSCRIPT]
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has made a run for the border after three weeks of protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Egyptians have thrown off decades of autocratic, humiliating rule. The country seems poised for the advent of democracy.
Ellison: Ignore the Muslim Brotherhood.
Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is having none of it. Interviewed last night by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell (before Mubarak stepped down today) he called the Muslim Brotherhood irrelevant, and urged Americans to be inspired by Egypt's home-grown democratic movement.
We transcribed the exchange:
O'DONNELL: In terms of events in Egypt tonight, I'd like to get your sense of the Muslim Brotherhood, and what to expect if they do become part of a power-sharing government. Apparently at this time their leaders poll very badly among the Egyptian population and they seem to represent approximately 20 percent of the people. What would be your anticipation of the Muslim Brotherhood's roll in a future Egyptian government?
ELLISON: What is so exciting about this [Egyptian] movement is that it is a stunning rebuke to al-Qaedaism, a stunning rebuke to anyone who would impose their will on the people through the use of bombs, or force, or anything like that. Not only that, but the people who are in Tahrir Square, some of them are religious, some of them are not, but this is a demand for dignity, for democracy and jobs, and it's exciting. It's both sexes. It's different kinds of people, Christian, Muslim, people of all different kinds of backgrounds. This is about the people. It has nothing to do with what some sectarian group's agenda is. This is a scarecrow, this talk about the Muslim Brotherhood. But the most important thing is this a group of people who are rejecting al-Qaedaism, rejecting religious extremism and saying they want what we already have, which is democracy, and we have to stand on the side of that, Lawrence. I urge the leaders in the United States, with every fiber in my being, to stand unequivocally with the people of Egypt.