How the Conspiratorial American Right is Spinning the Egypt Protests

The emails started popping into my inbox: First, supposed “ex-terrorist” Walid Shoebat would be available for an interview about how “regime change” in Egypt would elevate the Muslim Brotherhood. “The Muslim Brotherhood, a group to which I once belonged, is supporting these protests,” says Shoebat, “and when you know what the long term goals of the Brotherhood are, you come to realize it’s not good.” He then goes on to compare what’s happening in Egypt to the Islamic revolution in Iran — a theory that Haroon Moghul has ably debunked here at RD.

Then Christian talk radio host and evangelist Michael Youssef announced that he would be appearing on CNN through out the day:

“Before you judge the motives of the protesters, you must know who is really behind those young people on the streets,” stated Michael Youssef, Ph.D. “The Muslim Brotherhood has been thirsting for power in Egypt for many, many years. Should they succeed, it will not only spell disaster to the west and to Israel, but also to the Christians and the secular-minded Muslims.”

Remember this about Shoebat: he claims to have been a former member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Muslim Brotherhood but to have since denounced terrorism — and Islam — in favor of a virulent, Islam-bashing Christian Zionism. Many of his biographical claims have been disproved, even by conservative writers — but he continues to be a frequent guest and “expert” for propagandists and conservative media parrots bent on claiming a fifth column of “radical Islamists” have infiltrated the United States with a plan to institute shari’ah law.

Shoebat has claimed President Obama is a Muslim supported by terrorists. To him, and his sidekick son Ted, Obama isn’t a real American Christian. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he said on G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show (via Media Matters):

So, you can see from Al Qaeda to the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas, every single Muslim terrorist organization supports Barack Hussein Obama. So why would Americans want to have a president that is connected to Islam and that is proud to be Muslim?

Now enter World Net Daily — the chief outlet for birtherite conspiracy theories which has relentlessly pushed the absurdity that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen and is a Muslim — and its ever-unreliable Middle East correspondent Aaron Klein, the “reporter” behind the debunked claim that Hamas supported Obama. He takes aim at Nobel Laureate and pro-democracy dissident Mohamed ElBaradei, claiming that he is an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Obama administration has been working with him to coordinate the protests in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood, Klein writes, “seeks to spread Islam around the world.” Get it? Obama’s a Muslim in league with the Muslim Brotherhood, aiming to install shari’ah law all over the world!

Never mind that — back in reality — ElBaradei has criticized the U.S. response to the protests, and the protests remain a distinctly political, not religious affair. But don’t be surprised to find all of these ideas — that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the protests, and that Obama is somehow linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and an evil plot to subvert “Judeo-Christian” values, America, and Western civilization — swirling around conservative media in the coming days.