While the debate rages in the U.S. over concerns the Muslim Brotherhood could be infiltrating the government, in Egypt questions are being raised about the loyalty of those closest to the country’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.
This week, Egypt Independent translated an intriguing item from the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm on the controversy surrounding the citizenship of Mohammed Morsi’s children. Two of his five children were born in the U.S. when their father was studying for his doctorate at the University of Southern California and are, therefore, U.S. citizens. Despite the outcry from their father’s political opponents and a legal suit against them, they’re refusing to give it up. The paper reports:
President Morsy’s children that were born in the United States, will not give up their US citizenship because it is their personal freedom, his son Osama told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
He was commenting on a case before the Administrative Court, which requests his two siblings, Ahmed and Shaimaa, be stripped of their American citizenship.
He is certain the case is not based on objective grounds, since forcing someone to give up their nationality is illegal and incomprehensible, but said it was up to the court.
Mohammed Salem, a lawyer, filed a lawsuit to demand Morsy’s children to give up their American nationality, which they were granted when they were born there while President Morsy was working there.
The case was considered last Sunday by the Administrative Court, which decided to postpone the case until a session on 20 September.
Because only this one item appeared in Egypt’s English language press, TheBlaze contacted Middle East Analyst Raymond Ibrahim, a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, to learn more. After finding additional details in the Arabic press, he explains that neither of the children who are U.S. citizens currently reside in the U.S. Son Ahmed works in Saudi Arabia, while daughter Shaimaa lives in Egypt. He tells TheBlaze:
As for why the children won't abandon their US citizenship, they cite "free choice."
Yes, Morsi's opponents, including lawyers and politicians are demanding that the children of Egypt's president have no loyalties to any other countries -- especially America, which is being portrayed as having interfered enough already in Egypt's internal politics. They cite the fact that American citizens, based on the citizenship oath, are obligated to be loyal to America before any other nation, asking - so what if Egypt and America are at war? Will the children of Egypt's president be aiding Egypt's enemies?
This of course begs the question: if it is dangerous for Egypt to have a president with children who have US citizenship, does the same logic not apply in the reverse, that it may be dangerous for America?
During the election campaign this spring, Morsi’s opponents pointed to the U.S. passports to question the Morsi family’s loyalty to Egypt. Ibrahim explains that the contest over which candidate was most patriotic and “how ‘un-Egyptian’ the other guy was” became a big issue.
Another crisis ensued when it was revealed that the mother of Abu Hazm, an Islamist who was eventually disqualified, also held U.S. citizenship.
There is an additional irony here which can’t be overlooked.
It’s popular in Islamist circles to criticize Western immorality, as exemplified by the United States. Here’s just one example: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Muhammad Badi —the group’s “Supreme Guide” – said in a 2010 sermon that the U.S. was “heading towards its demise” and was doomed to collapse due to its being “immoral.”
Dual citizenship is allowed under Egyptian law. It appears even for the most hardline Egyptian patriots and Muslim Brotherhood loyalists, the allure of a U.S. passport is just too precious a thing to pass up.