On 'Morning Joe,' TIME's Richard Stengel Compares Radical Islamists to Tea Party; No One Protests Swipe

Corrected from earlier | Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel appeared on the September 27 Morning Joe to give viewers a preview of the latest issue of the magazine, the cover story of which is devoted to Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. At the tail end of the segment, teasing other articles in the issue, Stengel plugged Bobby Ghosh's interview with Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the son of Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind sheikh" serving time in a federal prison for his role in aborted 1993 bombing plot targeting the World Trade Center.

"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," Stengel noted. Neither Joe Scarborough not co-host Willie Geist threw a penalty flag at Stengel's unnecessary roughness, comparing the Tea Party to radical advocates of stringent Sharia law. [MP3 audio here; video at bottom of post]

As Ghosh's interview with Salafist leader Rahman makes clear, a companion piece published online today by Ashraf Khalil makes clear, the radical Islamists in Egypt want the blind sheikh released from prison and they want to impose sharia law in Egypt:

“For [the Brotherhood)],” he explains, “it’s optional whether to grow your beard or not. For us there is no other option. For them, it’s optional whether women should wear the niqab. For us, there is no other option.” It’s clear that he regards all these “options” in the Brotherhood camp as signs of their weakness and moral flexibility. It all boils down to what the Salafists want. “It’s very simple,” says Abdel Rahman. “We want shari’a. Sharia in economy, in politics, in judiciary, in our borders and our foreign relations.The internal debate among us is how quickly we want to implement it. Do we do it all at once, or do we do it gradually so as not to shock people too much.”

That in no way sounds like Tea Partiers who revere the U.S. Constitution and its protections of individual liberties.

Indeed, the state of events in Egypt is moving in a direction that would quash free speech and free religious inquiry. As William Booth reported in today's Washington Post, 27-year-old blogger Alber Saber, an atheist of Coptic Christian heritage, was "arrested two weeks ago on charges of disdaining religion and ridiculing religious beliefs and rituals."

"How do I know who the true God is?" Booth quotes Saber from a video on a Facebook page, adding that Saber "contends that conflict among the three major religions creates confusion."

Simply questioning if there is a God is enough to get a man thrown into jail in Egypt.

That's nothing any Tea Party adherent would condone in the States, or anywhere for that matter, except perhaps the warped mind of Richard Stengel.

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Foreign Policy Libya Egypt Tea Parties Religion Anti-Religious Bias Christianity Islam MSNBC Morning Joe Time Video Ashraf Khalil Mohammed Abdel Rahman Omar Abdel Rahman Rick Stengel Bobby Ghosh Richard Stengel