Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has been struggling for some time over how to respond to escalating regime repression, arrests of its most moderate leaders and local organizers, constitutional changes expressly aimed at limiting its political participation, a frenzy over the alleged resignation of its Supreme Guide, and media campaigns aimed at tarnishing its image at home and abroad. With all that, did it really need to take on... Beyonce?
The story, according to Lebanon's al-Akhbar, is that Jay-Z's Destiny recently announced a date in an Egyptian resort on November 6. Brotherhood Parliamentarian Hamdi Hassan then challenged the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister to defend why she was given a permit to perform in Egypt.
Mobilizing outrage against performances by pop tarts is a time-honored Islamist political move, as I used to chronicle regularly back at the old Abu Aardvark site under the title of the "Nancy Ajram-Haifa Wehbi culture wars". It's hardly a surprise that a concert by a sexy American woman makes for an attractive target for whipping up some controversy.
But still... Beyonce? No doubt they intended to distract attention from their recent internal problems. But it's one thing to grumble about Shakira or Haifa Wehbi. It's quite another to take on Hova's global hegemony. Let's see how smart they feel when Kanye West lands in Cairo...
Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.