I try to focus on Shadi Hamid's ideas instead of analyzing his motives (defending the Muslim Brotherhood), background (working within an "Islamic framework" in the past) and agenda (presenting a more nuanced image of the Muslim Brotherhood to the West). In other words, to approach him as a writer and not a Muslim Brotherhood groupie is hard.
With writers like Mahmoud Salem, a secular, there is a clear alignment between his posts, articles, interviews and tweets. He owns his secularism and is consistent in his message. Even when I disagree with some of his positions, I clearly see where he's coming from. With Hamid it's not the case. He claims to be "liberal" yet this liberalism is selective and is used mostly when dealing with the West.
A perfect example of Hamid's selectivity, is his new article on The Atlantic. There is nothing offensive about it (he is giving some tough love to the MB) and it caters well to a Western audience (liberally inclined). Saying that, the article is selective in its facts. He refers to the 1930s Penal Code but doesn't discuss how arcane its articles are (e.g., you go to prison if you criticize a foreign president or a king). He ignores the fact that the current Egyptian government is selective in applying the Penal Code (e.g., inflammatory sermons and speeches by religious figures on TV, radio and mosques are not penalized). He raises the point of "accepted norms" to isolate Egypt from the rest of the world when discussing civil liberties (i.e., insinuating that the "accepted norm" in Egypt is to reject the language used by the Dustour). Below is an excerpt I like from Hamid's article and more importantly after three posts criticizing the guy, I'm going to make the coming two weeks Hamid free:
Image: Shepard Fairey's Freedom of the Press.