Thursday 5 January 2012

Egypt's threat to Jews and Christians

Contrary to the grand statements by Egyptian, Israeli and Western diplomats that the Camp David Accords were in no danger, Egypt’s new dominant political force, the Muslim Brotherhood, vowed this week to increase Cairo’s hostility toward Israel and to possibly cancel the Camp David Accords.

In an interview with the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat published on Sunday, Muslim Brotherhood deputy leader Dr. Rashad Bayoumi insisted that his group will never recognize Israel’s right to exist ‘under any circumstance.’

When he was reminded that the Camp David Accords obligate Egypt’s government to recognize and have peaceful relations with Israel, Bayoumi said he didn’t care: ‘This is not an option, whatever the circumstances, we do not recognize Israel at all …The Brotherhood respects international conventions, but we will take legal action against the peace treaty with the Zionist entity.’

Bayoumi’s remarks followed the first two rounds of voting in Egypt’s first parliamentary election since the fall of former dictator Hosni Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood is on track to control 40% of the parliament by the time the third round of voting is completed this week. Allied Islamist party al-Nour will come in second place by winning around 30 percent of the vote.

Western leaders have tried to downplay the fact that Egypt’s next government will be controlled by Islamist parties with ties to Hamas and other terror groups. Last year, US President Barak Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top American officials dismissed the Muslim Brotherhood a ‘fringe’ movement within Egypt (one Senator even said the Muslim Brotherhood was a ‘secular’ organisation), and was unlikely to win outright control in free elections. Obama insisted in early 2011 that the Brotherhood didn’t have majority support in Egypt.

When it became increasingly clear over the summer that the Muslim Brotherhood was emerging as Egypt’s new dominant force, Obama’s reaction was to ‘engage’ the party that had once been condemned by Washington as a terrorist organization.

This week, the Brotherhood’s second in command told Arab media that, once in power, his group will never recognize Israel and will work to undo the Camp David Accords, a policy that has the potential to unhinge what’s left of regional stability.

Another claim making the media rounds is that Egypt’s revolution and even the rise of the Islamists will be good for the country’s 8-10 million Coptic Christians.

Bolstering this fallacy was a photo (see above)showing a handful of Coptic Christians forming a protective ring around praying Muslims during the first anti-government demonstrations early last year. During the past week, the photo was placed highly on various polls for the best news photos of 2011, perpetuating the myth that Egypt’s revolution was a united Christian-Muslim effort or was not about religion at all.

Since the photo was taken, however, the rising Islamic tide in Egypt has claimed many Christian lives, and Coptic leaders have complained that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists are leaving them out of crucial decision-making processes that will determine the future of Egypt.

In a recent act of Muslim violence against the Copts, the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that a number of Coptic homes near the Egyptian city of Asyut were burned by Muslim mobs angered by a local Christian boy who shared a critical drawing of the Prophet Mohammed on his Facebook account.

Police stopped the mob from completely destroying the boy’s house, so they moved to the next village and attacked the homes of two Christian families that had nothing to do with the drawing or its dissemination over the Internet.

In October, an Egyptian court sentenced a young Christian man to three years in prison for posting opinions deemed offensive to Islam and Mohammed on his Facebook account.

It looks as though Israel will soon have a second Islamic Republic to deal with, this time on its very doorstep. And that Republic will be heavily armed with the best weapons America can sell.

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