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So it is questionable whether the innovation and creativity Obama needs to launch the Arab countries in the new, positive direction of modernity even exists, which would cause all reform plans to be stillborn. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian opposition leader, blames the backward, learning-by-rote education system for the Arab world now being a “collection of failed states who add nothing to humanity or science.” But unlike Alawi, ElBaradei believes democracy will change this.
The lack of strong economies has also left the Middle East, especially Egypt, currently facing a grave danger to social stability in the form of a food crisis. Rising food prices have driven millions of Arabs into destitution where many now eat only once a day, if that. With food prices expected to rise even higher this year and foreign currency-poor Arab governments, like Egypt’s, unable to buy food on the international markets, mass starvation in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries is a distinct possibility, making regional reform difficult, if not impossible.
But it is in the area of religious tolerance where Obama’s hopes for reforming the Middle East will shatter decisively. While Obama said he will work to see “that all faiths are respected and that bridges are built among them” and Coptic Christians “have the right to worship freely in Cairo,” he pathetically failed to call for religious equality and to insist on an end to state-regulated anti-Christian religious discrimination.
Here’s the harsh reality staring us in the face and that Obama is blinding himself to: A poll taken last year indicated a majority of Egyptians believe in sharia law punishments, while 95 percent said “it’s good Islam plays a large role in politics.” The fact that a majority of those polled also believed in democracy indicates Egypt is on the road to becoming a democratically-elected Islamic state, where Western reforms will not be welcome.
And Egyptians may soon get their desired Islamic government. The Muslim Brotherhood announced recently it has formed a political party, which is expected to win Egypt’s next election. Extremists like the Brotherhood feel a need to Islamicize everything and believe the Koran contains all the answers. Such a poisonous political culture will maintain Egypt’s discriminatory, two-tier citizenship status, Muslim and non-Muslim, and keep the country a prisoner of rigid extremist doctrines.
Such a development will prevent Egypt from developing a positive and rich cultural, spiritual and economically-advanced society, since equality of all people is essential to a country’s prosperity and well-being. By electing an Islamist government, Egyptians will also prove, contrary to Obama’s wishful thinking, that they do no want to embrace modernity.
But the situation is even more serious than that. In Arab countries where extremists like the Muslim Brotherhood come to power, an environment of fanaticism will be created. Violence, as Egypt saw recently in the Coptic church burnings in Cairo, will become the order of the day.
It is Obama’s stunning non-recognition of this deeply embedded, Muslim extremist drive to destroy those who are different that also emerged in his speech when he called for Israel to return to its 1967 borders. This statement once again confirmed his credentials as a leftist ideologue who believes Israel is to blame for those who work to exterminate it. And despite his “assurances” of Israel’s security, the 1967 borders would be indefensible. This leads one to understand that it is not the Arab world that so much needs reforming as the destructive world outlook of an American president.
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