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True democracies allow freedom of conscience and the right to express it. They respect and protect their citizens’ right of free expression – even expression deemed offensive to one group or another. That’s what President Obama told the UN General Assembly last Tuesday. But in practice, the Obama administration decided to make an example of the alleged producer of the offensive anti-Muslim video and have him arrested on trumped up charges of violating the terms of his probation for a past conviction on bank fraud charges. He is being held without bail. His purported probation violations were said to include using computers and accessing the Internet without supervision.
If every probation violator were put in jail, there wouldn’t be enough prisons in the United States to hold them all. But this particular probation violator, a Coptic Christian man originally from Egypt, was special. He allegedly used a computer and the Internet to do what Obama told the General Assembly must not be allowed to happen: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
By his actions, Obama is edging closer to the position of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who lectured the UN General Assembly in his own speech that “obscenities recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities is unacceptable and requires a firm stand.”
Following through on Morsi’s declaration, an Egyptian Copt was arrested last week in Egypt on suspicion of posting the anti-Islam video online and making another video mocking all religions. Egyptian prosecutors had previously ordered the arrest of eight people who allegedly helped to make and distribute the anti-Islam video including the alleged producer and the U.S. pastor who helped promote it, Terry Jones. At least the Egyptian government was honest about what it was doing. The Obama administration chose to use the pretext of a purported probation violation as cover to arrest the alleged video producer and showcase the arrest to the Muslim world.
What is emerging in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Arabic and Muslim world is not true democracy as Obama would have us believe. It is Islamic fundamentalism wrapped in the cloak of modern democratic terminology.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his remarks to the General Assembly:
The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred.
That is not Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood leadership, where free speech is suppressed and its president has said that women and Christians do not belong in government leadership positions. Yet we are supporting this government with billions of dollars of unconditional aid. That is not Libya, in which our ambassador and three other Americans were slaughtered and a power vacuum is being filled by Islamist jihadists. Yet Obama minimized the violence as a “bump in the road” on the path to democracy. That is not Pakistan, where blasphemy is a capital offense, violence in the wake of the video caused more than twenty deaths, Christians are regularly persecuted, the Taliban killing our forces in Afghanistan is given sanctuary and Osama bin Laden was hidden. Yet Hillary Clinton praised Pakistan as a “good partner.” During her meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari last week on the sidelines of the General Assembly session, she called Zadari “my friend.” This “friend” the very next day urged the General Assembly to criminalize blasphemy internationally.
Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and other Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, are in varying degrees part of what Netanyahu called the “forces of medievalism” that “seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified.”
The American people must demand strength in confronting the global jihad movement and defeating these “forces of medievalism.” Without unequivocal vigilance to protect our nation’s most fundamental principles rather than try to curry favor with the Muslim world, our First Amendment right of free expression will be further eroded until it becomes unrecognizable.
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