The demonstrations continue; where is Obama?
Survey after survey, as well as the election results that put the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi in the presidential palace, show that most Egyptians want Islamic law. But those who do not are not submitting quietly to Sharia tyranny.
Morsi has declared a state of emergency and given the military the power to arrest civilian protesters, yet still the anti-Morsi demonstrations continue. And while he quickly endorsed the demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak that ultimately led to the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascent to power, Barack Obama has been reticent about supporting these demonstrations, as he was in 2009 when thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest against the mullahcracy.
But aren’t these “pro-democracy” protesters? After all, Morsi has been notably inhospitable to dissent, arresting his critics and overseeing the adoption of a constitution that Egyptian Christians fear will be used to deny them basic rights, in accord with Sharia provisions institutionalizing discrimination against non-Muslims. Videos have come to light in which he lashed out against Jews with venomous hatred, referring to Qur’anic curses of them as “apes and pigs” and declaring that there could be no negotiations with Israel.
Those who are protesting against his regime, on the other hand, are in favor of genuine democratic rule, without Sharia restrictions on the freedom of speech and its denial of equality of rights to large segments of the popular.
Yet Obama is silent. The only two mass popular uprisings in Muslim countries that he has not supported have one thing in common: both have been against pro-Sharia Islamic supremacist regimes. All the popular uprisings he has supported, meanwhile, have resulted in the installation of pro-Sharia Islamic supremacist regimes.
One might be pardoned for thinking that Obama is in favor of pro-Sharia Islamic supremacist regimes. In any case, so are most Egyptians: a Pew Research Center survey conducted in Spring 2010, before the chimerical “Arab Spring” and the toppling of Mubarak, found that no fewer than eighty-five percent of Egyptians thought that Islam was a positive influence in politics. Fifty-nine percent said they identified with “Islamic fundamentalists” in their struggle against “groups who want to modernize the country,” who had the support of only twenty-seven percent of Egyptians. Only twenty percent were “very concerned” about “Islamic extremism” within Egypt.
Another survey in May 2012 found little difference. 61 percent of Egyptians stated that they wanted to see Egypt abandon its peace treaty with Israel, and the same number identified the hardline Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the country that should serve as Egypt’s model for the role Islam should play in government. 60 percent said that Egypt’s laws should hew closely to the directives of the Qur’an.
Yet these surveys show that a substantial minority in Egypt does not want Sharia, and the demonstrations this week demonstrate that they’re determined to make a stand. They oppose the new Egyptian constitution that, as the Associated Press reported, “largely reflects the conservative vision of the Islamists, with articles that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities and civil liberties in general.” They have every reason to be concerned, for the constitution reflects in numerous particulars Sharia restrictions on their rights. AP noted that the constitution’s wording “could give Islamists the tool for insisting on stricter implementation of rulings of Shariah.”
Also, “the draft contains no article specifically establishing equality between men and women because of disputes over the phrasing. However, it maintains that a woman must balance her duties toward family and outside work, suggesting that she can be held accountable if her public role conflicts with her family duties. No such article is mentioned for men.”
The implications for women’s rights are as obvious as they are unsurprising in light of Sharia’s reduction of women to the status of little more than commodities, slaves of the men who own them.
Then there are numerous articles heralding the introduction of Sharia restrictions on the freedom of speech. Islamic law forbids criticism of Islam, Muhammad and the Qur’an, and the constitution duly contains an article that “bans insulting or defaming the prophet and messengers.” And it doesn’t stop there. Another article bans “insulting humans,” suggesting authoritarian restrictions on criticism of political leaders, and yet another “underlines that the state will protect ‘the true nature of the Egyptian family ... and promote its morals and values,’” about which AP notes: “phrasing that is vague and suggests state control over the contents of such arts forms as books and films.”
Darkness is descending upon Egypt, with willing aid from the putative leader of the free world, who has resisted cancellation of a deal that would send F-16s, tanks, and $1.5 billion to Egypt. The protesters whom Barack Obama should be supporting are on the streets of Cairo now. Instead, the outgoing Secretary of State insists that Morsi has “a lot of the right intentions” and that opposing him would be unwise: “We must make sure the revolution isn't hijacked by extremists.”
In reality, the “extremists” are already in power. That America is not standing with those who oppose them is just the latest disgrace in the long line of disgraces that is Obama’s foreign policy.
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