In recent weeks, we saw how the Muslim world’s obsession with gaining converts evinces, in the words of one Muslim intellectual, an “inferiority complex”—a deadly one at that.
As it happens, inferiority complex is not the only psychological ailment besetting the Muslim world: some Muslims are also projecting the worst traits of Islam onto the beleaguered Christian communities living among them.
Take Egypt’s Christian Copts, for example. Much of the recent violence inflicted upon them is based on the constant—but baseless—accusation that the Coptic Church is abducting and tormenting Coptic women who convert to Islam. Amazingly, it is precisely the opposite scenario—Muslims kidnapping Christian women and forcing them to convert to Islam—that is a notorious phenomenon in Egypt.
Indeed, a bipartisan group of eighteen members of the U.S. Congress wrote last year to Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, director of the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office, documenting how Coptic females are increasingly subject to “fraud, physical and sexual violence, captivity, forced marriage, and exploitation in forced domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation, and financial benefit to the individuals who secure the forced conversion” (see Christian Solidarity International’s full report on the abuse of Christian women in Muslim Egypt for complete details).
A well-known psychological phenomenon, “projection” is defined as “the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people.” An academic article dealing with violence and projection states, “Projection allows the killer to project his (unacceptable) desire to kill (torture, rape, steal, dominate, etc.) onto some target group or person. This demonizes his target, making it even more acceptable to kill.”
Of course, projection has long been a means to demonize Israel. Islamists accuse Israel and the Jews of living for “perpetual war,” “legitimizing land theft in the name of God,” and “plundering their opponent’s property.”
In fact, nothing less than Islam’s holy law, Sharia law, mandates perpetual war, land grab, and the plundering of non-believers. Muslim scriptures, history, and current events are rife with examples; the overwhelming majority of what constitutes the Muslim world was taken by force. Only recently, popular Muslim preacher Abu Ishaq al-Huweini boasted about how jihad is one of the highlights of Islam, specifically because it allows the plundering of infidels and enslavement of their women and children.
Yet, because Muslims are currently in a weakened position, they see themselves as victims—not just vis-à-vis a stronger Israel, but even small and vulnerable communities like the Copts.
For example, even as the military cooperates with the Islamists to make Coptic life a living hell, the prominent Egyptian cleric Khalid al-Jundi complains that in Egypt “Muslims have fewer rights than Christians, and even do not have the right to worship like Christians,” insisting that more mosques need to be built, “for those which have been built are not enough.”
In reality, it is Egyptian churches that cannot be built or even repaired—in accordance with Islamic law—without a presidential decree. For example, during Mubarak’s final weeks, Egyptian security stormed the St. Mary church in Talbiya, forcing a stop to construction, demolishing stairs and toilets.
And while al-Jundi complains of Christians receiving more rights than Muslims, the fact remains: “More than one million Copts live in the Talbiya area, without a single church to serve them, having to travel for miles every Sunday with their children to the nearest church. The protesters pointed out that the area is full of mosques without licenses, but when it comes to the Copts, they toil for years to obtain a permit for a church, then security comes out with some sort of excuse to stop them from praying there.”
More proof was supplied days ago, when thousands of Muslims surrounded a church in Egypt, refusing to allow it to open, insisting that it not have a cross on the dome and threatening to burn it down like other Coptic churches.
Islamist projection was particularly obvious when Muhammad Salim al-Awwa, former secretary-general of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, appeared on Al-Jazeera last September and, in a wild tirade, accused the Copts of “stocking arms and ammunitions in their churches and monasteries”—imported from Israel no less, “the heart of the Coptic Cause”—and “preparing to wage war against Muslims.” He warned that if nothing is done, the “country will burn,” inciting Muslims to “counteract the strength of the [Coptic] Church.”
Al-Awwa further charged that Egypt’s security forces cannot enter the monasteries to investigate for weapons—an amazing assertion, considering that Coptic monasteries are not only at the mercy of the state, but are easy prey to Islamist and Bedouin attacks, with monks tortured and crucifixes spat upon. When the monks of an ancient desert monastery in Egypt tried to erect a fence to keep the Bedouin raiders out, the military destroyed it and opened fire on the monks, while shouting “Allahu Akbar!”