Monday, April 18, 2011

Egypt's New Democracy: Christians Need Not Apply

The AP carried this story today: Egypt Islamists defiant over Christian governor. The story leads with this:

CAIRO – Protesters led by hardline Islamists in southern Egypt held their ground Monday, saying they won't end their campaign of civil disobedience until the government removes a newly appointed Coptic Christian governor.

The story also says that "tensions were so high that the local Christian residents had to stay inside and couldn't go to church to celebrate Palm Sunday."

Ah, the religion of peace ! The religion of tolerance!

The report continues:

The fall of Mubarak and the opening of the political system has prompted an explosion of political activity in Egypt.

The country's most organized political opposition group, the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood, has also become more vocal about its plans, drawing on its large network of social groups and followers, which it had for long to operate under strict security oversight from the Mubarak regime.

A senior group leader caused an uproar after he was quoted in local papers as saying his group seeks to establish an Islamic state, imposing Islamic punishments — including amputating hands for theft.

Under sharia (which we are told, over and over, by our own "experts" on Islam, is nothing to be afraid of) hand amputations are allowed. You can watch them being carried out on YouTube, though I would recommend doing so on an empty stomach.  The offender doesn't put his hand on a chopping block and get it severed by a cleaver (well, in some countries with low-budget sharia they still do, but not in places like Saudi or Iran). Instead, the victim is strapped to a table, and his hand is locked into a vise-like piece of equipment, and then it's sliced off. It's kind of like an assembly line: the victim's stump is then bandaged and they're ready for the next (alleged) thief.

Sharia also allows public lashings and canings, foot amputations, gouging out eyes, cutting out tongues, all the way up to and including stoning and crucifixion, although the preferred method of capital punishment is still beheading or hanging.

I am still amazed that our media glossed over, or deliberately omitted, references to the MoBro's more creepy ambitions. Everyone all over the world was in a lather over the exciting new day dawning in Egypt.

NPR continually aired "man in the street" reports from CAIR's own Ahmad Rehab, who kept repeating that this "grassroots pro-democracy movement" was for EVERYONE--every religious group, women as well as men, etc. CAIR was founded by, and still has strong ties, members of the MoBro, so of course they're beyond thrilled at this development.

(No one on the erudite staff of NPR expressed any concern about the possibility that the MoBro might be up to no good, despite reams of evidence (in their own words!) to the contrary. They're so inept, it's laughable. )

But there's more bad news.  Egypt, in many ways, is the most modern of all the countries that are turning hard-core Islamist. They traditionally had cordial relations with Israel (the Israelis aren't making any long-term plans in that regard, though, which is wise) and the US. It was fairly literate, and although still largely poor, the infrastructure has improved steadily. Egypt has been a tourist destination for Westerners(for centuries), and they were one of the few Muslim countries to have a cultural life--meaning literature and the performing arts. Also, you could get a drink there; the secular Muslim community enjoyed a lot of social liberties unknown in other Muslim countries, except possibly the big cities in Turkey. Yes, Egypt was corrupt and the economy was strained by a huge population and not-so-huge oil reserves, compared to their neighbors. But it seemed to be moving forward.

Now, all that is gone. And the poorer, less stable, more fundamentalist countries in the region are buckling too.

Islamism will prevail. It's time to have an honest discussion about what that means for our allies, and for us.

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