Obama Overlooks Christian Persecution

Thursday, 24 May 2012 07:35 PM

By James Walsh

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Coptic Christians have resided in Egypt since the 1st century A.D., some 600 years before Muhammad began preaching and 630 years before he solidified Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.

Muslims entered Egypt in the year 639 and by the 13th century, Islam had taken over. By the 20th century, Christians, who formed only 10 percent of the Egyptian population, were finding themselves victims of on-again-off-again pogroms conducted by Muslim radicals.

copticpriest.jpg
A Coptic priest casts his ballot in Egypt's presidential election on May 23 amid fears of increased persecution.
(Getty Images)
As a result, a growing number of Egyptian Christians have come to the United States as legal immigrants and asylees.

Take, for instance, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Egyptian descent who today is a small-businessman in Florida.

As a Coptic Christian with family members still residing in Egypt, he is able to comment on the current sufferings that Christians endure in Egypt, especially since the 2011-2012 Arab Spring that displaced a number of leaders in the Mideast.

In Egypt, Muslim attacks on Christians intensified during the presidency of Anwar Sadat (1918-1981) and lessened during the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, who limited Islamist activities.

The current turmoil in Egypt is increasing the number of Egyptian Christians seeking asylum in the West and especially in America. Most of these asylees are educated men and women who are professionals and entrepreneurs. Banking in Egypt historically has been in the hands of Christians.

Even so, under Sharia (Islamic law), non-Muslim “infidels” have to pay a tax called the Jizya for living in a Muslim country, even those whose families predated the Muslims.

Egyptian Christians and U.S. citizens of Egyptian ancestry feel abandoned by the United States, which currently refuses to acknowledge persecution of Christians by Muslims, lest it offend the Muslim world.

President Barack Obama banks on Egyptian Christians being too genteel to take to the streets in protest as the radical leftists do.

On June 4, 2009, when President Obama delivered his “New Beginnings” speech in Cairo, Egypt, he addressed the Islamic world. As with his other speeches, this one had an air of campaign rhetoric well-delivered with apology, empathy, and accolades for Islam.

The “We love you” chants for Obama in Cairo, however, cannot erase the terrorist acts committed against Christian “infidels.”

These terrorist acts, which began in earnest in the 1970s, escalated to a crescendo during the Arab Spring of 2011-2012 in Egypt and other Muslim countries. The chant in Egyptian streets is now “Allah Akbar” (God is great) and “We love death,” as radical Islamists take center stage.

The result has been increased emigration of Christian Egyptians to Western countries. In Egypt, the Arab Spring did not bring the promised democracy and freedoms that the Western news media predicted; instead it reignited a religious pogrom.

In February 2011, then Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pulled an Obama two-step by deflecting to the U.S. State Department questions regarding the New Years’ murders of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the ravaging of a cathedral.

The State Department’s answer was silence. Human Rights Watch, however, did note growing religious intolerance and violence against Christians in Egypt — after additional murders of Christians and burning of churches.

The 2011 State Department Annual Report on International Religious Freedom refused to list Egypt as “a country of particular concern,” even as Christians and others were being murdered, churches destroyed, and girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. The Obama administration played politics by failing to acknowledge this terrorist behavior.

In May 2012, Christians fear that Islamists will be the finalists in the field of 13 presidential candidates for the June presidential run-off election. The candidates who happen to be Islamists are supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB), founded in Egypt in 1928 to return Muslims to a religious following of the Quran, has become very political with an estimated membership of 600,000 and the slogan, “Islam is the solution.” The Salafists, a militant Islamist group that originated in Saudi Arabia, is an extreme sect of Sunni Islam with links to al-Qaida.

Its main tenets include jihad against all infidels, establishment of a world caliphate, and imposition of Sharia law. The Salafists agitate worldwide for sectarian warfare, episodes of which have occurred recently in Egypt, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The Salafists and the MB seek Islamic law as the basis for a new Egyptian constitution, which will consider all non-Muslims as infidels subject to persecution as third-class citizens.

During the Obama presidency, 31 major Islamist attacks have occurred worldwide, not counting those in Israel, India, and Russia. Yet the Obama administration and the Democrat Party continue to mislead U.S. citizens, claiming the need for empathy to assuage Muslim sensibilities.

It is time for a new foreign policy.

James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.

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