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The persecution of Christians in Morsi’s Egypt is now serious. So, will Obama use his billion dollar subsidy in their defence? Don’t hold your breath

Obama’s personal history may explain why

By on Friday, 18 January 2013

A man weeps over the coffin of a Copt killed in clashes in Cairo last year (AP)

A man weeps over the coffin of a Copt killed in clashes in Cairo last year (AP)

I open by drawing your attention to the shocking story (one among an increasing number of examples of the growing oppression of Coptic Christians under Egypt’s brand-new Islamist dictatorship) of Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was brought up as a Christian, and converted to Islam when she married a Muslim, 23 years ago. He later died, and his widow decided to return to her Christian faith, together with her children. She registered as such under the Mubarak regime, and applied for and received new identity cards containing this information, between 2004 and 2006. When her re-conversion to her old faith emerged under the Morsi regime, Nadia was sentenced to fifteen years in prison: so too were her seven children; even the clerks who processed the identity cards were imprisoned.

In the article where you may read about this (link above), Benjamin Weinthal draws attention to an interesting question, posed by one Jordan Sekulow, who runs something called the American Center for Law and Justice. “Now that Sharia law has become an integral part of Egypt’s new constitution, Christians in that country are at greater risk than ever,” comments Sekulow of the imprisonment of Nadia Mohamed Ali and her children. “This is another tragic case that underscores the growing problem of religious intolerance in the Muslim world. To impose a prison sentence for a family because of their Christian faith sadly reveals the true agenda of this new government: Egypt has no respect for international law or religious liberty.”

All, I fear, increasingly evident, as Morsi’s real agenda unfolds before the Western world’s horrified gaze, causing many to wonder if Egypt really wasn’t a lot better off under the tender mercies of Hosni Mubarak. Morsi has refused to take any action against the rising violence against the Copts (10 per cent, don’t forget, of Egypt’s population). In August, the Christian community in a place called Dahshour (some 100 families) was forced to flee after their Muslim neighbours violently attacked their homes and property. Morsi simply said, when asked, that their expulsion and the violence against them had been “blown out of proportion”. He has done nothing to contain the violence encouraged by radical Salafi preachers – who have of course formed an alliance with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood – who called for Muslims to “shun” Christians during Christmas: not, we may be sure, a simple matter of ignoring them.

So, what, it might be wondered, will President Obama say about all this? Morsi is due to meet the President, possibly in March. Sekulow thinks that the US State Department should play “more of a role in discouraging this kind of persecution. The US should not be an idle bystander. The US provides more than $1 billion to Egypt each year. The State Department should speak out forcefully against this kind of religious persecution in Egypt.”

But will it? Will President Obama use that billion dollars (which he will add, don’t forget, to America’s multi-trillion dollar deficit) to bring pressure on Morsi to protect his Christian minority? For the answer to that, I refer you to a very interesting piece by Michael Yussuf, born an Egyptian Copt and now an American citizen, who opens with a simple question: “Why doesn’t President Obama – who claims to be a Christian – ever defend the cause of the harassed and persecuted Christians around the world?”

According to Yussuf, it’s because he prefers Islamist dictatorships to secular ones. He was quick to call on Mubarak to resign. Morsi’s dictatorship is just as corrupt: but, says Yussuf, “that is cultural; the increase — not decrease — in corruption under the Islamic dictator who replaced Mubarak has proven that.” He points out that Rashid Khalidii, a Hamas supporter and former PLO advisor, is an old Chicago friend of Obama’s, and that the president also studied under and maintained a relationship with Edward Said, who served as a member of the Palestine National Council and worked with Yasser Arafat.

Morsi and Obama, says Yussuf (who really doesn’t like Obama), “both love to hear themselves talk. Not just any talk, but speeches that support ideas that are the opposite of what they actually do. When they give a speech, knowledgeable people in both countries look at each other and ask, “What did he just say?” For both of them, speeches are all about the art of composition – words, mere words. They speak out of both sides of their mouths.”

All of that is interesting, and some of it may even be valid. But one thing is absolutely certain. “The Christians being killed in Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, and Nigeria”, as Yussuf says, “don’t have an advocate in the White House, but they do have one in Heaven. That is the only place they need to look for help.” More to the point, it’s the only place they can look. Certainly Obama will not help them. And he’ll carry on subsidising the Islamist dictator Morsi to the tune of a billion a year. What are we to make of that?

  • Sweetjae

    I wish but I’m just a Catholic not of the ‘cherry picking’ kind! Loyalty to ALL* Councils and the Pope!

  • Sweetjae

    Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom of course, through King James VI and others are Wales, North Ireland and England. I was talking about the predominant fourth, England and her imperialist past.

  • Sweetjae

    By the way, I’m an ex-ranger and now making a living by math.

  • Polly

    In answer to your question: I would not hold my breath!

  • Yorkshire Catholic

    This can be my final comment on this particular thread. Obama is not more indifferent than any other Anglo-Saxon diplomat or statesman to this sort of situation. Eisenhower would probably have done much the same, especially under these particular sets of circumstances.
    Here are the sorts of argument diplomats tend to use.

    1. Egypt is the cornerstone of the Middle East and it is in a very fragile condition. Withholding aid could lead to social and political collapse, and perhaps the starvation of millions of people.
    2. Any support for persecuted groups is best done privately — and probably is done — at summit meetings etc. Public support for them intensifies suspicions that they are just  Fifth Columnists of teh Christian West and can actually endanger them.
    3. There is little practical support that can be given. There is no military option.The US can’t send in the Sixth Fleet or drop Seals down to protect   the Copts.
    4. Egypt is a sovereign state with its rights enshrined in international law and agreements.The US is not entitled to suddenly intervene in Egypt’s internal affairs, ignoring the legalities and political realities. If it were to do then, that action would weaken the US’s position in many countries–and lead to the erosion of its global dominance.

    Privately I think they would also argue that diplomacy is a limited instrument and has perforce to be confined to dealing mainly with the leaders and governments of countries. When diplomats dance with the opposition, they tend to trip up badly.

    As for direct intervention: ask the surviving Christians of Iraq what they think of George W. Bush whose benighted interventionist policies destroyed the freest Christian communities in the Middle East and replaced them by an Islamic republic. (Our Tea Party posters don’t seem fazed by that.)

    If you have read Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’, you will know that the Copts have been (probably rightly) bitter about Western indifference to them for many years. In the 1970s when the fighting started in Lebanon, the then Archbishop of Canterbury even called on British Christians NOT to identify or take the part of their Middle Eastern co-religionists.

    Obama is not to  blame (and only knee-jerk Tea Party types would do so) for reacting much as Western governments have usually done over the last two hundred years. They have to tread between two minefields: the fanatics among the Muslims and the counter-fanatics among the Christians who [hopelessly] want to bring out a fiery sword and start swinging it. (Even on this threat, there have been voices calling for ostracism of all Muslims without any distinction between fanatics and moderates and banning of immigrants and perhaps even expulsions: quite apart from their immorality and impracticality, these proposals are of course read and discussed by Muslims and stoke the fires on that side of the line too, something these advocates of the religion of love and forgiveness never seem to think of.)

    There are some standards we could set and small steps which could be made. They are not panaceas or magic wands, but they might lead in time to amelioration. They include:-
    Careful monitoring of instances of persecution, a fair minded attitude to both sides (after all we have seen hideous persecution of Muslims by Christians in southern Europe in our time), working to build up international law, discouraging fanaticism and yes, asking blunt questions of both Christians and Muslims about their conduct when appropriate, usng  and deeper analysis of the underlying social and political situations in Middle Eastern countries, usually discussed at the moment in terms of a litany of shoddy cliches.

    The Middle East is a huge economic and social failure. The Arab Spring signaled that substantial elements in these countries do see that and are fiercely impatient — but in toppling the dictatorships, the revolutionaries predictably only empowered the likes of Morsi. There are many grounds for thinking that this problem is not temporary but will intensify—and this is very dangerous to ourselves. But losing our perspective and calling on our politicians to behave like Crusaders is no better than pouring petrol on the flames.

    On with the day.

  • Yorkshire Catholic

     Addendum: Oh and I forgot to mention Syria: Dr Oddie mentions Egypt and Obama. He doesn’t discuss the active support that Britain and the USA have given to the destabilisation of Syria–including it would appear a good deal of covert operational help. Now that the idiocy of their handiwork is becoming visible, and it is clear that the means is an internecine civil war and the outcome will it be a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship, perhaps the US and Britain are pausing: perhaps not. The least British Catholics could do for Christians in Syria is to stand up to protest against the hypocritical words and policies of our leaders, men who invoke human rights to impose death and dictatorship.

    Direct Western interference in the Middle East never seems to be a good idea.

  • Gildaswiseman

    ‘cherry picking’ kind! Loyalty to ALL* Councils and the Pope!
    My goodness me! You are a very presumptuous person. The Study and clarification of the Church’s teaching is not cherry picking. Refusal to obey the Doctrines of the Church is an act of heresy, however, It is not your place to presume who is or is not loyal to Catholic teaching. You simply appear to be completely unaware of the Catholic right of questioning what they may see as ambiguous or suspect teachings, even if they are taught by a Pope.bishop, priest or theologians. Please do not forget that the Holy Spirit watches over the  sensus fidelium of the Church, both objectively and subjectively. A famous study of this subject was made by Fr. Claudio Garcia Extremeno, OP, De locis theologicis. He was a professor of Dogmatics at the Dominican Faculty of Theology in Madrid.
     Before you condemn loyal Catholics who find the modern  crisis in the Church deeply disturbing, you should read what eminent theologians and historians have written upon the subject. One very informative historian to read is, Atila Sinke Guimaraes’ “In the Murky Waters of Vatican II”. In the first volume he demonstrated how two opposing thoughts, one progressive and the other conservative, clashed. He demonstrates in a most erudite manner the consequences of that clash. 
    Another informative book to read is ”
    The Great Facade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Roman Catholic Church” by Christopher A. Ferrara
    and Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

    Research, study, and then post.

  • Gildaswiseman

    “Morsi and Obama, says Yussuf (who really doesn’t like Obama), “both love to hear themselves talk. Not just any talk, but speeches that support ideas that are the opposite of what they actually do. When they give a speech, knowledgeable people in both countries look at each other and ask, “What did he just say?” For both of them, speeches are all about the art of composition – words, mere words. They speak out of both sides of their mouths.”

    One may also add that, this is very much in keeping with the lessons learnt from another of Obama’s mentors, Saul Alinsky.

  • JabbaPapa

    I’m an ex-ranger

    Thus explaining the offensive Americanist jingoism, I suppose…

  • Stephen

    “deleted without a trace”
    There’s no authentic discussion taking place on this site–not with the “hidden hand” selectively deleting comments without a trace.  You would think the “Catholic” Herald would at least use such an underhanded technique to steer the conversation in favor of the authentic teachings of the Church but that is not the case.  It looks I’ll need to take a look into who actually owns/controls the “Catholic” Herald.  I’m sure it will be the same families/corporations that own/control CNN, NBC, CBS, National Catholic Reporter, The Tablet etc. etc.
    Jesus, please help all of us naive Catholics who keep turning to and trusting so-called “Catholic” sources only to find out they’re actually steering Catholics to the wide and easy path to you know where. Please grant us true Christian discernment and expose the duplicitous. Amen.

  • Stephen

    OldMeena

    I posted a comment implicitly in support of your view and critical of JP, but it was deleted without trace. Not even with a “comment removed”.

    Goodness only knows what else is removed.

    1 day ago in reply to Mohoem

    Stephen

    “deleted without a trace”

    There’s no authentic discussion taking place on this site–not with the “hidden hand” selectively deleting comments without a trace.  You would think the “Catholic” Herald would at least use such an underhanded technique to steer the conversation in favor of the authentic teachings of the Church but that is not the case.  

    It looks I’ll need to take a look into who actually owns/controls the “Catholic” Herald.  I wont’ be surprised if it turns out to be the same families/corporations that own/control CNN, NBC, CBS, National Catholic Reporter, The Tablet etc. etc.

    Jesus, please help all of us naive Catholics who keep turning to and trusting so-called “Catholic” sources only to find out they’re actually steering Catholics to the wide and easy path to you know where. Please grant us true Christian discernment and expose the duplicitous. Amen.

    0 minutes ago in reply to OldMeena

  • JabbaPapa

    Oh deary me …

  • Sweetjae

    An act seeking to justify one’s disobedience and claim he is right and has the charism of the Holy Spirit and not the Vicar of Christ (5-Pontiffs since) , Magisterium nor the Council.

    So what do you think the Discussion for Reconciliation between Rome and SSPX is all about in the first place??

    Obedience and assent OR meeting for the next leisure trip???

    The rest of your post has a nature of protestant thinking, like Martin Luther once said, ” I only cling to Christ and Scripture……because Councils can err”. Sounds familiar?

  • Sweetjae

    For one, St. Joan of arc didn’t like the English occupation either.

  • Sweetjae

    Yes the crisis is very disturbing alright, because Catholics from the Left (modernists) and the Right (ultraTrads) are behaving like they are more catholic than the Pope and Council.

    One can get sidetracked by both sides of the road, intiende?capiz’? Understand?

  • Sweetjae

    Study and clarifications??? The progressives have been saying that too, don’t you know? And for about 50 or so years, still need clarifications? Common.

    From the mouth of +Bishop Fellay and SSPX they admit it’s not about clarification it’s about the “conversion” of the Supreme Pontiff and Rome to their cause.

    Hiding behind a deception?

  • Gildaswiseman

    You clearly have a very limited understanding of what it is to be a Catholic and the responsibilities therein. I presume that you are young and inexperienced in the ways of theology and Catholic intellectualism. Luther and the SSPX have nothing in common, but you will never understand that.Why you bring up the SSPX question when I point out to you works, regarding the Council, written by eminent Catholic historians and theologians who have absolutely no contact with the SSPX is a mystery to me.

  • Gildaswiseman

    I understand the crisis  well enough. The “clash between two opposing thoughts” has always been between the conservative and the progressive Council Father’s, theologians and periti. It has never been about ultra-traditional Catholics. If you were more knowledgeable, you would know this. Personally, I think one has to defend orthodoxy with all one’s heart and soul.
    However, this blog is about the  religious persecution of the Coptic Christians. For evil to prevail, it simply requires good men to do nothing. In this case, a powerful but not particularly good man, will have an opportunity to defend the Coptic Christians but we won’t hold our breath.

  • http://johnsunol.blogspot.com/ John Sunol

    We need to supportthe Coptics as they are far older religion thtn Isalm I think Mosbe is going to be the next trouble in the mddile east

  • Richardk

    “He points out that Rashid Khalidii, a Hamas supporter and former PLO advisor, is an old Chicago friend of Obama’s, and that the president also studied under and maintained a relationship with Edward Said, who served as a member of the Palestine National Council and worked with Yasser Arafat.”

    1- Rashid Khalidi is a christian palestinian and he’s not a Hamas supporter;
    2- Edward Said was a christian palestinian too;
    3- Yasser Arafat was a VERY secular muslim and his wife was a christian arab, who didn’t convert to Islam to marry him. He was a left-wing nationalist, not an “islamist”. 

    They have NOTHING to do with Islamists like Mursi. Nothing. In fact, islamists hate, in the same level, christians and secular muslims from Baathist extraction, like Arafat, Bashar Assad, etc, etc. If Obama is influenced by the likes of Said and Khalidi, well, he almost certainly doesn’t like Mursi.