Middle East studies in the News
Look to Egypt for Clues about Obama [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
by Michael Youssef
Why doesn't President Obama -- who claims to be a Christian -- ever defend the cause of the harassed and persecuted Christians around the world?
Examining his dealings with Egypt during the past two years may give us some clues.
When vast street demonstrations opposed former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Obama was quick on the trigger to publically call on Mr. Mubarak to resign.
Mubarak was a secular dictator who promoted capitalism. There was plenty of corruption, to be sure. But that is cultural; the increase -- not decrease -- in corruption under the Islamic dictator who replaced Mubarak has proven that.
Then, when the election between Mohamed Morsi and General Shafik came down to a razor-thin margin, despite much skullduggery at the polls (fraudulent votes, Christians and others prevented from voting), the White House and the U.S. State Department quickly embraced Morsi as the victor. No doubt, they thought an Islamist president would satisfy hard-line Islamists and neutralize would-be terrorists. Yet neither has happened.
Finally, when current Egyptian President Morsi declared himself to be the supreme ruler, not one public word of criticism came from the American administration.
So Mr. Obama has no problem with dictatorship, as long as it's Islamic and not capitalist. That's the first clue.
Rashid Khalidi, Hamas supporter and former PLO advisor, is an old Chicago friend of Mr. Obama's. 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.
No doubt those relationships influenced Obama in turning a blind eye to an Islamist's assertion of power -- never mind the fraud and intimidation involved in the process. Hamas, in particular, is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. They have moved their headquarters from Damascus to Cairo and have gained in strength in Egypt since Morsi's rise.
President Morsi imitates President Obama in both style and substance. Whoever said "imitation is the highest form of flattery" would be proud of Morsi's efforts.
They are both ideologues rather than pragmatists, although they express their ideologies differently given their vastly different political environments.
They both love to rule by decrees and executive orders while paying lip service to other existing authorities. Their aim is the same: choke up the existing system and render it ineffective so it will collapse. From the resulting debris, they will establish a transformed society in their image.
They both have little tolerance for opposition. President Morsi is the luckier of the two in this regard; he has more direct power to muzzle and threaten his opponents. President Obama must settle for threats from his friends -- such as singer Harry Belafonte who encouragedObama to "work like a Third World dictator and just put all these guys in jail."
They 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.
So don't look to Obama to defend the cause of Christians. His support for Islamist power drowns out the voices of the persecuted. When true freedom-lovers demonstrated against Morsi's decree making himself supreme ruler, the Islamist militia killed some of the protestors and injured hundreds more. But the White House only mumbled anemic wordslike: "We call for calm and for all parties to work together to resolve their differences peacefully."
The Christians being killed in Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, and Nigeria 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.
But they can also count on some, few as they are, faithful believers in the West -- believers who are standing with them, encouraging them, supporting them, and most importantly, praying for them.
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