A pastor who was sentenced to death in Egypt for converting from Islam to Christianity attacked President Obama's foreign policy as "the definition of insanity" on former Governor Mike Huckabee's radio show.
"The Americans supported Osama Bin Laden during the Afghanistan war with the Soviets and he turned against them. They supported Sadaam Hussein during the Iranian war and he turned against them. They supported the rebels in Libya, killed their American ambassador three months later. Now President Obama is supporting Muslim Brotherhood, supporting the rebels in Syria, and what's the definition of insanity? Repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome," said Majed El-Shafie, founder of One Free World International and author of Freedom Fighter: One Man's Fight for One Free World, on Tuesday's show.
As a Canadian and neither a Republican nor Democrat, the pastor said he has no interest in attacking Obama politically. "It's not a matter of politics, it's a matter of integrity," he said.
Shafie criticized Obama's decision to withdraw support for the Egyptian military, whom he sees as the hero in the recent struggle. Following a peaceful demonstration where millions of Egyptians protested the Muslim Brotherhood government, the pastor said, the military removed President Morsi legitimately, in an act of democracy.
Nevertheless, many Western commentators have denounced this as a "coup." After clashes between Brotherhood-backed protestors and security forces last Wednesday left at least 638 people dead, President Obama suspended military drills planned to unite the American and Egyptian armed forces.
"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces," Obama said. While he has not yet decided to withdraw the controversial $1.3 billion annual funding the U.S. sends to Egypt every year, reports say he is considering it.
Shafie took to One Free World International's website Wednesday to explain his position. "As we have said before, despite the common refrain that President Morsi was the first democratically elected president of Egypt, Morsi does not represent democracy," he wrote. Since his overthrow, the demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Morsi supporters "have been far from peaceful."
Shafie referred to an incident where 25 police where killed execution-style in northern Egypt. He also mentioned the over 40 churches and Christian institutions, homes, and businesses burnt and destroyed in the past week. One Egyptian scholar in the U.S. called these attacks the worst Egypt has seen in 700 years.
"The media have covered most of these points in some degree, but the tone and focus of most of the coverage seems to be intended to condemn the actions of the military and promote support for Morsi," Shafie argued. He called for more even reporting, and expressed unbelief at Obama's condemnation of the military.
On Huckabee's show, the Christian convert wondered why Obama focuses on gay rights more than religious freedom. "I was really hoping that President Obama would speak about the rights of the minorities in Egypt as much as he is speaking about the gay rights today," Shafie said.
Meanwhile, a petition started by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is urging Obama to ensure Egyptian foreign aid is tied to the condition that Christians are protected from the escalating attacks. The petition has garnered over 37,000 signatures.
"The United States – when we speak, it's powerful, but what also makes us powerful is the amount of funding we provide to the world and I think this is one of the opportunities we have to at least give this Muslim majority population and military, which we've had a pretty good relationship with, the opportunity to do the right thing," said Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ executive director.