For Egypt's Copts, the military's removal of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power was nothing short of a miracle. After two and a half years in which Islamists dominated every electoral contest they faced, there was little if any hope on the horizon. Since the 25th of January revolution, Coptic despair manifested itself in an unprecedented wave of emigration from Egypt, which intensified during the Brotherhood's year in power. Following the massive demonstrations against the Brotherhood's rule and the military coup of July 3rd 2013, Copts were in a frenzied mood celebrating their deliverance; a deliverance that would prove short lived, however.
The Copts represent the Middle East's largest Christian population, and were once one of the pillars of early Christianity, with some of its early saints framing what it meant to be Christian. However, centuries of persecution and struggles for survival have left Copts a small minority in their homeland. Modernity brought new challenges to the community, though it removed the legal second-class status in which Copts lived in the Middle Ages. In recent years Copts have come under increasing pressure due to the discriminatory policies of successive governments, as well as violent attacks by their fellow citizens.
During President Morsi's rule, previous patterns of religious discrimination were reinforced and more alarming ones emerged. At the national level, Coptic representation in decision making bodies – from the Cabinet to the upper echelons of the bureaucracy – dwindled to the point of non-existence. Islamists dominated the drafting of the constitution and its articles were a clear setback to religious freedom and equality. Prominent Islamist leaders painted Copts as responsible for Egypt's ills and disasters, creating an incubating environment for violence. On a local level, violent attacks on Copts increased and in April 2013 they even reached the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo – the residence of the Pope. In the absence of the rule of law, forced evictions were imposed by local 'reconciliation' sessions. Blasphemy charges brought against Copts accused of insulting Islam were often accompanied by violent attacks on Copts in the area. more >>
Last week, the Washington Post ran a headline typical of the Western liberal media:
"Israel hits Gaza Homes." The sub-head said: "Children and women killed." All good journalists will defend this headline as no more than describing what happened in the seemingly endless clash between Arabs and Israelis. They will argue that when Israel its homes in Gaza, it is news. When Hamas rockets rain down on Israeli cities and towns-and homes, schools, and hospitals, it is not news. It happens ever day, so it becomes like a weather report. Thousands of Hamas rockets have been fired at Israeli homes. Thousands. This coverage brings to mind the old French saying: This animal is very wicked; when you attack it, it defends itself.
The late Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick saw all this coming. Her seminal article in the pages of Commentary Magazine in 1989-now twenty-five years old-was prophetic. "How the PLO was Legitimized" showed how Yasser Arafat's PLO ((Palestine Liberation Organization) used the tools of international diplomacy to "dumb down" international law on the targeting of civilians and the deliberate use of terrorism as a tactic for pushing one's way to power. more >>
Sometimes the underdog is wrong. The ruthlessly brutal regimes of Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and Idi Amin were all weaker than the forces that ultimately vanquished them.
But for decades the Palestinians have mastered the art of persuading everyone that because they die in greater numbers and have inferior arms, they are more deserving of sympathy and support in their conflict with Israel. Here's why they're wrong:
1) Israel's military edge safeguards its survival in the world's toughest neighborhood. But if a SWAT team is better armed than a wild gunman they must neutralize, does that mean that they're at fault when the gunman dies? more >>
According to a six month Gallup survey, President Obama is very popular with only one group of Americans, Muslims, registering an astounding 72 percent approval rating. It is a much different story among all Americans as the President scores a weak 43 percent approval rating.
This new data is from a survey of Americans with religious affiliations that compiled information from 88,000 interviews over the January 1-June 30, 2014 time period. Among all Americans, even Muslims, the President's approval rating has dropped between five and seven percentage points in the past six months compared to his five year average.
Whereas the vast majority of Muslims love President Obama, Mormons are very disapproving of his leadership and give him only an 18 percent approval rating. Overall, Christians are not very supportive of the President's agenda with Catholics giving Obama a 44 percent approval rating and Protestants only registering 37 percent support. more >>
A Gallup poll released Friday shows that President Barack Obama enjoys the highest approval rating from Muslims among religious groups. Mormons are the least supportive of Obama.
The poll, which asked how Obama was doing during the first six months of 2014, found that 72 percent of U.S. Muslims approve of the job he is doing, while 20 percent disapprove.
Among "other non-Christians," 59 percent approved of Obama's job performance, 55 percent of "Jewish" adults expressed approval, and 54 percent of those under the "No religion/theist" category said they approve. more >>
I just spent the better part of the day reading and listening to sermons by the leaders and jihadis of the new "caliphate" in Mesopotamia, the Islamic State (formerly "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria").
I did so in the vain hopes of learning something "new."
But it was absolute déjà vu-taking me back to a decade ago, when I was reading and translating the Arabic writings and speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, as collated in The Al Qaeda Reader. more >>