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A Chill Wind in Egypt
Israel - Middle East
Friday, November 30, 2012
Alf Cengia

There's a sudden chill in the air where I live.  The temperature dropped suddenly and we've had our first taste of snow, just after Thanksgiving.  It shouldn't have taken me by surprise yet it did.  It is that time of the year after all.

More than once I got soaking wet removing leaves out of the gutters in preparation for hurricane Sandy and the storm from the north.  I guess it's what one must deal with when one has 18 trees in the back yard!  Instead of changing all my clothes I kept wearing my damp T-shirts and ended up with a cold.  Normally I shrug them off easily; I'm still battling this one.

Lessons to keep in mind; when the temperature drops appreciably and you have a cold - rug up!  Don't run around in damp clothes and - above all - listen to your wife!

There's also a cold chill air in Egypt as well.  But that has nothing to do with the weather.  I suspect people are tiring of hearing the analogy of the Arab Spring turning into winter.  Please accept my apologies in advance.

Like my drenching and subsequent cold, it shouldn't have been any surprise to anyone that Egyptian president Morsi moved to obtain unprecedented powers and upsetting the nation's judges.  Recall that Mubarak was overthrown violently.  Perhaps the only surprise is that Morsi's power grab happened so quickly:

"Egypt's president on Thursday issued constitutional amendments that placed him above judicial oversight and ordered the retrial of Hosni Mubarak for the killing of protesters in last year's uprising.  Mohammed Morsi also decreed immunity for the Islamist-dominated panel drafting a new constitution from any possible court decisions to dissolve it, a threat that had been hanging over the controversial assembly."

Even though history notes that he was "democratically elected", Morsi's political ideology is the converse of a western democracy.  A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, his ideology is wrapped up in Islamist principles and the enforcement of Shari'a law.  It is also inexorably bound up in hatred of Israel and the pursuit of its destruction.  That means supporting any group that is actively seeking those agendas - Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran etc.

On June 14 of this year, the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide delivered a sermon to the effect that:

"Every Muslim will be asked about the Zionists' usurpation of al-Aqsa Mosque.  Why did he not seek to recover it, and wage Jihad in His way?  Did he not care about the fatwa of the ulema [scholars] of the Muslims, 'Jihad of self and money to recover al Aqsa is a duty on every Muslim?"

In case one doesn't get the full gist of it; it's spelled out more clearly here:

"How happy would be the Muslims if all Muslim rulers made the Palestinian cause a pivotal issue, around which Muslims, rulers and the ruled, would line up...the sole goal for all of them the recovery of al Aqsa Mosque, freeing it from the filth of the Zionists, and imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine."

And if one still doesn't get it - that would mean an Israel-free Middle East.  Read it very slowly - any territory occupied by Israel is "Occupied Territory".

Thousands of Egyptians have suddenly decided that voting for Morsi mightn't have been a good idea after all and are protesting en masse in Cairo.  Déjà vu anyone?  Recall that Hosni Mubarak didn't exactly vacate office in the best of circumstances.

Apparently helping broker a truce between Israel and Hamas (thereby saving Hamas' backside) didn't give Morsi enough credit points with Egyptians to hold onto those "sweeping powers".  Now he's backtracking and the people smell a rat.

What a surprise!

The interesting thing for me is how he got there in the first place; and the amount of goodwill he received home and abroad (especially the U.S.).  I mean, isn't he a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and advocate of Shari'a law as well as being openly hostile to Israel?  What was everyone thinking?

What does the average Egyptian think of Israel anyway?  If several candid camera gotcha pranks inflicted upon unsuspecting Egyptian actors is anything to go by - it's not good:

"...an Egyptian Candid Camera prank type TV show turned very ugly and violent when the guest, an Egyptian actor, was told he was on Israeli TV.  The prank was done on several guests with similar reactions: extreme violence and hate speech against Jews who were described as the most cursed by Allah in Islam."

Is this media - and are these actors - representative of the Egyptian population?  Let's hope not.

Can a more moderate regime replace the "moderate" Morsi Muslim Brotherhood government via the same vehicle that helped oust Mubarak?  Would a new regime be more Israel-friendly and would Egyptians actually care?  I doubt it.

I find it tragic and inexcusable that a certain Vatican Cardinal chose to vilify Israel because it responded to Hamas' rocket attacks.  What does the Cardinal expect Israel to do?  Throw out a missile welcoming mat and maybe some painted arrows pointing to targets?

According to Arutz Sheva:

"The Catholic Church high official equated Israel’s operation in Gaza against terror groups with the New Testament story of Herod’s slaughter of Jewish babies in his effort to kill Jesus."

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, William Shomali told Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana that “hatred of Christians” is tied to the Talmud:

"The Talmud, the holy book studied by the ultra-orthodox, more highly venerated than the Bible itself, invites religious hatred, speaks badly of Jesus, and even worse of Mary and, in general, of Christians...in Israeli schools, love for the other is not taught, but rather the destruction of the other”.

That's sure to get you your peacemaker badge, padre (Matt 5:9).

I used to read Famiglia Cristiana as a teenager and many Italians still do.  It's very influential and opinion shaping because its content is unlikely to be taken as authority by Catholics.

But the bishop (like other detractors) seems averse to talking about the precepts of Shari'a Law, the Hadiths, and the treatment of Christians in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.  It's ironic how often I hear "Christians" raise the Talmud canard when Israel is often attacked for being a secular state by the likes of Dr Gary Burge.

This obsessive focus by the church against Israel won't help the Egyptian population; much less its Christians.  Morsi will soften his approach until the controversy dies down - if it ever does - and then continue pursuing his ideology, albeit using stealth means.  And most pundits will let him get away with it.

That doesn't bode well for Egyptian Christians or Israel.

About Alf Cengia

Last week: Handling the Truth & Israel



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