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November 5, 2013

By not condemning Egypt's Brotherhood, the US harms its war on terrorism

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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The US silence regarding the terror committed by the Brotherhood and their supporters against civilians especially Copts, police and army personal in Sinai and across the rest of Egypt is harming its global war on terrorism.

A report from Agence France Presse on September 1 reported attacks on 56 churches beginning August 14. There were others before that and since. Homes and businesses were looted and burned, and hundreds injured and killed.

The most recent was last week drive-by shooting by masked gunmen outside Cairo’s Virgin Mary Church that killed four Christians including a young Grade two girl Mariam Ashraf and a young Muslim man as all were leaving a wedding celebration at the church.

These attacks did not just happen. The killers were targeting Copts.

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party blames the Copts for the overthrow of Morsi and for the crackdown on them. In July, their website referred to “the Military Republic of Tawadros.” He is the current Coptic pope.

On August 14, their web page charged that the Copts had declared war on Islam and Muslims. It is true that Tawadros appeared in a public event supporting the June 30 popular uprising, but so did Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyib, Grand Imam of the highly influential Al-Azhar. Morsi was ousted because he was inept and attempted to grab more power than he could get away with.

Above all, Morsi turned himself into an Islamist dictator above the law on November 22, 2012 less than 5 months in office, disregarding his oath to respect the law and making a mockery of both Egypt’s young democracy and the revolution that just got rid of a secular dictator.

Attackers of churches, businesses, and homes have carried Muslim Brotherhood banners, but others have borne al-Qaida flags. Nour, the Salafist party, supported Morsi’s ouster, probably thinking that his removal might give them a better shot at power.

In the Sinai, Islamic forces have attacked and killed police and army soldiers. Elsewhere, murderous mobs find it easier to take their wrath out on helpless Christians. In the Sinai, the attacks have led to military retaliation—closing supply tunnels to Gaza, where Hamas, which shares the Brotherhood’s ideology, is in power.

The Americans, advised by their two regional allies; rich Qatar and the NATO member Turkey, can’t see the event of June 30 as it is: a popular uprising backed by the army against a fascist Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

But the vast majority of Egyptians has supported the June 30 revolution. Christians make up 10%. The Brotherhood and their supporters are a tiny minority, less than 1% of the 90 millions. But they are a violent minority. They are organized in a secrete netted community. They are well financed; their current main sponsor is Qatar. Since June 30, they resorted to terrorism, assassination, intimidation, and distribution of daily life of millions of Egyptians. They believe that God has appointed them to rule Egypt.

The Brotherhood believes they must return to rule the rest of the Egyptian population by any means necessary. But the Egyptians who rejected them includes moderate Muslims, Copts, the Church, Al-Azhar, lawyers, judges, army, police, media people, academia, artists, youth and women groups, farmers and labor.

The Americans are exerting pressure on Egypt instead of respecting the will of the Egyptian people and supporting the effort of the new government to restore the young democracy that Morsi and his Brotherhood trampled on, and at the same time fight terrorism.

The government is straggling to bring back some normality, a most difficult task indeed in the face of the Brotherhood daily campaign of terror and disturbance of life. Last week the government shortened a nighttime curfew to four hours six days a week, from 1 am to 5 am. On Fridays, the day the Brotherhood maximizes their outlawed disruption of traffic, occupation of public spaces and intimidation of citizens, the curfew remains 10 hours starting at 7 pm.

Despite the misguided policy of the Americans, Egyptians are determined to move forward to achieve the objectives of their January 25 revolution; to establish a liberal democracy and to achieve both economical development and social justice.

Elmasry is an Egyptian-born Professor Emeritus of Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He divides his time between Canada and Egypt and has been immersed in its politics for the last 10 years.

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