Many of my friends are Muslims and I have great respect for them and their contributions. However, I am puzzled when I see that almost one third of those living in the West voted in favor of a new flawed Islamic Constitution for Egypt. This Constitution makes Christian citizens inferior to Muslims; women subservient to men and gives enormous powers to the ruling President. In other words Dr. Morsi anointed himself to become above the law that he swore to obey. Assuming that Christians constituted one third of those who cast a vote (and there is no way for me to be certain since less than 5% of those eligible to vote participated), then half of the Muslims living in the West approved of this document. Such a behavior from the many boggles my mind and only means that they condone this extremism.
Those who committed crimes in America or the West were driven by their hate of one person, one issue or were simply paranoid psychopaths. No common thread joins them. They exist in every society. By contrast Jihadists in Philippines, Somalia, Kenya, Mali, Libya, Saudi-Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Algiers, Niger, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Gaza, Yemen, Chechnya, Dagestan, Russia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mumbai, Pakistan, Iran, Kashmir, Sudan and everywhere in the globe have one objective: kill the infidels and purify the world from all Christians and those others who do not conform to extremist ideology of Islam (that includes other Muslims). Add to these the perpetrators of 9/11, the many home-grown jihadists, the subway bombers in Britain, those who racked havoc throughout Europe and the recently caught Islamic terrorists heading to Canada and were intent to blow out a train.
I wonder: since we are the handy-work of God how can He revel in seeing us perish. If we are made in God’s image does He rejoice as He watches His face disfigured? This violent virulent extremist intolerant narrow-minded fanatic Brand does not represent a religious belief but a fringe ideology. The dictionary definition of terrorizing is to “cause extreme fear” which was accomplished by committing these acts. Why then are some asking why people are afraid of Muslims? Aren’t some of them the ones who caused this Mayhem? Didn’t they achieve their stated goal through their random acts of violence?
The reaction to certain religious actions is telling. Salman Rushdi, in his book “Satanic Verses” described the dreams of the Prophet in a way that displeased Khomeini. The result was one million Dollars bounty on his head. The Danish Cartoons that depicted Mohammed in a light that did not sit well with Islamic Radicals caused uproar in many countries and multiple killings. The reaction to the tawdry tape “the Innocence of Muslims” by a Coptic felon in America was the death sentence for seven Americans and the violent demonstrations against multiple American Embassies. When an American pastor insisted on burning the Quran, Bibles were destroyed, Churches were burnt, Copts were killed and their houses destroyed; they were told to leave Egypt. By contrast people are free to say anything about any religion (or no religion) in America or any country in the West without fear of punishment or retribution.
Consider the trillions of Dollars spent every year just to protect the innocent from fanatic Islamists. No wonder then that the phrase “the Muslim World” sends shivers down the spines of many. Calling these acts a “backlash” totally misses the point. I wish the people with different beliefs learn to live together in peace, understanding and love and to rid themselves from this unholy behavior that divides them.
Professor Lotfy Basta (MD, FRCP, FRCPE, FACP, FACC, FCCP, FAHA) is member of Coptic Solidarity Advisory Council