By Neil Hicks, Senior Director for Advocacy – Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies –
Editors Note: The response below was submitted to Coptic Solidarity as a rebuttal to a recently published article written by Raymond Ibrahim titled “Here’s What True Racism and Police Brutality Look Like.”
We were concerned to see the piece by Raymond Ibrahim, “Here’s What True Racism and Police Brutality Look Like.”
The headline and the piece’s content seem to cast doubt on the all too real racism and police brutality exposed by the killing of George Floyd and the violent police response to protests across the country, including to the entirely peaceful protesters brutally assaulted by police and other security forces outside the White House last Monday.
The phrase “many of whom are simply criminals, looters and thugs” echoes some of the president’s offensive statements about the protesters and does not reflect the reality that the overwhelming majority of the protesters, in large gatherings in cities across the US, have been peacefully objecting to the structural racism highlighted by, yet another, police killing of a black man, and to the glaring inequalities exposed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in which a disproportionate number of victims have been people of color.
Criticizing Ilhan Omar for her reasonable statement, presumably because she is Muslim and then using the “whtaboutism” excuse that conditions are worse in Egypt and other Muslim majority countries is, at best, irrelevant, but in the current context of the United States gratuitously divisive.
I fail to see how Coptic Solidarity’s mission to oppose discrimination and violence against the Christian minority in Egypt is advanced by this kind of article that belittles discrimination and violence suffered by a disadvanatged minority in the United States.
Coptic Solidarity’s advocacy towards the US government on behalf of the rights of Coptic Christians in Egypt depends on the credibility of the United States, to people and governments around the world, as an example of respect for human rights and the rule of law. The events of the past week, when the president’s statements and the conduct of law enforcement officers have resembled those in authoritarian countries like President Sisi’s Egypt, have severely dented that moral authority. As a result, your work and ours has been made more difficult.
Senior Director for Advocacy
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Photo Credit: BOSTON, MA: June 3, 2020: Thousands take part in a Black Lives Matter march and rally on the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts. (Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)