The World Through Rose Colored Glasses
The photo to the right was taken in central Cairo on October 13, 2011. Nearly 3,000 Egyptian mourners gathered in honor of Coptic Christians who were among 25 people murdered during a demonstration over an attack on a church.
Those who don’t want to believe this is actually occurring in the 21 Century won’t. No matter how many pictures or videos make it out some people just will dismiss it all as Islamophobic lies.
I had no intention of covering this story this week, I’ve written about the murder of Coptic Christians before as well as those being murdered in other countries as well. Over two years ago in April 2010 my article “No Big Deal, Just Some People in Africa, Right?” was about the murder of Christians in Nigeria at the hands of Islamists.
This all started when someone posted a picture on my Facebook page.
I read the denials of the stories, pictures and videos of the Crucifixions of the Egyptian Coptic’s and decided to set the record straight.
One individual posted a comment under this picture on my Facebook page:
this isn’t in Egypt. stop telling lies about EGYPT. you jews will never remove hatred from your hearts to EGYPT
The National Post reported that none of these stories were true either. Author Jonathan Kay wrote an article on August 22 that “Egypt’s ‘crucifixion’ hoax becomes an instant Internet myth.” He starts his article with:
Have you heard the one about how Christians are being nailed up on crucifixes and left to die in front of the Egyptian presidential place?
It’s a story worth dissecting — not because it’s true (it isn’t), but because it is a textbook example of how the Internet, once thought to be the perfect medium of truth-seeking, has been co-opted by culture warriors as a weapon to fire up the naïve masses with lies and urban legends.
“Fire up the naïve masses with lies and urban legends,” really? Well Mr. Kay I suggest some light reading for you. It’s this year’s Annual Report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The cover of the report shows a similar picture to the one I chose for my story. You know the one, where “nearly 3,000 Egyptian mourners gathered in honor of Coptic Christians who were among 25 people murdered during a demonstration over an attack on a church.” I guess it was Photoshopped.
But what is more interesting than the cover picture is who makes up this agency and what the report contains.
The website U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom explains this on the “About” page:
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.
So let’s understand from the outset that those involved with this agency are handpicked by the President and made up from both political parties. So for all you naysayers out there argue with them, not me.
I saw this coming long before Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Back in February of 2011 while those in the Obama administration were saying that the Muslim Brotherhood wouldn’t place a candidate in the Egyptian elections, I wrote in my article “A Series of Unfortunate Re-Runs“:
The Muslim Brotherhood has been waiting for an opportunity like this for over 60 years and it is not something they are going to let slip by. Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1924 and the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood only 4 years later in 1928 there has never been an opportunity such as this for a return of a Caliphate and you can bet your life the Brotherhood is working harder than any other group or government to see that this happens.
So now that the Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi has become the President of Egypt is it really any surprise that we see Coptic Christians being murdered for no other reason than they are Christian?
It appears to be no surprise to those that wrote the annual report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom either. The report is 331 pages and from start to finish this report is a “who’s who” of Islamic countries.
The second paragraph of page one starts off with Egypt:
In Egypt, an epicenter of the Arab Spring, hope turned to dismay, as human rights conditions, particularly religious freedom abuses, worsened dramatically under military rule. Authorities continued to prosecute and sentence citizens charged with blasphemy and allowed official media to incite violence against religious minority members, while failing to protect them or to convict responsible parties. Law enforcement and the courts fostered a climate of impunity in the face of repeated attacks against Coptic Christians and their churches. Rather than defending these minorities, military and security forces turned their guns on them, using live ammunition against Coptic Christians and other demonstrators, killing dozens and wounding hundreds in Maspero Square.
Page two continues with just a few instances:
To be sure, religious freedom abuses harm members of religious majorities and minorities alike. But make no mistake: across much of the world, persons associated with religious minority communities often are harmed the most. Even when violations do not include or encourage violence, intricate webs of discriminatory rules, regulations, and edicts can impose tremendous burdens on these communities and their adherents, making it difficult for them to function and grow from one generation to the next, potentially threatening their existence. For example, while an electoral democracy, Turkey fails to legally recognize religious minority communities, such as the Alevis, the Greek, Armenian, and Syriac Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches, and the Jewish community. Furthermore, Turkish officials meddle in these communities’ internal government and education and limit their worship rights.
But as I stated earlier it is a “who’s who” of Islamic countries. The report explains those countries that are of particular concern:
The first section highlights countries which USCIRF recommends that the State Department designate as ― countries of particular concern (CPCs) under IRFA (International Religious Freedom Act) for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.
The countries that make up the “CPCs” are listed on page 4:
For the 2012 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends that the Secretary of State designate the following 16 countries as CPCs: Burma, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, the People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Those countries that you would expect to see on this list are not mentioned are because they are already listed as “CPCs”:
Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Venezuela
The report then writes a chapter for each country of concern, but for this article I am concentrating on Egypt since that appears to be the source of these “internet myths”.
On page 50 of the report are the agencies “Findings” in Egypt:
FINDINGS: Over the past year, the Egyptian transitional government continued to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.
Serious problems of discrimination, intolerance, and other human rights violations against members of religious minorities, as well as disfavored Muslims, remain widespread in Egypt. Violence targeting Coptic Orthodox Christians increased significantly during the reporting period. The transitional government has failed to protect religious minorities from violent attacks at a time when minority communities have been increasingly vulnerable. This high level of violence and the failure to convict those responsible continued to foster a climate of impunity, making further violence more likely. During the reporting period, military and security forces used excessive force and live ammunition targeting Coptic Christian demonstrators and places of worship resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. The government also continued to prosecute, convict, and impose prison terms on Egyptian citizens charged with blasphemy. Implementation of previous court rulings – related to granting official identity documents to Baha’is and changing religious affiliation on identity documents for converts to Christianity – has seen some progress but continues to lag, particularly for Baha’is. In addition, the government has not responded adequately to combat widespread and virulent anti-Semitism in the government-controlled media.
Understanding that this report was published in February of this year a lot more deaths have occurred during the last 6 months. As noted in the above section of the report:
This high level of violence and the failure to convict those responsible continued to foster a climate of impunity, making further violence more likely.
Unfortunately they were correct. The report continues:
Religious freedom conditions have not improved in most areas and attacks targeting religious minorities have continued. In 2011, violent sectarian attacks, targeting primarily Coptic Orthodox Christians, have resulted in nearly 100 deaths, surpassing the death toll of the previous 10 years combined. During the transitional period, the lack of adequate security in the streets has contributed to lawlessness in parts of the country, particularly in Upper Egypt.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urged Clinton to Raise Specific Reforms with the Egyptian Government. The USCIRF sent the following letter on July 19, 2012:
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
On behalf of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), I wish to express our support for the comments you made during your recent visit to Egypt urging the civilian government to uphold universal values and respect the rights of all Egyptian citizens, including women and religious minorities. There is much political uncertainty ahead in Egypt. It is vital that the U.S. government, at the highest levels, encourage the new Egyptian government to undertake reforms to improve conditions for freedom of religion or belief.
What’s even more interesting is the more recent report from August 3, 2012 entitled,
The Religion-State Relationship and the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Comparative Textual Analysis of the Constitutions of Majority Muslim Countries and Other OIC Members.
That of course would be an entirely other article.
One has to wonder why the people chosen by President Obama along with members of both the Senate and House of Representatives are seeing and understanding the truth about Islamic countries that the mainstream media and the average American doesn’t.
The picture that was posted on my Facebook page … It may not be in Egypt, it may not even be real, I don’t know because I wasn’t there when it was taken. I do know that hundreds of Christians along with other minorities are being murdered in Egypt as well as in other Islamic countries for no other reason than they are not Muslim.
But like I said, you don’t have to believe me, argue with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.