Mursi’s crackdown on media sets a new record in Egypt’s history
Sunday, 20 January 2013
The number of filed legal cases against journalists during President Mursi’s presidency was four times more than the number of files reported during former President Hosni Mubarak’s era. (AFP)
White House condemns anti-Semitic speech by Egypt’s Morsi that called Jews ‘descendants of apes and pigs’
Op-Ed: Morsi Did Us a Good Turn
Published: Friday, February 01, 2013 8:51 AM
The Egyptian President’s comments are just the tip of the Muslim Brotherhood iceberg.
In the midst of the current turmoil in Egypt in which President Muhammad Morsi is facing violent protests against his rule, past comments have surfaced in which Morsi referred to Jews and Zionists as “bloodsuckers” and as “the descendants of apes and pigs”.
In a pathetic burst of futile defense of his hostile words, he told a contingent of visiting U.S. senators that the American media, which is controlled by “certain forces” had distorted his words. This bipartisan group of senators, who squirmed uncomfortably in their seats, had no doubt that Morsi was bringing forth another anti-Jewish slur from a repertoire that apparently runs quite deep in his worldview.
In order to understand Morsi’s beliefs, it’s instructive to examine the original source for this very Islamic theology, which comes straight from the Koran:
“Say (to the People of the Book – Jews and Christians), Come and I shall make known to you who receives the worst retribution from Allah; those whom Allah has cursed…whom he has made into monkeys and pigs… (Sura 5:60)
Sheikh Ahmed Ali Othman, supervisor of the Da’awa (Islamic Indoctrination) of the Egyptian Wakf and one of the leading Islamic scholars in Egypt, noted that this verse refers to the nation of the prophet Moses.
President Morsi is not just the elected leader of Egypt, but is part and parcel of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership in Egypt, the same Muslim Brotherhood that was founded in 1928 with the goal of worldwide Islamic domination through jihad (holy war against what they call the unbelievers).
The Hamas is an outgrowth of that same Muslim Brotherhood that calls for the obliteration of not just Israel through terrorism (Jihad being its religious justification) and war, but for a “Jihadist process” using all means, both violent and non-violent, to “destroy and eliminate the Western Civilization from within”.
This is the religious and political home in which Muhammad Morsi was raised and in which he has thrived.
Anyone who expects him to undergo a sudden transformation from Islamic fundamentalist hater to peace-loving friend of Israel and the free world is engaging in a particularly malignant form of wishful thinking.
Given that reality, the Obama administration’s strategy of putting billions of dollars of sophisticated weaponry in Egyptian hands is the height of foolishness and may soon lead to a major conflict on what was not so long ago known as Israel’s quiet border, the result of what was then a relatively stable peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.
In that context, we can understand that Morsi performed an unintended service to us all by expressing what most Muslim Egyptians believe. We Israelis, and our friends overseas, would be wise to listen, and then to act accordingly.
Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s president, attacked Zionists in a 2010 interview, when he was a Muslim Brotherhood leader.
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: January 14, 2013
CAIRO — Nearly three years ago, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood delivered a speech urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. In a television interview months later, the same leader described Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”
Since beginning his campaign for president, Mr. Morsi has promised to uphold Egypt’s treaty with Israel and to seek peace in the region. In recent months, he has begun to forge a personal bond with President Obama around their successful efforts to broker a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants of the Gaza Strip.
But the exposure this month of his virulent comments from 2010, both documented on video, have revealed sharp anti-Semitic and anti-Western sentiments, raising questions about Mr. Morsi’s efforts to present himself as a force for moderation and stability. Instead, the disclosures have strengthened the position of those who say Israel’s Arab neighbors are unwilling to commit to peace with the Jewish state.
“When the leader of a country has a history of statements demonizing Jews, and he does not do anything to correct it, it makes sense that many people in Israel would conclude that he cannot be trusted as a partner for peace,” said Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Representatives of Mr. Morsi have declined repeated requests over more than three days for comment on his remarks. One reason may be that the re-emergence of his previous statements has now trapped him in a political bind. While his past comments may be a liability abroad, he faces a political culture at home in which such defamation of Jews is almost standard stump discourse. Any attempt to retract, or even clarify, his slurs would expose him to political attacks by opponents who already accuse him of softness toward the United States and Israel.
Signs asserting Mr. Morsi works for Mr. Obama are already common at street protests. Perhaps “the Muslim Brotherhood is so desperate for U.S. support that it is willing to bend over backwards to humor the Israelis,” Emad Gad, a leader of the Social Democratic Party, suggested in a recent column.
Outlining Mr. Morsi’s dilemma, the Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef used the president’s anti-Semitic remarks to set up a contrast with his more recent collaborations with Washington and Israel, including the brokering of a cease-fire with Palestinian militants in Gaza. Mr. Youssef, whose television program broadcast the video clip about hatred Friday night, juxtaposed Mr. Morsi’s 2010 statements denouncing “Zionists” and their Western supporters, including Mr. Obama, with the Egyptian president’s more recent declaration that he hoped Egypt and the United States could be “real friends.”
“Of course being in an international role has its rules and restrictions,” Mr. Youssef said on the program, advising Mr. Morsi and his Islamist allies to retract their inflammatory talk: “Admit everything you said in the past was a joke, or stop bluffing.”
As the chief of the Brotherhood’s political arm before becoming president, Mr. Morsi was one of the group’s most outspoken critics of Zionists and Israel. He sometimes referred to Zionists as “Draculas” or “vampires,” using demonizing language historically associated with anti-Semitism. Although he explicitly denigrates Jews in the recently exposed videos, Mr. Morsi and other political and Brotherhood leaders typically restrict their inflammatory comments to the more ambiguous category of “Zionists.”
The anti-Semitic statements that have come to light this month both date back to 2010, when anti-Israeli sentiment was running high after a three-week conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza the previous year.
In the video footage first broadcast Friday on Mr. Youssef’s television program, Mr. Morsi addressed a rally in his hometown in the Nile Delta to denounce the Israeli blockade of Gaza. “We must never forget, brothers, to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews,” Mr. Morsi declared. Egyptian children “must feed on hatred; hatred must continue,” he said. “The hatred must go on for God and as a form of worshiping him.”
“The land of Palestine will not be freed except through resistance,” he said, praising the militant group Hamas as an extension of the Brotherhood.
“Who is our enemy? The Zionists. Who occupies our land? The Zionists. Who hates us? The Zionists. Who destroys our lands? The Zionists,” Mr. Morsi added, lashing out at “America, France and Europe” as “Zionist” supporters.
“And the last of them is that Obama,” Mr. Morsi said. He called the American president a liar who promised the Arab world “empty meaningless words.”
The other video clip was a television interview from September 2010 unearthed last week by the Middle East Media Research Institute, based in Washington, which tracks anti-Semitic statements in the Arab world.
“These bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs,” Mr. Morsi declared, using a slur for Jews that is familiar across the Muslim world. Although he referred repeatedly to “Zionists” and never explicitly to Jews, Mr. Morsi echoed historic anti-Semitic themes: “They have been fanning the flames of civil strife wherever they were throughout their history. They are hostile by nature.”
Some analysts said the gap between Mr. Morsi’s caustic statements as a Brotherhood leader and his more pragmatic actions as president illustrated the many factors besides ideology that shape political decisions. “What you believe in your heart is not the same as what you do in power,” said Shadi Hamid, research director of the Brookings Doha Center. Whatever Mr. Morsi’s opinions about Jews, he has left Egypt’s foreign policy toward Israel largely unchanged, Mr. Hamid said.
Mr. Morsi’s past statements may still raise questions about how he would act in the future if Egypt were not constrained by its financial dependence, relative military weakness and a network of Western alliances. But in contemporary Egyptian politics the gap between his past vitriol and his present comity may serve mainly as a tempting target for his opponents, Mr. Hamid said.
“You are already starting to hear his opponents saying, ‘Morsi is too close to the U.S. and doing its bidding in the Middle East,’” he said. “It would be smart to attack him there because he may be vulnerable.”
Mayy El Sheikh contributed reporting.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: January 15, 2013
An earlier version of this article misstated the timing of some of Mr. Morsi’s comments. The television interview in which he referred to Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs” was made in September of 2010, not early that year.
This is not the only thing that is being said about Israel or America from Morsy and his Muslim brotherhood. they always have in mind to take Israel down even during the Egyptian elections the Muslim brotherhood were cheering out jehad for Palestine we will go, and it’s also on YouTube. I just don’t understand how after all that and before the Egyptian election America supports them. After all the help America is giving them and they have plane to sooner or later they will fight Israel.
Jan. 16, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.
I can imagine that Avigdor Lieberman would say something like that about the Egyptians only if he expected that he would not be a minister , Morsi never thought he would be a president so he spoke freely at the past, but this is the fact, any majority at the Islamic world comes with free election would be anti Zionist, this majority may be Islamist or not but the common factor is “anti Israel ” .
I expect the relations between the west and the Islamic countries would be very good just after disappearing of Israel and when USA leave the Islamic countries,Then the ” terrorists”would not find”fans”among the Islamic countries so the”terror” would also disappear , this is something would happen soon or later when the Islamic countries are free,rich,powerful,advanced, united enough to force the west to accept this win-all deal or facing an endless war with no winners for a band called Israel.
The USA can interfere to delay the development of the Islamic countries , but at the end this must happen, the USA and the west would never be the strongest forever, the human history told us this, and Israel is a band made for some imperialism purposes which i think they are facing their end now, I think the western countries would have the enough wisdom to gave-up the idea of Israel when the time comes, this really depend on us more than you
Jan. 16, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.
EH3760 Scarsdale NY
Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:53 a.m.
For those of us who from the first weren’t sanguine about Morsi as a leader, this article is just another one in a string of reminders that the Arab Spring was born of Western wishful thinking . . . . The pity is that there are Arab moderates, those educated and desirous of something better, who gave their blood for this cause only to see it hijacked by regressive, more powerful elements.
You can’t run a real democracy when an uneducated, superstitious, fundamentalist, angry citizenry are the voters. They never vote their best interests, just their narrow-mindedness. And in Egypt they are more numerous than the moderate middle class.
That’s a lesson for the United States too, of course. We ourselves are on a bad road when the election of a black President empties the shelves in gun stores.
Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:53 a.m.
Bill Levy Ormond Beach, FL
To think that the President of Egypt has 2 sons both born in the U.S. and that he both studied and worked for over a decade in the U.S. and he has learned nothing about the openess of America.
The U.S. allowed Morsi to broker a cease fire between Hamas and Israel in the last battle with thousands of rockets thundering into Israel.
We give billions of taxpayer dollars a year to this militaristic Moslem Brotherhood dominated government. Israel could have destroyed the Egyptian 3rd Army in 1973 but spared them with the promise of peace with Anwar Sadat. Now all that is moot and Egypt will be an agent of war against Israel and the Jews in the future.
Pressure must be put on Morsi to tamper his hatred of Jews and no doubt Christians.
The Shah was a horror, but he was our horror. Mubarek was a horror, but he was our horror. Now Israel has to wait for the next war which will happen if Morsi has anything to say about it. I can hope that the world will come down on Morsi as hard as it comes down on tiny but powerful Israel who has not had one day of peace since May 1948.
Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:54 a.m
Das Koenig NYC
To Susan Below!
In 1948 the survivors of the worst travesty in human history were given 1 tenth of one percent of the desert wasteland in the ME. The arabs living there while welcome to stay were told by the other Arab countries to leave so all the Jews could be killed. Then they could return. It did NOT work out that way nor in 56 nor 67, nor 73.ETC. Israel made peace with Egypt and gave back the Sinai. It tried to give back the West Band when peace was made wit Jordan, BUT Jordan did not want to absorb all those “palestinians” It gave back Gaza…only to see all they had built for the “Palestinians” destroyed there and thousands of rockets shot at them. The arabs produce nothing for themselves nor the world…oh yeah, they have OIL.
Israel is the most productive country in the world other than US in Agriculture, Medicine, Technology, Science, and things to make life better. A billion Muslims have 6 Nobel prizes. a few million Israelis have pages and pages listing Their prizes and accomplishments.
THAT DESERVES PEACE!!! Don’t you think???
Jan. 15, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.
Egypt’s New Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties
President Mohamed Morsi will travel to New York on Sunday for a United Nations meeting.
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: September 22, 2012
CAIRO — On the eve of his first trip to the United States as Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said the United States needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its values and helping build a Palestinian state, if it hoped to overcome decades of pent-up anger.
A former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mr. Morsi sought in a 90-minute interview with The New York Times to introduce himself to the American public and to revise the terms of relations between his country and the United States after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, an autocratic but reliable ally.
He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability.
If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the United States must respect the Arab world’s history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values.
And he dismissed criticism from the White House that he did not move fast enough to condemn protesters who recently climbed over the United States Embassy wall and burned the American flag in anger over a video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
“We took our time” in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt “decisively” with the small, violent element among the demonstrators.
“We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,” he said, noting that the embassy employees were never in danger.
Mr. Morsi, who will travel to New York on Sunday for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, arrives at a delicate moment. He faces political pressure at home to prove his independence, but demands from the West for reassurance that Egypt under Islamist rule will remain a stable partner.
Mr. Morsi, 61, whose office was still adorned with nautical paintings that Mr. Mubarak left behind, said the United States should not expect Egypt to live by its rules.
“If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment,” he said. “When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.”
He suggested that Egypt would not be hostile to the West, but would not be as compliant as Mr. Mubarak either.
“Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region,” he said, by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians.
He initially sought to meet with President Obama at the White House during his visit this week, but he received a cool reception, aides to both presidents said. Mindful of the complicated election-year politics of a visit with Egypt’s Islamist leader, Mr. Morsi dropped his request.
His silence in the immediate aftermath of the embassy protest elicited a tense telephone call from Mr. Obama, who also told a television interviewer that at that moment he did not consider Egypt an ally, if not an enemy either. When asked if he considered the United States an ally, Mr. Morsi answered in English, “That depends on your definition of ally,” smiling at his deliberate echo of Mr. Obama. But he said he envisioned the two nations as “real friends.”
Mr. Morsi spoke in an ornate palace that Mr. Mubarak inaugurated three decades ago, a world away from the Nile Delta farm where the new president grew up, or the prison cells where he had been confined by Mr. Mubarak for his role in the Brotherhood. Three months after his swearing-in, the most noticeable change to the presidential office was a plaque on his desk bearing the Koranic admonition, “Be conscious of a day on which you will return to God.”
A stocky figure with a trim beard and wire-rim glasses, he earned a doctorate in materials science at the University of Southern California in the early 1980s. He spoke with an easy confidence in his new authority, reveling in an approval rating he said was at 70 percent. When he grew animated, he slipped from Arabic into crisp English.
Little known at home or abroad until just a few months ago, he was the Brotherhood’s second choice as a presidential nominee after the first choice was disqualified. On the night of the election, the generals who had ruled since Mr. Mubarak’s ouster issued a decree keeping most presidential powers for themselves.
But last month Mr. Morsi confounded all expectations by prying full executive authority back from the generals. In the interview, when an interpreter suggested that the generals had “decided” to exit politics, Mr. Morsi quickly corrected him.
“No, no, it is not that they ‘decided’ to do it,” he interjected in English, determined to clarify that it was he who removed them. “This is the will of the Egyptian people through the elected president, right?
“The president of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the commander of the armed forces, full stop. Egypt now is a real civil state. It is not theocratic, it is not military. It is democratic, free, constitutional, lawful and modern.”
He added, “We are behaving according to the Egyptian people’s choice and will, nothing else — is it clear?”
He praised Mr. Obama for moving “decisively and quickly” to support the Arab Spring revolutions, and he said he believed that Americans supported “the right of the people of the region to enjoy the same freedoms that Americans have.”
Arabs and Americans have “a shared objective, each to live free in their own land, according to their customs and values, in a fair and democratic fashion,” he said, adding that he hoped for “a harmonious, peaceful coexistence.”
But he also argued that Americans “have a special responsibility” for the Palestinians because the United States had signed the 1978 Camp David accord. The agreement called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza and for full Palestinian self-rule.
“As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled,” he said.
He made no apologies for his roots in the Brotherhood, the insular religious revival group that was Mr. Mubarak’s main opposition and now dominates Egyptian politics.
“I grew up with the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “I learned my principles in the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned how to love my country with the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned politics with the Brotherhood. I was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He left the group when he took office but remains a member of its political party. But he said he sees “absolutely no conflict” between his loyalty to the Brotherhood and his vows to govern on behalf of all, including members of the Christian minority or those with more secular views.
“I prove my independence by taking the correct acts for my country,” he said. “If I see something good from the Muslim Brotherhood, I will take it. If I see something better in the Wafd” — Egypt’s oldest liberal party — “I will take it.”
He repeatedly vowed to uphold equal citizenship rights of all Egyptians, regardless of religion, sex or class. But he stood by the religious arguments he once made as a Brotherhood leader that neither a woman nor a Christian would be a suitable president.
“We are talking about values, beliefs, cultures, history, reality,” he said. He said the Islamic position on presidential eligibility was a matter for Muslim scholars to decide, not him. But regardless of his own views or the Brotherhood’s, he said, civil law was another matter.
“I will not prevent a woman from being nominated as a candidate for the presidential campaign,” he said. “This is not in the Constitution. This is not in the law. But if you want to ask me if I will vote for her or not, that is something else, that is different.”
He was also eager to reminisce about his taste of American culture as a graduate student at the University of Southern California. “Go, Trojans!” he said, and he remembered learning about the world from Barbara Walters in the morning and Walter Cronkite at night. “And that’s the way it is!” Mr. Morsi said with a smile.
But he also displayed some ambivalence. He effused about his admiration for American work habits, punctuality and time management. But when an interpreter said that Mr. Morsi had “learned a lot” in the United States, he quickly interjected a qualifier in English: “Scientifically!”
He was troubled by the gangs and street of violence of Los Angeles, he said, and dismayed by the West’s looser sexual mores, mentioning couples living together out of wedlock and what he called “naked restaurants,” like Hooters.
“I don’t admire that,” he said. “But that is the society. They are living their way.”
Pete New Jersey
Please ask President Morsi how the U.S. should assist the Palestinians in achieving self-rule when Hamas, by its very charter, denies Israel’s right to exist. Or phrased slightly differently, can there be a two-state solution when one of the states denies the other’s right to exist. A third variation on the same question would be to ask President Morsi for his vision of an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Sept. 22, 2012 at 10:44 p.m.
I want President Morsi to know that millions of Americans were supportive of Egypt’s
desire for some form of democracy. Perhaps we were not clear about what that means.
My question is: Does Egyptian democracy include Sharia Law? I ask this question because Sharia law is about religion and morality. How can that be a Democracy?
He also states that Egyptian democracy will be for all people. If it is an Islamic State and is under Sharia law how is that possible?
Sept. 22, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.
Another Human Atlanta
Great interview, but far too short. What are his plans for the country? What is his vision for the future? What does he see as the next step for the Arab Spring? What are his opinions of the other countries in the region? Does he think Iran is building nuclear weapons, or that Israel is planning an attack? How is the political transition going in Egypt – completely finished, or still in progress? How does he perceive the average citizen to be doing at this point in the history of his country? They just went through a great deal of change, and there are so many other topics worth exploring.
Mr. Morsi seems like a very rational, aware, level-headed person. He seems to have a clear understanding of his role, and of how to provide balanced leadership to his people and his nation. I hope the American media will stop focusing on his faith and pay more attention to his actions as a statesman, because the man himself clearly understands that those two things are separate.
Sept. 22, 2012 at 10:57 p.m.
David Underwood Citrus Heights
“On the eve of his first trip to the United States as Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said the United States needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its values and helping build a Palestinian state, if it hoped to overcome decades of pent-up anger. “
And this seems to anger many readers, a great many saying Egypt has no business telling the U.S. how to interact with his country. They also suggest that the U.S. can cutoff funding if Egypt does not act as they think it should.
As usual we see ignorance of history by these conservative commentators. They do not know the history of the Aswan Dam and the Russian financing. The Russians were quite happy to step in and give aid and arms to Egypt which made the U.S. sit up and take notice, you just can not go pushing people around because they can use your financial aid. There are others willing to take your place, and Egypt is the largest and most influential country in the Arab world. Arabia my have more money, but Egypt has more resources.
He is not dictating to the U.S. how to treat them, he is saying what a great many of you do not want to hear. There is pent up anger and the U.S. has to change its approach to dealing with the Arab world, and many of you do not seem to be able accept this. Well get over it. He and his government are in charge there, and they can do without U.S. financing, they have before and can do so again. So listen to what he says.
Sept. 23, 2012 at 2:13 a.m
Chicago Guy Chicago
My first impression, is that Mr. Morsi sounds is a lot more agreeable, logical, sensible and more contemplative than his counterpart in Israel. We back Israel blindly to our detriment. Notice his response to the “ally” question – it’s spot on. I perceive in Mr. Morsi a real window of opportunity for the United States to move past its often myopic view of the middle east and reset its relationship to that world, with Mr. Morsi potentially acting as our ambassador of that good will. I think he’s got the street cred we need to make it work, if we can prove that we are serious about it.
Frankly, I’m a little tired of being barked at by what seems to me to be a completely ungrateful and unapologetic Netanyahu. And I feel that Mr. Morsi presents a refreshing new view and with it new possibilities.
Hopefully, this opportunity won’t be wasted
Sept. 23, 2012 at 9:17 a.m.
I’m shocked at how aggressive some of these comments are. It embarrasses me to be part of a country where citizens attack heads of state who seem rather level-headed. I’m led to believe such attacks (when coherent) are from people with political agendas, and not from thoughtful critics.
Morsi is simply reaching out to American leaders and citizens to express the views of Egypt’s government. He was not aggressive, but he was assertive and clear in stating that he is acting in his peoples’ best interest — just as we act in our own best interest. He is clearly intelligent. Where he has cultural beliefs that may offend our sensibilities, he takes care to make clear that these are his opinions, but that he will not step on the toes of others’ opinions or rights (for example, he does not think a woman would make a good president, but he thinks it’s a woman’s right to be president). This is important: it means that he knows himself, his culture, and the West enough that he can draw the line between personal beliefs and rights.
Along these lines, his assertion that Egypt is not a theocracy is likewise promising — he realizes that he is a Muslim, but he does not demand that everyone should be Muslim. This is how it is in the states, and it’s absurd to suggest that he has ill intentions when here in the states we invariably have Christian presidents (here people even make a big deal about a Mormon candidate).
Sept. 23, 2012 at 11:02 a.m.
Mr. Morsi’s comment about respecting Arab values is well-taken, given that few Americans have even limited knowledge of their past, culture, religion, etc. Of course, my guess is few Arabs are very well-educated about them either (or Western values). But that doesn’t change the truth of Morsi’s statement.
He seems to contradict himself in a small but telling way, though. He claims that Egypt is not a theocracy – and probably isn’t in the strict sense – but then goes on to say “the Islamic position on presidential eligibility was a matter for Muslim scholars to decide, not him.” When a group of scholars determines the qualifications for civil office, that sounds theocratic to me. It’s then a small step to them “qualifying” the Egyptian people’s choice for president. It is Egypt’s right to choose this method of governance, but please call it what it is.
I agree that mutual respect among nations is critical to good international relations. The US should abide by its treaties and agreements, as should others. But Mr. Morsi should also realize that if Egypt wants this mutual respect, it, like other Middle Eastern countries, will have to be more responsible in its behavior. That means taking accountability for the mess in the region and implementing solutions that will mean lasting peace. Egypt (and others) could do it completely without US assistance if they only had the will and pure intentions. Time will tell what kind of president Mr. Morsi will be.
Sept. 23, 2012 at 1:01 p.m.
President Morsi’s comments regarding women in politics are very disappointing. It is entirely possible that he is simply toeing the line in order to appease conservative factions (similar to what President Obama did with gay marriage until a few months ago), but it is also possible that he believes women really aren’t suited to govern Islamic-dominated nations.
The latter position is usually rooted in the belief that a woman leader will demand changes that disadvantage men, and time has often proven that this is true: give women political power and they will demand changes that remove the advantages men had previously enjoyed.
The former position may afford the believer the comfort of occupying the moral high ground, but the end result is the same: the reinforcement of sexist, misogynist beliefs that relegate women to a sub-human position.
Sept. 23, 2012 at 1:08 p.m.
sl New York, NY
If President Morsi wants the West to respect his culture, he can start by respecting ours and condemning the hateful, vitriolic messages in their media and from their religious leaders. Let’s have some fairness, not just the West bowing to Muslim extremists. We need to cool this down on both sides. They allow dangerous speech which gets people killed and perpetuates hatred between religious sects (Sunnis and Shiites as well as the West) and tribes in order to gain power. The other comments about Israel are correct, the US has no control over Netanyahu and he will start war if we’re not careful. The Israelis must vote him out of power; he is too dangerous to the world. So President Morsi what will you do for us?
Sept. 23, 2012 at 1:14 p.m.
Egypt: the oldest state in the world, a leader of non-alignment under Nasser, the historical leader of both the Arab and Islamic worlds, the largest Arab nation and its cultural and intellectual heart, is the worlds 27th largest economy, has the worlds 10th largest army, straddles two continents like Turkey does( Africa and Asia) and has the Suez Canal, the only thing that connects Europe and Asia nautically without going around Africa. Although many people here don’t seem to understand the importance of Egypt as a country, I assure you that US planners certainly do.
Sept. 23, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.
I am neither a Jew nor a Muslim.
I’ve spent a great deal of time in the Middle East. I can appreciate Egypt’s position on Palestine and Israel’s position on Iran.
I would have asked President Morsi if he would renounce Iran’s position regarding the destruction of Israel if and when substantive progress were made on a Palestinian State?
Let’s hope that all players in the Middle East’s drama begin thinking more of what they can do for their grand children and less of what their parents did to one another.
Sept. 23, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.
Colorado Lily Grand Junction, CO
I am overall dismayed by the responses to this article. The Arab Spring means something to the Muslim world for everyday people like you and I. Only they have a different faith. Is this what is driving all of this cynicism and derision about PRES Morsi? That overall we just don’t like Muslims? Morsi is correct, there will be hatred toward the United States until we work with both Palistine and Isreal about a 2-state solution. Morsi is blatantly clear about this and I think that takes a lot of courage. For speaking out, he risks the billions we send Egypt annually. He has a back bone in his leadership style and I value that because I don’t see it displayed in this country at all. Someone should be working very hard on a 2-state solution to show equal fairness toward both peoples. I am ashamed that no one is because they are too afraid to lose their political seat. It sickens me. Morsi was democratically elected by the people of Egypt; he is not a dictator and he is no wuss. He stood up to the military and took back his executive powers. A leader with back bone, go figure …
Sept. 23, 2012 at 3:20 p.m.
Marc Seltzer Los Angeles
How great is it that people from all over the world, including President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, chose to come to universities in the United States for their higher education. They bring their skills home again, but they also take with them cross-cultural understanding that serves them well when they become leaders back home. Of course Arab Spring is about beginning a path towards democracy and the US played a certain role in 2011, but give some credit to our education system and visa opportunities that bring future leaders to the US in their early years.
Sept. 23, 2012 at 3:53 p.m.
James Warner Sacramento, CA
By supporting Israel, the home of Judaism and Christianity, the U.S. is making a statement of support for our country’s values. If President Morsi would like recogniation and support for the Palesteinian people, an Islamic people, he should consider using his influence to get the Palesteinian’s ( and all the Muslim majority countries) to stop hating Israel. As a Jew I support an Israeli staged withdrawal from the West Bank once agreed upon secure boarders ARE IN PLACE vis-a-vie U.N. Resolution 242. Since 1948 Israel has never been the one to initiate a war without first reacting to extreme violence or an act of war perpatrated upon it. Israel has made several peace offers only to have them rejected because they were did not accede to 100% of the desires of the other side.
Sept. 23, 2012 at 4:50 p.m
I wish you had asked the following questions:
1) What is Morsi’s opinion of Qutb’s writings and their role in defining the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Does he reject Qutb’s assessment of the inherent conflict between the Muslim world and the cosmopolitan West or does he accept them?
2) Hamas in the Gaza Strip is an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood. Would Morsi criticize any moves Hamas has taken since gaining control of Gaza, such as harassing Western non-governmental aid organizations, and even some Christian congregations?
3) Morsi attended graduate school in the United States for his Ph.D in materials science, and yet has endorsed the 9/11 deniers’ belief that the World Trade Center towers collapse was due to explosives planted by parties other than the Al Qaeda terrorists. Indeed, Morsi has expressed scepticism that amateur pilots could have flown the planes into the towers. Does Morsi still believe this?
4) In his years in the U.S., Morsi undoubtedly was exposed to the First Amendment and the importance of free speech to Americans. Yet after the Cairo embassy attack, Morsi’s first reaction was to call for the American government to place the filmmakers of the “Innocence of Muslims” on trial. Why did Morsi demand this, and did he expect the U.S. government to comply?
Sept. 23, 2012 at 5:29 p.m.
EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT: U.S. MUST RESPECT ARAB HISTORY AND CULTURE, EVEN IF IT CONFLICTS WITH WESTERN VALUES
Posted on September 22, 2012 at 9:05pm by Erica Ritz
Posted on September 22, 2012 at 9:37pm
Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Coptics, Ba‘Hai’s, Jews, Samaritans, Animists, Alawites, all the world’s major religions, after all these centuries, are finally at peace with each other…
…except for Islam, which is at War with all of them.
Now, just what about that is complicated?
Nothing to do with America or Israel.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 10:52am
This has been about using threats and violence to force non-Muslims to submit to Sharia law regarding blasphemy. They specifically want to subjugate our First Amendment to Sharia. This is about dominance, not “hurt feelings.” We should be saying to them, in no uncertain terms, that if they want to submit to Sharia, that is their right, but they cannot expect others, and they certainly have no right to demand that others, submit to Sharia.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 10:54am
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 11:04am
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 11:14am
Absolutely! So why are we sending Millions of our tax dollars to these angry people? Are we to continue to buy Saudi oil and protect and fund the very people who are cutting our throats?
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 11:15am
Respect is earned, it is not just ‘given away’.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 11:18am
Why is this administration giving credence to a Leader of a Terrorist Organization? This Garbage is
getting way beyond RIDICULOUS!!! Face it – These people are our ENEMIES!
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 11:35am
Our own government is our greatest immediate threat. conspiracy theories are now reality. Obama & Co. are destroyers.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 11:51am
They don’t respect our culture or even the lives of Americans, so why should we submit to Sharia law for them. As a woman I am especially disgusted by this. They subjugate their women and violate their young boys until they become old enough to have facial hair, then these boys turn into violators. They literally as a way of life raise pedophiles and imprison their women as well as smother them under burkas and an alleged code of “honor”, which is not honorable at all. GET THE HELL OUT OF MY COUNTRY!!! THE GOVERNMENT MAY PANDER TO YOUR CRAP BUT THE REAL AMERICANS ARE MORE THAN READY TO TAKE YOU OUT PERMANENTLY!! SUCK IT TERRORISTS AND YOU CAN SHOVE MOHAMMED UP YOUR TAILPIPE!! I AM SURE HE IS QUITE COMFORTABLE UP THERE AND KNOWS HIS WAY AROUND!!
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 12:00pm
The moment they actually develop a culture, we will respect it.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 12:19pm
Morsi says it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize
the alliance with Egypt, That means BILLIONS more of our Tax Dollars.. WE are cutting our Defense
Budget and sending these TURDS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ we don’t have.. That is Hillary and Barrak’s
Foreign Policy at WORK for us, NICEEEEE HUH ?? I’ll have to say WTF on this one.. This is the
Obama Administration at it’s FINEST..Do any of the JACKSSES know what to do ??? OBAME
is too busy looking for ways to cover HIS ASS…..If I can lay the BLAME, that’s GOOD.. wouldn’
want to tarnish that “Mr.Nice Guy” image..
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 12:57pm
You are 100% right, so why is it that the muslim faith teach the opposite of all the others? Answer is that it teaches materialistic values and not spiritual values like love for all living things in GODS creations through out the known and unknown worlds. Remember spirit came first then the material worlds so that soul can experience all things that GOD created and after many incarnations can find its way back to GOD and become a coworker with GOD.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 1:11pm
This clown is wrong. We must show resolve to defeat evil in whatever form is appears – even if it is found in the ‘holy’ Koran.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 3:48pm
“Egyptian President: U.S. Must Respect Arab History and Culture, Even if It Conflicts With Western Values”
Yes, the West must accept that they stone to death women for adultery and being alone with a male.
And the West must accept that they kill infidels who convert to another religion. Too, it is important for the West to understand ands respect that it is good and proper when they murder their daughters for wearing lipstick or dating a Westerner or refusing to marry someone they have selected for her.
Too, there’s always death sentences by stoning or hanging for homosexuals.
But, mostly, the West must accept that Islam is a religion of peace.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 6:32pm
Respect is a two way street, Islam does not respect Infidels & never will…….’nough said.
Posted on September 23, 2012 at 7:51pm
The first amendment is one of the great achievements of civilization. Cultures that cannot understand the value for freedom of speech are primitive. The way to handle these barbarians is to stake out a position emphasizing that no compromise is possible with freedom. This is a freedom that has been watered by the blood of patriots and will be defended at any cost. The only peace radical Muslims will have without recognizing the first amendment is the piece (peace) they get when they bite me:P
In Egypt, sliding toward ruin
By David Ignatius, Published: March 6
As Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government slides toward the financial cliff, what’s the right policy for the United States? That’s becoming an urgent question, as Egypt’s financial reserves decline and the country nears a new breaking point.
The economic facts are stark: Egypt’s official foreign-currency reserves in February were $13.5 billion, which would cover a little less than three months of imports. But U.S. officials say that accessible, liquid reserves total only $6 billion to $7 billion. Already, imports are harder to find, including the raw materials needed by Egyptian manufacturers. The Egyptian stock market tumbled 5 percent early this week, sensing danger ahead.
And what is the government of President Mohamed Morsi doing to halt the economic decline? Not a lot. Morsi has been dithering for a year in negotiating a roughly $5 billion rescue package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Egypt desperately needs. He is delaying because he is wary of public anger at the reforms the IMF demands, including reductions in subsidies, which take 25 percent of Egypt’s budget. (Debt service and public-sector employment account for another 50 percent.)
The wolf is two or three months from Egypt’s door, top U.S. officials believe. Meanwhile, the country is facing increasing political turmoil, with riots Tuesday in Port Said that left 50 wounded. Morsi’s government sent a new proposal to the IMF last week, but it may fall short of the IMF’s reform targets, further delaying action.
Welcome to Phase 2 of the Arab Spring, which we might call the “reality check.” The United States and its allies made a bet two years ago that if the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt, it would be forced to deal with the responsibilities of governing, such as negotiating loans with the IMF and adopting economic reforms to woo investors. These economic realities are now enveloping Morsi. But he hasn’t shown the leadership the United States had hoped.
So what are U.S. policy options as Egypt nears the brink? Some of Morsi’s critics argue that the United States should let him fail. That’s certainly the view of Egypt’s secular opposition, along with conservative Persian Gulf regimes. They hope Egyptians will reject Morsi and his party in parliamentary elections that begin in late April but might be delayed because of legal challenges.
U.S. policy is more supportive than “sink or swim.” The White House has encouraged Morsi and the IMF to come to a deal before it’s too late and the economic damage gets worse. One good move is a U.S. “ Enterprise Fund ” for Egyptian small- and medium-size businesses that will start to distribute its first $60 million this month.
When Secretary of State John Kerry met Morsi privately in Cairo last weekend, he is said to have warned that Egypt must make choices soon and that it shouldn’t expect any last-minute rescue from Washington. But it’s clear Washington wants Morsi to succeed, fearing that the alternative would be chaos or a military coup.
The Egyptian military is indeed waiting in the wings, and some generals are all too eager to intervene. The United States wisely opposes any such military takeover. In backing Morsi, the United States is improbably standing against both conservative Saudis and liberal activists in Egypt.
Morsi has been able to avoid tough decisions partly because of emergency assistance from Qatar, which has pumped about $7 billion into Egypt’s foreign-currency reserves. The U.S. message to Qatar should be: Stop enabling Morsi’s flight from economic reality.
The Obama administration’s continuing bet on Muslim democracy is evident in Turkey as well as in Egypt. Kerry visited Ankara, too, as part of his first diplomatic foray abroad, and he bluntly criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his “objectionable” attack on Zionism. It was noteworthy that the mercurial Erdogan didn’t fire back at Kerry; indeed, their discussions in Ankara are said to have included the possible path to a reconciliation between Turkey and Israel. U.S. officials hope that as Turkey contemplates the growing instability on its borders — Iran, Iraq and Syria — a revival of ties with Israel may look more attractive.
The Arab revolution rolls on, and President Obama continues his cautious embrace. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt has a better relationship with Israel today than does Turkey, a traditional ally of Jerusalem. This may be Morsi’s best card with Washington — that whatever his failings as a leader of Egypt, he isn’t making trouble for Israel.