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Spokesman for Catholic bishops in Egypt: "Obama does not appear to understand the situation."

A military helicopter flies over clouds of smoke in Cairo, Egypt, on August 16th. (CNS photo/Louafi Larbi, Reuters)
Italian journalist Alessandra Nucci, a contributor to CWR (who recently wrote this piece about Christians in Syria), sent me a note this morning about the violent and horrible events in Egypt. She stated that the reporting of the Western press, in general, "from Egypt is marred by the same one-sided superficiality as denounced by the Christians in Syria." She included her translation of this recent piece, by Valentina Colombo, from the Italian newspaper, La Nuova Bussola (The New Compass), which contains quotes from a number of Christians leaders in Egypt. Here are some of that article:

[......] In Egypt and in the Arab world it is feared that the West might once again take the wrong sides, as it has in the past, supporting the butchers rather than the victims. Statements, articles and communiqués are being released by all different sources, whether Copts, Catholics, Sunni Muslim authorities or secularists, in the hopes of waking the West up to reality.

One of the first to speak up was Father Rafiq Greiche, spokesman for the Catholic bishops of Egypt, who stated to AsiaNews: "Obama does not appear to understand the situation. In his speech he didn’t even so much as mention all the churches and Christian buildings being burnt down by the Muslim Brotherhood. This must absolutely be made clear: the Muslim Brothers are terrorists, and are tied to groups belonging to Al Qaeda and to the Salafites. The history of the Muslim Brotherhood, ever since their foundation, has been a history of 85 years of bloodshed".

Father Greiche also pointed to one of the main characteristics of the movement founded by Hasan al-Banna: dissimulation.  "The Muslim Brotherhood communicates with a double register – he said — to the Western media they speak about democracy and coups d’etat, to the Arab media they talk about their plan for a State based on Islam, on sharia law, on a Caliphate that is to include other Arab nations as well. Either Obama doesn’t understand what’s going on, or he is an accomplice to this project.”

On the evening of August 16th pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, issued another appeal to the West in an official communiqué: "Egypt’s Coptic Church has been following the developments of the sad events that have stricken our land and it confirms its firm support for the Egyptian police, for the Armed Forces, for all of Egypt’s civil institutions which are facing the violent factions devoted to obscure terrorism, both within and from without the country. The attacks on our governing bodies and on the protected churches terrify our citizens, whether Coptic or Muslim, and are the opposite of all religion, of all morality and of humanity itself.

"We appreciate the position of the loyal and friendly nations who understand the nature of the ongoing events. At the same time however we loudly denounce the misleading news conveyed by the Western media and urge them to re-read the facts with objectivity so as to give international and political coverage to these bloody terrorist organizations and to their followers. They should not be legitimized by global support and political protection when their efforts are committed to spreading devastation and destruction over our beloved country.

“We ask the international and Western media to do its best to give a truthful account of what is going on, with honesty, truthfulness and accuracy. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to all the victims and martyrs of duty, who have offered up their lives, and we pray for the recovery of the wounded and those who have been attacked. We will remain loyal to our national unity and reject all attempts to push our great nation into a gigantic conflict. 



“We firmly reject, with all our might, any and all foreign interference, however small it may be, into our domestic affairs. Just as the hand of evil burns, kills and destroys, the hands of God protect, strengthen and build up. We trust in Divine aid which will lead the Egyptian people in this delicate period of  their history towards a better tomorrow and a more radiant future, full of the justice, peace and democracy that the people of the Nile valley deserve. May Egypt live a proud liberty".



Another Coptic voice is that of scholar Kamal Ghobrial: "Who would have thought that the very moment the Egyptian people woke up and started cleansing themselves and their country of oppression, the West would take sides against us, allying itself with the wolves of tyranny?".


Faysal J. Abbas, editor of Al Arabiya English, does not mince words in reproaching the West for its lukewarm, timid and ambiguous attitude: "The West’s denouncement of the recent events in Egypt begs many questions. I wonder if the leaders of the free world are aware of, or understand, the actual situation on the ground. The way in which Americans and Europeans, not to mention Turks, are clearly taking sides is certainly not going to solve the situation. Do they realize who it is they are supporting ? […] Democracy should be protected and well-received, but the West seems to have forgotten how very far the Muslim Brotherhood was from protecting and welcoming democracy after they took power.”

The conclusion Abbas reaches is a sharp and bitter piece of advice: "In the light of the disastrous way it has managed almost every single issue pertaining to the Arab Spring of 2011, it is highly recommended that the West stop meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt". ...

Tarek Heggy, a brilliant member of the liberal intelligentsia in Egypt: "The Egyptian army on July 3rd, 2013 simply sided with the twenty-five million Egyptians who took to the streets to say “no” to the radicalization of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was doing his utmost to turn Egypt into a replica of what Afghanistan was before 2001. The Muslim Brothers’ 369 days in power in Egypt are there to show that a theocratic organization can not govern democratically. Let’s just think a moment about what Hamas is doing in Gaza. Theocracy is the exact opposite of democracy. The West must remind itself that there is no difference between Al Qaeda and political Islam.

Moderation can exist only by completely accepting a secular State, which to the Muslim Brotherhood is a product of Satan".

 
About the Author
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Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.
 
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