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Written By: Jerrold L. Sobel
As the “democratic process” in Egypt winds up, Coptic Christians find themselves facing a number of restrictions and proclamations that would leave them with fewer rights than they already have. They’re worried that the newly empowered Islamist will force them to pay special taxes or wear veils not called for by their religion. Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, it’s called the jizziah, Jews and Christians living in Muslim countries are not news to this, they have have been paying this special extortionist tax for centuries to their Muslim masters.
Along with the burning of several Christian churches this past October, 20 Christians were killed as they demonstrated for equal rights. According to George Gerges, a 24 year old Coptic Christian, “When we live together, without any political factors, we live in peace,” Gerges said. “But when religion becomes an issue, they burn churches, they burn houses, they kill Christians.”
The fact that Coptic Cairo is blocked off and surrounded by armed Egyptian police is not surprising due to what people know, or should know about Islam. Unlike the security fence built in Israel to keep out homicide terrorists, the sole purpose of this fence is to segregate the Christian community.
Perhaps not realizing, or caring his statements, Mohammad Soudan, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party foreign relations chief in Alexandria explained, “Muslim men can marry Christian women, while Christian men cannot marry Muslim women.” This is par for the course for these folks. What I find perplexing is why this blatant apartheid isn’t a cause celebre of the political left in this country and In Israel itself for that matter. It probably would take up to much of their time from bashing Israel.
The inequalities and violence directed against the Coptic Christians of Egypt is well chronicled. It’s increasing, and the violence directed against them is causing Christians, seeing the handwriting on the wall, to leave in droves.
Continuing our tour of this lovely neighborhood, let’s cross the Red Sea and visit President Obama’s good friend, King Abdullah. Most Americans have criticized the President for his distended bow to the King in 2009. Since I can’t believe any American President would do such a humiliating thing out of deference to a King, I’d like to think he was whispering into the Abdullah’s ear, extolling him to end apartheid.
Here’s a news flash. According to the U.S. Department of State, “Saudi Arabia is an Islamic monarchy without legal protection for freedom of religion, and such protection does not exist in practice. Islam is the official religion, and the law requires that all citizens be Muslims. The Government prohibits the public practice of non-Muslim religions. The Government recognizes the right of non-Muslims to worship in private; however, it does not always respect this right in practice.”
According to a State Department report by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “An overwhelming majority of citizens support an Islamic state and oppose public non-Muslim worship. There is societal discrimination against adherents of the Shi’a minority.” I don’t know about you, but I feel comforted about this. It shows that the Sunnis hate everybody, but do it equally.
Traveling North, let’s crossover to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. According to a 2005 report by the same, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; “The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, on condition that religious practices are consistent with “public order and morality;” however, the Government continues to impose restrictions on this right.
According to the Constitution, Islam is the state religion.” The report goes on to say, “A convert from Islam to Christianity was detained on the orders of a Shari’a court in September 2004 and charged with apostasy. In November, the Amman Shari’a Court found him guilty of apostasy, stripped him of his civil rights, and annulled his marriage. Hmm, sounds like apartheid.
As we cross the Allenby bridge into Judea and Samaria, it’s interesting to get the Palestinian take on what a Palestinian state would look like if ever they get to carve out such a state in this ancient Jewish homeland.
This past September, Maen Areikat the PLO envoy to the United States stated unequivocally that Israeli Jews would be removed from such a state.
But he’s small fry. The big Kahuna himself, Mahmoud Abbas delivered this often repeated quote to an emergency session of the Arab League in Doha, Qatar in 2006. “When an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established, we won’t allow the presence of one Israeli in it.” Can you just imagine Prime Minister Netanyahu uttering these racist words about Palestinians not being allowed a presence in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Every ninny screaming to be unsubscribed at the end of this article would have committed suicide long before reading this.
Let’s now look at the pariah of the left, the object of all the scorn. The target of divestment and delegitimization, the recipient of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanction cabal funded mainly by Saudi Arabian petrol dollars; the can do no right, Israel.
Not counting Judea and Samaria, there are currently 15 Mosques in Israel proper where Arab worshipers are free to practice their religion. There are over 500 Christian churches in Israel and the number is growing. As in our country, freedom of religion is a given. Apostasy and punishments for conversion is reserved for Islam and Islam alone.
Rape and crimes against women are taken very seriously in Israel. The recent conviction, upheld by the Supreme Court of former President of Israel, Moshe Katsav is proof of this. Not to speak of the fact that Katsav was convicted by an Arab Judge, Salim Jourban, who upon convicting Katsav told the hushed court, “Every woman has a right to her own body. A right to dignity, a right to freedom. No one has the liberty to take any of those from her.” Can anyone imagine a Jewish judge in an Islamic country convicting a high Muslim official, for rape no less? You’ll win the lottery three times before seeing that.
Gay rights in the Middle East? With the exception of Israel, gay couples face brutal 7th century punishments if their lifestyle is discovered by the authorities. In Iran, Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, the international adviser to the head of Iranian Judiciary told a visiting delegation from the German Parliament that; “there are some unethical behaviors in the West that are not acceptable to Iranians, including homosexuality.” He went on to say, “recognition of same-sex partnership in the West will probably lead to legalization of marriage between cats and human beings in the future.” And this guy is a member of their Human Rights Commission no less. These sentiments are endemic to the region. Where’s the outrage?
Except to the willfully blind the plight of gay and lesbian people in Islamic countries is abysmal. Contrast this despicable behavior with that of Israel where gay couples can, and do, openly express their life style without any legal repercussions. But even with such a remarkable record on gay rights, the irrepressible left refuses to relent in their defamation of the Jewish State.
According to an article by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic: “If the Left is not willing acknowledge the tangible differences between Israel’s treatment of its gay citizens and the persecution gay and lesbians face in many of the neighboring countries, and to throw its support to Israel, then it is risking seeing those hard-won gains evaporate.”
Apartheid Week? I’m all for it. But let’s put the onus of this disgusting practice where it belongs, on Islam and the Arab world in particular. Is Israel perfect? Maybe not to some but compared to the aforementioned, it’s heaven. But the wall, what about the wall?
The security wall was created to save innocent people from fanatical monsters set on killing them in the name of God. It was made to stop devil worshipers that are willing to kill and maim because a writer wrote a book about Mohammad, or a cartoonist drew a cartoon they found objectionable. The wall was constructed to hold out miscreants that riot and kill for days on end over the burning of a book no matter how venerated. That’s called security and self preservation, not apartheid.