by Valentina Colombo
The Bishop of the Coptic Church in Germany, Damian Anba, stated before Christmas, as reported in the weekly, Bild: "The police warned us several times that Islamic extremists might try to break into our churches during the celebrations of our Christmas." Does this mean that Christians in general, and Copts in particular, are in danger not only in Egypt and in the Islamic world, but also in Europe? Or was this warning an unjustified alarm, prompted by fear?
Unfortunately the analysis of documents and certain statements leads to a pessimistic answer.
If we just limited ourselves to the surface of the declarations and statements of Muslim leaders ideologically linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, issued in Europe in recent days, or in the days immediately following the atrocious attack in Alexandria, we could - but only initially - draw a sigh of relief.
Starting from the top, the leader of Islamic extremism in Europe, Yusuf Qaradawi, President of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, based in Dublin, and the main theologian of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide, issued a statement on the Egyptian tragedy on January 3rd, via the International Association of Muslim Scholars, which he presides, declaring that: "The Association strongly condemns this abominable murder regardless of how it was perpetrated, an abominable crime that cannot find any justification in Islamic law, whose eternal book is based on the recognition and peremptory assertion of religious pluralism and the consideration of personal faith as a foundation of belief, rejecting any kind of constraint, as the Qur'an says 'no compulsion in faith' (II, 255)." Qaradawi added that "as proven by experience of coexistence between Muslims and members of other religions throughout the history of Islam, Islam is free from all sectarian and religious war, particularly with fellow Christians, […] which confirms in particular the right of the Copts of Egypt to the protection of the most Merciful Messenger - peace be upon him - towards them and the His call to care for them. "
It would be nice to believe Qaradawi's words, but you only need to read some statements contained in his book "The lawful and unlawful in Islam," which is widely circulated, especially among Muslims and converts in Europe, to suspect his sincerity. On the contrary his words are the typical consequence of the dissimulation [taqqiya] technique used the Muslim Brotherhood, that is advocated to hide their true thoughts to "please" the enemy -- in this case Western public.
in Chapter 5, entitled "Relations of Muslims with the non-Muslim" he states: "[...] The first of these two verses not only admonishes to be fair and equitable with non-Muslims who do not fight the Muslims (who are neither at war nor in hatred by the Muslims), and not hunt them from their homes, but calls to be kind and generous with them." What this actually means is that, in Qaradawi's opinion, if Christians in general, and Copts in particular, were accused of being hostile to Muslims, every reaction against them would be lawful. For instance, that if someone were accused of "Islamophobia," a term dear to the followers of Qaradawi, Christians would no longer be considered worthy of respect. When he writes that they deserve "protection," it means that they are not equal to Muslims, and they are dhimmis, or second-class people.
In the same chapter, there is a paragraph regarding Christians living in the Islamic lands -- just like Christians in Egypt: "The above recommendations relate to all the people of the Book, no matter where they are. Nevertheless, those among them who live in the shadow of an Islamic state have a special situation. Muslim scholars agree to call them people of 'dhimma.' This word means the Treaty, pact. [...] In modern terminology they are called 'fellow countrymen' in the Islamic nation. "
If we refer to Copts, they not only live in a Muslim majority state, where they represent about 13% of the population, but they also live in a country where Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution stipulates that Sharia [Islamic; Sharia means "the Path"] Law is the main source of law. Copts are then exactly in the condition described by Qaradawi -- "fellow countrymen" -- protected by Islamic law, that is, they are inferior, as "protection" implies the payment of a fee (jizya), and the agreement of the second-class citizen [dhimmi] to submit to the pre-eminence of Sharia Law and Islam.
Similar words were used on January 2nd by the Italian group UCOII, an Islamic association ideologically linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Their press release declared the following: "While witnessing the victims of entire families we send the beloved Egyptian people all our sympathy and our sense of outrage… no faith, belief or ideology can ever be invoked to justify or even explain the reasons which led to an aberrant and very heinous act that obviously was planned and perpetrated to undermine centuries of coexistence between Muslims and Christians…The sacredness of life and respect for nonbelligerent religious and places of worship have always been essential parts of Islamic law and recognized even in a state of war, may God preserve us forever from it. It is therefore inexplicable in terms of our doctrine and tradition that such actions can be implemented in peace like the one governing relations between the two great religious families in Egypt. We are confident that the instigators and perpetrators should be sought beyond the borders of that country, including those who have an interest in its destabilization, by pursuing a strategy of tension, which implements an aberrant cycle of revenge that would throw the country into a state of civil war."
The Italian Islamic association, just like Qaradawi, points out that in Egypt there is a state of peace, that Copts are not belligerent, and are certainly not worthy of attacks by Muslims. But if we read behind the lines and look at the comments on Koranic verses referring to the Christians in the Italian translation published as "Under the Doctrinal Review and Control of UCOII," it is clear that these are just words of convenience which do not correspond to true feelings. For example, the comment on verse 62 of Sura II reads: "You do not have to use this verse to claim a kind of of irenic, or worse, syncretistic attitude of the Islamic doctrine towards Christians" or on verse 121 of the same sura: " Jews and Christians who respect the scriptures of Allah and that He has chosen to reveal them, cannot help believing a Koranic revelation."
In the press release, moreover,suspicion about external interference in the tragedy of Alexandria is clear -- meaning that in their opinion no Muslim could have committed the crime, so there must be a foreign hand, perhaps either a Western or, why not, an Israeli one.
Although many statements like those above have been issued recently, unfortunately, they seem simply designed to make these individuals and organizations look like "moderate" Muslims -- which is not the case. Any declaration from Islamic groups ideologically linked to the Muslim Brotherhood are a kind of "excusatio non petita, accusatio manifesta," that is: " an excuse not asked for is like a clear accusation". Of course this does not apply to the expressions of condolence and sincere sorrow that came from many Egyptian Muslims, Muslims living in Europe, or Egyptian intellectuals like Tarek Heggy. The Muslim Brotherhood is just acting as they did after the attacks in the US on September 11, 2001: they condemned terrorism, but when asked about suicide attacks in Israel and Iraq, they said that those were "resistance," so those were allowed.
Italian and European institutions, both civil and religious, do not fall into the honey-trap of these dangerous associations which aspire to be the only representatives of Islam in Europe, but, on the contrary, should start protecting the Coptic community in Europe and in Egypt. They should also establish a policy of removing any ideology that advocates dissimulation to get to power and submit the "Other."
In isolating these fake moderates, we should probably avoid a reaction like that of the representative of the Coptic Church in Italy who, after announcing a demonstration in Rome, stressed that he hoped that no Muslim at all would show up,forgetting that among Italian Muslims, there are some who were sincerely sad for what happened in Egypt -- and who are very distant from radical ideology. Unfortunately false moderates shout and do their best to appear the only face of Islam, but we do not have to let them, and we do have to expose the fact that often they only say and write what they know the West wants them to say and write -- what they know the West so badly wants to hear -- without believing a word of it themselves.
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