Yesterday angry protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, tore down the American flag, and held up shredded bits of it to television camera crews. Welcome to the new democratic Egypt, a product of the glorious, Obama-inspired Arab Spring which sent so many thrills up the collective leg of the mainstream media.
The embassy had been cleared of diplomatic personnel earlier that day, ahead of the imminent threat. Shots were fired (by whom it isn’t clear) as a large crowd gathered around the compound. Egyptian police and army personnel attempted to prevent the demonstrators from advancing farther, but not before the protesters planted the black flag of Islam atop a ladder inside the embassy. On it was lettering that read, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger,” the profession of Muslim faith.
The demonstration was apparently in protest of a film which the crowd deemed insulting to their prophet Mohammed. It was unclear which film upset them – in fact, it’s probably unclear even to the protesters, who rarely need a specific reason to become insanely offended and rampage through the streets. Some took the opportunity to express their perceived grievances over U.S. policy, with the usual chanting of anti-American slogans. It’s difficult to imagine what they have to complain about where Obama’s America is concerned, since our President actively assisted the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power there and just signed off on a $1 billion aid package to the new regime.
Al-Zawahiri added that “the film portrays the prophet in a very ugly manner, alluding to topics like sex, which is not acceptable.” Sex, eh? Perhaps he’s referring to his prophet Mohammed’s marriage consummation with a nine-year-old, which would indeed be an ugly – yet truthful – portrayal. No wonder the crowd is upset – unlike a film about Christianity’s Jesus, a film that depicts Islam’s model for the perfect man in an historically accurate manner wouldn’t paint their religion in a very flattering light.
“I just want to say,” al-Zawahiri went on, “how would the Americans feel if films insulting leading Christian figures like the pope or historical figures like Abraham Lincoln were produced?”
The answer is that films insulting Christians and American historical figures are produced almost nonstop in the entertainment biz, and Americans don’t form spit-flecked, bloodthirsty mobs to storm Hollywood studios and threaten Bill Maher with death. Christians and patriotic Americans are routinely insulted in pop culture and most don’t even bother to shoot off an irate email to a TV network. But of course al-Zawahiri wasn’t expecting empathy; these mobs don’t want our respect – they want our submission.
And they got it. How did U.S. embassy officials respond to this unacceptable behavior? First they issued a warning to Americans in Egypt, telling them to avoid the demonstrations because “clashes may occur.” Note the neutrality and moral equivalence of the word “clashes,” which suggests equal aggression from both sides, when in fact one side is peaceful and civilized, and the other becomes savagely violent at the drop of an imaginary hat.
Next, the U.S. Embassy issued a stern condemnation – of the filmmakers and their free speech. It stated that it “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” So the official stance of our government is that the filmmakers – and bear in mind that it’s unclear who the filmmakers are or even that this supposedly offensive film exists – are misguided and intentionally offending Muslims, and they are the ones responsible for the barbaric behavior of the rioters, not the rioters themselves.
“Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy,” the Embassy statement continued. Sadly, this kind of platitude is always trotted out in defense of the hair-trigger feelings of murderous Muslims but never for the members of any other faith group – largely because no other faith group ever needs placating like Muslims. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” Apparently our own embassy is confused about the definition of free speech, a freedom which is meaningless unless it is protected from people who claim that it “offends” them.
This is craven dhimmitude, pure and simple. When our own embassy in Cairo is under assault; the American flag is torn down and shredded, and another raised in its place; and our official response is to leap to the defense of the delicate sensibilities of the fanatics storming our embassy, then we are no longer a beacon of freedom and human rights in a dark land. We are appeasers and collaborators in their totalitarianism.
After the Egyptian election victory of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi (a man who vowed that under his leadership, Egyptian law would be “the sharia, then the sharia, and finally, the sharia”) Obama congratulated him by underscoring “that the United States will continue to… stand by the Egyptian people as they fulfill the promise of their revolution.” With events like Tuesday’s assault on our Embassy in Cairo, we are seeing that revolution beginning to be fulfilled in the birth of a new Iran in the Middle East, as we saw it fulfilled there in 1979.
(This article originally appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 9/13/12)