The Dallas Morning News reports a victory this week ("Egyptian never wavered in courtroom") for a victim of persecution by the Muslim Brotherhood and Mubarak regime, who fled his homeland after an eight-year ordeal following his conversion to Christianity. While Western human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, wring their hands about the detention of Muslim Brotherhood officials, the plight of the Egyptian Christian community, Copts and Evangelicals alike, has gone unnoticed by these organizations, let alone protested by them.
Standing before Judge Roxanne C. Hladylowycz, the Egyptian man, "Omar", recounted for the court the horrors he endured:
Omar testified that members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical group once banned by the Egyptian government, arrived at his Cairo home in 1999, shoved him and began searching for Christian literature. One man told him, "If you keep going like this, we're going to kill you."
He could not tell police for fear that they, as Muslims, also would retaliate for his departure from Islam. Once, he said, police beat him and burned him with a cigarette. His father was run out of business. Omar was arrested two more times, in June and August of 2004.
During the second arrest, he was kept in a basement cell for four months, beaten, suspended from a ceiling and shocked with electrodes, he said.
He fled the country in October 2005. Asked what would happen if he were sent back, he replied, "I would be put in jail, and they would torture me until I die."
The U.S. government attorney, Margaret Ann Price, offered no argument. Judge Hladylowycz declared, "If the respondent is removed to Egypt, he will be surely tortured or killed." With that, she congratulated him and declared his asylum granted.
There are policy ramifications for this story. In March, the Nixon Center's Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke had published in Foreign Affairs an article, "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood", arguing that the Islamist organization, which has birthed virtually every Islamic terrorist group in the world today, had "rejected jihad" and "embraced democracy" - an article I criticized in "Mainstreaming the Muslim Brotherhood." That critique prompted a dismissive response from Leiken and Brooke ("Response to Patrick Poole's 'Mainstreaming the Muslim Brotherhood"), where they claimed that attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt's Christians were a figment of my imagination and that the Muslim Brotherhood were in fact the Christians' best friends in the Middle East:
"Poole offers unsubstantiated arguments that the "military apparatus" of the Muslim Brotherhood has been attacking the Christian Coptic community. Sectarian violence does occur in Egypt, but the Muslim Brotherhood has not been implicated. On the contrary, the BBC reported that the Muslim Brotherhood supported Coptic Christians demonstrating for greater police protection. The Brotherhood also called one particularly high- profile attack "an attack against all the Egyptian people, Muslim and Copt." There has been reported cooperation between the Muslim Brotherhood and Coptic candidates in Egypt, and earlier this year a Christian joined the leadership council of the political party affiliated with the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (although he soon resigned for reasons unclear)."
This claim of innocence of the Muslim Brotherhood involvement in the attacks on the Christian community flies in the face of the findings found in the 2004 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, which stated:
Coptic Christians face ongoing violence from vigilante Muslim extremists, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, many of whom act with impunity. Egyptian authorities have been accused of being lax in protecting the lives and property of Christians. (p. 73)
The approval of Omar's asylum application is a win for the good guys after years of countless stories of Islamic extremists (including members of the Muslim Brotherhood) winning asylum in the US. I do wonder exactly how Leiken and Brooke would respond to this latest piece of evidence on the violent tendencies of the Muslim Brotherhood against Christians. Probably more of the same: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. But policymakers and diplomats in Washington DC who are being wooed by the Muslim Brotherhood's apologists in the policy community and the establishment media would do well to listen more to voices like Omar's than the policy siren songs of a "Moderate Muslim Brotherhood". Omar's story is hardly unique.
By Patrick Poole