Sheikh Khalid Abdullah, an Egyptian Salafist and TV personality, aired a show more than a week ago about a film called “The Innocence of Muslims,” which reportedly slanders Islam’s prophet Muhammad. The way the Islamists in Egypt and their fellow Islamists have chosen to magnify a 13-minute online video into a streaming wave of violence and anti-Israeli and anti-American hate shows the true side of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been claiming to be pro-democracy and anti-violence, and that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists in general have not changed because of the Arab Spring. All of this should serve as a rude wake-up call to the US administration, which has been tolerating — even accepting — Islamists’ spurious adoption of democracy.
For a start, it is worthwhile learning more about the man behind the sweeping Muslim rage over the film. Sheikh Khalid Abdullah has a popular talk show on Al-Nas satellite TV, and — according to the Telegraph — “has long prided itself on baiting liberals, Christians and Jews.” Although the video has been online since July with not much attention, a little over a week ago, Sheikh Khalid Abdullah, after airing clips from the online video, called for its maker to be executed. Additionally, YouTube and other websites are full of anti-Islamic videos — possibly much fewer in number than anti-Semitic and anti-American online videos produced by Muslims — and we yet have not seen Americans or Israelis attacking Muslim Embassies.
Sheikh Khalid Abdullah is a controversial figure: Last year, when a group of moderates, liberals and non-Islamist protesters protested against Egypt’s military council’s alleged control of the country’s political life, a young woman wearing a hijab was beaten then undressed down to her undergarments by the Egyptian anti-riot police. This incident was caught on camera and the entire Egyptian nation saw it; nonetheless, the Salafist media, headed by Sheikh Abdullah, stood in defense of the Military Council. Sheikh Abdullah even went as far as to mock Egyptian Noble Prize winner Mohammad Al-Baradei for defending the assaulted women. Sheikh Abdullah said: “Al-Baradei told the Military Council: don’t you feel ashamed for stripping young women of their clothes” Abdullah then laughably commented “Oh You (Al-Baradei) …you faithful boy”.
In another episode of his show, Sheikh Abdullah goes even further in slandering the assaulted woman. He said, “A veiled woman, what was she doing in that place at such a time amid the chaos; so she can end up being caught by someone to take off her Niqab and then beat her up and then the devious satellite TVs come out saying the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salfists only care for being in the Parliament and they could not care less for the lives of people…I’ve told you a thousand times, don’t be too smart with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists trying to lure them into a game they know very well”.
Last year, Sheikh Khaled Abdullah accused the protesters, who were in Tahrir Square and demanding further reforms from the Military Council, of being in a disgusting indiscrete situation: “When my friend saw them he almost threw up in disgust about what was happening in the tents…young men are sleeping with young women in the tents!” As a Salafist Sheikh, he must know that in Islam, accusing an innocent person of committing adultery or pre-marital sex is considered one of the seven deadly sins; thus, the Sheikh, and the media face of Egyptian Salafists, both exhibited a willingness to break even the sacred laws of his own faith to make a political point against his fellow Muslims, let alone against Christian and Jewish “infidels”.
The question remains, was the fiasco ostensibly resulting from the video a coincidence, or was it part of a greater trend of Egypt’s Islamists to demonize the U.S. and Israel and to bite the hand of the U.S. administration which had sympathized with the Egyptian revolution of January 2011.
Also, is Sheikh Abdullah different from other Islamists in Egypt? According to Al-Ahram, Egypt’s largest newspaper, the Muslim Brotherhood official Twitter account expressed its deputy head’s “relief none of the U.S. Embassy staff in Cairo was hurt,” and its hope that the U.S.-Egypt relations could weather the events — while at the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter account in the Arabic language expressed support for the protesters trying to storm the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, as also in an article on its official website in Arabic. The U.S. Embassy made a response on Twitter: “Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too.”
It seems that Egypt’s Islamists are coming out of their “non-violence” façade pretty fast. And they are proving their ability to lie and deceive anyone to achieve their desired goals: they are lying to the Egyptian people and outwitting the gullible U.S. Administration, who tolerated them and possibly even believed their plea that “Islam is democracy.”
An Arab proverb goes: “A long dance starts with little moves.” It will be illuminating to see how far the Islamists’ moves will evolve, all under a US administration in the habit of giving in to the Islamists of the Middle East.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.Mudar Zahran
About the Author: Mudar Zahran is the Secretrary General of the Jordanian Coalition of Opposition, a known Jordanian- Palestinian politician and writer, who now resides in the UK as a political refugee. His writings regularly appear in Arab, Israeli, and American publications.
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