Their purported crimes relate either to their reported involvement in the production of the Internet movie critical of Islam that has received so much attention over the past 10 days, or to other alleged anti-Islamic activities.
One of the US citizens indicted is a woman who converted from Islam to Christianity.
According to the Associated Press, Egypt's general prosecution issued a statement announcing that the eight US citizens have been indicted on charges of insulting and publicly attacking Islam, spreading false information, and harming Egyptian national unity.
The statement stipulated that they could face the death penalty if convicted.
The AP write-up of the story quoted Mamdouh Ismail, a Salafi attorney who praised the prosecution's move. He claimed it would deter others from exercising their right to free expression in regards to Islam. As he put it, the prosecutions will "set a deterrent for them and anyone else who may fall into this." That is, they will deter others from saying anything critical about Islam.
This desire to intimidate free people into silence on Islam is clearly the goal the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood seek to achieve through their protests of the anti-Islamic movie. This was the message of Muslim Brotherhood chief Yussuf Qaradawi. Three days after the anti-American assaults began on the anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks on America, Qaradawi gave a sermon on Qatar television, translated by MEMRI.
Qaradawi struck a moderate tone. He called on his followers to stop rioting against the US. Rather than attack the US, Qaradawi urged his Muslim audience to insist that the US place prohibitions on the free speech rights of American citizens by outlawing criticism of Islam - just as the Europeans have done in recent years in the face of Islamic terror and intimidation.
In his words, "We say to the US: You must take a strong stance and try to confront this extremism like the Europeans do. This [anti-Islamic film] is not art. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is nothing but curses and insults. Does the freedom to curse and insult constitute freedom of speech?"
Both the actions of the Egyptian prosecution and Qaradawi's sermon prove incontrovertibly that the two policies the US has adopted since September 11, 2001, to contend with Muslim hatred for the US have failed. The neoconservative policy of supporting the democratization of Muslim societies adopted by President Barack Obama's predecessor George W. Bush has failed. And the appeasement policy adopted by Obama has also failed.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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