Editor’s Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
Dear Mr. President: Recent events in Egypt show the failure of your administration’s policies toward this largest of Arab countries. You helped in the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak. Very well. Americans should shed no tears for Mubarak’s departure. He stayed in power for thirty years the way the Tsar did: by combining secret police crackdowns combined with fanning the flames of anti-Semitism. It didn’t work out so well for the Tsar, either.
Your administration gave little thought to what would follow in the wake of Mubarak’s ouster. What followed was chaos. And the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is well-experienced in riding into power on the back of the tiger of chaos. Once they had their man, Mohamed Morsi, installed in Cairo, they proceeded to demolish the elements of civil society. They opened the door to Islamist terrorists infiltrating the Sinai Desert in flagrant violation of Egypt’s 30-year treaty with Israel.
Coptic Christians especially felt the hot breath of religious hatred as their churches were torched and their young people killed. Still, your ambassador, Ann Patterson, pooh-poohed the mounting opposition to Mohamed Morsi’s misrule and urged all sides to stick with “democracy.”
Mr. President, what Morsi was running was no democracy. A democracy is more than purple fingers voting. If those same purple fingers torch churches and cut the throats of their neighbors who worship differently, it is no democracy. Do you contend that Germany was a democracy because 89% of German voters confirmed Hitler as Fürer in 1934?
We believe you should “talk turkey” to Egypt. That is, you should urge Egyptians to learn from the happy experience of the United States and from their own unfortunate history. The Pew Forum tells us that 84% of Egyptians think that someone who leaves Islam should be killed. Unless they can be persuaded to change this belief, Egyptians will never have a true democracy.
The late civil rights leader, Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, pointed to America’s great achievement in religious and civil liberty. “We came to believe it was the will of God that we should not kill each other over differing views of the will of God.” This is the necessary foundation for true democracy.
Now is the time to urge religious freedom on the Egyptians. It was most encouraging to see the Coptic Pope Tawadros II seated in the front row during the military’s broadcast announcing the toppling of Mohamed Morsi’s Islamist regime.