|This ancient statue was destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001, complaining that the Buddhas represented polytheistic idols|
The Islamist pyramid scheme -Editorial
Radical Muslims want to tear down Egypt’s pyramids and take over the world. The least the rest of us can do is take them seriously.
Islamist political victories in Egypt have invigorated the debate in certain circles over what to do with the country’s historical sites, or as the extremists call them, the symbols of pagan idolatry. The most pious Muslim theologians do not see the ancient statues, carvings and pyramids as important tourist destinations so much as affronts to their beliefs. Bahraini Sunni leader Abdal-Latif al-Mahmoud called on the Egyptians to “destroy the Pyramids..."
Others [in Egypt] plan to bring this same degree of common sense and tolerance to the rest of the world. This week a group called the United Muslim Nations International released a 23-page pamphlet entitled “The Global Islamic Civilization: The Power of a Nation Revived” which outlines a plan for Islamic world domination.
The group’s leader, Sheik Farook al-Mohammedi, writes in the plan that “Christianity should be destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth,” along with all faiths other than Islam. He maintains that “submission to Allah” will be the future of the “Islamic State of America” and “Eurabia” and other parts of the world not currently under the sway of Shariah.
Lest anyone dismiss the notion that any government would be so foolish as to destroy the only surviving ancient wonder of the world, the threat is real. The Taliban set the modern standard when they ruled Afghanistan. In 2001, they dynamited the monumental, 1,500-year-old Buddha statues carved into a mountain face at Bamiyan.
[The Washington Times]
The U.S.-Egyptian Relationship -Aaron David Miller
•Beneath the "isn't democracy wonderful (and messy)" platitudes emanating from the State Department, three fundamental contradictions are likely to keep America's ties with Egypt in the doldrums for some time to come.
•First, the democracy problem. The good news is that Egypt has competitive politics; the bad news is that the two forces that are competing - the military and the Muslim Brotherhood - are inherently undemocratic, perhaps even anti-democratic, both in structure and philosophy.
•Secretary of State Clinton can give rousing speeches in defense of democracy, but the Obama administration lacks real leverage, or at least leverage it's prepared to use. The $1.5 billion in U.S. military aid will continue to flow (for now) because without it we'll have no influence; and after providing so much aid to authoritarian Hosni Mubarak, how can we now cut assistance as Egypt tries to democratize?
•Second, the Israel problem. The intimacy of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship began as a direct result of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. If the Egypt-Israel relationship goes south (and it will), how do we expect to keep the U.S.-Egypt relationship on the rails?
•The military will abide by the letter of the treaty, but the spirit - comatose for some time now - may go into complete arrest as Egyptian public opinion plays a greater role in setting the tone on Israel. The bet is that as the anti-Israel rhetoric gets hotter, so will U.S. congressional reaction.
•Third, the Egyptians-hate-our-policy problem. In the latest Pew polls, 76% of Egyptians had an unfavorable view of the Obama administration; Shibley Telhami found that 85% had an unfavorable view of the U.S. in general. Support among our politicians and the public for aiding countries that criticize America is going to contract.
The writer is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.
(Los Angeles Times)