So much for the Grand Mufti’s assertion that the “much less charged translation ‘non-believer’ is appropriate” for the word kafir.  Perhaps he is operating under Quran 3:28: “Let believers not take kafirin [infidels, non-believers, whatever] for friends and allies … unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.”  Not only is this yet another verse depicting non-Muslims as enemies, but, according to Muslim jurisprudence, it justifies deceiving them.

There is also much peripheral evidence that “non-believers” are always seen negatively: when Gomaa’s colleagues, the Muslim Brotherhood, recently declared that only “drunks, druggies, and adulterers” reject Sharia — and considering that non-Muslims naturally reject Sharia — were they not in essence asserting that all non-believers are junkies and faithless perverts?

Aside from distorting the word kafir, Gomaa made the following points which require remark:

Raymond Ibrahim absurdly tries to link my commentary on Muslim theological doctrine, delivered within the context of a mosque study circle, to the regrettable Maspero events in Cairo last month. My comments at the mosque that day were intended exclusively as a pedagogical explanation of the Qur’anic view on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity….

As for his words being “delivered within the context of a mosque study circle,” that is no excuse: as Grand Mufti of a nation of some 70 million Muslims, Gomaa is responsible for every doctrine-related utterance he makes — whether he knows he is being videotaped or not. Likewise, even if his comments “were intended exclusively as a pedagogical explanation of the Qur’anic view on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity,” they still culminated in categorizing all Christians as infidels, which is the point here.

Therefore, his comments are, in fact, related to the Maspero massacre. Consider: when the Grand Mufti of Egypt himself categorizes Christians as “infidels” — a word that, as we have seen, conveys to the Muslim mind images of guilty, oppressive, accursed, bestial-like enemies — is it surprising when Muslims, including the Egyptian military, attack and kill Christians — all while calling them “infidels”?

A personal note to Sheikh Gomaa: the time for sophistry, apologetics, euphemisms, and projections is past. We live in an age where the historic, doctrinal, and contemporary facts of Islam are increasingly exposed for the world to see, in part thanks to the Internet and satellite, which defy censorship. Operating according to this fact — that is, respecting people’s intelligence — is the first step to meaningful dialogue.