The PJ Tatler

Islamist Mohammed al-Zawahiri Makes a Funny in Cairo

Perusing CNN’s story on the attack on the US embassy in Cairo, on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the United States, turns up this gem.

Mohammed al-Zawahiri — the brother of al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri — added that “we called for the peaceful protest joined by different Islamic factions including the Islamic Jihad, Hazem Abu Ismael movement.”

“We were surprised to see the big numbers show up including the soccer Ultra fans,” he said. “I just want to say, how would the Americans feel if films insulting leading Christian figures like the pope or historical figures like Abraham Lincoln were produced?”

Um, has Mo ever seen South Park? Or The Simpsons? Or read anything written by militant atheists? Or seen Piss Christ or that painting of Mary that was made with elephant dung or watched The Borgias? The Last Temptation of Christ wasn’t exactly orthodox in its theology.

I’m an evangelical Christian living in a nominally Christian country in which we’re perfectly free to blaspheme without running afoul of the law, and someone somewhere is doing his or her best to be obnoxious every single day.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What Mo reveals is that the ascendant strain in Islamic culture is not ready to nurture a truly pluralistic democracy. Even where we imposed democracy, in Iraq, Islam wormed its way into the country’s new constitution and the freedoms there are fragile and as likely as not to succumb to sharia. Where we have no say, such as in the “new” Egypt, things are far less likely to evolve in a way that does anything but threaten pluralism. Ray Ibrahim writes here all the time about the threats that the Coptics face in the “new” Egypt. Watching the “new” Egypt today is a whole lot like watching the path Iran took starting in 1979. Pakistan and Turkey are both on that track, and once Assad falls in Syria it’s likely to go Islamist too.

Based on the response of the US embassy to the attack on itself in Cairo, we’re going Islamist too, a whole lot faster than some of us feared.

Bonus: Zawahiri is the brother of the leader of al Qaeda. I’ve been predicting that Zawahiri’s ascendance will end up making the relationship between the “new” Egypt and al Qaeda friendlier.