Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Islam’s Black Flag Flies over Egypt

September 12, 2012 12:53 pm 5 comments

Islam's black flag. Photo: Screenshot.

The United States embassy of Egypt is under siege. According to Fox News, “Mainly ultraconservative Islamist protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt’s capital Tuesday and brought down the flag, replacing it with a black flag with an Islamic inscription to protest a video attacking Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Hundreds of protesters marched to the embassy in downtown Cairo …. Dozens of protesters then scaled the embassy walls, went into the courtyard and took down the flag from a pole. They brought it back to the crowd outside, which tried to burn it, but failing that, tore it apart. The protesters on the wall then raised on the flagpole a black flag with the Muslim declaration of faith on it, ‘There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet.’ The flag, similar to the banner used by al-Qaida, is commonly used by ultraconservatives around the region…. By evening, the protest grew with thousands standing outside the embassy, chanting ‘Islamic, Islamic. The right of our prophet will not die.’ A group of women in black veils and robes that left only their eyes exposed chanted, ‘Worshippers of the Cross, leave the Prophet Muhammad alone.'”

Some clarifications for context: Islam’s black flag with the shehada and sword inscription is not an al-Qaeda banner but rather Islam’s most ancient banner, popularized by the Abbasid caliphs in the 800s. In other words, these protesters were not imitating al-Qaeda; rather they—and al-Qaeda—are imitating Islam’s heritage, replete with jihad against the infidel. Same with the phrase “worshippers of the cross”—Islam’s ancient appellation for the hated Christians.

The reason behind this latest rampage is Muslim outrage over the appearance of a film deemed offensive about the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Apparently it depicts him inciting jihads, deceiving people, and exercising his libido—not unlike what is recorded in Islam’s own authoritative biographies and hadiths of the prophet. It is not exactly clear who made the video, though Egyptian expatriates and Copts are being accused, possibly in conjunction with Pastor Terry Jones. In other words, the reason for this latest bit of Muslim outrage is once again the issue of free speech—in the same camp of Danish Muhammad cartoons, burned Korans, and any number of other freedoms of expression exercised by non-Muslims, and even Muslims.

The U.S.’s formal response to this terror campaign against its embassy and the desecration of the American flag has, once again, been to lay the blame on free speech. In a statement, the U.S. said, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals [film makers] to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

Interestingly, while very concerned about the “religious feelings of Muslims,” the U.S. embassy in Egypt had nothing to say about the fact that, right before it was attacked, a Christian man in Egypt stood on trial for “insulting” Islam—even as a throng of Muslims besieged the court-house, interrupting the hearing and calling for the man’s death. Apparently appeasing thin skins is more important than speaking up for those whose lives are at stake—not just Christian Egyptians, but now U.S. employees—over issues of freedom.

Left unsaid and unknown in any Western media is the fact that the U.S. embassy has long been under threat, but for different reasons. Earlier, the Egyptian paper El Fagr reported that Jihadi groups in Egypt, including Islamic Jihad, the Sunni Group, and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya had issued a statement threatening to burn the U.S. embassy in Cairo to the ground unless all the Islamic jihadis currently imprisonment and in detention centers in the U.S. including Guantanamo Bay were released: “The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaeda, called [especially] for the quick release of the jihadi [mujahid] sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman [the “Blind Sheikh”], whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime, and [President] Morsi is refusing to intervene on his behalf and release him, despite promising that he would. The Islamic Group has threatened to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with those in it, and taking hostage those who remain [alive], unless the Blind Sheikh is immediately released.”

Despite all this—despite longstanding threats to the U.S. embassy, followed by a real attack, culminating with the destruction of the American flag—Victoria Nuland, the U.S. State Department’s Spokesperson, speaking in response to this latest attack, said that “none of this suggests that there are hostile feelings for the U.S. in Egypt.”

In fact, none of this is surprising—neither the attack on the U.S. embassy, nor the U.S. government’s head-in-the-sand response, with strong words reserved only for those non-Muslims exercising their free speech rights. This event also explains the situation in a way that even a child can understand: the more you appease—as the Obama administration has been doing with the Islamic world in ways unprecedented—the more contempt you earn from those you appease, and the more demands will be made of you. Thus, today, far from being respected as a super-power, the U.S. is increasingly seen as a subdued, contemptuous dhimmi—who must say “how high?” whenever Muslims command “jump!”

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


  • Although, I am against all acts of violance against anyone regardless of their color, relegious views, or political opinions. I find it very intresting that youare making a case for freedom of speech when it comes to disrespecting a the book or the prophet of Islam but yet when it came to the American Flag its “desecration” I dont agree with my fellow Egyptian actions but I feel that “Freedom of speech” is a term you use very loosley here. would I choose to act the same way the Egyptians at the embassy acted, i dont think so. however, its important to understand that they considered the desecration of the American Flag just as you considered the burning of Quran and others acts of bigotry, ultimatley, “freedom of speech”

    • The issue is not the ‘desecration of the American flag’ – in terms of the principle freedom of speech that is your good right; you can wipe your ass with it for all I care (like I would wipe my ass with the pages of the Koran and think nothing of it).
      The point is that the Obama regime (and all of Western society) is too stupid to understand and accept the declaration of war that Islam has issued.

    • Artist in the US make plays condemning Christianity often..we Christians ignore it..gets no publicity..its called Freedom of Speech!

  • In response to the last sentence of paragraph 2: Your wrong. Its taught in the Quaran that Christians are our clossest allies on this planet. However, as history shows, its not your religion we dislike, its your actions that you commit in our lands. The West just LOVES to play victim… When have a group of muslims ever stepped on American soil and tried to tell you what to do?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Features Food American Kids Taste Israeli Food, Offer Tidbits About the Country (VIDEO)

    American Kids Taste Israeli Food, Offer Tidbits About the Country (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, by, features U.S. youngsters given a plate with schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and baba ganoush. “If someone had a name like that, they’d be so sad,” one boy said, mispronouncing it as “ba-ga-doosh.” A few of the kids were able to identify correctly the elements on the plate […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →