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.

5 Comments

  • 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 *

More...

  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →