By Jamie Glazov – FrontPage Magazine editor Jamie Glazov interviews Raymond Ibrahim.
Published in FrontPage Magazine
FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam expert and author of The Al Qaeda Reader. A Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, he writes frequently on all things Islamic, including Muslim persecution of Christians.
On Wednesday, December 7, Raymond testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the House of Representatives, in a hearing presented by Reps. Frank Wolf and James McDermott, titled “Under Threat: The Worsening Plight of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.”
FP: Welcome Raymond. Good to interview you again.
Ibrahim: Thank you, Jamie; happy to be back.
FP: The suffering of the Christian Copts of Egypt is getting worse, so it’s a great thing you were asked to testify at that hearing—and it’s a positive thing that they even had a hearing. For starters, while we know of your professional credentials concerning Islam, can you tell us a bit about your Coptic ancestry?
Ibrahim: Sure. Though I was born and raised in the U.S., my parents were both Copts who emigrated from Egypt in the late 1960s. According to them, after Egypt’s 1952 revolution, they knew it was time to get going—knew that things would get progressively worse for Christians. And so they have. I believe they understood this, not because they were especially prescient, but rather because what is understood immediately and instinctively on the ground (in Egypt), often take decades to become intelligible thousands of miles away (in the West).
In fact, it’s interesting for me to recall, in retrospect, how the things I and others constantly write about in order to get the West to understand Islam, Copts know instinctively—simply because they experience in reality what we know in theory. This disconnect is why a group like the Muslim Brotherhood, the mere mention of which for decades would make Coptic hair stand on end, is now touted as a “largely secular” group by the current U.S administration, which has been complacent, if not complicit, in the Brotherhood’s rise to power.
This, by the way, is one of those things that are utterly incomprehensible to Copts and other minorities from the Muslim world—how the West can in any way, shape, or form support Islamic groups like the Brotherhood. Again, this is a reflection of their intimate acquaintance of these groups, their certain knowledge that the Brotherhood is practicing taqiyya merely to dupe their stronger, but naïve, infidel enemies. Likewise, regarding Islam’s inroads in the U.S., comments like “So – we left Egypt only to find the same sort of crap we left behind following us here in America!” are common among the diaspora. This, of course, is the sentiment of any number of non-Muslims—not to mention many nominal Muslims—who quit the Muslim world and come to the U.S.
FP: Very eye opening, Raymond. What do you think are the most important points about the plight of Egypt’s Christians, points I presume you made at the hearing?
Ibrahim: Probably the most important thing is to establish continuity; to show that what we’re seeing today—whether churches burned, monasteries attacked, or crucifixes (and those who wear them) destroyed; whether Christian girls abducted, raped, and force-converted; whether expectations of Christians to play the role of cowed “dhimmis”—to show that all of these things mirror, often identically, 1400 years of history in Egypt.
In other words, if you read Islam’s own authoritative histories, you will see that what is today happening to the Copts happened yesterday. The parallels are almost eerie: I’ll read a current report dealing with Coptic persecution, and then later I’ll be reading from Arabic primary sources dealing with Egyptian history, and it’s almost like I’m reading of the same exact events (here’s one example).
Nor is this resurgence of anti-Christian sentiment an aberration in Islamic history. But because there was a lull in such persecution—beginning in the colonial era when Western influence in the Muslim world was widespread and many Muslims were indifferent to Islam, to just a few decades ago—most Westerners, deeming events closer to their time as more representative of reality, overlook the continuum of history and doctrine dealing with persecution, and thus fail to comprehend what is otherwise so obvious and increasingly open for the world to see. This, of course, is exacerbated by the fact that the articulators of knowledge—the media, academia, and apologists of all stripes—in the name of multiculturalism and political correctness, have made such ugly truths all but incomprehensible.
In fact, as I was compelled to point out at the hearing, in a different age, we wouldn’t even need to have congressional hearings, as that unfashionable and outdated thing we used to call common sense would have sufficed to make the realities of Christian persecution under Islam unequivocally clear.
Put differently, the evidence of Muslim persecution of Christians is overwhelming—doctrinally, historically, and daily. What is lacking is a Western paradigm that can accept—and act upon—this evidence.
FP: Thanks for those insights, Raymond, and for joining us today. Any final thoughts?
Ibrahim: Thanks for the invite, Jamie; glad to have shared these words with you and FPM.
As for final thoughts, here’s the bottom line: Inasmuch as Islam returns as a force to be reckoned with, so too will those things intrinsic to its well-documented history—in this case, Christian persecution—return. What we are witnessing now is but the early stages. Left unaddressed, great atrocities if not wholesale massacres are in store; and the blood of those countless innocents will be on the hands of those who enabled their Islamic persecutors—all while blithely ignoring reality and common sense.