Women gang-raped. Churches burned. Priests told to convert or face death. Children on trial for blasphemy. Under the government of Mohammed Morsi, emerging details of the proliferation of persecution and assault against Christians and women read like a horror story. Reportedly, up to 100,000 Christians have left Egypt fleeing persecution since the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. New threats come from an emerging group in Egypt, Jihad al-Kufr, whose name translates to Jihad against non-believers or non-Muslims. The group targets non-Muslims, and reportedly pressures them to convert to Islam.
At the same time, some Islamist elected officials are using their newly found power to instigate hostility and horrific violence towards women. Brutal sexual assaults against women have escalated in Cairo’s public Tahrir Square in recent months. On January 25, 2013, there were 18 confirmed brutal attacks and rapes at the square during a protest of the new Islamic-led government. One woman was stabbed in her genitals, and another required a hysterectomy. Another victim was driven leisurely through the streets by her attackers-while would be rescuers were told she had a bomb strapped to her abdomen in an effort to dissuade them from helping her.
The female victims, officials declared, had invited the attacks by participating in public protests.
“Sometimes,” said Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi, a police general, lawmaker and ultraconservative Islamist, “a girl contributes 100 percent to her own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”
“How do they ask the Ministry of Interior to protect a woman when she stands among men?” Reda Saleh Al al-Hefnawi, a lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, asked at a parliamentary meeting on the issue.
“You see those women speaking like ogres, without shame, politeness, fear or even femininity,” declared a television preacher, Ahmed Abdullah, known as Sheik Abu Islam.
Such a woman is “like a demon,” he said, wondering why anyone should sympathize with those “naked” women who “went there to get raped.”
These statements have caused embarrassment for the Morsi administration, who are desperately trying to undo the damage these extremists have caused by their revealing look into their patriarchal mindset.
The attacks have underscored the failure of the Morsi government, with its links to the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, to restore social order. Yet, we, The United States, still provide $1.3 billion in funding to the Egyptian military, as well as tanks and F-16 fighters.
At least one Congresswoman is paying attention. The U.S. Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa held a hearing discussing the changes in Egypt over the last two years, and the future of U.S. policy, particularly U.S. aid, in the near future.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and 18 sponsors introduced House Resolution 416, a bill that would limit specific military and economic aid to Egypt if certain standards are not met by the current government.
Introduced in House (01/25/2013)
Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act – States that U.S. policy shall be to use its foreign assistance for Egypt to advance U.S. national security interests in Egypt, including encouraging the advancement of political, economic, and religious freedom in Egypt.
Limits specified security and economic assistance to Egypt unless the Secretary of State certifies to Congress every six months that the Egyptian government: (1) is not controlled by or under the influence of a foreign terrorist organization, or that no supporter of a foreign terrorist organization serves in a policy-making position in the government; (2) has implemented legal reforms that protect the political, economic, and religious freedoms and human rights of all citizens and residents of Egypt; (3) is fully implementing the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty; and (4) is taking verifiable steps to destroy the smuggling network and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and is cracking down on extremist groups in the Sinai Peninsula.
Provides for a limited national security waiver of such restrictions.
Sets forth reporting requirements.
In a post explaining the necessity of writing such a bill, Ros-Lehtinen stated:
“…The hopes of the Egyptian people, and those of many other nations across the globe – including here in the United States – would be that Egypt would finally be able to transition to democratic rule.
Then in June 2012 – Mohammed Morsi and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood came to power.
Hopes for a free and democratic society in Egypt quickly eroded into fears that the new Muslim Brotherhood-led government would turn on its people.
Last November, Morsi took unilateral action to consolidate his power by issuing a decree that he would be immune from judicial challenge while also orchestrating a draft constitution that imposes strict Islamist practices.
This new constitution was hastily put together after opposition parties and religious and ethnic minority groups abandoned the discussions over their objections to the Islamic dominated proceedings.
Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood-led government was able to integrate sharia law into the constitution, while leaving out crucial protections for ethnic and religious minorities.
In addition, there have been reports of unprecedented crackdown on Egyptians trying to express their freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly….”
Although this bill is not likely to be passed, hopefully the introduction of Ros-Lehtinen’s bill shows a shift in U.S. policy toward the Morsi regime. Representatives, such as Ros-Lehtinen, are working to make Egypt accountable for the atrocities taking place within its borders. More atrocious, however, is the fact that our tax dollars are being used to promulgate evil.