Were they distracted by the secular democratic uprising that has the Muslim Brotherhood on the verge of taking power, or maybe that Mohammed El-Baradei threat to declare war on Israel? Whatever it was, the U.S. embassy in Cairo has finally gotten around to joining the condemnation parade involving the “burning of the Holy Koran.” Here’s the statement:
The Ambassador and staff of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemn the burning of the Holy Koran that occurred several days ago in the state of Florida by a small group of individuals who represent no one but themselves. Since the founding of our nation, the United States has upheld the principles of tolerance and respect for religious freedom. Millions of Muslim-Americans practice their faith freely throughout the United States and enjoy the full rights guaranteed to them by our laws and constitution. Public condemnation of this event has come from a variety of organizations representing the diverse religious traditions that flourish in the United States.
As I mentioned yesterday, bibles — I wouldn’t dream of calling them “Holy Bibles” — are torched in Muslim countries all the time and have been ordered destroyed by our own military commanders in Afghanistan in order not to offend the delicate sensibilities of Muslims, whose sharia prohibits the proselytism of religions other than Islam and calls for the killing of Muslim apostates. Does the State Department in Cairo condemn any of that? How about the burning of Coptic churches, the persecution of Copts, and the recent “secular, democratic” campaign during which Egyptians were widely urged to vote in favor of quick elections because that would enable better organized Islamist groups to keep the Copts in their second-class place (an admonition that appears to have been quite persuasive given the Islamists’ 77-23 percent victory margin)? I somehow don’t recall much in the way of U.S. embassy condemnation.
I’d mention that that the embassy, like General Petraeus and other American officials, doesn’t condemn the killing of human beings carried out by Muslims over the burning of a book, but by now you have to ask, what would be the use?