While the main buzz in the American press has been President Trump’s UN speech this week, no one has noticed that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in his own UN speech called for the Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel and to co-exist with it.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Tuesday urged Palestinian Arabs to overcome their differences and be ready to co-exist with each other and with Israelis in safety and security. “I tell the Palestinian people it’s extremely important … to overcome the differences and not to lose opportunities and to be ready to accept co-existence with the other, with Israelis in safety and security,” Sisi said in a speech before the UN General Assembly, as quoted by Reuters.
Sisi also had his first pubic meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week. Furthermore, earlier in the week the king of Bahrain endorsed an event at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles by sending his prince as a representative, while simultaneously calling for an end to the Arab boycott of Israel.
[Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center,] told The Times of Israel in a phone interview Monday that he was in Dubai on a mission for his organization when the king personally invited him to visit his palace. While the meeting took place in February, Hier said that he was ready now to discuss its contents after receiving “a clear signal” from the king that the royal meant business. In this case, the signal was that Bahraini Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa attended a large event for the Weisenthal Center on Thursday, and also visited the unabashedly pro-Israeli Museum of Tolerance, also located in Los Angeles.
There have been other indications recently that the covert cooperation that has existed in recent years between Israel and some Arab nations against Iran and Islamic terrorism is about to become more public. If so, we might be on the cusp of some real positive change in the Middle East. (I realize I am being absurdly optimistic with this statement, but one can always hope.)
The side that President Barack Obama takes in the worldwide conflict between fundamentalist (and violent) Islam and western Judeo-Christian civilization can be seen I think by three stories this past week:
In the first case Obama chose to hurriedly change his plans so he could attend the funeral of the Saudi king. He did not consider attending or sending an important representative to the demonstrations in France condemning the Charlie Hebdo murders. Nor did he consider attending or sending an important representative to the ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
In the second case Obama has made his dislike for Netanyahu and Israel quite clear, almost to the point of performing childish tantrums. Yet, Israel is our ally. It is also the only real democracy in the Middle East that actually attempts to defend western values.
In the third case, Obama has his administration meet with Muslim Brotherhood leaders to coordinate an effort to remove Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, even though al-Sisi is one of the few in the Islamic world demanding that Islam reform itself away from violence.
So, what side do you think Barack Obama is on? Who do you really think he wants to win this war?
Pigs fly? Speaking at a religious conference on January 1, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a major reassessment by Islam’s religious leaders.
I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!
That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world! Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!
I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now. All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it it from a more enlightened perspective.
I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.
Sisi was bluntly telling the religious leaders of Islam that their radical and violent interpretation of Islam is making the religion an object of hate and contempt and disgust by everyone else in the world, and they had better rethink that interpretation before it destroys the religion.
If only more Islamic leaders were willing to make this kind of demand.