President Obama has responded to the Egyptian military’s massacre of Coptic Christian protestors in Cairo Sunday with a pointedly even-handed statement that calls equally on Christians and the military to show restraint.
“The President is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt that has led to a tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces,” Obama said in a statement released this week. “Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt.”
Incredibly, Obama is not only equating the deaths of peaceful protestors and their killers, but he is suggesting that Egypt’s increasingly persecuted Christian minority should show as much “restraint” as their tormentors and refrain from vigorously objecting to the growing abuse.
More than two dozen people, most of them Copts, were killed as security forces attacked demonstrators protesting the burning of a church.
The Egyptian military has denied the killings, but news reports, eyewitness accounts, and videos posted to the Internet contradict the claims, with footage showing armed personnel carriers ramming through crowds of protestors and a soldier firing at them. The dead, according to forensic reports, were either crushed by being run over or were shot.
Three soldiers are also said to have died, but this appears to have occurred as protestors were fighting for their lives. There can be no mistaking that this was a slaughter of civilians.
The church burning was only the latest in an escalating series of attacks by Islamists against Christians and their churches.
Obama’s statement does say that “the United States continues to believe that the rights of minorities – including Copts – must be respected.” But the moral equivalence given to the demonstrators and military signals that the White House is not yet serious about curtailing the anti-Christian violence and preempting additional brutal action by the military.
In another sign of unseriousness, Obama notes reassuringly “Prime Minister Sharaf’s call for an investigation,” even though Sharaf has already blamed the violence on a foreign consipiracy.
“It is difficult for us to consider what happened in Egypt in the past hours is due to sectarian strife, but what is for certain is that it is one of the pieces of this plot,” Sharaf said.
Some analysts fear that the Egyptian military may be promoting violence in order to give it an excuse to crack down and increase its power.