Paul Marshall at The Corner posted on a piece in the Atlantic written by Marc Ambinder, who reported on a White House meeting to steep the presidential staff in the demographics and history of Egypt. Two odd things were in the Atlantic article.
1) Hosni Mubarak is a Coptic Christian of a certain sect (this statement was retracted)
2) Reminders that Egypt is not a Muslim country. (this statement stayed)
Outside of the National Security staff and State Department desk officials, the knowledge about Egypt’s political structure was thin.
A number of White House officials were given an Encyclopedia Britannica-like briefing about the basics: how many U.S. citizens were inside the country and contingency plans to get them out; reminders that Egypt wasn’t a Muslim country; the Muslim Brotherhood was at once an opposition political party and a co-opted part of the social system. The government encouraged its charities and even accepted its recommendations for cultural censorship while treating its political platform as anathema.
The CIA Factbook says Egypt is 90% Sunni Muslim. The official name is the Arab Republic of Egypt. Iraq is the Republic of Iraq, Iran is the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Maybe the Obama administration thinks it’s all in the name, but if that’s the case, the routine use of “Republic” is laughable.
Googling “Muslim countries,” Egypt is on every list.
Egypt incorporates Islamic law into its constitution by making Islam the official religion of the country and Islamic jurisprudence the principal source of legislation.
Maybe the people are forced to have Islam as their official religion, but no…
According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics. When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version. [via Forbes via The Big Feed via Caroline Glick via Big Fur Hat ]
As far as Islam’s role in politics, almost all nations believe the role of Islam in politics is a good thing with Egypt and Indonesia polling at 95% saying Islam should play a large role in politics.
75% of Muslims polled in Egypt and Pakistan favor the following laws in their countries: 1. stoning people who commit adultery, 2. whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and 3. the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion.
We are not told who gave the briefing, or specifically who reminded that Egypt is not a Muslim country. I am reminded that our President said America is not a Christian country. I think we have to assume that keeping all things Islamic out of the politics of the crisis is the goal, and probably was also an assignment: Do NOT connect Egypt to Islam.
How naive does the White House staff have to be to buy the story that Egypt is not a Muslim country? It is clearly Islam-coddling out of the White House. Let me know if you see it differently. Read The Corner here. Conservative Pup linked, and she is as outraged as I.