During recent weeks there has been an acceleration in attacks upon Coptic Christians in Egypt and Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement urging the Egyptian government to take steps that would protect its Christian population. His comments were hardly in a tone that called for violence against anyone. But, to Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azar, the oldest center of Muslim learning, urging protection of people in his land was an insult to every Egyptian. “I disagree with the Pope’s view,and I ask why did the Pope not cvall for the protection of Muslims when they were attacked in Iraq?” Fair enough question, but one might ask where was the Grand Imam when Muslims were attacked in Iran? Where was the Grand Imam when Muslims were being murdered and women raped in Darfur? Where was the Grand Imam when Muslim groups were attacked in Indonesia? There is a propensity for Muslim clerics to–rightfully– become upset when Israel attacks innocent Muslim civilians, but they remain quiet when Muslim leaders attack fellow Muslims.
Pope Benedict did not urge violence against anyone, he decried violence. The youth of Gaza over the weekend issues a Manifesto urging an end to being brutalized by Hamas religious fanatics. Will the Grand Imam come out in support of these brave young Muslims who demand justice?