Christian Convert From Islam Presents Politically Incorrect Islam

Nov 24th, 2015 | By | Category: Featured

By Andrew Harrod, PhD:

“There is something wrong with Islam as a faith itself,” stated human rights activist Reverend Majed El Shafie at a videoed November 16 Washington, DC, Endowment for Middle East Truth presentation on Capitol Hill.  Addressing over 25 people, mostly congressional and think tank staff, the Egyptian Muslim convert to Christianity Shafie provided personal insight into the Middle East’s various Islamic threats.

Shafie began his presentation by describing his Christian conversion as an 18-year old in a prominent Egyptian Muslim family and subsequent life-changing persecution.  Imprisoned in Egypt for his Christian profession, he endured torture that resulted in recurrent nightmares and an abiding aversion to lemons, once rubbed along with salt by jailors into his wounds.  After his dramatic escape from Egypt to Israel and asylum in Canada, he became a religious freedom advocate by founding One Free World International (OFWI) in his newfound home.  “I decided I would not be a victim and I would be a victor,” Shafie stated.   “I decided that I would fight, not fighting back by machine guns or weapons, but fight back with the truth, fight back with forgiveness and love and helping others who used to be in the same position as myself.”

Shafie sharply criticized President Barack Obama, whose “foreign policy is nothing but a disaster,” for having shown “over and over again a disconnect to the truth in the Middle East.”  The recent Iran nuclear agreement, previously criticized by Shafie, prompted him to ask “has Obama lost his fricken mind” while the “‘Arab Spring’ turned into a cold, deadly winter,” particularly for minorities like Christians.  By contrast, Egypt’s current post-“Arab Spring” dictator, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, “does not treat the Christians very well, but he treats them better than the Muslim Brotherhood” regime he overthrew.

Contrary to the “foolish idea” of Western leaders like Obama, “democracy cannot be born between day and night in the Middle East,” Shafie stated.  Middle East democracy required freedom of religion and separation of religion and state, goals themselves necessitating educational advancement.  In countries like Egypt with an illiteracy rate of 30-40%, people do not understand what their votes are supporting, irrespective of political reform.

“There is no time for political correctness,” stated Shafie while addressing Islam’s role in the world; “your political correctness is the cancer of our American society.”  Judging American jails better than Egyptian hotels, he spoke without fear of imprisonment in Western societies and asked “why the moderate Muslims are silent about what’s happening from the extremists.”  The “big dilemma that is facing Islam as a faith today is not the rising of the extremists, it is the silence of the moderate Muslims.”

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In addition to fear of reprisals from extremists, ideological concerns also hindered moderate Muslims in opposing extremists, Shafie analyzed.  “What is the difference between the Crusaders and ISIS,” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, he asked.  When Crusaders “did their crimes, they were not following the teaching of the Bible and they were not following the teaching of Christ.”  For Islamic State and other Muslim extremists, by contrast, “what they are doing right now is matching what the Quran teaches and matching what their prophet teaches.”

Shafie stated that for a moderate Muslim vis-à-vis Muslim extremists, “even though he does not want to partake in the violent action he does not want to condemn them publicly.”  Given Islamic doctrine, “condemning these violent actions would be condemning the teachings of his Quran or condemning his prophet and his religion.”  Yet Muslim moderates “by their silence they become part of the problem, not part of the solution,” in a struggle where groups like ISIS represent an “ideology, you have to defeat an ideology.”

As a refugee himself who underwent a Canadian background check, Shafie weighed security needs with charity shown towards current Syrian refugees, as he once testified before the European Union parliament. “Europe has to be able to help itself in order to help others” and must consider the societal limits to absorbing these refugees; “you have to maintain the integrity of Europe, the balance of Europe…the health of Europe.”  In his own adopted country Shafie condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent proposal to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees in six weeks.  “This is not just naïve, I can assure you that this is stupid, and will put the security of Canada in great jeopardy.”

Among his various recommendations for addressing the Syrian refugee issue, Shafie stated that “you have to deal with the source of the problem” by fighting Islamic State.  Most Syrian refugees would actually want to remain in their home region if they could only find protected safe zones.  Among refugees wanting to leave the Middle East, he would prioritize accepting those most vulnerable like women and children or minorities such as Christians and Yezidis who lacked their own local militias. Like others, he also asked why no Arab countries are offering to accept Syrian Muslims with whom these countries share a common culture.

While Shafie focused on the beleaguered plight of Middle East Christians, he also worried over a global increase in antisemitism.  “In the old days it was hate the Jews, kill the Jews.  It was easy” to identify, “now antisemitism is wearing a mask,” he stated.  In the “new antisemitism…it is the same speech, it is the same mind, it is the same everything, but instead of Jews now it is about Israel, because it is more politically correct.”  While he accepted criticism of Israel like any other state (“nobody criticizes Israel more than the Israelis,” he noted), “two things we cannot touch…Israel’s right to exist and Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Shafie called for Jews, Christians, and other minorities to stand with moderate Muslims against common Islamic extremist threats.  Hereby he discussed how One Free World International seeks ties with moderate Muslims and advocated giving financial support and publicity platforms.  Diverse groups in the Middle East and abroad “have to stand up together side by side to face this enemy.”

About Andrew Harrod
Andrew E. Harrod is a researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project, an organization combating the misuse of human rights law against Western societies. He can be followed on twitter at @AEHarrod.

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