When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi visits a foreign country, he flatters his hosts by saying whatever they like to hear, such as an attack on the Islamist trend, incitement against Muslims and hostility towards Islam. His latest visit was to China, where he went to the Communist Party Academy. He praised both the academy and its role in raising and educating children. Then he attacked political Islam and the Arab Spring revolutions, saying that political Islam exploited such revolutions in order to gain power and form the government.
It is a well-known fact that China is opposed to Islam and attacks its own Muslim citizens, of which there are at least 100 million, although China’s official census claims that there are only 24 million Muslims. In East Turkestan, which has a Muslim majority, they are subject to unmatched persecution, including arrests, torture, racism, ethnic cleansing and the burning and destruction of mosques. Turkestan has witnessed several massacres, the most heinous of which was perhaps that in 1966 when 75,000 Muslims were killed while welcoming the month of Ramadan. This requires an article in its own right, but for now, I want to focus on the way that Al-Sisi flatters people at the expense of his religion.
I am reminded of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser when he visited the Soviet Union in 1966 and chose to announce the arrest of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, starting with Sayyid Qutb, who was allegedly planning a coup; he made this announcement in Moscow, the stronghold of Communism. Qutb was executed and less than a year later, in 1967, the shameful defeat of the Six Day War against Israel took place. Abdel Nasser was humiliated and broken, leading some to say that he “died” in 1967 and was buried in 1970. Egypt paid the price of Abdel Nasser’s opposition to Islam; will it pay the price of Al-Sisi’s too?
As I said before, this is not the first time that Al-Sisi has expressed his hostility towards Islam and the Muslim Ummah. In his speech at a youth conference last July, he practiced his favourite hobby of attacking the Ummah and made false accusations against it. “It is a nation whose ideology is based only on war,” he claimed, “at least for the past 200 years. War is the norm for them and peace is the exception.”
Before this, he made a similar remark during a speech in 2015 during a commemoration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “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?” In his address to the UN General Assembly in September last year, he said almost the same thing and linked it to the Palestinians.
His message is clear and he has repeated it many times. He wants to portray himself to the outside world as being like them. He wants to tell them that this is his vision of the Arab and Muslim world and it is like theirs; these are his critical positions against Muslims, and he goes further than them and believes that extremism and terrorism are an inherent part of Islamic thought.
It is strange for the leader of a third world country which suffered from the Crusades for centuries — which killed many thousands of people — to make such remarks. Anyone studying history at an elementary level is aware of who the true advocates of war and aggression are in this world.
Al-Sisi accused the Ummah of raising the flags of war over the past two centuries, which was the era of European colonisation of our countries, and no Arab or Muslim country was spared from this. Conflict amongst themselves over our land and resources led the colonial countries to launch two world wars killing at least 60 million people. These were actually European wars fought over the rest of the world and ended with the US savagery of dropping nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The colonialists’ greatest crime was taking the dearest part of our land and handing it to the Zionists to create the State of Israel therein.
People all over the world have preserved the memories of heinous massacres and genocide at the hands of the colonial powers. The so-called end of colonialism after World War Two has seen seven decades of wars waged by the US or its proxies all over the world. These have included the criminal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, colonialism in all but name.
And yet an Arab Muslim ruler has the gall to tell us that we are the ones who are threatening world peace and waging war against everyone? Does Al-Sisi have no shame?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.