President Obama made a strong statement in support of the Libyan protesters last Wednesday, condemning Gaddafi’s use of violence and affirming that the United States “strongly supports the universal rights of the Libyan people.” Those include, he said, “the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny.”
Obama spoke with satisfaction about “the peaceful transition to democracy in both Tunisia and in Egypt” too, and was pleased that “the change that is taking place across the region is being driven by the people of the region. This change doesn’t represent the work of the United States or any foreign power. It represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life.” He vowed that “throughout this time of transition, the United States will continue to stand up for freedom, stand up for justice, and stand up for the dignity of all people.”
The one thing the President didn’t explain was his justification for believing that the Libyan, Tunisian, and Egyptian people actually care as much as he assumes they do about principles and rights such as freedom of speech and the dignity of all people, both of which are mitigated under Islamic law. Nor did Obama touch on why he assumes that they hold an understanding of freedom and justice that is remotely comparable to that of the American constitutional system.
There are numerous signs that they don’t. It isn’t insignificant that Libyan protesters have marked Gaddafi’s picture with the Star of David. Rather, it is an indication of the protesters’ world view, and of the pervasiveness of Islamic anti-Semitism. Egyptian protesters defaced photos of Mubarak in the same way. When Muslim protesters want to portray someone as a demon, they draw a Star of David on his picture.
The demonstrators in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East may be pro-democracy insofar as they want the will of the people to be heard, but given their world view, their frame of reference, and their core assumptions about the world, if that popular will is heard, it will likely result in huge victories for the Muslim Brotherhood and similar pro-Sharia groups. Hence the ubiquitous chant of the Libyan protesters: not “Give me liberty or give me death,” but “No God but Allah!”
There are also clear indications that the protesters are decidedly anti-American. Even before CBS reporter Lara Logan was brutally raped in Cairo’s crowded Tahrir Square by a mob chanting, “Jew! Jew!,” several other mainstream media reporters from the United States were roughed up or otherwise imperiled, including Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour. These two hard-Left journalists have repeatedly insisted that Islam is a religion of peace and that anyone who says otherwise is bigoted and racist. In Cairo, they ran up against the buzz saw of reality.
Meanwhile, also in Egypt last Friday, one of the biggest crowds of the entire Egyptian revolution thronged to Tahrir Square to hear Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential Muslim clerics in the world. Qaradawi is a genocidally minded anti-Semite who is barred from entering the U.S. and has given Islamic theological justification to suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, endorsed the death penalty for apostasy, and boasted that Islam would soon conquer Europe. The enthusiastic reception Qaradawi received in Cairo on Friday, along with the barring of secular liberal Wael Ghonim from the same stage, were ominous signs that genuine democracy is not in the offing in Egypt.
Indeed, while numerous American analysts praise the “pro-democracy” uprisings in these nations, no secular democratic leadership has yet emerged. The momentum is moving in the opposite direction—that is, toward the Islamic supremacists. Aware of this fact, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was more realistic than Obama when he remarked on the Middle East situation on Feb. 22. “These states are difficult,” Medvedev said, “and it is quite probable that hard times are ahead, including the arrival at power of fanatics. This will mean fires for decades and the spread of extremism.”
It will be Obama’s responsibility, at least for the next two years, to try to contain and put out those fires. Whether he will have the wit and the will to do so, however, is doubtful at best.