Dark shadows over Mid-East

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The opening scene-setter for the 1996 film “Independence Day” might serve as a metaphor for what Egyptians could face if a draft constitution written by a panel dominated by Islamists and based on Sharia law wins approval in a referendum: “A loud rumble is heard. Suddenly, we are covered in darkness as the shadow engulfs us. Only the image of our Earth hangs in the air, until a huge silhouetted object suddenly blocks our view.”

Egypt could well embrace the dark side (to mix movie metaphors) and become the region’s biggest force for extremism, just ahead of the Wahaabists in Saudi Arabia, though Iran with its race toward nuclear weapons poses the most immediate danger.

The lowlights of the draft constitution ought to alarm all but the most complacent, as well as those who have been in denial, claiming we have nothing to fear from this “peaceful religion,” which somehow keeps providing examples to the contrary.

According to the Associated Press, the new draft says, “... the principles of Islamic law” are to be enshrined in the Egyptian constitution. Previously, notes the AP, those principles were open to interpretation, but in the latest draft a separate new article is added that defines “principles” by “pointing to particular theological doctrines and their rules,” which will likely result in a stricter interpretation.

Other articles in the draft fail to guarantee equal rights for women, or tolerance for other religious beliefs, including, presumably, moderate Islamic beliefs that conflict with the doctrines of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptians won’t be allowed to “insult or defame the Prophet,” but what constitutes an insult and the punishment for the affront is not spelled out.

Another article preserves military tribunals, allowing them to try civilians. AP estimates 11,000 civilians “were tried before military tribunals during the post-Mubarak transition ...” The constitution does not ban slavery, according to AP, or guarantee that Egypt will adhere to international rights treaties.

All of this was foreseeable, if the West had listened to what Islamists promised to do when they achieved political power. We’re not dealing with classified information here.

In other countries where Islamists have gained power — in our era and throughout history — they have behaved toward others with differing beliefs and religions exactly as they are behaving now. Except now, opponents scatter for fear of being labeled an “Islamophobe.”

Are they Islamophobes if they quote Islamists’ words and point to their actions in an effort to warn others what is coming? Free people ought to be afraid and act accordingly.

The cloud has also spread to Northern Mali where Islamic extremists have banned music in a land where it has long been part of their culture. The Washington Post reports that Northern Mali is “one of the richest reservoirs of music on the (African) continent, (but) is now an artistic wasteland. Hundreds of musicians have fled south to Bamako, the capital, and to other towns and neighboring countries, driven out by hardliners who have decreed any form of music — save for the tunes set to Koranic verses — as being against their religion.”

It is fine to say Islamists don’t represent “mainstream Islam,” whatever that is. But if moderate Islam exists, it is having great difficulty asserting itself in the face of extremists who have the guns, the knives and the will to impose their creed on others, killing or imprisoning anyone who resists.

This is the future and it has policy implications for the United States and every other country that is free and tolerant of all beliefs and wishes to remain so.

[Cal Thomas is America’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist, appearing in more than 600 national newspapers. He is the author of more than 10 books and is a FOX News political contributor since 1997. Email Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.] ©2012 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

S. Lindsey
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I thought the Muslim Brotherhood were our Friends...

... after all they have been to the Whitehouse..Given special treatment even given arms... and according to this Administration they were thought to be a largely Secular group just looking out for their people.

What do you get when you have people who have no experience and no plan to deal with the Middle East?

This.....

Davids mom
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SL

One of our presidents walked hand in hand with the Saudi ruler. (11 of the 911 perpetrators were Saudi). The Middle East? Some here have trouble in electing competent leadership in Fayette County. We are so fortunate to have your expertise on the Middle East !

S. Lindsey
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Dm...

Thanks for your sarcasm... a bastion for Freedom you are not.

Dm I have a question exactly what would you NOT support in this administration?

S. Lindsey
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Egyptians in the Street demanding Freedom...

... and this from the Whitehouse and State Dept....

****cue Crickets Chirping*****

S. Lindsey
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Muslim Brotherhood, President Morsi HQ burned down...

The Egyptian people are trying to raise the Tree of Liberty. We the US have a Golden opportunity to bring FREEDOM to one of the most insecure and unsafe regions in the area. The people are being terrorized with RAPE squads and death gangs yet they are willing to die for their FREEDOM.

The Whitehouse and State Department said this morning....

****cue those crickets again*****

JeffC
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And your alternative is?

Secretary Clinton is in Brussels at a NATO meeting. The State Department daily briefs are originating from there not the White House. Clinton gave several interviews yesterday and will almost certainly have more remarks tomorrow.

Exactly how would you exploit your Golden Opportunity? Invade Egypt? Supply arms to the kids in Tahrir Square? Overthrow the elected government?

Davids mom
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Religious zealots?

No support for the Puritans seeking freedom? Interesting, eh?

S. Lindsey
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DM do you even think before you post?

Islamic Fanaticism...Jihadist...You know the Muslim Brotherhood... those wonderful GUYS that our President brought into the Whitehouse, gave US Aid to and even gave US ARMS... you know the GUYS that said they didn't want power..You know those GUYS that this Administration said was largely a Secular group that just wants to look out for their people..

You know those GUYS that are sending out RAPE squads and DEATH Gangs to intimidate those very people that the President said were just looking out for their people... you know those GUYS that just suspended the Legislation and gave THEMSELVES dictatorial powers and are implementing Sharia Law.. you know DM THOSE RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS.

You know that Religious Law that forces WOMEN to submit to their Husband, has no rights, must cover herself completely wearing the Hajab, can't even leave the House without a MALE escort.

You know that Religious Law that says if a Women is raped she has to have 4 MALE witnesses before she can even lay charges and could be killed in an honor killing by her father for bringing dishonor for being RAPED.

That same Law that states that a MAN can divorce his wife simply by saying "I Divorce you" 4 times and can kick her out destitute while she can not divorce HIM for any reason.

Yeah DM Religious ZEALOTS.

Interesting.. from you? Not really.

S. Lindsey
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Oh I don't know Jeff...

....Maybe actually come out and support of Freedom instead of Religious Zealots? Just saying....

btw- did you missed where I said the "State Dept" thingy there Jeff?
btw #2 what's stopping the President? He hasn't had any trouble involving himself everywhere else... Funny how it seems he always comes out on the side of Islamic hardliners while remaining silent when the people try to fight for freedom. AS DM says... Interesting...

"Obama has stated he does not want to meddle in Iran’s business. So, he has remained silent about supporting the people demanding freedom in Iran. The protesters, apparently, stand alone."

"According to the AP Egypt’s new constitution has dropped its ban on slavery:

Omissions of certain articles, such as bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties, were equally worrying to critics of the new draft, who pulled out from the panel before the vote.

The Obama administration declined to criticize Egypt’s constitution despite its slavery clause."

S. Lindsey
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Egypt army erects barriers at Cairo presidential palace

"The Egyptian army has set up barricades outside the presidential palace, after ordering protesters to leave the area.

It follows violent overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi that left five people dead and 644 injured."

The Whitehouse and State Department released a statement today in part it reads..............