A Truly “Presidential” Presidential Speech
On New Year’s Day, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt gave a speech at Cairo’s Al Azhar University, regarded by many as the most important center of Islamic learning in the Sunni world.
In his speech, the president called for an “Islamic revolution” of thought, one that would address the glaring problem of how the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we [as Muslims] have sacralized over the years” are “antagonizing the entire world.” President Sisi boldly went on to say that it is not “possible that 1.6 billion people [the world’s Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live”; and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.” President Sisi’s full speech can found here.
What President Sisi is (rightly) pointing out is that the most pressing problem in the Islamic world is the state of Islam – a deadly problem that is spilling over onto the rest of us as well.
We could not agree more with President Sisi, and we applaud him for his wisdom and courage is giving this speech. Bear in mind that in Egypt, presidents who reach out to non-Muslim or criticize Islam run the risk of contracting a fatal case of “lead poisoning.”
We can only imagine how much suffering could be eliminated, how many resources could be better spent if Muslims in Iraq would simply realize that Christians and Yezidis are not the enemy. Christians, Yezidis and Muslims can live side by side peacefully in Iraq in a confederation not unlike the United States. All of the terror, theft and murder is wholly manufactured by selfish people for selfish and deluded ends. And while Assyrians, Yezidis and other ethno-religious minorities in Iraq are genuinely, and rightfully afraid of Muslims and Islam, we pray that Muslims, both Kurdish and Arab, will realize and admit that the only thing they have to fear in the Islamic world is themselves.