It was a cruel way to observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A post-Arab Spring Egyptian mob stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday, ripped down the American flag and tore it to shreds. Burned what they could. In its place, they raised a black flag bearing the words, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
This intolerable trespass of U.S. property, desecration of the American flag and sneering mockery of religious freedom was in response to a movie being made that supposedly depicts Muhammad. Islamo-terrorists will cut your throat for any such depictions.
Early reports yesterday afternoon couldn’t confirm what movie had the mob in such a frenzied rage against the United States.
Later, news organizations reported the attacks were sparked by anger over an anti-Islam movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” produced by Sam Bacile, a 52-year-old real-estate developer from Southern California.
The great thing about these people is that not only does the cruel punishment never have to fit the relatively minor crime, but those being punished don’t even have to be the guilty parties. Just blame America for everything.
And that is the shocking posture mirrored by the Obama administration.
As the restless, masked throngs gathered outside the walls yesterday, U.S. Embassy officials issued a statement surrendering America’s unapologetic defense of free speech.
“We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others,” the embassy statement said.
You have to read it twice to believe it. Then you still cannot believe it. But, yes, your embassy, representing your government, funded by your tax dollars, just sided with the thieving rioters. Yes, your government just established the first limit on free speech we have ever known. Your government just backed down and condemned those who would exercise free speech and free expression of religion over a thuggish mob that would cut your entrails out before it would let you speak your mind.
A slogan scrawled on the embassy wall read, “If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action.”
It was not clear whether the author of this low, coarse and stupid line had yet been contacted by the White House for interviews as a possible replacement for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. should he decide to retire. But the guy would fit right in with this crowd.
Remember, it was President Obama who promised to reach for peace in the Middle East, particularly with Muslims because he has unique credibility among them.
But when he went to Cairo for his first major address, we found out that by peace, he meant surrender. He oozed over all the contributions Egyptians have made to civilization over the years, but did not mention the savagery they are unleashing against women, gays and minorities.
He thanked them for inventing the pen, but failed to admonish them for throwing people in prison for using it. He lamented the twisted view of “sexuality” and “mindless violence” — not of virginity tests, burqas or ramming planes full of people into buildings — but of the Internet, which is by far a greater tool for freedom.
The most terrifying and illuminating line of Mr. Obama’s speech in Cairo was when he informed the world that he considers “it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”
This appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, of course, but it explains why we are being tread upon in Cairo today and why it was the practitioners of free speech whom our government chose to condemn first.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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