By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
BRUSSELS/CAIRO (BosNewsLife)– An influential Christian legislator wants the European Union to pressure Egypt to change its “anti-Israel course” after the country’s president attended an anti-Semitic prayer service.
Dutch Europarlementarian Peter van Dalen of the ChristianUnie (ChristianUnion) party told BosNewsLife he was concerned that Egypt’s new President Mohammed Morsi participated in a live-televised prayer for the destruction of Jews.
“It’s unacceptable that the leader of a country which has a peace accord with Israel attends such extremist gatherings” Van Dalen said about the October 19 meeting at the el-Taneim Mosque in Matrouh governorate.
Television footage showed Morsi in fervent prayer as cleric Futouh Abd Al-Nabi Mansour, the local head of religious endowment, declared: “Oh Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us, and grant us victory over the infidels. Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder. Oh Allah, demonstrate your might and greatness upon them. Show us your omnipotence, oh Lord.”
President Morsi apparently could be seen mouthing “amen” to these sentiments.
(Watch President Morsi praying. Story continues after this).
Van Dalen said Morsi’s participation made clear he wasn’t honest when saying that Egypt would respect international agreements, including those with Israel.
“His public participation in the prayer showed the opposite [of supporting the agreements],” the Dutch europarliamentarian added. “His course threatens the peace process in the Middle East.”
Van Dalen explained that he asked the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, in written remarks to pressure Morsi to change his “anti-Israel course”. “The EU is one of Egypt’s main donors. As a representative of the Union’s Foreign Policy she should us that influence to correct President Morsi,” the legislator stressed.
Van Dalen said the latest perceived anti-Jewish developments come at a time of growing concerns about the reported human rights violations of religious minorities.
Besides “threatening” the peace process of the Middle East “the situation of religious minorities has worsened,” he claimed.
For instance, “The Coptic church is facing severe difficulties. It’s time that President Morsi is not allowing himself to be lead by the [influential] Muslim Botherhood” group, Van Dalen said.
Representatives of Coptic Christians, who comprise roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s 80-million mainly Muslim population, have complained about deadly violence and harassment. Egypt’s leader, Van Dalen argued, should work towards “peace, stability and human rights in his own country and the region.”
While Israel’s government has expressed concerns about recent anti-Semitic rhetoric in Egypt, it also confirmed a perceived positive letter sent by President Morsi.
In the letter introducing the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Morsi reportedly referred to Israel’s President Shimon Peres as “a great and good friend”.
The writings were apparently ridiculed by some members of the Muslim Brotherhood as a sell-out by their leader. A senior figure in the Brotherhood, Ahmed el-Hamrawi, reportedly resigned last month, to protest Morsi’s cordial communication with the Israeli president. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).