As’ad AbuKhalil writes: There is a war on Copts in Egypt. It is unmistakable and state military and religious institutions are guilty in sponsoring and launching the war. It was no coincidence that the chief of Al-Azhar (a former puppet of Mubarak and his ruling party) was on an official visit to Saudi Arabia during the week of killing the Copts in the streets of Cairo.
The official statement about the visit by Al-Azhar chief and his meeting with Wahhabi clerics of the House of Saud was blatantly sectarian and spoke about protecting Sunnis, as if the majority of the world’s Muslims are under attack in the region from Muslim sects and non-Muslims. The meeting in Saudi Arabia is an example of the fanatical religious movement that leads and sponsors the industries of religious and sectarian hate in the region. But it is not only the Egyptian government which squarely bears the responsibility for the savage attacks on Copts on the streets, and for sponsoring the blatant sectarian agitation that filled Egyptian state airwaves.
The US and Saudi Arabia are also responsible. It is fair to say that the US was party to the Saudi-directed campaign of global religious fanaticism – in two stages. The first phase was during the Cold War when Saudi Arabia, in partnership with the US, unleashed international religious forces to undermine the cause of communism and leftism in general. The movement that produced Bin Laden and his terrorist organization was mid-wived by Saudi Arabia and the US during the war in Afghanistan. The goal was to defeat communism at any price, even if the regimes that followed were much worse than what prevailed under communism, especially if one cares about women’s rights. It can be argued for instance that the Soviet-supported regime in Kabul was far more reformist and enlightened than the reactionary regime that the US installed in Kabul in 2001.
The second wave of global fanaticism was unleashed by Saudi Arabia after the 2003 invasion of Iraq and with the full support of Israel and the US. The US wanted to divert the attention of Arabs from Israel and its crimes and demonized Iran, promoting it as the only danger to Arabs (only Muslims because non-Muslims don’t figure in US calculations and certainly not in the calculations of the Wahhabi clerics). Israel was not to be seen as the enemy, or so wanted the American government, and Saudi Arabia was more than happy to oblige.