Muslims under attack worldwide: Egypt's leader 0
Egypt's Mohamed Morsi. REUTERS FILE
Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, used a major speech here Wednesday to complain that Muslims around the world are under attack from a rising tide of what he called Islamophobia.
Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who told the New York Times on the weekend that neither a woman nor a Christian would be suitable candidates for president of Egypt, opened his speech by offering a prayer and then saying Egypt is "opposed to those oppose the prophet" of Islam.
From there, he said "the first issue which the world must exert all its efforts in resolving...is the Palestinian cause." Morsi said those in the West who supported the democratic movements of the Arab Spring, which helped bring him to power, must now support efforts to support a Palestinian state.
"I call for immediate and significant measures to put an end to colonization, settlement activities, and the alteration in the identity of occupied Jerusalem," Morsi said, in a clear challenge to Israel.
And, in another challenge to Israel, Morsi said the Middle East should be a nuclear-weapons-free zone. Though Israel has never admitted it has nuclear weapons, it is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the region.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to the UN General Assembly on Thursday and is expected to respond to those remarks and others made here Wednesday.
Morsi, in his speech, complained a double standard exists in the West when it comes to Muslims.
"What Muslims and migrants are going through in a number of regions worldwide, in terms of discrimination and violation of their human rights, and vicious campaigns against what they hold sacred, is unacceptable," he said.
Morsi said nothing specifically about the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens or the violence outside the U.S. Embassy in Egypt's capital but said, "We stand firmly against the use of violence in expressing objection to these obscenities."
Morsi also said Egypt is committed "to put an end to the catastrophe in Syria, within an Arab, regional and international framework."
Morsi also spent a considerable portion of his speech sketching out his plans for establishing Egypt as a leader in the African and Muslim world.
Among other things, Egypt will use its influence in organizations like the Organization of Islamic Co-operation to "strengthen mutual understanding between Islamic countries and the rest of the world...and get rid of the causes of misunderstanding used by fanatics on both sides to wrongly prove that differences between us are great."