FP: The suffering of the Christian Copts of Egypt is getting worse, so it’s a great thing you were asked to testify at that hearing””and it’s a positive thing that they even had a hearing. For starters, while we know of your professional credentials concerning Islam, can you tell us a bit about your Coptic ancestry?
Ibrahim: Sure. Though I was born and raised in the U.S., my parents were both Copts who emigrated from Egypt in the late 1960s. According to them, after Egypt’s 1952 revolution, they knew it was time to get going””knew that things would get progressively worse for Christians. And so they have. I believe they understood this, not because they were especially prescient, but rather because what is understood immediately and instinctively on the ground (in Egypt), often take decades to become intelligible thousands of miles away (in the West).
In fact, it’s interesting for me to recall, in retrospect, how the things I and others constantly write about in order to get the West to understand Islam, Copts know instinctively””simply because they experience in reality what we know in theory. This disconnect is why a group like the Muslim Brotherhood, the mere mention of which for decades would make Coptic hair stand on end, is now touted as a “largely secular” group by the current U.S administration, which has been complacent, if not complicit, in the Brotherhood’s rise to power.
This, by the way, is one of those things that are utterly incomprehensible to Copts and other minorities from the Muslim world””how the West can in any way, shape, or form support Islamic groups like the Brotherhood. Again, this is a reflection of their intimate acquaintance of these groups, their certain knowledge that the Brotherhood is practicing taqiyya merely to dupe their stronger, but naÃ¯ve, infidel enemies. Likewise, regarding Islam’s inroads in the U.S., comments like “So — we left Egypt only to find the same sort of crap we left behind following us here in America!” are common among the diaspora. This, of course, is the sentiment of any number of non-Muslims””not to mention many nominal Muslims””who quit the Muslim world and come to the U.S”¦