Hussein bin Mahmoud, a jurist of Sharia law for the Islamic State, said in an article published on February 17 and appearing in various jihadi websites that all Christian churches in Cairo must be demolished.
Raymond Ibrahim Titled the “Ruling on Egypt’s Christians,” the article, written like a fatwa, asserts that
The ruling concerning the churches that are in Cairo is that they be destroyed, according to the consensus of the righteous forefathers [Salaf], because they are new under Islam, and Cairo is a new city whose original inhabitants were Muslim; there were no churches in it previously.
As for churches in Upper Egypt, which may have been in existence before the Islamic conquest of Egypt, these may remain but may never be renovated or fixed.
The Islamic state cleric cited medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), some of whose fatwas deal with Islam’s views on churches which are described as “worse than bars and brothels.” And in fact, Taymiyya and many other jurists (such as Ibn Qayyim) called for the destruction of all churches built after the conquests.
HUFFPO Many in Egypt have accused the United States, Qatar, and Turfkey of supporting ISIS. The state-run newspaper Al-Ahram ran a front-page story calling Qatar, Turkey and the U.S. the “triangle of the forces of evil.”
Egyptian President al-Sisi has good reason to feel this way. The U.S, Qatari, sand Turkish governments expressed support for the elected Muslim Brotherhood-run government, a product of the Arab Spring, that Sisi and the military overthrew in 2013 in a restoration of Egypt’s autocratic old guard.
This idea seems to have taken hold in Al Aour, the village that was home to 13 of ISIS’s Egyptian victims.
“I have a message to Obama,” Emet Suleiman Shahata, the brother of one of the men beheaded by a Libyan offshoot of the Islamic State, told The WorldPost this week at the village’s Coptic Christian church. “Egypt will be strong no matter what our enemies do.”
Shahata and the men around him interrupted each other in their rush to explain precisely how the U.S. helped make the ISIS atrocity possible. “The United States is the backbone of support for Qatar and Turkey, and they are backing terrorism,” Shahata continued.
Media outlets in Egypt also had promoted the idea that Qatar and the U.S. are aiding terror. On Tuesday, Middle East news site Al Bawaba published a headline that stated: “Strike Qatar…Daesh [ISIS] will fall.”
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) February 17, 2015
And on Thursday, the leading newspaper Al Masry Al Youm ran a cartoon showing “Daesh,” the preferred Arabic term for the Islamic State, intertwined with “USA.”
— Jonathan Guyer (@mideastXmidwest) February 19, 2015
The state-run newspaper Al-Ahram ran a front-page story the same day calling Qatar, Turkey and the U.S. the “triangle of the forces of evil.”
The U.S. and Egypt presently have “mutual frustration,” a U.S. official told the Daily Beast this week. The Pentagon made clear on Wednesday that Egypt did not inform Washington before it flew U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to bomb ISIS camps near the town of Derna in eastern Libya.
Libya has remained a major battleground for the ongoing conflict between Qatar and the anti-Brotherhood forces linked with Sisi despite the signs of regional reconciliation. The country is split between two militia-backed governments: one in the west composed of both moderate and radical Islamists, which is thought to be supported by Qatar, and a more secular Sisi-backed one in the east, which is internationally recognized but seen as too connected to the old Gaddafi regime.
Sisi has never fully warmed to either the U.S. or Qatar. Both governments expressed support for the elected Muslim Brotherhood-run government, a product of the Arab Spring, that Sisi and the military overthrew in 2013 in a restoration of Egypt’s autocratic old guard.
It is no secret that there is no love lost between Obama and al-Sisi. Obama still supports the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi and has voiced his opposition to the ouster and imprisonment of Morsi on many occasions. Qatar is the home base for the Muslim Brotherhood now.
U.S. officials did not anticipate Sisi’s government would further complicate the civil war by publicly accusing Qatar of backing ISIS. Despite the fact that Egypt has conflated Islamists in Egypt and in Libya with the Islamic State, it is a serious escalation for Cairo to call a fellow Arab government an ISIS backer.
Analysts say this rift is the last thing Washington needs as it considers how to respond to ISIS: Cairo would be on the frontlines of any effort against ISIS expansion in Libya, and a U.S. base in Qatar is the center of the U.S. air war against the militants in Iraq and Syria.
For now, the U.S. has not taken a public position on the Egyptian airstrikes or the subsequent inter-Arab spat. A spokesperson for Gen. John Allen, the U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, declined to comment on the situation’s impact on the coalition.