By JOEL BRINKLEY
Tribune Media Services
Egypt’s most important tourist attraction and among the Seven Wonders of the World.
Saudi Sheik Ali bin Said al-Rabi’i called them heinous “symbols of paganism.” In recent days, similar calls have been echoing through Egypt and the region, including one from a Bahraini sheik who urged Morsi to “destroy the pyramids and accomplish what the Amr bin al-As could not.”
He was referring to the Prophet Muhammad’s companion who conquered Egypt in the seventh century but didn’t have the technological wherewithal to accomplish the task.
Mohammed Morsi has been Egypt’s president for less than a month,
and already senior clerics in his country and around the Islamic world are loudly calling for the demolition of the pyramids,
None of this should be too surprising. Islamic extremists are now destroying 15th century tombs in Timbuktu, world heritage sites, because they are considered “idolatrous.” And remember in 2001, when the Taliban fired heavy artillery at two huge Buddha statutes carved into a rock face about 1,700 years ago. Taliban leader Mullah Omar had issued an edict against un-Islamic graven images. Numerous other examples exist, contemporary and ancient.
What’s surprising is that Morsi has had nothing to say about this, not a word. Neither has he said anything about numerous “freelance” efforts to enforce other elements of Shariah law across Egypt, even though his new government hasn’t said that’s his plan.
Well, his extremist allies are already trying to enforce an ancient Koranic commandment that directs Islamists to collect a tax called the jizya from Coptic Christians and other “non-believers.”
Ahmed Imran, who was a Salafist-party candidate for office, recently declared that “Copts are obligated to pay the jizya.”
And as Raymond Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American author and columnist of Coptic ancestry, recently wrote: “Increasing numbers of attacks on Christians in Egypt revolve around extorting jizya.”