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Does the White House Think Mubarak Is a Coptic Christian?

Paul Marshall

My esteemed colleague Lela Gilbert has forwarded this amazing post from an Atlantic blog. Marc Ambinder, White House correspondent for National Journal and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, reports (emphasis added):

A number of White House officials were given an Encyclopedia Britannica-like briefing about the basics: how many U.S. citizens were inside the country and contingency plans to get them out; reminders that Egypt wasn’t a Muslim country; Hosni Mubarak was a Coptic Christian of a certain sect; the Muslim Brotherhood was at once an opposition political party and a co-opted part of the social system . . .

However, there is no shadow of a suggestion of a suspicion that Mubarak is a Christian (even of a “certain sect”), not even by al-Qaeda, which profligately applies erroneous religious labels, including that Mahmoud Abbas is a Baha’i and Barack Obama is an apostate Muslim.

Either Ambinder is gravely mistaken or, more worryingly, the White House is gravely adrift in the experts whose advice it seeks. Such a comment injures the Copts, since it ties them to a failing regime, and, if it is indicative of beliefs in the White House, bodes ill for us all.

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