Over the past thirty years, during my frequent travels to the capitals of the West, I always dreamt of the day in which we might successfully create an Egyptian or Arab lobby to defend our position, just as the Jews did in Europe and America. The Jewish lobby, the most powerful in the world, defends Israel, and we need one of our own to speak on our behalf.
Finally, my dream has come true. Maged Riad, a Christian Egyptian-American lawyer based in New York, has set up just the kind of organization we need. Riad, who I met through a kind introduction by the late Pope Shenouda III a few years ago, created the Egyptian – American Community Foundation, an organization that is interested in promoting US-Egyptian cooperation as well as world peace and human rights.
In recent months, Riad has worked overtime to redress the imbalance that exists in US policies, especially the skewed way with which US officialdom viewed the recent political developments in Egypt.
When millions of people took to streets in Egypt, in an expression of defiance against former President Mohamed Morsi, US officials took a somber view of this situation. The US criticism of the Egyptian army and General al-Sisi was unabated, although all the army did was to stand by the people, who wanted the Muslim Brotherhood’s autocratic rule to end.
During its year in power, the MB assaulted the judiciary, alienated the police, and tried to undermine both the army and the media. Riad took it upon himself as an American citizen to send messages to President Obama. In his first letter, dated July 8th, he voiced disapproval of the U.S. biased reaction to Morsi’s removal from power.
“I ask you as an American citizen to recognize that the MB is a terrorist group which acts in contradiction with the principles on which the American society is based, such as respect for human rights and equality among citizens regardless of creed,” Riad wrote.
In another letter, dated July 23rd, Riad told Obama that the MB was not to be trusted, and that it would turn against the US unless it adopted a clear position of hostility towards Egypt’s new government. He urged the US administration to share with the citizens of Egypt their commitment to freedom, justice, and the rights of minorities.
iad then took a full-page advertising in the prestigious newspaper, the International Herald Tribune, in which he exposed the so-called “peaceful protests” by the MB as a hoax, noting that the group enticed its supporters to assault and burn dozens of churches and public buildings around the country. He also highlighted the insidious connections between the MB and organizations listed by the US as terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and Hamas.
Furthermore, Riad sent strongly-worded letters to Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham, in which he voiced indignation over the pro-MB remarks they made following a brief visit to Egypt.
“I find it odd and incomprehensible,” he said, “that you demand the release of certain individuals in prison facing serious criminal charges.”
The US, Riad added, should refrain from interference in Egypt’s internal affairs. Riad has spoken on behalf of all Egyptians, and not just the Christians of this country – and we are proud of him.
translated from Al Youm 7