A photo circulated on social media accuses Pope Francis is known for his radicalism, hatred to Islam, and supports Zionism
“The Pope of Terrorism” ____ a hashtag used by Islamists on Twitter to comment on Pope Francis’s recent visit to Egypt. Despite his clear message of tolerance, fraternity, and co-existence, and his commitment to forge closer Muslim-Christian ties, political Islamists view the Catholic Pope as the enemy, showering him with hatred and unfounded accusations. While the Pope hoped his trip could help peace and inter-religious dialogue, and spoke unambiguously in support of dignity and rights for all, his words, however, fell on deaf ears among Islamists.
In addition to the hashtag, where Islamists vented their hatred against the Pope, accusing him of radicalism and hatred towards Islam, writers on a Muslim Brotherhood news portal, fj-p.com, wrote against the Pope. One of them, Rania Qenawy, described the visit as a legitimization the coup and a farewell to human rights. Another writer, Younis Hamzaway, accused the “Christian West”, collectively, to be the reason behind global terrorism. Another pro-Islamist outlet Rasd described the Pope mass, as a ‘military mass”. In addition, politician Amr Adel, once a leader in a supposedly ‘moderate’ Islamist Wasat Party; now has joined an anti-Sisi front named “Egypt Revolutionary Council,” describing the Pope’s visit to Egypt on Mekamelin TV, a Muslim brotherhood Turkey-based TV station as a part of a “Catholic-Orthodox plan to take over the region.” He added: “The regime in Egypt relies on propping up minorities against the Sunni Muslim majority.”
A lot of people must be scratching their heads, trying to figure out why a much-respected global figure like Pope Francis, who campaign relentlessly for peace and love, could be accused of such dreadful accusations. The answer is a deep-seated, multi-layer, hatred toward Christians.
First: Ingrained anti-Christian feeling
As I wrote before, Islamism indoctrinates followers to behave and think as an oppressed minority, unfairly targeted by others, while portraying the real minorities, such as Copts, as powerful, privileged, well-connected groups. The dwindling numbers of Eastern Christians with relentless ISIS attacks against them have failed to dampen the deep-seated hatred and mistrust towards Christians. The scene of Pope Francis united with other Popes of the East (The Coptic Pope, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and others), would be perceived in the Islamists’ twisted minds as a conspiracy against them.
Second: An effort to strike a cord with ordinary Muslims in Egypt
Feeling isolated since the ousting of ex-president Morsi, political Islamists seize any opportunity to appeal to the pious majority of Egyptian Muslims. Airing Christian mass on prime time is a rare occasion in Egypt. It happens only twice a year, with the Coptic mass, aired on TV late at night, in Christmas and Easter. As 25 thousand Christians joined the Pope in rare primetime public midday mass in Cairo, Islamists sniffed a golden opportunity to paint their nemesis Sisi as the Patron of Christians; not Muslims, hoping this would win them more hearts and minds.
Third: Deflection of accusations
For years, Western observers have viewed non-violent Islamism as benign ideology with no negative impact on Western societies. This view has changed recently. Many have openly accused non-violent Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, of being incubators or carrying medium for radicalization. In response, Islamists have adopted a defiant approach that involves denial and counterattacks as defensive tactics. Labelling the Pope Francis as the “the Pope of terrorism,” is a striking example.
In an ideology that mixes religion with politics, it is almost impossible to view outsiders, such as Pope Francis, as one with good intentions. The ideology that thrives on invoking insecurity, introversion, and fear, would never see calls for peace and love as genuine or sincere. In their denigration of the Pope, Islamists have only exposed the darkness of their thoughts, and obsolescence of their ideology.