Hazem Barakat frantically tried to get the police to intervene as an enraged Sunni mob dragged four Shia men out into the streets. The police refused, rebuffing Barakat’s calls for assistance.
“They’re attacking us, man,” an officer said, fleeing the scene. The four men were beaten to death.
“It was a horrible sight,” said Barakat, a citizen journalist. “I can’t forget the smell of the blood.”
The killing of Shias in a dusty Cairo suburb on Sunday was yet another example of Egypt’s rising sectarianism. And even though President Mohammed Morsi condemned the killings, some accuse him and his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, of allowing extremism to take root in the country.
Bahaa Anwar, a Shia activist, said he held Morsi responsible for the attack, as Morsi has held back from calling out incitement against Shias in the past. And Morsi has attracted controversy for appointing Adel al-Khayat governor of Luxor province, even though al-Khayat belonged to an Islamist party linked to a massacre of 58 tourists in 1997.
Amid increasing political and economic instability, mass demonstrations against Morsi have been planned for June 30, the one year anniversary of his inauguration.
“The political situation is definitely worsening,” Dina Hassan, an Egyptian expatriate, told The Daily Caller. “It has gotten to the point where the streets are not safe again.”
Yet despite Egypt’s internal turmoil, the Obama administration has shown no signs of stopping its support of the Egyptian government, which is led by the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry quietly allowed $1.3 billion of military aid to Egypt despite the country’s failure to meet human rights and democratic standards.
A key condition of the aid was that Egypt “is holding free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion, and due process of law.”
But this condition was waived due to “the interest of the national security of the United States.”
The US ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, has also been reported as supportive of the Brotherhood. A June 18 edition of Sadar el-Bada reportedly shows that Patterson asked the Coptic Church’s head figure, Pope Tawadros, to urge Copts “not to participate” in the June 30 demonstrations against the Brotherhood – a request which Tawadros promptly denied.
Christian Copts constitute about 10% of Egypt’s population, and are also uneasy about the impact of the Brotherhood’s rule on their position in the country.
Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller that President Obama “has had some bad ideas, but giving aid to the Muslim Brotherhood is among his worst.”
“For eight decades, the Muslim Brotherhood was able to promise Egyptians the world because they were in opposition and had no real responsibilities,” Rubin said.
“Once in power, however, they focused on repressing women, inciting hatred against minorities and consolidating dictatorship rather than doing the hard work to improve Egypt’s economy for which Egyptians hoped,” he added.
The Obama administration’s aid to Egypt is rooted in the country’s peace pact with Israel, which has kept the regional balance of power since 1979. Egypt’s last leader, Hosni Mubarak, was also supported by the United States for decades.
But with rising extremism, whether the Muslim Brotherhood will ultimately uphold their end of the deal remains to be seen.