By Mark Ellis
Egyptian President Morsi attended Friday prayers October 19th at a mosque in northwestern Egypt. As the preacher cursed the Jews in his closing prayer, Morsi nodded and said “amen,” along with others nearby.
President Morsi sat cross-legged in the front row among the congregants of the Al-Tana’im Mosque, as he listened to the Friday sermon by Sheikh Futouh ‘Abd Al-Nabi Mansour, head of the Islamic Endowment in Marsa Matrouh.
When Sheikh Mansour concluded his message, he closed with this prayer: ‘Oh Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us, and grant us victory over the infidels. Oh Allah, deal with the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder. Oh Allah, demonstrate Your might and greatness upon them. Show us Your omnipotence, oh Lord.’
The Middle East Media Research Institute captured the scene on video and uploaded it to the internet with English subtitles. On the video Morsi may be seen nodding his head, saying ‘amen’ along with other attendees.
A prominent Egyptian commentator, Dr. Osama Al-Ghazali Harb of the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, states that the clip was discomfiting to Morsi: “This is very embarrassing to the president,” Dr. Harb wrote. “I do not know how the honorable president would respond if asked: ‘Do you agree with what Sheikh Futouh said?’ If he says no, it is a problem, and if he says yes, it is an even bigger problem.”
Dr. Harb states that the video embodies the dilemma Morsi faces, since he is obliged to honor the peace agreement with Israel on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to take into account the majority view on the Egyptian street, which is opposed.
There is a “massive gap that still exists between the official contractual obligation for peace withIsrael, and the popular objection to this [peace] agreement. As part of his official duty, the president must respect the agreement, as he has stated many times, but he also cannot disconnect from the prevailing popular mood. This is a complex problem that must be dealt with more wisely.”