The U.S. Embassy in Cairo got snarky on the Muslim Brotherhood after the Egyptian political party tweeted a message expressing relief that no embassy staff in Cairo had been harmed. The same Twitter message said the Brotherhood hoped relations between the two countries would remain stable despite the protests that have erupted over the inflammatory film "Innocence of Muslims," which was made in the United States.
To which the Embassy replied on Thursday: "Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too."
Through its @Ikhwanweb Twitter feed, Muslim Brotherhood replied: "we understand you're under a lot of stress, but it will be more helpful if you point out exactly the Arabic feed of concern."
The embassy did not reply, but the implication is that the party of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is couching its condolences in English but fanning the fire of outrage over the deeply blasphemous film in Arabic.
However, without clarification, the world is left to pore over Ikhwanweb's Arabic-language Tweets and other communications to figure out what the embassy means. Some Arab language media outlets have been known in the past to use fiery rhetoric when communicating to their core Arab-speaking audiences -- especially when criticizing Israel, Western powers and minority Islamic offshoots such as Shia Ismailis.
The Associated Press reviewed recent Muslim Brotherhood Tweets in Arabic to find it had denounced both the film and the breaching of embassy grounds while insisting Egyptians have the right to peacefully demonstrate.
The Muslim Brotherhood had initially called for a nationwide protest against the film, which not only violates an Islamic sanction against depicting the Prophet Muhammad, but which also depicts him as a brutal misogynist and child rapist. After thousands of protestors gathered on their own around the U.S. Embassy and clashed with police, the party announced it had cancelled the call.
Meanwhile, Muslims across the Middle East have taken to the streets following juma al salat (the midday Friday prayer and sermon) to express their outrage over the film.
Protests and boycotts occur regularly in the Muslim world after incidents that are interpreted as part of series of events that represent to many Muslims a general anti-Islamic sentiment from the predominantly Christian West. Examples include: the French niqab (the face-covering veil) ban last year, the November 2009 referendum in Switerland to ban minarets and the insulting cartoons published in Denmark in 2005. Many Muslims also perceive a double standard in some European countries that allow Islamic blasphemy but ban Holocaust denial.
The U.S. is faced with a widespread perception by the Arab Street that it sides with Israel against the Palestinians and is killing Muslims in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Defenders of U.S. relations with the Muslim world point to the country's rescue of Bosnian Muslims in the early 90s, its ongoing aid programs in the developing world where most Muslims live and its first-response to the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami that struck the world's largest Muslim country, Indonesia.
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