There was nothing surprising about the heart attack and death of Mohamed Morsi at his recent trial on June 17. Morsi was not young: he was 67, and had suffered for years from high blood pressure, diabetes, and a chronic inflammation of nerves. He had reported intermittent pains in his left arm during the past few years, which caused him to be moved in February 2017 from prison, where he was serving a life sentence, to the Police Hospital in Agouza. He also suffered from a benign tumor in the vessels lining the brain, and seizures, presumably palsy, on the left side of his face. He was repeatedly given medical check-ups by Egyptian medical authorities, as in June 2017, where there was found to have been no change in his condition: diabetes, uncontrollable high blood pressure, and general ill health. In November 2017, a medical committee of 10 doctors was formed; they affirmed the conditions Morsi suffered from, especially high blood pressure and diabetes. Since 2017, Morsi had been subject to periodic medical tests, and provided with the required medical treatment; the Egyptian authorities have promised to soon make available all documents proving that Morsi had received proper medical care.
Nor was there anything surprising in how Morsi’s death would be received by many Muslims. For them, despite every indication of a natural death, the result mainly of high blood pressure, “the secret killer,” it had to have been something more sinister. To blame his death on the effects of diabetes and high blood pressure would have been too obvious — exactly what the real killers want us to think. In the Muslim Middle East, the obvious and straightforward testimony of dozens of apolitical doctors merely demonstrates the manipulative power of the real conspirator-murderers.
And the guilty parties were soon identified: the Jews. Or rather, “the Zionists,” a term now used interchangeably with “the Jews” by many Muslims. It was the Zionists who had killed Mohamed Morsi in that Cairo courtroom. So maintained a Muslim cleric out in San Francisco, Dr. Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Siddiqi in a June 21, 2019 Friday sermon at Masjid Darussalam in San Francisco, which is the largest mosque in downtown San Francisco, and which is managed by the Islamic Society of San Francisco. Siddiqi insisted that Morsi had been murdered by Zionist agents. He said that there are many of these Zionist agents in the Muslim world, working for Satan. Dr. Siddiqi said that Morsi had only been trying to help humanity by spreading the truth of Islam and its message of justice throughout the world, but that the “forces of evil” did not allow it and will not allow it until the Muslims “connect” with each other and “establish the kind of unity that is required.”
Dr. Siddiqi is no minor cleric, but someone of great authority in his Muslim community. His website says that he has been serving the Bay Area and the U.S. since 1983. It further says that he currently lectures in Islamic Studies and Arabic at Chabot College, at Mission College, at Ohlone College, and at the Graduate Theological Union’s Center for Islamic Studies, and that he is also the Director of the Islamic Education and Information Center and the founder of the Islamic Law Council. Siddiqi offered not the slightest shred of evidence for his charge, but he didn’t need to: his Muslim audience already was well aware, from the Qur’an, of how evil “the Jews” were; the murder of Morsi would have been just one more minor event in their long list of crimes against Muslims. In the Muslim mindset, the Jews are constantly opposing, and plotting against, the Muslims. The Qur’an depicts the Jews — Robert Spencer’s compilation of Qur’anic verses about the Jews follows — “as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.”
Siddiqi’s charge will have consequences. Jews are now even more unsafe than they were before, because of his remark. Some Muslim, alone or with others, possibly members of the Brotherhood, may take to heart Siddiqi’s charge that “the Zionists” were behind Morsi’s death, and will wish to “avenge the death of Morsi” by killing Jews. Revenge killings could take place very far from Egypt, even in sunny California, where Siddiqi has just spewed his venom against “the Zionists.”
A moment’s thought would cause any rational listener to question Siddiqi’s charge. Why would “the Zionists” need to kill Mohamed Morsi? He had already been sentenced to life in prison; he was in no position to ever harm Israel, and in fact, when he was briefly in office, Israel was not the focus of his attention; government corruption in Egypt, the poor economic performance of the country, and the Egyptian military’s role in suppressing popular dissent were what preoccupied him. Why would the “Zionists” have risked the diplomatic fallout if their agents were implicated in Morsi’s death, given that, in prison for life, he would never again represent a danger for Israel? And why should anyone believe that dozens of Egyptian doctors, over several years, were lying when they kept examining, and reporting on, the poor state of Morsi’s health, his diabetes and high blood pressure — one that routinely leads to heart attacks?
Khalid Siddiqi is not the only one to claim that Morsi did not die of natural causes. At a memorial service for Morsi held in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that he doubted the official version of the story. Erdogan said that he believed that Morsi, who he also said was a “martyr,” another hint at his having been murdered, did not die a “normal” death, and that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, according to Erdogan, is “a weak coward, a tyrant, and a killer who should burn in Hell.” In Erdogan’s version, it is El-Sisi and not “the Zionists” who killed Mohamed Morsi. The only surprise here is that Erdogan didn’t go on to accuse Al-Sisi, as others have done, of having a Jewish mother. Antisemitism appeared, however, in one of the chants of the crowd at the ceremony, about the “Jews of Khaybar” who were destroyed by Mohammad: “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the Army of Muhammad will return.” That chant must have pleased Erdogan, well-known for his antisemitism.
Erdogan avoided any mention of the copious medical records kept by Egyptian doctors that clearly showed how high-risk a heart patient Mohamed Morsi had been. He also criticized the West for remaining silent about Morsi’s death, but there had been no silence: Morsi’s death was reported on in full. What infuriated Erdogan was that Western reporters knew enough about Morsi’s medical history not to doubt the official account of a death from natural causes.
The Arab and Muslim world is full of conspiracy theorizing. Muhammad himself said that “war is deceit.” Taqiyya is the religiously-sanctioned doctrine of deception, which began among Shi’a Muslims trying to protect themselves from Sunnis, but has now been accepted by Muslims of both sects. Taqiyya is justified whenever a Muslim needs to deceive an enemy, to protect himself or his faith. What seem to be natural deaths are, in the Muslim view, seldom what they seem. For many, the most malignant, cunning, and omnipresent villain consists of “the Jews” or “the Zionists.” For others, it may be “the Crusaders” — European Christians — who supposedly have never forgotten, nor forgiven, the Muslims (Saracens), for throwing them out of the Holy Land nearly a thousand years ago. And for still other Muslims, the explanation of miching malecho is to be found within the Muslim camp, as President Erdogan blamed his political archenemy General El-Sisi, for being “the real murderer” of Mohamed Morsi. Had El-Sisi wanted to murder Morsi, of course, he could easily have had him poisoned in prison, with reports from the warden that Morsi “had been found dead in his cell, and doctors say he suffered a massive heart attack”; a lot less attention would have been given to Morsi’s death than what occurred when Morsi keeled over in court, with so many journalists present.
Mohamed Morsi died of natural causes. Those causes, and his death, were confirmed by several dozen reputable Egyptian doctors who had been following his case. But don’t expect Dr. Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Sidiqqi in San Francisco to believe that. He knows “the Zionists” were the real murderers. No evidence needed. And don’t expect Recep Tayyip Erdogan to believe that business about “natural causes” either. He’s always disliked General El-Sisi; he’s decided, therefore, that El-Sisi must have ordered the killing of Mohamed Morsi. Again, no evidence is needed; Erdogan just knows.
One final query: is it just possible that the credulousness of so many Muslims is the result of Islam, that discourages the habit of skeptical inquiry among its adherents, for fear that such inquiry might undermine their faith? A question for study and discussion.
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