Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was one of the first to muddy the waters, claiming that “foreign hands… a terrorist operation that is alien to us,” rather than homegrown jihadists, carried out the attack. “All of Egypt is targeted,” Mubarak went on, digging deeper. “This blind terrorism does not differentiate between Copts and Muslims.”
Yet no mosque was targeted, and no Muslim was killed. It was a remarkable coincidence that this “blind terrorism” that did not “differentiate between Copts and Muslims” struck at a Coptic church, killing only Christians and no Muslims at all.
But the facts didn’t stop Barack Obama, either. Obama’s statement was better than Mubarak’s in that he acknowledged that “the perpetrators of this attack were clearly targeting Christian worshipers.” However, he also claimed that the attack killed and injured people “from both the Christian and Muslim communities.” No Muslims were actually killed or injured in the attack. And if the perpetrators (unnamed by Obama) were indeed “clearly targeting Christian worshipers,” what was Obama’s point in going out of his way to say that Muslims were hurt also? Did that claim make the crime more heinous in his eyes? Or did he think that it would mitigate the harsh reality of the fact that believing Muslims, acting in the name of Islam, were the anonymous perpetrators that he dared not name?
Others found more imaginative ways to try to mitigate that harsh reality. Lebanese Shi’ite leader Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan said: “This terrorist act bears the fingerprints of Zionists who keep on targeting religious sights [sic] and are working to … sow discord between Muslims and Christians.” Iran’s PressTV, in an unsigned editorial, struck a tone so similar as to give the impression that a set of talking points were being circulated: “The fresh plot by terrorists to target churches is an organized Zionist scenario aimed at creating a rift between Muslims and Christians.”