Mohamed_Morsi_croppedMohamed Morsi, the Islamist president of Egypt and a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, tried to pacify his critics on Wednesday by claiming that his recently reported anti-Semitic remarks were “taken out of context.” Morsi insists that his comments were intended not as racial slurs but as criticism of Israeli policies regarding the Palestinian Arabs. A spokesman for Morsi claims that he “[respects] all monotheistic religions and religious freedom.”

Anyone who has actually read the quotes in question, however, will have some questions for Mr. Morsi. Questions like:

What kind of added context could render Morsi’s urging of all Egyptians to “nurse [their] children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews” into a harmless political critique of Israel?

What additional knowledge would transform his reference to the “descendants of apes and pigs” into anything other than an ancient anti-Semitic slur taken directly from the Qu’ran (long before there was any Israeli-Palestinian Conflict)?

If your imagination is straining to come up with any possible way to whitewash these comments, you’re not alone. A far more likely explanation is that Morsi is simply expressing the fervid racism towards Jews that has long characterized the Muslim Brotherhood and that is deeply entrenched in Islamic religious texts.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

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