and David Geffen—screened a roughcutrnfor an interesting focus group. Therninvitees included the Council on AmericanrnIslamic Relations, the Mushm Council,rnthe Muslim Public Affairs Council,rnthe American-Arab Anti-DiscriminationrnCommittee, the Islamic Information Service,rnand diplomats from a number ofrnMuslim countries. The film is an adaptationrnof the Ufe of Moses “based” on thernBook of Exodus. Following the preview,rnstudio executives soUcited comments andrnsuggestions on the film’s content from therninvitees “to ensure historical accuracy andrnto eliminate sources of stereotyping.”rnIt is ironic that Muslims were givenrnscreening rights for a film that deals withrna period in history when their religion didrnnot even exist. As for the ancient Egyptians,rnthey were, of course, not Arabs.rnThe only real descendants of the Pharaohsrnin Egypt are the Coptic Orthodox minority.rnBut the Copts, being Christian, are unlikelyrnto be invited to a screening, letrnalone awarded the seal of victimhood thatrnthey deserve. Their daily lot under thernrule of the Muslim Arab majority is littlernknown to most Americans. A glimpse isrnprovided by the Daily Telegraph of Londonrn(October 25):rnHundreds of Copts have beenrnrounded up in southern Egyptrnafter suspected retaliatoryrnkillings involving localrnMuslims and Christians.rn. . . Most Copts are toornfrightened to speak aboutrntheir plight. But the localrnbishop and two priests arernnow facing the death penaltyrnfor bringing the persecutionrnto the attention of thernworld. . . . Police have reportedlyrndetained aboutrn1,200 Christians in Al-rnKosheh, near Luxor in UpperrnEgypt. Seized in groups ofrn50 at a time, many werernnailed to crosses or manacledrnto doors with theirrnlegs tied together, thenrnbeaten and tortured withrne l e c t r i c shocks to theirrngenitals, while police denouncedrnthem as “infidels.”rnAn 11-year-old boy, RomanirnBoctor, was hung upside downrnfrom an electric ceilingrnfan and tortured as the fanrnrotated. Young g i r l s werernraped and mothers werernforced to lay their babiesrnon the floor of police stationsrnand watch police beatrnthem with s t i c k s . . . .rnCopts were the ancientrninhabitants of Egypt beforernthe Arab invasions in thernseventh centu2:y, but havernbeen surrounded for centuriesrnby a hostile Muslimrnmajority. They now needrnpresidential permission tornopen a church, their historyrncannot be taught in schoolsrnand people can be arrestedrnunder the National SecurityrnAct for converting to theirrnfaith. Mustafa Shukravi, arnhuman rights activist whornconverted to Christianityrnand was jailed for 10rnmonths, was granted asylijmrnin England last September.rnHe said: “I was beaten withrnsticks and electric shocks.rnI was hung, blindfolded,rnmade to stand for five daysrnand five nights.” . . . ThernClinton administration seesrnMr. Mubarak as a key playerrnin peace negotiations betweenrnIsrael and the Palestiniansrnand seems unlikelyrnto risk upsetting him by reducingrni t s £1.3 billion aidrnpackagernIn the meantime, on the other side ofrnthe Mediterranean, a French Muslimrnmade his own modest contribution tornthe cause of inter-faith relations a la Arabique.rnAccording to Agence FrancernPresse (October 16) an Albanian courtrnhas charged Claude Cheik Ben Abdel, 27,rnwith the murder of a young AlbanianrnChristian. Ben Abdel came to Tirana posingrnas a journalist and hired the victim,rnLeonard VangjeU, 22, to be his interpreterrnIn fact, Ben Abdel and eight other Islamicrnmilitants came from France to help ethnicrnAlbanian rebels in Kosovo, prosecutorrnAriston Puka said. The group had smuggledrnweapons and killed Vangjeli becausernhe was a witness. Ben Abdel admitted tornthe murder, saying he had killed Vangjelirnto “accomplish the will of God.”rnThat the size of a country does notrnnecessarily correlate to the magnitude ofrnthe horrors emanating from it was confirmedrntwo days later when AgencernFrance Presse reported that an illegalrnclinic, involved in the traffic of baby organs,rnwas discovered in the Albanian capital,rnTirana, during an investigation of allegedrnbaby trafficking from Albania tornItaly. The clinic was administrated by Albanianrndoctors and surgeons who “operatedrnon babies and sent their organs tornItaly,” reportedly upon the orders of ItalianrnMafia bosses. “Skillful surgeons haverncarried out many operations on babies andrnsold their organs in Italy, earning largernamounts of money,” a senior prosecutionrnofficial said. The scandal first came tornlight when gravediggers discovered thatrnthe coffins of some allegedly stillborn infantsrnwere empty.rnLet us hope that the missing Albanianrnbabies will be the next cause Tony Blairrndecides to promote, when he tires of persecutingrnPinochet and egging on hisrnAmerican buddy to bomb the Serbs. Therncause is worthy, and it is harmless. Itrnwould even justify the paean that one DominicrnMohan sang to him last fall in thatrnofficial organ of British Yobbery, the Sunrnof London:rnFrom the moment I heard thernopening bars of Dario G’zrnIbiza’s anthem Sunchyme Irnrealised that the days ofrndull politics were longrngone. The EM put his hand onrnhis heart throughout and hisrnwords gave me goosebuitps. Irnrealised later I had witnessedrnsomething very specialrn. It was perfectlyrnscripted, simple enough forrna layman like me to understand,rnand oozed passion.rnJANUARY 1999/25rnrnrn