Liberal political analyst Kirsten Powers publicly slammed President Barack Obama on Tuesday for failing to protect Christians in the Middle East being persecuted by Muslims.
Her editorial, which was published in USA Today, focused on the incident in the Mediterranean Sea where Muslims threw a dozen Christians overboard from a migrant ship. While authorities have charged the Muslims with "multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate," Powers contended that the incident was an example of "religious persecution."
"Obama was mute on the killings," Powers wrote. "He failed to interject any sense of outrage or even tepid concern for the targeting of Christians for their faith. If a Christian mob on a ship bound for Italy threw 12 Muslims to their death for praying to Allah, does anyone think the president would have been so disinterested?"
Powers then highlighted another incident where the president condemned similar actions.
"When three North Carolina Muslims were gunned down by a virulent atheist, Obama rightly spoke out against the horrifying killings," Powers wrote. "But he just can't seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or the eradication of Christianity from its birthplace."
Powers argued that "religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide." She added that Christians were the targets of "religious cleansing," especially those living in the Middle East and northern Africa.
"Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact," Powers wrote. "Western leaders - including Obama - will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded."
The political analyst then turned to comments the president made during this year's National Prayer Breakfast.
"It will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christians were at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith," Powers wrote. "A week and a half after Obama's National Prayer Breakfast speech, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded for being 'people of the cross.'"
Powers then talked about her friendship with Maggie Gobran, the "Mother Theresa of Cairo," who knew seven of the victims.
"She told me these dear men grew up in rural Upper Egypt and had gone to Libya seeking work to support their families," Powers wrote. "They died with dignity as they called out to their God, while the cowardly murderers masked their faces."
She hoped that Obama would "honor these men and the countless Middle Eastern Christians persecuted before them" instead of "hectoring Christians about their ancestors' misdeeds."
According to Josh Feldman of Mediaite, Powers elaborated more on her argument to Bill O'Reilly on the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" that the president has refused to "acknowledge what's actually happening in the Middle East."
"The Italian authorities arrested the Muslim men and charged them with a hate crime," Powers said to O'Reilly. "[It was] a religiously-motivated hate crime."
O'Reilly asked her why this issue was important to her. Powers then admitted that she felt a kinship with the Christians in the Middle East, adding that she had a personal connection to them.
"I care about human rights in general," Powers said. "This issue is near and dear to me because I was married to somebody who is a Coptic Christian. I'm still very close to him and his family in Egypt. I spent time there and I feel a real connection, so when I see these people, when I see these Coptic Christians beheaded, I see family."