Sunday, December 18, 2005

Post 9/11 Saudi Arabia

Part -1-

Would the real “extremist” please stand up!

Ever since 9/11, Muslims all over the world, millions and millions of them, have been blaming Saudi for “exporting extremist/Wahabe brand of Islam” to their countries/to their Muslims.

Well guess who finally caught up with the blame game!

Yes, the usual suspect - Saudi Arabia - has found itself a scapegoat it can try to shift blame for all it’s mistakes to!

LOOOL … (a six “o”’s looooool, two smilies :-) :-) and a “what the fuck!!!”) a couple of days ago, during the live broadcast of the national Saudi debate (al-7iwar al-watane al-sa3odi), a guy called “sheakh Mosa” was saying repeatedly: “this isn’t the Islam of Saudi, this has been exported to Saudi by the al-ikhwan al-muslimeen movement…”
Ok! This is officially funnier than Seinfeld!

Posted by SaudiEve at 7:46 AM


  1. Blogger DeeDee posted at 12:08 PM, December 18, 2005  
    gal ikhwan muslmin gal :\
  2. Blogger BaSSeM posted at 1:24 PM, December 18, 2005  
    heheheh.. hohohoh.. hahahah.. please stop me cause i just can't b r e a t h e !!
  3. Blogger ordinary girl posted at 1:35 PM, December 18, 2005  
    NOW isn't this the best tip of the year!!!
  4. Blogger Trevelyana posted at 5:34 PM, December 18, 2005  
    So many different "types" of islam apparently..
    hmm.. what to choose
  5. Blogger ahmed posted at 11:18 AM, December 19, 2005  
    a typical Saudi thought..Blaming others and acting as we don't have a single problem at all...:S
  6. Blogger EMARAT JABAL SHAMMAR posted at 1:02 PM, December 19, 2005  

  7. Blogger Sami posted at 8:47 PM, December 19, 2005  
    Funny indeed
  8. Blogger Farooha posted at 9:53 PM, December 19, 2005  
    OK, no one hate me, but I believe it to be a combination of both.

    Remember where the anti-Nassirts-slash-Ikhwanites-slash-political Islamists fled to in time of despair?
    Yes, that's right. Saudi. And they were treated as guests of honor and full fledged muftis.

    We may have been well off the right path at the time, yes true. *But* it further shoved us off it. You guys, the very fact that we took a whole unit on IslamIST Literature in the ikhwan era back in highschool says alot. Remember what we were told about Jamal 3abdul nassir? Regardless of my infatuation with Pan-Arabism, it wasn't pretty at all. Jamal Abdul Nassir might be flawed but we were taught to believe he was a monster. Please, there was a time I believed Sayyed Qutub to be God.

    I don't know, and please don't get me wrong, what was said makes *some* sense.. (to yet again *some* extent) But the Ikhwan aren't the only ones to hijack our Islamic values, we're of course every bit responsible.
  9. Blogger Abu Sinan posted at 11:01 PM, December 19, 2005  
    Sorry to inform you all of this, but I am the source of all extremism in the world. Nevermind my tattoos, I am THE one.

    Who would have thought? I guess when Sayyid Qutb saw the tattoed man in his stay in the US and thought they he sybolised all that was wrong with the west he was wrong!

    I am the head of the Islamic fundamentalist beast, hear me roar! ARRRR!!!!!!!
  10. Blogger raf* posted at 12:07 AM, December 20, 2005  
    dear a.s.,

    the n.s.a. is gonna have so much fun with your comment here ... ;)

    dear f,

    the wahhabis & the ikhwaan al-muslimiin weren't/aren't that far from each other. who do you mean with "we" here? "the" saudis?


    as leeno already said: so many islams ...

    needless to say, shaykh muusa is an idiot.


  11. Blogger Farooha posted at 2:45 PM, December 20, 2005  
    "Dear R,"

    The "we" meant, we the "Saudi" people. We allowed such an ideology to dominate (both Wahabism, AND more recently political Islam due to Ikhwanite influence); even though, as I recall both my parents and grandparents telling me, it wasn't wanted at first and was even dreaded by most. They feared it just as much as only an elite few does now. But no one did anything back then; apathy. They just quietly let it take over, and now the people (brainwashed) more than anything are the ones plaguing the nation. (as well as the Sauds whose very constitution lay preciously in the rise of Wahabi thought, and who, it seems, love the thought of keeping their people in the dark.) However, we the people can shake the mountains now if we wanted to. We're not, are we? Exactly. Most of us just don't want to.

    Furthermore, there is an undeniable number of "Saudis" (educators, theorists..etc) who, like Shaikh Moussa, believe the Ikhwanites to be *partly* responsible for the politicization, so to speak, of an already harsh interpertation of Islam. I have spoken to some, and their arguments were very strong, their oratory skills persuasive. They believe it all took place in the Hajj season of 1966 and will even show you articles as proof. But wait, within the circle of these theorists lay another group who believe that not only was their existence among the Saudi masses a factor, but that they also managed to "hijack" Saudi curricula and school systems. This goes without saying in the case of some prominent "Ikhwan" members who were known in the Saudi spectrum for some time for their work with the Saudi government (mostly in the field of education by the way) like sheikh Mana3 5aleel ga66an, for example.
    مناع خليل قطان
    I remember an outspoken friend of the family showing us proof by tracing the evolution of Saudi curricula as manifested in "Adab" books, and I'll tell you, I hate to admit it, but I'm sold; as as I said before, there was a time I thought sayyed Qutub and his troupe were God.
    Anyway, here's something I'm sure we all agree on: political Islam was NEVER a problem here in Saudi. (yet again due to apathy; the average Saudi man was happy if he prayed five times a day and his food and water sources were stable back then,as well as not being too keen on politics despite the relatively rocky political conditions of neighboring Arab countries. May I suggest books by Saudi novelists like Turki Al Hamad, who describes the era vividly) Islamism (i.e political Islam, NOT wahabist islam) is only something that surfaced as of 20 years or so,and yet again many believe the sudden influx of fleeing Ikhwanites to be a factor among many, many more.

    Although I am not one to indulge in the luxury of the blame game nor of conspiracy crap, this one is quite convincing.
    It makes you wonder.
    I'm surprised Im the only one who didn't find this too funny? Hehe, still kinda makes you laugh though.
    Hope that clears things up, *R!
    -F* (hehe, I likey!)
  12. Blogger raf* posted at 3:49 PM, December 20, 2005  
    dear f,

    wahhabism IS a form of islamism (also called "political islam").

    the moment the Aal Sa'uud hooked up with Abd al-Wahhab the possibility was there, and by the time the "deal" was reinforced in the early 20th century - with the establishment of the "saudi" ikhwan & the settlement in "warrior camps" - it became hard to get out of it.

    look, if a ruling elite is founding its legitimacy on religious purism it becomes rather hard to not support alike movements.

    the saudi gov't GLADLY gave asylum to the muslim brothers in the 60s. it also was one of only three states that recognized the taliban gov't in afghanistan.

    so much for that right now.

    btw, dear eve, please do let us know if we're hogging your comment section. we can move this debate elsewhere.


  13. Blogger EMARAT JABAL SHAMMAR posted at 4:09 PM, December 20, 2005  


  14. Blogger raf* posted at 4:21 PM, December 20, 2005  
    dear shammari,

    point read. you're wrong. if you don't care, why did you feel it necessary to even write this comment?


  15. Blogger EMARAT JABAL SHAMMAR posted at 4:45 PM, December 20, 2005  



  16. Blogger EMARAT JABAL SHAMMAR posted at 4:47 PM, December 20, 2005  

  17. Blogger Intellectual Primate posted at 1:02 PM, December 21, 2005  
    raf, please refer to:

    you will find that farooha disagrees with me on most of the thoughts there, but I still think that wahabism has become insepreable from saudi. hence, my gloomy outlook. If people think saudi is reforming (socially and economically) slowly then it is only as far as the refrom is not deemed to fast. I do believe however that if reform is to last then wahabism needs to be rethought and that means reform will be a long and painful process.

    P.S. I really love Saudi and find it as fascinating as Iraq from a cultural and developmental perspective.
  18. Blogger raf* posted at 2:06 PM, December 21, 2005  
    dear i.p.,

    wahhabism has become inseparable from the saudi state since muhammad ibn 'abd al-wahhaab al-tamiimii made a pact with muhammad ibn sa'uud around 1750 whereby ibn sa'uud would provide physical protection and ensure that the lands conquered by his warriors would be ruled according to the interpretation of sharii'a according to 'abd al-wahhaab, which in return meant that 'abd al-wahaab gave religious legitimacy to the rule of the aal sa'uud.

    this was the beginning of the wahhabi-saudi symbiosis.

    and YES, it'll be hard to change that.

  19. Blogger porcelain world beside posted at 3:43 PM, December 21, 2005  
    salam, saudi don't know me..and i would like to read and post in your blog...thank u
  20. Blogger Abu-Joori posted at 11:03 PM, December 21, 2005  
    I very much agree with Raf*
    point well said and explained !

    btw, it is not the thought of shaikh mouse .. it is the thought of a very high ranked man in our government who said that point in a newspaper interview (al syasah in kuwait).

    Just remember what wahabisem did when they went to hijaz .. they killed ppl coz they are not muslims !
    in my eyes.. this makes ikhwan muslimeen of egypt such innocent ppl!
  21. Blogger Farooha posted at 12:12 AM, December 22, 2005  

    You and I agree more than we know it, there just seems to be a break in communication of some sort.

    Yes, a government that gained its legitimacy through religion makes the country a fertile ground for such radical movements. I agree, and concede. I also agree that religion will always be a politcal loophole in totalitarian regimes.
    The point of dispute here is whether or not the political Ikhwan movement in Egypt had any effect on Saudi Arabia's version of "political Islam" (aka. "Islamism"). You seem to think that it did not, whereas I believe it slightly so did.

    What we both might not have realized is just how similar our views on the matter are.
    I believe that Wahabism is indeed at fault, but not entirely so, and that the fleeing ikwhanites have -a bit- to do with the extremist wave that's agressed in all its vileness on "Saudi" territories. Whereas you believe that Wahabism is at fault, full stop.
    I guess it didn't occur to me that the very fact that the Ikhwanites were greeted with open arms brings light to just what is wrong with Wahabism. So, yes, we agree, Raf.

    *However* that does not change the fact that the Ikhwan did in fact play a major role in the formation of the "Islam" that is practiced TODAY in Saudi Arabia as opposed to that practiced in eariler -dare I say- better times, where Wahabism was just as existent as it is today.

    Oh yes, one more point. HRH, as much as I hate to say this, you took the words right out of my mouth. Although both Ikhwanite ideology and that of the Wahabists is quite alike, one of the biggest dissimilarities is how it is percieved by its followers.
    Wahabism was NEVER even called that. Wahabists themselves continue to deny the formation of a brand new school of thought. They believe this to be the Islam practiced by the prophet himself, where rebellion and deviating from the confines of the "Imam" (i.e Fahd in 2001, and Aboody in our current case) is never an option (or so the Sauds have made the people to believe.)

    Whereas the Ikhwan.. know what? you answer this one...

    Their core foundation was based on rebellion and acts of insurgence.

    That is when Wahabism expanded into more than a means of dictating a modern day feudal system upon the peoples of Arabia into an abominable monster... when it -thanks to the Ikhwanites- bit the ruling elite back.

    -F* (still lovin' it, ps!)
  22. Blogger raf* posted at 12:33 AM, December 22, 2005  
    dear f,

    i never said anything about the ikhwaan al-muslimiin NOT having had any influence on the development of how "true" islam was perceived in saudi-arabia. i don't know enough about the subject to make a call on it. my GUESS would be that it did.

    as for the wahhabis not calling themselves wahhabis but claiming to simply be "true muslims" - yeah, i know about that and i did get that reference from the shammari's post.

    he, however, seems to actually promulgate that claim as true, whereas i would say this:

    IF there IS a god, and IF that god's message is what we can read in the copies of the qur'an, THEN there MAY be such a thing as "one true islam" and IF indeed there is, THEN we'll all find out on judgement day, and not a moment sooner.

    in the meantime, this particular version of "the one and only true islam" is something that i, as an observer, call by the name "wahhabi islam".

    as a matter of fact i'll even go one step further and call it "one of the many strands of hanbali thought".

    and at the danger of repeating myself, i'll close with leeno's (paraphrased) words:

    so many islams ...



    ps: dear f, you don't know what the "*" stands for ... so be careful with what you're decorating yourself.
  23. Blogger SaudiEve posted at 2:24 AM, December 22, 2005  
    Once again, I go to work for a couple of days like any respectable adult and I miss the most interesting debate on my own blog… damn work! I’ve always thought it was a total waste of time (good blogging time!)

    Anyway, my fellow bloggers, be my guests, mi casa su casa.

    i'll be back to re-read and reply to what i wanna reply to ;-)
  24. Blogger raf* posted at 3:11 AM, December 22, 2005  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  25. Blogger Farooha posted at 3:27 PM, December 22, 2005  
    Also, and forgive me dearest Eve, this is, however, all in the name of a good debate! Raf*, you say that Wahabism IS a form of political Islam. And as I've ever so kindly stated above, yes, it is. Were it not for the infamous pact, the house of Saud wouldn't be in power as we speak. But the very fact that it is the ruler, the establishment, that presided over this version of Islam's preachings and teachings. The very fact that both Ibn Saud and Ibn Abdul Wahhab's agendas are interdependent also tells you alot. It is, in other words, a means of domesticizing the otherwise stubborn and deceptive Arabian/bedouin man...of taming him, with force of religion, and a modern day Arabized feudal system. God first, the prophet second and then there was the Imam (ah, yes, the Sauds). It began with a political bang, I concede. Abdul Aziz was fortunate to have had the aid of the ever so fervent Ikhwan (note: not to be confused with the Ikhwanites who are the topic of this discussion) The Ikhwan was a nomadic brotherhood movement spurred by religious enthusiasim and formed by devout bedouins rallying for Azooz's cause; who btw had suited his needs PERFECTLY. What had begun as a bunch of zealous holy ones fighting for a cause, quickly transformed into an army of 60,000 religiously oriented men. Out they went, fighting under his banners and that of Islam's and indeed out they went catering to his needs and conquering his lands for him in the name of Islam. The minute, however, the man with a vision (aka. Azoozi) had indeed gotten what he needed out of them, he dropped them and their ideology like a hot potato. This did not settle easy with the Ikhwan (again not to be confused with the Egyptian religious movement). Also, as soon as they had seen that Azoozi was OK with the imperial Britons, and that he did not want to fight them for the rest of the Gulfian states, it meant WAR. They conducted a revolt. Alas, azoozi had the powerful brits on his side. He managed. He lived. He became king. THAT right there, was the LAST ANYBODY ever heard of fighting for Islam IN A LONG, LONG time. At the risk of being repetitive, Wahabism was a means of domesticizing the otherwise too zealous to handle Arab man, nothing more.

    In my humble opinion, all Ibn Wahab did was take the people's energy and direct it to Allah. Whereas it was once to false objects of worship before. A Najdii (or Hijazi) woman would pray to a palm tree for good luck for example, but ,come Ibn Wahab, that palm tree became Allah... little else. I do not say this in the defense of Ibn Abdul Wahhab, rather in my desperate attempt to not give Ibn Abdul Wahab more credit than he deserves. He did nothing but minimize Islam to prayers, loyalty to the Imam, and living a life of non-musical piety. To Ibn Abdul Wahab and his followers, life was a big ol' mosque. All you gotta do is harass every uncovered woman about the way she's dressed, refrain from music, and pray, pray, PRAY your way into heaven. Oh yes, and if discussion is a must, let us discuss the matter of women's eyebrows and al mas7 3la al 5afain. Whereas Islam is in theory a whole way of life.. Given that most pages of Qura'an were devoted to everyday matters and NOT only prayers, Ibn Abdul Wahab's message may not have been as pure as they've made it to be.

    Let's see where am I getting at with this.. ah yes. When the Ikhwanites of Egypt fled to Saudi. That was when FIGHTING for Islam was introduced. When terms like "secular" and "heretic" came about. Before that the average Saudi man's only concern was ALS3OODYAH T3EESH LIL3ROOBAH..ISRAEL TATHHAB ELA AL JA7EEM..AND "GO GO GO ABDUL NASSIR!" Not for long though.

    I just spoke with my father who witnessed the phenomenon as a youngon. He says that its influence began with those born in the 50's. Anyone born before that, was not affected, despite the fact that wahabism was around at the time. So much that his own older brothers were not affected whatsoever. He says that even in small towns like Unaizah, new anti-nassirt books were being taught... things like "Al 3ilmanyoon al 3arab" etc.

    Ah yes, and for those who may ask. "well if Wahabism isn't so bad, if all it is is further means of Al-Saud dictatorship, then why did they welcome the ikhwanites to begin with?"
    Because Saudi Arabia was just as Anti-Nassirt, Anti-Baathist as America was. And after all, Saudi Arabia is America's biggest ally in the middle east.Damn them zionists. Oh yeah, and Damn all this politics mumbo jumbo too.

    Anyhow,that was when Wahabism went wrong. Just as it did once again in the Afgani war. Ibn Wahab himself however, doesnt deserve ANY of the credit he's getting nowadays. (credit, condemnation, call it what you will!)

    Oh yes, and Intellectual Primate. I still persist to disagree with the suggested division of the current "Saudi Arabia". I believe the ONE good thing that came from all this Saudi-Wahabi hoopla is the unification of the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. I believe it rather hard, if not impossible to be able to conduct an official division now. Not when the people's perception is that they are one. Becuase, let's face it,besides an elite few, it doesn't occur to most that it could EVER be any other way. And that, my friend, is the ONE good thing we got from the Sauds. Please, do not deprive us of that.
  26. Blogger Abu Sinan posted at 7:15 PM, December 22, 2005  
    The term "Wahabism" is a Western one. All "Wahabism" is a very conservative form of "Salafee".

    The idea that Wahab had was a good one, get back to the original spirit of the Prophet, remove Bida, and the like. The problem is that Saudi cultural practices were put into play by his followers, ensuring a new type of Bida to enter the deen.

    The followers of Wahab have done what they were trying to erase! They removed some bida and added some of their own.
  27. Blogger Saudi Future posted at 1:59 PM, December 23, 2005  
    We should blame the Muttawas they are the reason of all of this, they dont allow us to enter malls, they don't allow us to walk in the streets in peace. blame the muttawas they are the ones who support 'wahhabism'. They think they are gods religion police, allah doesn't need them to 'protect' his religion, learn not to butt into stuff.
  28. Anonymous Fared Mohammed posted at 5:22 PM, October 17, 2006  
    IKhwanweb is the Muslim Brotherhood's only official English web site. The Main office is located in London, although Ikhwanweb has correspondents in most countries. Our staff is exclusively made of volunteers and stretched over the five continents.
    The Muslim Brotherhood opinions and views can be found under the sections of MB statements and MB opinions, in addition to the Editorial Message.
    Items posted under "other views" are usually different from these of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    Ikhwanweb does not censor any articles or comments but has the right only to remove any inappropriate words that defy public taste
    Ikhwanweb is not a news website, although we report news that matter to the Muslim Brotherhood's cause. Our main misson is to present the Muslim Brotherhood vision right from the source and rebut misonceptions about the movement in western societies. We value debate on the issues and we welcome constructive criticism.

    Dr. Mohamed El-Sayed Habib, First Deputy of the Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, affirmed that the artificial uproar over the feared establishment of a so-called religious state and the related allegations concerning a resulting threat to Copts' rights and to arts and creativity, following the big Brotherhood electoral victory in the latest legislative elections in Egypt, is no more than an artificial, unfounded controversy.
    He talked about the Brotherhood's vision of the political and economic reform, how to bring about development in its broadest sense, the Brotherhood's relations with the U.S. administration and other topics that we discussed with him in this interview.

    Q: The latest period has witnessed a clear ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood on the political scene as a result of which it garnered 88 seats in the People's Assembly -Egypt's parliament. What are the issues that the Brotherhood will be interested in raising in the People's Assembly?
    A: I would like first to confirm that the presence in the People's Assembly of 88 Muslim Brothers will not substantially affect the form or composition of the assembly where the ruling party enjoys, in its own words, a more than comfortable majority. The difference there is that the debate will be serious, the discussions will be fruitful and constructive and the oversight and law-making roles will be more distinguished. This could have a favorable effect on the decisions of the People's Assembly, enhancing its effectiveness and restoring citizens' confidence in it.
    Regarding the main issues that preoccupy the Brotherhood deputies, they revolve around three major questions:
    First, the question of political reform and constitutional amendment, bearing in mind that it represents the true and natural point of departure for all other kinds of reforms;
    Second, the question of education, scientific research and native development of technology since this constitutes the mainstay of resurgence and the basis for progress and advance.
    Third, the question of comprehensive development in all its dimensions: human, economic, social, cultural, etc.
    In this regard, we cannot fail to emphasize the societal problems from which the Egyptian citizenry suffers, i.e. unemployment, inflation and increasing prices, housing crisis, health problems, environmental pollution, etc.
    Q: There are some people who accuse Muslim Brothers of being against arts and creativity and are concerned that your deputies in parliament will take an attitude against everything implying culture and creativity. What do you think?

    A: In principle, we are not against culture, arts and creativity. On the contrary, Islam strongly encourages refining the public taste and confirms the need to shape one's mind, heart and conscience in such a way as to bring forth man's potentialities and prompt him to invent and innovate in all fields of life. There is no doubt that the atmosphere of freedom is conducive to a creative culture and creative arts, particularly if the latter express the daily concerns of the citizen and the challenges he faces and if they reflect the values of society and the public morality observed by people of good nature and sound minds.
    On the other hand, the atmosphere of dictatorship and despotism produces a kind of culture and art that is more inclined towards abject trivialities, indecencies, depreciation of people's minds and deepening their ignorance. A nation that is capable of innovation and creativity is necessarily capable of bringing about resurgence, advance and progress. Some people consider that creativity is born from the womb of suffering. Every society has peculiar cultural identity and has its values, traditions and customs. I think it is the right of the people's deputies, or rather their duty, to maintain that peculiarity and to play their role in bringing to accountability those bodies or institutions that promote pornography, homosexuality or moral perversion under the guise of creativity. It is essential to subject those so-called creative works to examination and review by specialized and expert people in various fields. Ultimately, it is the judiciary that has the final say as to whether or not those works should be allowed.

    Q: Do you have an integral program for the uplifting of the political and economic situation of Egypt?

    A: We believe that the political reform is the true and natural gateway for all other kinds of reform. We have announced our acceptance of democracy that acknowledges political pluralism, the peaceful rotation of power and the fact that the nation is the source of all powers. As we see it, political reform includes the termination of the state of emergency, restoring public freedoms, including the right to establish political parties, whatever their tendencies may be, and the freedom of the press, freedom of criticism and thought, freedom of peaceful demonstrations, freedom of assembly, etc. It also includes the dismantling of all exceptional courts and the annulment of all exceptional laws, establishing the independence of the judiciary, enabling the judiciary to fully and truly supervise general elections so as to ensure that they authentically express people's will, removing all obstacles that restrict the functioning of civil society organizations, etc.
    We cannot forget in this regard the need to make constitutional amendments, including modifying the text of article 76 of the Constitution with a view to ensuring equal opportunities and free and true competition among all citizens, through the annulment of all impossible conditions that were arbitrarily inserted in the latest amendment of that article - conditions which have emptied that amendment from its substance. The reform should also include changing the wording of article 77 of the Constitution so as to limit the tenure of the presidency to just one four-year term, extendable only by one more term; changing the articles which grant the president of the republic absolute and unlimited powers and establishing his accountability before the legislative council in view of the fact that he heads the executive branch of government.
    As to our program for reviving the economy, it comprises several basic mainstays:

    1. Reviewing the role of the public sector and the privatization process;
    2. Providing social welfare through the subsidies scheme and the restoration of the institution of Zakat (poor dues in Islam);
    3. Reforming the State's public finance (public expenditures, fiscal policy, public borrowing, deficit financing);
    4. Correcting the monetary policy track;
    5. Balanced opening up to the world economy (liberalization of foreign trade, promoting exports and foreign investments);
    7. Intensifying popular participation, through providing support to local councils and reinstating the rights of Islamic Wakfs (religious endowments);
    8. Seeking urgent solutions to the unemployment problem till grow becomes self-propelled;
    9. Supporting the private sector as a spearhead for the realization of development objectives;
    10. Confronting corruption decisively; and
    11. Catching up with scientific and technological progress.

    Q: The political reform program put forth by Muslim Brothers does not differ from those of other political parties, what is then the advantage of your program?

    A: Muslim Brotherhood shares most elements of political reform with other political and national forces. This is due to the joint efforts that political parties and forces have deployed during the past decades, which had culminated in the adoption in 1997 of a common document for political reform called "Political Reform and Democracy".
    Certainly, there are differences among political formations as to the priority to be assigned to those elements, as well as the mechanisms to be employed. There is also a semi-agreement among all political forces on the need to introduce some constitutional amendments- as was mentioned earlier- although some secularists want to change the Constitution in a comprehensive and drastic way, including article 2 of the current Constitution which states that Islam is the official religion of the State and that the principles of Islamic sharia (law) are the main source of legislation. Such a change would be in complete conflict with the desire of the entire people, who are characterized by their strong religious attachment and their willingness to be governed by the provisions of Islam. We must not, however, forget the belief and morality dimension which the Muslim Brotherhood insists on observing in their practice of politics as well as its compliance with Islamic legal rules and precepts such as the discipline of jurisprudence dealing with priorities and balances, etc.

    Q: Some segments of the elite in
    Egypt and abroad are worried that the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to establish a theocracy. How would you react to that?

    A:This concern stems from a wrong understanding of the nature of Islam. To those who speak about a religious state, in the same ecclesiastical meaning given to it in Europe in the middle ages, when the church had hegemony over a State's authorities, we wish to say that the issue here is completely different.
    The Muslim Brotherhood has gone through the latest legislative elections on the basis of a clear-cut program under the slogan "Islam is the Solution", given the fact that Islam, as Imam el-Banna said, is a comprehensive program that encompasses all aspects of life: it is a state and a country, a government and people, ethics and power, mercy and justice, culture and law, science and justice, resources and wealth, defense and advocacy, an army and an idea, a true belief and correct acts of worship (Imam el-Banna's Teachings Message). In fact, this conforms fully to the Constitution which states, in its second article, that the State's religion is Islam and that principles of Islamic sharia (law) are the main source of legislation. We say that the State that we want is a civic state, i.e. a state of institutions, based on the principles of constitutional government.
    Imam el-Banna states: "the principles of constitutional government consist of: maintaining all kinds of personal freedom, consultation and deriving authority from the people, responsibility of the government before the people and its accountability for its actions, and the clear demarcation of power of each branch of government. When a scholar considers those principles, he would clearly find out that they are all in full agreement with the teachings, disciplines and norms of Islam concerning the system of government. Consequently, Muslim Brothers think that the constitutional system of government is the closest system of government in the world to Islam. They prefer it to any other system of government." (Message to the 5th Conference).

    Q: Although the Brotherhood refuses to submit an application for the establishment of a political party under the pretext that the Political Party Committee is unconstitutional, some people submitted similar applications which were approved, what do you think about that?

    A: Along with other political and national forces, we seek to amend or change the Political Parties Law. Consequently, the so-called Political Party Committee is unconstitutional and acts as both adversary and judge. It creates more problems than it solves and interferes in the internal affairs of parties in such a way as to paralyze their movement and curb their effectiveness. This is one of the reasons why those parties are weak and fragile. Furthermore, we don't want to set up a political party to face the same destiny as existing parties. The problem lies in the general political atmosphere and unless that atmosphere is changed things will remain what they are now. Briefly, we want the party to be established when people want to have it established, just through notification.

    Q: Your discourse sometimes mixes between religion and politics which means that you are neither purely religious people nor purely professional politicians. What is the nature of that dichotomy?

    A:Politics is part of religion. I remember in this regard Imam al-Banna's statement that "If Islam is something different than politics, sociology, economics and culture, what is it then?" He also says "A Muslim is not fully Muslim unless he engages in politics, thinks over the state of affairs of his Umma and concerns himself with it."

    Q: Some Copts in Egypt were so alarmed by the recent rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that some of them declared that they would leave Egypt as a result! What is the nature of the Brotherhood's relations with Copts?

    A: We consider our Coptic brothers as citizens enjoying all rights associated with citizenship and as part of the fabric of the Egyptian society. We consider them as partners in the country, in decision-making and in determining our future. Consequently, the basis for filling public posts shall be efficiency, ability and experience, not religion or beliefs.
    On that basis, we see no justification or logic for the concern of some Copts over the rise of Muslim Brothers. But this is due to the bad political atmosphere in which the Egyptian people live and which has led to a general state of apprehension and tension. It has been aggravated by the self-imposed isolation of our Coptic brothers and their failure to integrate in public life.
    From our side, we are conducting dialogues with them and are trying to take them out of their isolation, by encouraging some individuals among them to take part in the activities of syndicates, conferences and symposiums dealing with public affairs. In addition, we support some of them in legislative and syndicate elections.
    Q: From time to time, the question of your relations with the U.S. surfaces. Do you have any relation with them? Have you contacted them through direct or indirect channels?

    A:There is no relation whatsoever between us the U.S. There is no contact of any kind with them. We have repeated that several times before. We are not a state within a state and we are very much interested in reinforcing the independence and prestige of our State and in respecting its institutions. We cannot permit anyone to compromise that prestige nor can we allow ourselves to be a reason for that. If the U.S. administration wants to enter into a dialogue with us, they first would have to get the approval of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. And then what are we going to discuss with them?

    Q: Your attitude with regard to Jews is not clear: at times you declare that you are not going to cancel treaties concluded with them if you take power, and at times you say that the holocaust is a myth, what is exactly your attitude?

    A: The Zionist entity (Israel) has usurped the land of Palestine, the land of Arabs and Muslims. No proud people can accept to stay put when their land is occupied and their sacred places are assaulted. Resisting occupation is required by Islam and sanctioned by international law, agreements and customs. As to the Camp David Accord and the peace treaty that were concluded by Egypt with the Zionist entity (Israel) in the late 1970s, they are presumed to be thoroughly reviewed periodically by international lawyers, strategists and national security experts, taking into account the local, regional and international dimensions of the question. The outcome of their review should be submitted to the democratic institutions of the Sate for decision.
    As to the reported statement describing the holocaust as a myth, it was not intended as a denial of the event but only a rejection of exaggerations put forward by Jews. This does not mean that we are not against the holocaust. Anyway, that event should not have led to the loss of the rights of the Palestinian people, the occupation of their land and the violation and assault of their sacred places and sanctities.

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