Recent claims of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders Maḥmūd ‘Izat and Sa’d al-Husīnī, to turn Egypt into a purely Islamic state, frightened liberals and Copts alike. The article at hand discusses to which extent such fears are legitimized. After all, MB senior officials like Mohamed al-Biltāgī emphasize the MB’s democratic and peaceful character. In an attempt to analyze the credibility of such pro-democratic statements, journalist ‘Alā Qudūs takes a look outside of Egypt and reports on views and opinions of US professors and researchers.
A meeting sponsored by the Anna Lindh foundation and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was just held on 6 April 2011 at the headquarters of the Arab League. It is part of a forum seeking to explore how Arab-West relations could be built differently in the next decade, taking into account the transformations in the region.
The forum brings together around 150 opinion leaders, journalists and civil society representatives. 6 April's meeting featured speeches by such high profile people as 'Amr Mūsá.
Kamāl al-Hilbāwī, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, urged Egyptian Islamists to join hands and adopt moderate Islam in order to shape a bright future for their country.
Hilbāwī said salafists should never insult other factions and the Brotherhood should not deny other Egyptians their right to express their opinions.
The secularists, Hilbāwī added, should also stop criticizing Islamists.
Meanwhile, al-Jamā'ah al-Islāmīyah also said it would join demonstrations (against the country's provisional military leadership) Friday, April 8 – a step that could reinvigorate a revolutionary movement damped since protests ousted President Hosnī Mubārak.
Business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, a Coptic Christian, said yesterday he would accept a Muslim president for Egypt, on the condition that he would be committed to “values of justice, and equality between a Muslim and a Christian, and between a man and a woman”. He added that he rejected a Christian president for the 'sensitivities' this would raise in the predominantly Muslim country.
Muftī of the Republic Sheikh ‘Alī Jum’ah contributed an article to The New York Times on April 3 in which he commented on the political situation in post-revolution Egypt. Jum’ah highlighted the role of religion in political life.
According to Jum’ah, Egypt's religious tradition is anchored in a moderate, tolerant view of Islam. It is inevitable that Islam will have a place in the Egyptian democratic political order. This should not be a cause of alarm.
The salafīs do not seem ready to tolerate anyone who might question their ideas. They seem to be determined to take the law into their own hands to compel moderate Muslims and non-Muslims to feign appreciation for their dogmatic ideas.
7. Egypt's convicts in Israel seek Islamists' help
Date of source:
April 3, 2011
Egyptian political prisoners in Israeli jails have contacted the Muslim Brotherhood at home, asking for their help to have them released.
In a message that found its way to the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees' Affairs and was published by the Ma'an news agency Saturday, the Egyptian prisoners said that successive governments at home had neglected their cause and never sought their release.
They urged the Muslim Brotherhood to intervene with the authorities in Egypt, in order to secure their freedom.
In the wake of the Egyptian revolution, calls have been made to enable Al-Azhar scholars to select the Grand Sheikh of the institution. Ahmed el-Tayyeb, the incumbent Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, has some reservations. They include violations that marred recent legislative polls and the existence of a political Islam. However, scholars believe it is impossible to achieve financial independence from the State, given Al-Azhar's current low financial resources. They say that separation from the State can backfire.