19. Dr. Essam Al-Erian: No renewal of the religious discourse before agreeing on Islam as a predominant, authoritative source for the state and the government

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Dr. Essam Al-Erian, prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, comments on the issues of renewing the religious discourse, Shiite Islam, the possibility of having Islam as the final authority for the government, Islamic ruling and democracy in an Islamic state.

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*Unfortunately, the cultured elite is alien in its own homelands, as some are inclined towards to the Communist camp and others toward the American camp.

*Intellectuals who turn away from the Islamic cultural approach became parasitic and more like an appendix [not needed].

*The problem is that the call for renewing religious discourse became associated with American pressures and the growing Western fear of the Islamic danger.

*Religion should be the basis of progress and a motivation to development and a catalyst for resisting the slavery America seeks to impose on the world.

The call for renewing religious thought raises a number of complicated political problems, especially when discussing them with those who raise slogans of political Islam and demand the establishment of religion as the only authoritative source for the political regime. This raises many questions about the attitude adopted by movements of political Islam concerning the principle of democracy, and their view of other political parties that admit other authoritative sources, which differ from and contradict religion [Islam] as a politically authoritative source.

Some of these questions are about the future of religious minorities in situations when a certain religion as is adopted as an authoritative source. Yet the numerous views [perceptions] of religion adopted by various movement of political Islam make us wonder about which Islam is to be taken as an authoritative source for a political regime.

In this context, how will the political regime in Iran, which is based on the Shiite school, be viewed by Sunni Muslims who have a totally different perception of Islam? Will Sunni Muslims regard Iran as a Muslim state?

Al-Qahera directed these questions to Dr. Essam Al-Erian, a prominent leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood who takes part in setting out the group’s programs and debating its ideologies

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