Kamāl Zākhir Mūsá writes about the principle of citizenship and mechanisms to put it in place in light of the third Laymen’s conference a week ago, that hopefully would pave the way for better citizenship in the future.
Mūsá, who did not mention the title of the conference, praised the conference participants and described them as stars whose participations were vital, clear and objective. The participants included Shaykh Sālim ‘Abd al-Jalīl, undersecretary of the Ministry of Endowments’s Da‘’wá Affairs, who presented an enlightened Islamic vision of the concept of citizenship that combined the traditional and fiqh definitions as well as reality.
‘Abd al-Jalīl’s speech was greatly welcomed by the audience, who saw a new moderate tone beginning to spread in the Islamic institution as a whole.
Rif‘’at Fikrī, a participant, presented four main steps to get out of the sectarianism cul-de-sac: 1st, universal inevitable participation in public affairs, 2nd, a real equality on the basis of patriotism rather than any other affiliations, 3rd, establishing universal rights of citizenship in the economy and 4th, the removal of obstructions to political participation.
American University in Cairo’s Political Science Professor Sāmir Sulaymān touched upon the concept of syndicalistic, professional and public action and how the trio is expressing a certain social category’s common interests.
The attendance of rights activist ‘Azzah Sulaymān was the surprise of the conference. She talked about human rights organizations’ role in boosting citizenship and requested the people to quit considering citizenship from such a narrow religious angle and instead to tackle its bigger issues such as the underprivileged, sidelined categories and women.
She believes that citizenship does not merely mean a set of legal texts but a whole way of life, calling for the freedom of civil society organizations under Act 84 of 2002, which sponsor a more effective popular participation.