Saturday, May 13, 2006

Reform talk from the MB

I was surprised to see the headlines of this article and went on to read what it is about. It reports a talk given by a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood where he criticizes Wahhabi Islam, describing it as extremist, hypocritical and alien to Egyptian Islam...which is very welcome to hear from the MB. He speaks good words from the onset but as you continue to read on you will see many contradictions that only underline his own denial that the MB speaks with two tongues, a charge widely speculated by its critics.

Here are some interesting quotes...

On music:

وفاجأ أبوالفتوح الحضور بقوله: «من قال إن الموسيقي حرام، فالموسيقي من المباحات، واللي عايز يسمع مزيكا يسمع كما يشاء

"Music is not forbidden, music is allowed, and whoever wants to listen to music can hear what he wants". Sounds good, right? But let him finish the sentence...

ولكنها مثل أي مباحات، حرامها حرام، وحلالها حلال، باستثناء إذا كنت متخصصا كموسيقار أو خلافه،

"...but it is like all that which is allowed; its forbidden is forbidden and its allowed is allowed. Unless you are specialized as a musician or otherwise".

So there goes music. Bye bye, Rouby wa akhawatiha. I feel sorry for their fans among the men and women of course...a little more frustration to these poor souls can't hurt, can it?

On women's rights:

فالمرأة من حقها أن تشارك وهو ما أكدنا عليه في برنامجنا فلا يجوز وضع حدود للمرأة، فمن حقها الخروج للمجتمع كإنسان ومواطن

After saying that the woman has a right to be a judge and politician and so forth he says: "she has a right to participate as we said in our program. No limits should be put on women, she has a right to go out to society as a human and as a citizen..."

وليس كأنثي،

"...but not as a female."

Brilliant. I wonder how easy and natural it would be to ask men to suppress their masculinity? To go out in the streets...but not as men.

On freedom of expression:

إن الإخوان ليسوا ضد الإبداع وهو ما بدا في زيارتي لنجيب محفوظ، ونري أن مواجهة الإبداع تكون بإبداع آخر،

"The brothers are not against freedom of speech...and we see that ideas should be confronted with other ideas..."

ولكن هذا لا ينفي أننا نرفض حرية التعبير المطلقة كما حدث في الرسوم الدنماركية

"...but this does not deny that we are against total freedom of expression as what happened in Danish cartoons."

The Danish cartoon is a very bad example of pointless and bigoted offense...a perfect reason why the publicity seeking editor of this paper shouldn't be let off the hook so easily in moral terms, but this is another matter. The point here is that they are "against total freedom of expression".

Nevertheless he goes on to explain that they will tackle these issues through the judiciary only.

But what kind judiciary is he speaking of? We will see...

On the Had el ridda (the punishment of those who revoke Islam as a religion) :

ونفي أن يكون لدي الإخوان النية لإقامة حد الردة في المجتمع، وقال: هذا المفهوم غير صحيح

He denies the death sentence against those who convert from Islam...

فالمقصود بالمرتد هو الشخص الذي ينقلب علي النظام العام وليس المرتد عقائديا

...but explains that this is the punishment of those who attempt to overthrow the general peace, or in other words the system of government.

Doesn't this mean chopping the head off anyone who attempts to change the Islamic basis of the Egyptian system of government...In other words, the future Brotherhood-created system of government?

On Had al sirqa (the punishment for theft):

وعن نظام العقوبات لدي الإخوان قال: العقوبات تعبير عن حالة اجتماعية فلا محل ولا مجال لنقض العقوبات المطبقة علي المسلمين فهذه مسألة نعتز بها ونقدرها ولكن لا يمكن تطبيق مثل هذه العقوبات كحد السرقة والقتل دون إرادة من الشعب.

He explains that these Islamic punishments can't be applied unless asked for by the people. But let the man finish his sentence!...

وأضاف: «اللي مش عايز تتقطع إيده ما يسرقش»

"...He who doesn't want his hand cut off shouldn't steal." (!!!!:-D)

On empire (or so I interpret their idea of Islamic unity):

وحول فكرة الخلافة قال: الخلافة تعبير عن وحدة إسلامية ونحن أولي كعرب ومسلمين أن نتوحد سياسيا أو اقتصاديا فالخليفة هو الرئيس
الأعلي للدولة الإسلامية كما في الولايات المتحدة.

"...the Caliphe is the higher leader of the Islamic nation..."

Why do I feel that this higher person translates as the leader of the Brotherhood?


وأشار إلي أن الإخوان يقبلون بالديمقراطية التعددية وقال: من حق أي مجموعة من المواطنين أن ينشئوا حزبا وسنواجه من يختلفون منا بالفكر والرأي، فالإخوان ليس لديهم خطابان كما يشاع فضلا عن أنهم تنظيم بشري لديه مزايا وعيوب.

The article ends with the comforting words that the Brotherhood is an earthly organization with pros and cons, and one which doesn't speak with two tongues.

Which of course would categorize the contradictions I just underlined in this post as figments of my malicious imagination. This offense probably has its own punishment I suppose.

Do you think we have sufficiently conversed with the MB?

Keep your eyes on the ball, people...Keep your eyes on the ball.


Egyptian Bet said...

Don't ever ever believe them, behind every word there are signals of other meanings for the same line, it can always be interpreted both ways, remember, Mahdy Akef told the journalist Mona el Tahawy that she was naked because she wasn't covering her hair.

Seneferu said...

Yes it's funny how each of their statements has a counter statement in the latter half of the statement.