Shaykh Usamah Hafiz, IG mufti and member of the IG Shura Council, says about the source of IG finance at the current stage:
[Hafiz] There are no sources of finance; what comes with difficulties becomes stronger. This is because the aid can stop at any moment, and hence the work collapses; also what comes easily goes easily.
[Karum] But how can the IG announce projects that cost millions while it does not have even thousands?
[Hafiz] The projects we announced will not be implemented today or tomorrow. We have announced them, but we will implement them when we can. This is because the IG General Assembly meets every year and adopts some principal decisions; then during the year we do our utmost to implement them as much as we can, but it is not mandatory to achieve them.
[Karum] Most of the sons of the IG are poor, and they include a high percentage of illness. What is more worthy, to improve their financial situation, or to pursue the establishment of such projects?
[Hafiz] Most of the sons of the IG are high-class people, their financial conditions are good, and they include a high percentage of employees. I think that the IG includes people who have high financial capabilities, as well as some who need help. The same as we work in the political and Islamic call fields, we also work in the social field. The IG has decided to establish private societies through which we practice social work, whether with the IG members or others.
[Karum] Have you actually established these societies?
[Hafiz] Yes, we have established the Islamic Society for Building and Development in Al-Minya Governorate, the brethren in Suhaj have established a charity society, and we commissioned the IG members to submit the documents for establishing societies to practice social work through them.
Dr Kamal Habib, expert in Islamic groups' affairs, says about the IG attempt to establish a satellite channel and a newspaper that the resources of the IG do not qualify it to undertake such huge work, because the satellite channel needs media cadres, and the IG lacks such cadres.
With regard to the statement by Shaykh Asim Abd-al-Majid that some businessmen are thinking of investing their money in a satellite channel for the IG, Dr Habib says:
[Habib] If an investor wants to invest his money, he will never go to the IG, but he will establish a commercial project. The channel is not supposed to be established as a commercial project, because the aim of the media ought to be serving the IG ideas in a way suitable to the culture of the society, increasing the awareness of the society, and presenting a responsible and respectable media message that is not aimed basically at making profits. If these investors consider this project to be a commercial one that brings them profits, then we ought to put a hundred question marks over their intentions, as this is a contradiction. If the investor is looking for financial profit, then the IG is not the suitable side for this, and hence such investors must have other aims than profit. I consider that the media issue is greater than the abilities of the IG at the moment, and we should not be in a hurry about it, especially as the IG established contact and media coverage of its work through its dealings with the normal media. The Muslim Brotherhood has established a channel, but it seems that it has not succeeded, or at least there are huge question marks over it.
[Karum] If they succeed in establishing the channel, what are the sources of finance on which they will rely?
[Habib] I do not know, and it will be a mysterious issue. So far, I do not know how the IG finances its work, and from where it brings funds. This is a sensitive issue, which I do not wish to discuss. However, if there really are businessmen who will finance it, then the one who pays the money is the one who will direct the IG to wherever he wants.
[Description of Source: London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic -- Website of London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with strong anti-US bias. URL: http://www.alquds.co.uk/]
Egypt: Islamists Downplay Their Chances of Winning Parliamentary Elections
GMP20110814001003 London Ilaf.com in Arabic 14 Aug 11
[Report by Ahmad Hasan, from Cairo: "Will Egypt's Islamists Ascend to Power After Their Show of Strength in Al-Tahrir Square"]
The Islamist tendency has shown a great mobilization and organization ability on Friday 29 July, which is called the million-man "unity of ranks" or "Shari'ah first" rally. This presents an important question about the continuation of this ability, its impact at the poll box of the upcoming parliamentary elections, and the possibility of the Islamist tendencies, especially the Salafis, controlling the parliamentary seats in a way that makes the Islamist tendency control the Egyptian policy at home and abroad, and hence ascend to power.
Politics experts, and even the leaders of the Islamist tendency themselves stress that what happened in Al-Tahrir Square is not an indicator of the ability of the Islamists to win parliamentary seats. They point out that they will not get any of the parliamentary seats, because there are other criteria for the elections, which they have not experienced before.
Dr Najih Ibrahim, member of the Shura Council of the Islamic Group [IG], says to Ilaf that this is the first elections' experience for Islamic groups such as the Salafis, the Sufis, the Jihadis, and the IG, apart from the Muslim Brotherhood that has experience and good organization. Dr Ibrahim points out that the gathering in the million-man rally in Al-Tahrir Square is very easy, because we invite the people to one thing. On the other hand, the elections require tactics, and it is possible that the candidate is a well-known and liked Islamist, but he does not master the tactics, and hence he will lose to a candidate that might be much less worthy than him.
Moreover, the elections need a great deal of money, and the Islamic and Salafi movement is poor. Ibrahim adds that the elections are controlled by influence, tribalism, and clannish attitude, especially in the coastal, border, and Upper Egypt governorates. Ibrahim points out that some of the Islamists are from families that have never gone through all these experiences. Ibrahim expects that all these factors are the direct and influential reason for the Islamist tendency to lose control of the poll boxes of the upcoming elections.
Najih considers that the control of the Islamists over the Parliament will not be comparable to the gathering in Al-Tahrir Square; however, the aspiration will continue to exist, and the Islamists will continue to pursue winning a large number of parliamentary seats.
Ibrahim considers that the Muslim Brotherhood is the only power in the Islamist tendency that is capable of winning the highest number of seats, because it is capable of facing up to the aforementioned factors with what it has of base and organization, whether in manpower or money.
Muhsin Radi, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, expressed his belief to Ilaf that the reality indicates that there is solid ground for the Islamic tendency in the street, as it has become a strong participant in the political decision making. Moreover, the Islamist tendency enjoys people's confidence, and hence its call for the million-man rally on 29 July succeeded, and the excellent success in organization and mobilization has been clear to all, especially the liberals. However, this is not a measure of its mobilization ability at the upcoming parliamentary elections, because what happened in Al-Tahrir Square is completely different from what will happen at the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Radi points out that there are several factors that control the elections, including the popular presence of the Islamist candidate, and the extent of his ability to convince the voters of his electoral program and his reasons for becoming a candidate. The success of the Islamist candidate is not linked to the number of Islamists in the constituency. Add to these factors the financing of the election campaign. Radi considers that all these factors will not be a reason for the Islamist tendency not to win a good proportion of the seats of the next parliament; however, this road will not be paved with rose petals a s much of the public opinion thinks on the basis of their gathering in the million-man "Shari'ah first" rally.
Radi stresses that the Muslim Brotherhood is the group that is most capable of confronting and preparing for the problems of the elections, because of its wide experience all along the previous elections. Muhsin Radi considers that through the Muslim Brotherhood abilities, and the desire of the street, it would have been possible for the Muslim Brotherhood to win the majority of seats of parliament at the previous elections had they been conducted impartially by the previous regime. Radi points out that the Muslim Brotherhood will not compete over all the seats of the upcoming parliament; he says that aspiring for government and power at the moment is not at all in the plans of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Dr Hasan Nafi'ah, professor of political science at Cairo University, says to Ilaf that the Islamist tendency will face strong competition from the independent and liberal parties and tendencies that have weight in the constituencies. Moreover, there is competition among the Islamists themselves in the same constituency, which will fragment the votes and scatter the Islamists into supporting more than one candidate, contrary to the unity of ranks that appeared in Al-Tahrir Square.
Nafi'ah points out that the parliamentary elections are controlled by political interests and ambitions; even now there are differences among the Islamist tendencies, which appear in the multiplicity of the Salafi and Sufi parties and within the Islamic groups. Nafi'ah says that the parliamentary elections will expose the disputes among the Islamists, and will show that they lack organization, contrary to what the public opinion expects; therefore, the parliamentary seats they will win will not be at the proportion many expect.
Nafi'ah attributes the Islamist tendency's winning of seats in parliament and the syndicates' elections in the past to the voter's hatred of the members of the National Democratic Party, and the lack of alternative competitors, and hence the voter resorted to the Islamist candidate.
Nafi'ah stresses that the Muslim Brotherhood Group is the only power in the Islamic tendency that is capable of winning seats in parliament, but this will depend on the continuation of the street's confidence in the group after the revolution, as the rules of the election game have changed completely after this revolution, and there are new developments on the basis of which the voter will decide; one of the most important new developments is that the elections will be conducted in a democratic way.
[Description of Source: London Ilaf.com in Arabic -- Saudi-owned, independent Internet daily with pan-Arab, liberal line. URL: http://www.elaph.com/]
Freed Egypt Islamist Abbud Al-Zumur Says He May Run in Presidential Elections
GMP20110314825003 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 14 Mar 11
[Report by Ahmad Rahim in Cairo: Abbud al-Zumur Is Considering Nominating Himself for Post of President and Wants to Form a Salifist Political Front. For assistance with multimedia elements, contact the OSC Customer Center at (800) 205-8615 or OSCinfo@rccb.osis.gov.]
Egyptian Islamist Abbud al-Zumur told Al-Hayah that he is studying the possibility of running in the next presidential elections, pointing out that he has not taken a decision on this issue yet and hinged his decision on "the health conditions," stressing that what has been reported about his decision not to nominate himself is "inaccurate." He also said: "We are discussing now my health condition and the issue of running in the presidential elections is being considered."
Al-Zumur, who was freed on Saturday after spending 30 years in prison in the case of assassinating former President Anawr al-Sadat, pointed out that "he seeks to convince all the Islamic forces to join the political field and urged various trends to take part in this field, particularly at this stage." He explained that he is planning "to form a broad front or coalition from various Islamic trends outside the Muslim Brotherhood, and we are waiting now for the decision of the Islamic Group, which intends to announce a political party."
He pointed out that he believes that this coalition should include the Salafist groups, Al-Jihad Group, and the Islamic Group in one partisan framework." He rejected the talk about the separation between religion and politics, assuring the Copts that "they are entitled to security under the Islamic Shari'ah rule," and said sectarianism "is one of the inventions of (former President Husni) Mubarak and his regime."
Meanwhile, Dr Tariq al-Zumur, who was freed along with his cousin Abbud two days ago, said that the front they seek to form "does not mean a conflict or discord with the Muslim Brotherhood, but the reason for this is that the Muslim Brotherhood is an organization that is intellectually, politically, and organizationally accomplished. Furthermore, the trends that will make up this coalition will be different, even partially, from the Muslim Brotherhood, and these trends are closer to form a unified coalition" He also told Al-Hayah: "This does not mean a clash with the Muslim Brotherhood. We will coordinate with them in their capacity as the ones who are more capable, the larger, and the more organized."
He accused Mubarak's regime of "seeking to fuel conflict between the state and the Islamic groups in the 1980's," stressing that "the Islamists have sought more than once to join the peaceful action, and the weapons will not be used inside again, and will be directed only against the nation's enemies abroad." He stressed that "the Islamic movements will not be excluded from the political action again, but the Islamic trends should work within the framework of the state and in accordance with its laws and rules."
He disclosed that Abbud al-Zumur "has been the first to launch an initiative to stop violence between the Islamists and the state in 1992, and then we have not called for more than the government's commitment to free the Islamist detainees. Mubarak reiterated his rejection of all the initiatives for halting violence because he was the beneficiary from the violence operations during the years of conflict with the Islamists."
He stressed that the regime had repeatedly asked them to pledge to support the government and not to practice any political or preaching activity in return for freeing them, which they rejected. On the assassination of late President Anwar al-Sadat, he briefly replied: "The assassination of Al-Sadat has taken place in certain circumstances and his behaviors led to this end. The Islamic movement had been a preaching one at that stage, but Al-Sadat closed all the ways in front of us."
[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]
Egyptian talk show discusses 'dangerous' use of religion in politics
GMP20110325950041 Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic 1730 GMT 23 Mar 11
The private Egyptian Al-Safwah TV's "On Air" on 23 March discussed the "danger" of using religion in politics.
This came after a call by a Salafist Shaykh, Muhammad Abd-al-Maqsud, for Muslim worshipers to vote in favour of the referendum on constitutional amendments. Abd-al-Maqsud even labeled the referendum as the "battle of boxes".
The programme discussed whether Abd-al-Maqsud's call will bring back to the scene rhetoric about sectarian sedition, especially as he said that Egypt is an "Islamic state" and whoever dislikes this should immigrate to USA or Canada.
Some 77 per cent of Egyptians voted in favour of the referendum, held on 19 March. Afterwards, some liberal politicians and revolutionaries attributed this result to the influence of Islamists in Egypt.
The guest of the show were Muhammad Abbas, the member of the 25 January youth coalition; Amr Hashim Rabi, a researcher at Al-Ahram centre for strategic and political students; Hilmi al-Jazar, member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Shura Council; and Hafiz Abu-Si'dah, the head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).
"Egypt is the country of all Egyptians and it should contain all shades of people, even the various shades of Islam," Al-Jazar said.
"The Salafists are not the only spokesperson of Muslims. They have emerged as a new phenomenon in the political scene. We should understand their rhetoric as a new phenomenon and rectify their mistake. They made a mistake [by this call]. Yes they [Salafists] did. There is no such thing as a battle of boxes. This is nor a fight or a struggle," he said.
"Egypt has embraced its entire people and even the people who came to it from abroad, the French, the British, and the Albanians. The Egyptians were influences by these people. Egypt is a melting pot for all and all sects will remain in Egypt," he said.
"This is a religious approach in the politics. Politics is relative and religion is absolute. According to religion, you have either vice or virtue. All Islamic groups exploited this referendum to launch a battle between the people of virtue against the people of vice," Abu-Si'dah said.
"The Muslim scholars said that who will say yes will be on the right of path. We have to hold dialogue so that this phenomenon does not occur again," he added.
"Everyone has to be free and we are against whoever excludes anybody," he said.
For his part, Abbas said that the position of Shaykh Abd-al-Maqsud is totally rejected.
Rabi said that Egyptians learnt that religion is about the relationship of a person with his creator. "But giving a religious colour to politics is a very dangerous approach. I am afraid that people will regret the old good days [during Mubarak's rule]," he also said. "The most dangerous thing is that religion, whether Islam or Christianity, makes people unequal. Liberals, leftists and politicians will become infidels as a result," he added.
Call to dismantling former ruling party
In another part of the show, Presenter Jamal Inayat interviewed Rana Faruq, the member of the executive office of the revolution's youth union, via telephone.
Faruq commented about a meeting between the union and the Supreme Council of the Armed Force (SCAF). She said that the union called for the establishment of a civil democratic state with political parties that have no religious orientation.
She also said that the union called on SCAF to dismantle the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and freeze its activity.
"The idea is acceptable by. This is the demand of most of the Egyptians. But the SCAF said that everyone is free to perform democracy in Egypt and there should be a legal approach to dismantle the party and not a decree so as not to violate democratic basis," she said.
[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]
MB faces internal divisions and isolation from opposition groups
GMP20110328966093 Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English 1627 GMT 28 Mar 11
[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]
PAGE: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/index.php?option=com_content&vi ew=article&id=128635&catid=1&Itemid=183
TITLE: MB faces internal divisions and isolation from opposition groups
AUTHOR: Heba Fahmy /Daily News Egypt
(DAILY NEWS EGYPT) -
CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) youth held a press conference Saturday to reevaluate the group’s role in Egypt’s transition to democracy and to discuss the establishment of the group’s political part in the conspicuous absence of Brotherhood leaders who didn’t attend and refused to sponsor the event.
The group's deputy leader, Rashad Al-Bayoumi, told Daily News Egypt that the Brotherhood didn’t endorse the press conference because the youth failed to follow procedures necessary before organizing a public conference.
MB spokesman and Essam El-Erian explained in a telephone interception with TV program “Sabah Dream” on Dream TV Saturday that the group didn’t approve of the timing of the conference or the people attending it and that it was merely a procedural issue, according to the group’s website.
El-Erian stressed that there were no rifts between the group’s leaders and its youth.
“The youth are an integral part of the group and we respect them and listen to their views,” Al-Bayoumi told DNE.
Al-Bayoumi added that the MB’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei met recently with more than 300 youth and discussed their views regarding this transitional period.
The youth said that the conference did not indicate divisions, but was a sign of freedom of public expression and exchanging views among the group.
The youth announced recommendations at the end of the conference that include allowing MB members to establish or join any political party as long as it doesn’t contradict principles of Islam and forming a youth division inside the MB to ensure youth participation in the group’s decision-making process.
The recommendations were presented to the group’s Guidance Office for review.
“We accept any suggestions from the youth or any other members, as long as they are in [the group’s] best interest,” Al-Bayoumi said.
Political party debate
Soon after a popular revolt that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, the MB, banned since 1954, announced plans to form a political party called the Freedom and Justice Party once laws restricting the formation of political parties were lifted.
Badei said in a statement issued March 15 that the Freedom and Justice Party would be the only political party representing the group.
“Members of the group aren’t allowed to form or join any other political party,” Badei had announced.
However, MB member and member of the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, Mohamed Abbas, disagreed, saying that having more than one political party representing the MB was “healthy” and “beneficial”.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is a broad school of ideas and ideologies, which can be expressed in different ways,” Abbas said. “Having more than one political party representing it, demonstrates freedom and diversity, not division.”
Media reports suggested that “the MB opposition front,” which had been publicly critical of the mainstream policies of the group, wwas planning to establish another splinter party representing the Brotherhood called the Renaissance Party.
“We haven’t officially announced anything yet, but we’re seriously considering the issue,” Khaled Dawoud, a leading member of the opposition front, told DNE.
Dawoud added that there were many indications that the Freedom and Justice Party would follow the MB’s decisions and views blindly.
“We believe that the political party should be independent of the group in order to best serve the people,” Dawoud added.
Researcher of Islamist movements at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic, Diaa Rashwan, said since the revolution had allowed the MB to operate openly without any oppression, divisions were expected to surface.
“The Brotherhood was never a united front and it’s expected that many Islamic movements and parties will be derived from it,” Rashwan told DNE.
The 2009 internal elections of the MB Guidance Office highlighted wide ideological divisions between the group’s younger and older generations, but the more conservative side dominated the polls.