Disagreement with opposition
The MB also faces political isolation from other opposition groups, following the referendum on the constitutional amendments, where 77.2 percent of Egyptians voted yes.
Some opposition groups who voted “no” accused the Brotherhood of exploiting religion to sway people towards a yes vote.
The Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections, made up of 123 civil society organizations and rights groups, said in a statement following the referendum that Brotherhood members were seen trying to convince voters at polling stations to vote yes on the constitutional amendments.
Karima Al- Hifnawy, member of the National Association for Change and the Kefaya Opposition Movement, said she was against mixing religion with politics.
“The Brotherhood used people’s religious sentiments to convince them to say yes in the referendum,” Al-Hifnawy told DNE. “People are entitled to a free and fair voting process without any pressure or interference.”
Al-Hifnawy added that the MB depended on lies and misconceptions to get people to vote yes.
Al-Hifnawy said that the referendum proved that the MB served their own interests and not the people’s.
Mohamed Farag, secretary general of the leftist Tagammu Party, said he saw flyers claiming that “voting yes to the constitutional amendments is a religious obligation,” and “saying yes to the constitutional amendments is saying yes to Islam.”
“The Brotherhood and other Salafist groups are trying to send the message that they are the majority,” Farag told DNE. “They’re trying to divide the revolutionaries and sway the revolution towards Islam.”
Vice President of Al Wafd Party, Fouad El Badrawy, agreed that religion shouldn’t be used in politics but believed that the majority of yes votes were for stability, not to support the Brotherhood.
Political observers have repeatedly expressed fear that the MB would dominate the polls in upcoming parliamentary elections, as they are the most organized and prepared opposition group.
[Description of Source: Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English -- Independent, privately owned newspaper providing news and analysis, Egypt's only independent English-language daily. The paper is distributed in Egypt with the International Herald Tribune (IHT); URL: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/]
Salafi anti-democracy flyers handed out around Cairo
GMP20110329966078 Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English 1510 GMT 29 Mar 11
[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]
TITLE: Salafi anti-democracy flyers handed out around Cairo
SECTION: Top Stories
PUBDATE: Mon, 28/03/2011 - 18:06
(AL-MASRY AL-YOUM) -
Flyers calling on citizens to join the Salafi movement and denouncing democracy were witnessed being passed out to citizens in Cairo just days after the Salafi movement announced its intention of becoming involved in the political arena.
The flyers warn against the dangers of backing away from a religious state and resorting to systems based on democracy or liberalism, which according to the flyers would be a step in the wrong direction and one that would lead to transgression of religious prohibitions.
According to one of the flyers, the values of democracy violate the law of God. Further, democracy "allows the people to govern themselves even if they are violating the rule of God." The flyer, titled "Be a Salfi" called on citizens to reject all voices advocating for a civil state, as such a state would mean the separation of religion from general life and people being governed without the law of God.
The flyer added that the civil state "equates between citizens in their rights and duties, even if God has created differences in them." In the flyer, liberalism is described as “making man his own God” and as being “governed by that which is not God’s law.” The flyer also calls on citizens to spread these ideas and to return to the Quran and the Sunnah.
Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University, said the content of these flyers "is expected from some Salafist groups, whose members reject anyone different to them."
He went on to say, "It is the state’s duty to criminalize such practices, which interfere with every citizen’s freedom of expression and belief. The fear is that such practices could influence those with limited intelligence, who could then be exploited in supporting and promoting these ideas."
The Salafi movement considers democracy a Western system of government and generally does not accept the appointment of women or non-Muslims to leadership positions.
Salafis adopt a literal interpretation of religious texts, and therefore do not see parliament as the legitimate source of legislation, nor the people as the source of authority.
The Salafi movement's relationship with the ousted regime was vague. While former President Hosni Mubarak's regime imposed heavy restrictions on their organizational activity, it allowed some prominent Salafi figures to run mosques and also allowed Salafis to protest against the Coptic Church.
Some observers say the regime used the Salafis to weaken the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which advocates participation in politics.
The Salafis refused to participate in the 25 January Revolution but later acknowledged its legitimacy because of pressure from younger members, some of whom took part in the revolution.
Translated from the Arabic Edition
[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -- English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, Egypt's respected independent pro-reform daily that focuses on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]
Salafi group says in TV show Egypt's Camp David Accord cannot be annulled
GMP20110405950008 Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic 1530 GMT 04 Apr 11
The recent escalation in violence by Salafists in Egypt was the topic discussed in the 4 April episode of "On Air" programme on Private TV Al-Safwa's station.
The guests included spokesperson for the "Salafi Da'wa", Abd-al-Min'im al-Shahat, and Expert on Islamist group Abd-al-Rahim Ali. Later, Shaykh Mahmud Ashur, former deputy of Al-Azhar Islamic institute joined the discussion.
Al-Shahat insisted on differentiating between different types of salafists as not all groups follow the same rules. He vehemently denied salafists were responsible for the incidents of violence the media were propagating. These incidents include demolishing a number of shrines, threatening to attack unveiled females as well some intimidating religious slogans which scared Egyptians.
Ali said that after "thirty years of living in the dark" light is being shed on the Islamist groups and people are coming to know them, hence confusion is expected. He differentiated between Islamic groups: Jama'ah Islamiyah on one side and Salafists on the other. He noted that Salafists "do not oppose the ruler" but focus on the creation of a "proper Muslim" according to their beliefs while the Jama'ah might use violence against the ruler as the assassinators of former Egyptian President Anwar Assadat did.
He debated the Salafist idea of establishing an Islamic state as close as possible to the early days of Islam noting "this is impossible in our time".
The discussion developed into a debate between the guests on the feasibility of the basic Salafist rules in a modern country.
Al-Shahat noted that Salafists do not believe in democracy but "will abide by is if it is being applied at the moment". He went on to say that the far goal for the Salafists is always to create a "proper Islamic state".
Shaykh Mahmud Ashur, former deputy of Al-Azhar Islamic institute, stressed that Salafists "did not utter word during 30 years of tyranny and injustice" and taking advantage of the atmosphere of freedom after the revolution. He challenged the conduct of Salafists and the violence they use by verses from the Quran.
Al-Shahat noted that Salafists do not want to annul the Camp David Accord but it noted that it needs to be "revised and so does the normalization process that followed".
[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]
Egyptian Salafist Cleric Interviewed Movement's Future, Formation of Political Party
GMP20110405825005 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in English, Afrikaans 05 Apr 11
[Interview with Egyptian Salafist cleric Muhammad Hassan, by Nabil Salih, in Cairo: "Egypt's Salafist Ansar al-Sunna to form political group"]
Prominent Salafist cleric Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, one of the most renowned Salafist figures in Egypt, exclusively spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat about the future of the Salafist movement in the country. He also publicly announcing that the Ansar al-Sunna Society intends to form a political party and participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections that are set to take place next September. Sheikh Mohamed Hassan also said that he had no intention of standing for presidential election, and stressed that Egypt's Islamists, like any other component of society, has the right to express their opinions and participate in politics.
The following is the full text of the interview:
[Asharq Al-Awsat] The Ansar al-Sunna Society is not known for its political activism however a number of Islamist groups, including your own organization, have recently entered the political arena, in support of the latest constitutional amendments. What is the reason for this?
[Hassan] The crucial stage that Egypt is currently passing through has necessitated the [religious] scholars to take action, as they have previously, with regards to [Islamic] dawa [missionary work]. They must take action as this current stage and direct people towards what they believe to be in the interests of this noble country. I acknowledge that the Salafists are not as efficient with regards to political action as other groups that are experienced in this field, but they have entered via the door of promoting virtue and preventing vice, they have entered as part of legitimate politics. We do not say "no religion in politics; and no politics in religion" but rather we believe that religion rules over all parts of life. We do not take from religion only that which is compatible with our needs and desires, we must take everything, both what we like and what we may dislike. It is the duty of our brothers to advise the nation about what they believe is good for this noble country, for as God Almighty said "O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly" [Surat al-Baqara; Verse 208].
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Following the establishment of the new political parties' law, does the Ansar al-Sunna Society intent to establish a political party, or will it lend its support to an already established party, especially as a number of other Islamist trends have entered the political field?
[Hassan] Yes, we intend to establish a [political] party according to the laws and regulations, and this is something that is not denied to any Islamist trend, for any Egyptian citizen has the right to express his opinion politely, respecting the opinions of others. Nobody has the right to prevent any Egyptian citizen from political operation or participation, for they are citizens living in this country, and they have the right to participate like everybody else. The Ansar al-Sunna Society is made up of Egyptian citizens who want to participate in creating the future of our country, according to the holy book [the Quran] and the Sunnah [of the Prophet]. The group does not follow the policy of equivocation or deception, but will put forward a policy based upon mercy, justice, and righteousness.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Will your party take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections?
[Hassan] Yes, many of our brothers in Alexandria and Cairo will take part in this, both with regards to the People's Assembly elections, and the Shura Council elections.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What do you think of the Turkish state model, namely a civilian state with an Islamic reference?
[Hassan] I will not name the desired features of a future state at this point, whether we are talking about a religious, civil, or democratic state. We will not discuss the model of the state or its terminology, but we will comment on the approach that the state should use. Our starting point will be the f of the Prophet, which says "hear and obey even if an Abyssinian slave with a head like a raisin is appointed over you." Therefore the type of state is unimportant to us, what is im portant is that the approach that is followed by the state should be derived from Article II of the [Egyptian] Constitution, which states that Islam is the official religion of the state, and Islamic Sharia law is the primary source for legislation. The type of state does not matter, what is important is that the state follows the approach, provided for by Article II of the constitution.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is your opinion of the dread or fear expressed by some components of society towards the possibility of the establishment of an Islamic state in Egypt?
[Hassan] There is no fear of Islam, for Islam is not just the religion of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, but the religion of all the prophets. Islam is not a scarecrow, I want to reassure our brothers of all different beliefs, sects, and ideologies, and tell them that Islam is the religion of Allah Almighty which is characterized by the divine approach. Islam is characterized by integration, balance, moderation, justice, righteousness, mercy, and tolerance in dealing with others. Islam does not impose its beliefs on others, and as it says in the Holy Quran "if it has been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed - all who are on earth! Wilt though then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!" [Surat Yunus, Verse 99]. God Almighty also said "Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve." [Surat al-Khaf, Verse 29]. Therefore I do not think anybody has the right to break the lamp which I hold in my hand and by which I bring the light to those who live in darkness. Let me also say that anybody who wants to enter God's religion...they are most welcome!
The other issue is that Islam, is not as some portray it, Islam is not a religion of cutting off ears or throwing acid in women's faces [in reference to recent attacks on Christians in Egypt]. Egypt has lived in a state of terror from Islamists in general, and Salafists in particular, for a number of weeks. Some said that the Salafists have now emerged and want to turn Egypt upside down, and this is not true, for Islam has controls in place with regards to taking action to prevent vice, and this should be clear to everybody.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] In the recent period, some enthusiastic Salafist youth have come out to carry out violence, believing that the change that occurred in Egypt is not for the best. This has led to general accusations that the Salafists are trying to impose Islam on the country by force. What is your opinion of this?
[Hassan] I have clarified Islam's ruling regarding the jurisprudence of preventing vice, and it is not fair to prosecute Islam as a religion...based upon the mistakes of an individual or a group affiliated to this religion. Until now, I have not been informed of one event in which a Salafist has been accused in a just and clear manner.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Some people are calling for the implementation of Islamic Sharia punishments; do you believe this will happen?
[Hassan] Allow me to say that it is unfair that Islam, with its faith, laws, morals and features, to be reduced to its legal punishments. However in spite of this, we are proud of our religious punishments, for this is the religion of our Lord, and God Almighty said "In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, o ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves." [Surat al-Baqara, Verse 179].
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is your opinion about women and Christians being allowed to stand at the presidential elections?
[Hassan] Jurists of the Islamic community have come to a consensus that women should not be granted the right to hold a leadership position, and I am not ashamed of this. I do not support intellectual etiquette or the diplomacy of dialogue regarding the principles and provisions of Islamic Sharia law. How can anybody renounce the [religious] consensus on this issue, and this is something that is clear and explicit. Scholars have prohibited w oman from holding leadership positions...as for a non-Muslim holding a leadership position in a Muslim state, I say that when Rome thinks of nominating a Muslim to rule Italy, then we will think about this issue.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Some have called on you personally to stand at the forthcoming presidential elections, what is your position on this?
[Hassan] I am not looking for any religious or political post, my primary concern is serving God's call, and after this, serving my country Egypt which I love, and I will continue to serve the people of Egypt. I can honestly say that for myself, I am not interested in talking about nominating myself for this position.
[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in English -- Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]
Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti Proscribes Participating in Egyptian Elections
GMP20110408495001 Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic 07 Apr 11
[Fatwa issued by Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, member of the Shari'ah Commission of the Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad website; date not given: "What Is the Shari'ah Ruling on Participating in Elections in Post-Revolution Egypt?"]
What Is the Shari'ah Ruling on Participating in Elections in Post-Revolution Egypt?
Question number 4432
May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you, our beloved shaykh.
First, may God bless you and use you to benefit the ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide] of Islam and Muslims.
Second, I would like to ask your Excellency about the Shari'ah ruling on participating in upcoming elections in the Land of the Quiver [Egypt] through the nomination of some of our famous shaykhs in Egypt for the Shura Council and the People's Assembly [lower and upper chambers, respectively, of the Egyptian Parliament]. Those who speak of these matters are saying that the situation has changed completely, and that the country needs these figures, for this could be the beginning of an Islamic rule based on al-hakimiyah [sovereignty of the Shari'ah] of the Shari'ah.
Third, I learned that one of the Salafist scholars we have here was summoned the brothers and told them to get their voting cards in order to participate in the nomination of some of the leaders coming to power. I immediately called some of the brothers, who were close to the shaykh and asked them about this matter. The brother admitted that the shaykh called on them to do this in the name of averting detriments. I learned that there is an agreement among some of the shaykhs over this. He then told me that the shaykhs would consider the most capable candidate and the one least detrimental to Islam and Muslims, and they will elect him, not because they agree with him, but because averting detriments is given precedence over achieving interests. They are afraid of the many extremist secularists we have here. They are also afraid of the Christians, for they want radical changes with the referendum on the constitution.
Is this legally permissible, and what should we do now?
I asked Shaykh Abu-Basir al-Tartusi, and he said that it was impermissible [to participate in elections], but his answer was very terse. Please clarify this matter and answer at length so that we can preach to others and respond to our shaykhs properly and with knowledge.
What should we be doing now, and what is the response to those who point to the story of our master [Prophet] Joseph (peace be upon him) as evidence when speaking about al-hakimiyah?
May God reward you well and bless you.
Respondent: The Minbar Shari'ah Commission
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,
Praise be to God, the Lord of all creation.
May the prayers of God be upon His noble prophet, his family, and his companions.
My good brother, if these brothers are serious about supporting the religion of God and striving to establish His Shari'ah, they should first adhere to and abide by legitimate and permissible means. They should forgo the proscribed polytheistic means.
They should remember what the prophet, may the prayers and peace of God be upon him, said: "Whoever performs an action that we have not commanded will find it rejected," [Hadith].
They should know that monotheism is not sought after through polytheism; that obedience is not achieved through disobedience; that God is good, and accepts only good deeds; and that combining vile means with honorable aims is one of the greatest contradictions.
If participating in this democracy is meant to support the religion of Almighty God, then those promoting it should be beholden to the Shari'ah of God and subject to all His commands and prohibitions.
If they are beholden to the Shari'ah of God, they will never assent to participating in this polytheistic democracy, which gives the ruling to something other than God and gives man the right to legislate.
All those who participate in democracy on the pretext of reform are recognizing polytheistic constitutions, deifying the will of the people and the majority rule, accepting governance by positive laws, and basing loyalty and disavowal [Islamic concept meaning loyalty to Muslims and disavowal of infidels] on nationalism. They accept the rotation of power among those with atheist and secularist leanings.
There are no greater detriments than these.
If that is the case, there is no disagreement among the scholars over the need to avert evil if the detriment is greater than the good it would bring.
Al-Izz Ibn-Abd-al-Salam said:
"If something involves both detriments and benefits, and we are able to achieve the benefits while averting the detriments, we will do so, thereby heeding the command of God the Exalted, who says: 'So fear Allah as much as ye can,' [partial Koranic verse, Al-Taghabun, 64:16]. If we are unable to avert the detriments while achieving the benefits, and if the detriment will be greater than the benefit, we will avert the detriment and pay no mind to the loss of the benefit. God the Exalted says: 'They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit,' [partial Koranic verse, Al-Baqarah, 2:219]."
He proscribed them because their detriment was greater than their benefit. The benefit of wine was in its trade and such. The benefit of gambling was what was taken by the winner from the loser." (Qawa'id al-Ahkam Fi Masalih al-Anam, 1/83)
Thus, participating in the democratic regime means entering into a polytheistic regime, and there is no detriment greater than polytheism.
In fact, polytheism is considered an absolute detriment. There is no benefit in it whatsoever.
The Shaykh of Islam Ibn-Taymiyah said:
"There is no benefit in polytheism, quoting God without knowledge, shameful deeds (whether open or secret), or injustice." (Al-Fatawa, 14, page 476)."
He also said:
"Among the things that God has forbidden are those that are absolutely not permitted by the Shari'ah - whether or not there is a need - such as polytheism, shameful deeds, saying things about God without knowledge, and pure injustice. These are the four [forbidden things] mentioned by God the Exalted as follows: 'The things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to Allah, for which He hath given no authority; and saying things about Allah of which ye have no knowledge,' [Koranic verse, Al-A'raf, 7:44]."