Friday, April 13, 2007

Egypt Taking Action Against the Muslim Brotherhood

Even as the Democrat's in Congress are, in an act of extreme madness, giving the Muslim Brotherhood an opportunity to address Congress, Egypt is doing all it can to fight this scourge in its own country as part of its process of democratic reforms:

In recent months, as the Egyptian regime has been taking action against the Muslim Brotherhood, various spokesmen for Egypt's religious establishment - the sheikh of Al-Azhar, the Mufti of Egypt, Egypt's minister of religious endowments, and the vice-president of Al-Azhar University - have unanimously rejected the concept of a religious state headed by clerics, saying that this concept is incompatible with the principles of Islam. They have argued that Islam has from its outset decreed that there should be a civil democratic state with man-made laws, and that these laws may be based on Muslim religious law.

Columnists in the Egyptian government press also expressed objections to a state headed by clerics. Gaber 'Asfour, lecturer at Al-Azhar University's faculty of literature and head of Egypt's Supreme Cultural Council, even depicted a cleric-led state as the tyrannical state longed for by Islamists, which would abolish civil liberties and endanger all humanity with jihad and a new form of Nazism.

This firm public statement by the Egyptian establishment against the idea of a state headed by clerics is apparently driven by several developments in Egypt and in the region. The first of these is the Egyptian regime's fear of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt gaining strength. For several months now, the regime has been engaged in a campaign against the movement, including extensive arrests and interrogations, shutting down the places of business, publishing houses, newspapers, and websites of those close to the movement, and engaging in an anti-Muslim Brotherhood media campaign.

Further, due to the Egyptian regime's wish to show the West, and particularly the U.S., that it is in the midst of processes of reform and democratization, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak declared constitutional reform, which was brought to a referendum on March 26, 2007 and passed by a large majority. One of the amendments that was approved was a ban on religion-based political activity, along with declarations that religion and politics must be separated. With this, Egypt is looking to dispel any image it may have as a regime opposed to authentic movements, and to show that its fight against the Muslim Brotherhood is a fight for liberal civic values.

The Egyptian regime is likewise seeking to end the debate that has been going on in Egyptian society in recent weeks, over Article 2 of the Egyptian constitution, which defines Islam as the state religion and shari'a as the main source of legislation, and was not included in the referendum. The country's Coptic Christian community and also parts of the intellectual community are in favor of amending Article 2, but the regime has clarified that Article 2 will remain as is. The regime also stressed that this does not mean that Egypt is either a religious state or a secular state, but a democratic civil state that respects all its citizens and their religion, as Islam commands.

Continue reading here.

1 comment:

Dinah Lord said...

It's madness, I tell you. Sheer madness.

And the situation is more than a little worrisome.



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