THE GOALS OF ISLAMIST AND POLITICAL ISLAM IN EGYPT
A- Islamization of the Egyptian Society:
For centuries Islam in Egypt managed to maintain a moderate stance that inspired other nations from all around the world. During the darkest periods of religious wars in Europe, Egypt maintained tolerance to with Muslims alongside Christians and Jews living together in harmony. All monotheistic religions were tolerated and practiced freely for centuries all the way till 1952 coup d’etat .
Before 1952, there were a Muslim King and a Christian Prime Minister and Jewish Minister of Finance at one time. However, the entire scene started to change during the years that followed 1952 with many Jews were hassled after what was known as the Israeli plotted “Lavon Affair” terrorist operation in 1954 and left for Europe, USA and Israel. Christians started to be marginalized politically and slowly from the higher seats in governments. The situation didn’t change much as the years went through and during the last 20 years forms of radical Islam brought by my mainly expatriates who lived in the Gulf-states and back home started to replace the moderate Islam. The Full Veil (Niqab) and long beards started to be more common scenery in the streets of Cairo and all Egyptians cities. The sectarian tension and dismissal from public offices for Christians and minorities becomes more prevalent as their power grows.
Before the 1990s even the regular veil wasn’t very common in many rural areas especially in the north of the country. But now it’s even very common in the most urban areas. While the latter doesn’t represent a problem but the full veil have caused a wide stir in the ranks of Egyptian society, since it’s an identity as well as a security problem. Islamists have been propagating this look in the society for decades and assisted by billions of dollars donations coming from a variety of overseas sources as well as their own businesses run in Egypt. Their business is on the rise and fueled by the overzealous status they created in the society. The billions of pounds spend on buying their products be that ring tones with prayers, , Islamic veils, niqab, books of Salafi doctrine and other Islamic related products. Religion is a mutli-billion dollar business in Egypt and it’s possibly the only thriving sector of the economy after the revolution.
B- Full implementation of Islamic Jurisprudence “Sharia’”:
Islamists and particularly Salafis never miss an opportunity to demand for the full implementation of the Islamic Jurisprudence laws. While 80% of the Jurisprudence laws are already applied in the Egyptian law without the use of the medieval methods of capital punishments and replaced instead by jail terms and sometimes death sentences for crimes of murder.
Islamic Jurisprudence have been revolutionary 1400 years at time that Byzantine, Roman& Persian laws dominated known societies of the old world at that time. Human rights guaranteed by these laws especially regarding women rights of freedom of marriage, work, inheritance and ownership that no one women in the world possessed under any system at that time. Even the family names of women were kept after marriages as a sign of their independence. At the earlier days of Islam women traded, worked and even joined forces with men in wars. However, eventually these rights were stripped one after another through the years thanks to interpretations some radical Islamic Scholars after the death of prophet Mohamed by a century. Eventually things went from bad to worse with more radical interpretations of the Quran surfacing from famous Islamic Scholars in the centuries to follow thus rendering women rights to be very limited and in certain cases almost non-existent in some societies like Saudi Arabia.
These pioneering jurisprudence laws can be utilized as some guidelines but they cannot be in total coherence with the modern times especially due to the conflicting interpretations from the Islamic narratives and the huge difference between the modern societies of today to the nomadic societies of the past. Also the there have been issues which was not been dealt with decisively in the Islamic Jurisprudence like slavery and although Islam urges people to free slaves as a good will and deed but there wasn’t a decisive order to free them because 1400 years ago they represented the labour in those societies so the gradual emancipation of slaves was called to all Muslims. Yet many Muslims have found some loopholes in the jurisprudence and the actual numbers of slaves increased in the Islamic societies to the extent that some of them became too powerful in the army that they managed to rule countries like Egypt for over 200 years like the Mamluks dynasty.
The Islamists fail to understand that it was actually the narrative and counseling of great Islamic Scholars such as Sheikh Mohamed Abdou that inspired the 1923 constitution and constitutions that followed. Sheikh Mohamed Abdou was inspired by western progress and civilization and wished to incorporate that into the Islamic world while preserving the identity. Islamists fail to listen to anything beyond their own voices concerning politics. Even the advice and inspirational work of Mohamed Abdou and other more liberal Islamic scholars like Gamal El Banaa (Ironically Hassan El Banna Brother) never attract their attention.
It’s would be unreal that Egyptians after a glorious revolution seeking freedoms would succumb to punishments that governed mainly tribal societies over centuries ago and were even ceased in most periods due to famines and other social and political issues. The Islamic Jurisprudence is already applied and implemented in laws of Marriage, trade and many others facets in Egypt but not the medieval punishments. Therefore, these demands of applying the medieval punishments are preposterous to say the least. The problem with Islamic Jurisprudence punishments is that it’s not applied by God almighty but by people who claim to act on his behalf rendering them unsuitable for the modern world.
C- Establishment of a new Islamic Caliphate
Now this is the part where delusion meets historical nostalgia among Islamists. Since the fall of the last Ottoman Caliphate in 1922 and the establishment of the republic of Turkey, many Islamist scholars have been longing for the day they would revive what they believe as the old glories of the caliphates. While their argument relies on the power of Muslims during the periods that lasted from the 7th century to the 20th century, they still ignore categorically the weaknesses and the real reasons why the last caliphate fell. The Islamic caliphates might have been the necessity of their own time but living in the period of nationalism and nations founded on the basis of national identity regardless of creeds makes that argument very weak.
Furthermore, they fail to acknowledge that during these caliphates a lot of atrocities and human rights infringements took place in the name of religion despite the existence of some golden periods like the Rashidin Caliphates and Umayyad Caliphate in Andalusia (Spain&Portugal). However, those short periods are not a valid reason to turn the clock backwards and establish a Caliphate lead by a single man who has all the powers over Muslims and non=Muslims from east to west. The current democratic and national foundations surpass any benefits that could ever occur from the establishment of a caliphate. However, hardcore Islamists master plan is still to topple all the governments in the Middle East and establish a new caliphate that unites Muslims under one banner. All Islamists have the same ideology of recreating the caliphate from Muslim Brotherhood to Al Qaeda. They all believe in the same goal and have vowed to fulfill their dreams even at the expense and demise of their own nations.
- First they came for the communists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
- Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
- Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
- Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me!
Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)
These were the simple words of a German Theologian and Anti- Nazi Pastor describing his initial reaction towards the rise of the Nazis in his country and how they took factions one by one till the dominated the political scene. This statement was published in 1955 book by Milton Mayer’s book “They Thought They Were Free” as part of the interviews conducted with Germans who lived through the Nazi rise and fall. Niemöller was initially a supporter of the rise of the Nazis before he realized later the blatant truth about them and started to criticize them which led to his arrest and he narrowly escaped execution.
Ironically, this statement summarizes it all as well for post Egyptian society towards the Islamists attitude and the apologists who surround them and asking people to give them a chance despite their blatant disregard of the others opinions and rights. Also the Islamists endless quest to hold all political positions in Egypt be that the parliament, government or Presidency proves that they will stop at nothing before Egypt is turned into a state with a larger scale caliphate.
Religion and Politics is a lethal cocktail when mixed together that always kills anyone who drinks It and it seems Egyptians have been sipping a lot of it lately. Religion in politics is the equivalent of Anabolic Steroid doping in Sports, it marginalizes the competitiveness of athletes into who has a better mix of chemicals injected into their bodies. Similarly, when politics mix with religion it’s a doping process that favours those who claim to be more pious and holier than thou without presenting viable programs for the public hence it’s an infringement to all traditions of democracy and equal rights.
Egyptians as well as their Islamists politicians are still failing to grasp that the purpose of government is to establish a profitable free economic system, form a good healthcare system, create a modern educational system, pave the roads, and establish ports, airports, etc… But no government’s task should ever include providing an entry ticket to heaven for its people. That would be asking too much from the wrong persons who have no hand in them entering heaven or hell.
Indulging in matters of afterlife with politics is a plague that struck the Egyptian social and political life in recent years. Matters of afterlife are totally in the hand of God and nothing to do with politics. Furthermore, it should always remain within the boundaries of mosques or churches. People will not be judged in afterlife as nations, cities, villages nor families but as individuals. Each on his own will face the consequence of his own deeds and not the deeds of his country or fellowmen.
There are no countries going to heaven or hell. Egypt will not go to heaven because we have Islamists in power and France going to hell because they don’t have them as rulers. This entire notion is ridiculous and a rhetoric created by Islamists throughout their campaign for the past 80 years to attract the attention and hold the votes of some of the simpler minded masses. The dreams of establishing an Islamic utopia must be given up for the simple fact that there is no such thing not before and not ever. Society’s progress as time do and all those who keep looking in the past will never build a future which resembles 18th century British Politician and scholar Edmund Burke saying “You can never plan the future with the past”
The path Egyptians have chosen will lead into further divisions within the country and Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Algeria, Gaza, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are living proof that Islamists when in power they never bring the milk and honey to people’s lives.
The educational system in Egypt should emphasize on the importance of coexistence between all Egyptians of all faces. A more modern and secular education should replace the antiquated educational system that belongs to the early 20th century in Egypt. An education system that stresses on the civic duties of each Egyptian and equal rights and obligations of all citizens alike.
Islamists are gaining ground now inch by inch and step by step for total hegemony on the country and very soon on the Middle East region, they have used every deception trick from the Machiavelli’s “Prince” book and added an appendix of their own to it.
Moreover, the once cosmopolitan society that amalgamated all nations, creeds and ethnicities into one melting pot throughout history cannot be poised towards a totalitarian single polar society.
One doesn’t need to be a man of God to be a good politician or even a good man, in fact hypocrisy and double standards still taint the reputations of many of those holier than thou types in Egyptian politics. Moreover it’s necessary for all politicians to possess a vision for the country regardless of how pious he/she is. Piety is a great trait but the holier-than-thou attitude usually a façade to cover deeper vices. It would be better to have politicians with some vices but actual capability to serve the country than others who appear to be immaculate but incapable of running a country.
Maybe everyone would reflect and think what they might learn from simple phrase made by the greatest American leader of all time President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) which could resemble the exact situation in post revolution Egypt. “It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”