Political Islam Has Gained Power
By: Talal Salman Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon).
Political Islam movements no longer care about being accused of monopolizing religion, and they are even preparing to monopolize the secular authorities. They have now become obsessed with and blinded by the lust for power.
About This Article
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and its allies in the region cannot govern on revenge alone, or claim legitimate rule unless they seek to represent all groups, writes Talal Salman.Publisher: As-Safir (Lebanon)
Individualism Inherits Tyranny. Islamic Slogan is not a Ruling Program for the Future
Author: Talal Salman
First Published: October 17, 2012
Posted on: October 18 2012
Translated by: Sami-Joe Abboud and Naria Tanoukhi
Categories : Egypt
These movements have had the chance to participate in political life using their explicit names. Chief among these movements is the Muslim Brotherhood and some Salafist groups in Egypt and Tunisia — as well as in Morocco and Jordan to some extent.
These groups do not conceal their belief that power is a reward they deserve in order to be compensated for all the kinds of persecution they have suffered from throughout the decades. These groups forget that past tyrannical regimes also persecuted all of the people they ruled, including their various political organizations and groups, be they national, nationalist, progressive or even NGOs.
Although the Brotherhood was established in Egypt more than 80 years ago, the revolution that occurred in Tahrir Square has revealed the organization’s urge to gain power and even its attempts to monopolize it, despite its lack of any modern or serious platform for how it would rule.
The Islamic slogan is not enough for its platform, and the Holy Quran was never, and will never be, a political platform for democratic rule in a civil society. The Holy Quran is much higher than that.
Catchphrases, complex theories or Islamic slogans that are derived from verses [of the Quran] or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad do not help formulate a program for a secular authority. These may serve as guidelines to achieve equality and justice among the people and enable them to enjoy their natural rights in their countries and states, but they do not tackle "power" and governance, nor do they define such rules.
Moreover, Muslims — be they Arabs or of other nationalities — have never experienced, following the Righteous Caliphs [who ruled following the death of Muhammad from 632-661], a rule that resulted from popular will and that had a specific work plan.
Quite the opposite, authority became hereditary and the caliph turned into the absolute ruler. Opponents were deemed "traitors." They were chased, imprisoned and executed.
Their roots were eradicated, and they were treated as the enemies of the ruling family, the self-proclaimed religious and secular authorities whose decisions are irrevocable no matter how wrong. Those who objected were put to the sword.
Surprisingly enough, Islamic organizations — which reached power thanks to the masses that voted for them as a result of a lack of any [better options] — are acting like "ruling families." It is as if the overthrow of tyranny — Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zein Abedine Ben Ali in Tunisia — enables them to act as "the sole legitimate heir."
There is no doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood, both in Egypt and Tunisia, includes activists and experts that are respected in various scientific and practical fields. However, the “vast majority" of the Egyptians and Tunisians who do not share the organization’s opinion includes thousands of activists and specialists who have worked hard for their home countries and who may have suffered from the same — or even worse — hardships, persecution and imprisonment that the Brotherhood suffered from during the eras of tyranny.
The fact that there are activists who were arrested and imprisoned for many years does not mean that they are eligible to rule the country without any specific and clear platform or program. In fact, a wide segment of the Egyptian people (and other Arabs, thankfully … ) do have this "quality."
The lack of political life during the era of tyrants has affected both the present and future of the country, all the while depriving it of the skills of two or three of its qualified generations. This almost destroyed civil society, spreading its elite between prisons and exile and pushing large numbers to give up on the possibility of change and consequently abandon any political action.
"I'm sorry, but I have nothing to do with politics," became a slogan used to avoid being arrested or imprisoned, or to avoid being forced to tell the names of "those involved in politics."
In any case, it is certain that neither the Egyptian nor the Tunisian people have given the "Brotherhood" carte blanche to govern according to its platform. This is assuming that what they have accomplished at the level of political thought can even be considered a ruling platform in the 21st century, amid difficult economic or social conditions experienced by the two peoples.
These political and daily hardships set the stage for foreign intervention, and they enable the Israeli enemy to continue its attempts to restrict national decision-making in Egypt, the Arab World in general, and each and every country of this wide Arab continent.
In the case of Egypt, for example, one tenth of the voters voted for Mohammed Morsi in the first round of the presidential election. However, in the second round — as a result of obvious circumstances, most notably the desire to prevent the era of tyrants from continuing democratically through [the election of] one of the old regime’s main figures, [Ahmed Shafiq] — Egyptians gave him a quarter of their votes, but did not raise him to the helm of absolute power.
The president, who came to power through the votes of a broad alliance imposed by the necessity of preventing the regime’s candidate from winning, seems as if he is ignoring this fact. He is acting as if he won thanks to the votes of the Brotherhood alone.
First, there was the "collusion" with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces [SCAF].
This collusion led to the disruption of the drafting of the constitution, only allowing a single constitutional amendment that permitted the Brotherhood to take the lead in the parliamentary and Shura Council elections. It also allowed them to exclude the “other” national forces, since they were the most prepared among the political forces.
This disruption resulted in a hasty presidential election — for those who ran — and enabled their candidate to win through the votes of others.
But the confusion was evident since the first day following the election of a Muslim Brotherhood president, the first such president in the history of Egypt and the Arab world in general.
In Tahrir Square, President Morsi acted like the president of the Brotherhood, not the president of Egypt who had come to office through a wide alliance that included many [forces] who were historically anti-Brotherhood. Still, these forces had decided to give the Brotherhood a chance, especially amid fear of a possible victory by the candidate from the former tyrannical regime.
Hours after the announcement of his victory in the elections, [Morsi] intentionally and unjustifiably sought to restore his [old] rivalry with [former Egyptian president] Gamal Abdel Nasser.
He said: “You have no idea how difficult the 1960s were,” referring to the unjustified suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, even if there were grounds for it in the conflict with the regime at the time.
The president was also eager to award SCAF leaders the highest awards in Egypt, as a prelude to sending them to retirement, thus giving the revolutionaries an opportunity to demand their prosecution. This was an example of pure deception or opportunism, where there is no hesitation to adopt two contradictory positions at the same time without providing any justification for either.
When Morsi reluctantly went to Tehran, he had to recognize Gamal Abdel Nasser as a leader, but soon fabricated a problem with his hosts by bringing up historical differences regarding Islamic rule under and after the Caliphs.
President Morsi then took a series of surprising steps. Decisions were made and reversed after attempts to justify their issuance, and were later canceled before the ink had even dried. Also, vice presidents were appointed, and later described as advisers or aides.
A government was formed without consultations, as if it were a secret mission. This was followed by an unjust decision to dismiss the general prosecutor and appoint him as an ambassador to the Vatican instead, which was reversed after the judges’ collective rejection of such a “breach of the immunity of the judiciary.”
It is a rule without an agenda, one that exercises power in the absence of constitutional cover.
These successive actions reflect a desire by the Muslim Brotherhood for unilateral rule and an attempt to control all sectors of the government in the shortest time possible. They want to do this before the building [of] constitutional institutions, which set limits to the president’s authorities — even if he is elected by the people in a presidential system — is completed.
It appears as if one of the priorities of the new president and his organization is to take revenge for the [actions of] the past by confiscating the present and the future.
The same observations can be made on the (semi-Islamic) rule in Tunisia. The remarks made by the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi a few days ago — which were intentionally leaked to the media — came to confirm that democracy is a novel idea for the Brotherhood. After having assumed power, the Brotherhood would rather not have partners, neither progressives nor Salafists.
Indeed, many of the Brotherhood’s actions indicate that they deliberately deny the history of other opposition forces, which have confronted tyrannical regimes way before them. At the time, the Brotherhood used to frequent the [regime’s] courts and grant it a form of acclamation or vindication as it took the path of wrong or sin.
The honoring of the late President Anwar Sadat on the anniversary of the October War can only be understood as [an act of] revenge against Gamal Abdel Nasser. This is especially true if we keep in mind that the Mubarak regime, which was overthrown in Tahrir Square, is the “legitimate” — political — extension of the Sadat regime.
The Brotherhood’s vengeful spirit against the press and prominent journalists, both in the press syndicate and various media outlets, is too evident, almost scandalous whether in Egypt or Tunisia.
The question is: When will the people become aware that the post-Tahrir Square started out unburdened with a sense of revenge for the past, and turned toward the future, extending a hand to the people to begin building together?
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