Abdul Rahman al-Bar, a member and a mufti of the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau and dean of the faculty of theology at the University of Al-Azhar, accused figures of the Egyptian opposition and some judicial officers of attempting to overthrow President Mohammed Morsi. He stressed that the ongoing political battle has nothing to do with the constitution, but it is a step aimed at blunting the president’s powers.
El-Khabar: How do you explain the tension and the state of alert that has gripped the political arena in Egypt?
Bar: Protests have gripped the streets of Egypt. However, I hope and urge all politicians to limit these popular movements to the conceptual framework of the dispute, preventing them from morphing into sectarian and violent clashes. Having intellectual disagreements and discussions is a positive thing, which would increase awareness among the public. Nevertheless, I am opposed to these intellectual debates turning into violent practices, fomenting malice and hatred among "pro-government" and "pro-opposition" supporters. This is unacceptable from my point of view.
El-Khabar: What do you think of the demands of human rights organizations to re-hold the first phase of the referendum?
Bar: This is not acceptable. The entire world saw how the elections were held in a safe and secure environment. Therefore, it is useless to redo anything. Otherwise, every time the results were not to the liking of certain parties, there will be demands to hold them again. This logic is absurd and I do not believe that the wise Egyptians will listen to such demands.
El-Khabar: What about the opposition's insistence on rejecting the referendum results regarding the new constitution, and its calls for demonstrations and a general strike?
Bar: Undoubtedly, every Egyptian citizen has the right to have a say in the constitution. The opposition has every right to oppose and demand that some amendments be made. Islamists, on the other hand, also have every right to announce their support for the constitution and submit their amendments, as long as all this process takes place within the democratic framework and sovereignty of the people, as they are the ones to have the last say in everything. All parties must eventually yield to the popular will, whether in approving or rejecting the new constitution.
Regarding the general strike and imposing public opinion by preventing workers from carrying out their jobs, or threatening to use violence, this is not acceptable nor democratic.
El-Khabar: What scenario do you expect to come out of this crisis and put an end to the division between the various political forces?
Bar: The propaganda of division that has been promoted by many, as if we are in a state of war, is baseless. It is true that some groups are taking advantage of the tension to foment discord and political disagreements. These same groups used certain thugs to stir up violence in some known areas, while others sought to set fire to the headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Muslim Brotherhood. The attack on Sheikh Mahlawi and others was nothing but an attempt to add confusion to the situation. However, the truth of the matter is that this is not the will of the people. We all saw the queues of voters, who lined up in front of the polling stations, whether pro-government or opposition advocates. They were all holding civilized discussions and debates. There hasn’t been any skirmishes of any kind, which is further proof of the people's awareness. It is absolutely unacceptable to employ violence and use thugs as a way to express political positions.
El-Khabar: The Islamic movement accused domestic and foreign parties of attempts to topple Morsi, who are these parties?
Bar: It is not my job or the job of others to take such measures. It is the job of investigators involved in fact-finding. However, according to my readings of the situation, there many parties that were seeking to topple President Morsi, who was legitimately elected. Some people have even chanted slogans and raised banners calling for the departure of the president and the overthrow of the regime. Why were such demands voiced while we are dealing with a new constitution? What does the elected president have to do with the free will of the people? The president has nothing to do with the drafting of the constitution and did not interfere at all in its preparation. He did not even recommend anything to the Constituent Assembly charged with drafting the constitution.
Moreover, there are attempts to isolate the president and distance him from state institutions, by prolonging the transitional phase without an existing constitution. It must be also noted that strikes were called off once the protests erupted. This suggests that there is a link between those who have been stirring up these events, and those rejecting the referendum. The referendum was held in an atmosphere of transparency. Thus, any demands to re-hold elections in this regards are absurd and prove that this is not about the referendum itself, but about the president who remained in office after the constitution was adopted. Some opposition members are talking about the new presidential elections, which also indicates that the president was targeted. There are some known enemies, whether politicians or judicial officers, who made statements through satellite channels or at judicial hearings, which were far beyond the scope of their rights and authorities.
What right does a judge have to interfere in political matters? This is not acceptable. All these incidents suggest that there is a large elite that seeks to topple President Morsi, in an illegal and absurd way.