Thursday, December 22, 2011

Are Egyptians Using Democracy to Vote Against Democracy?

Many in the West have praised the "Arab Spring" as a pro-democracy movement, and are encouraged by the fact that elections in Egypt have (ostensibly) been largely free and fair. In the face of big victories by Islamist parties, some have even gone so far as to argue that the results are largely irrelevant; instead the "value lies in the integrity of the process" (1).

But what if voters use their new-found political freedom to vote for candidates who are expressly opposed to democracy and even the very electoral process they are attempting to ride to power? This is exactly what is happening with the unexpected electoral success of the Islamist Nur Party.

Most Egypt-watchers have been surprised by the electoral success of the Nur Party. Current estimates put the party's electoral gains at over 20% of the votes in the parliamentary elections, second only to the Muslim Brotherhood's (another hard-line Islamist party, which however knows better how to speak soothing words to the West) estimated 40-50%.

The Nur Party's long-standing opposition to democracy is well-known in Egypt. See the below 2010 video from one of its leaders--popular tele-shaykh 'Abd-al-Mun'im al-Shahat--who was himself a candidate for parliament in the Alexandria region:


This is not just some embarrassing clip from long ago which was brought up in the electoral process in order to derail al-Shahat's campaign. When asked about his position on democracy and elections just a few weeks ago, al-Shahat responded that he continues to maintain the same opinion, namely that democracy is "disbelief   in Allah (kufr) and forbidden (haraam)." However, to justify his candidacy in the elections, he offered his opinion that "Egyptian-style democracy is permissible, while Western democracy is disbelief in Allah" (2).

Perhaps explaining what al-Shahat meant by 'Western democracy,' other Nur Party candidates have affirmed that "the understanding of democracy with the meaning of people ruling themselves is disbelief in Allah." They also went further, arguing that democracy was merely "Masonic-Jewish propaganda" (3). One of the candidates also praised Saudi Arabia's application of Shari'ah-law penalties, which are generally much harsher than what Egypt experienced under Mubarak.

So the question remains:  if citizens use their freedom to elect tyrants worse than the one they overthrew, can that really be counted as progress?

Source List

1) http://allafrica.com/stories/201112221145.html
2) Translated from Arabic-language article at Masrawy.com, 1 December 2011:
Representative 'Abd-al-Mun'im al-Shahat: Democracy Is Still Forbidden
'Abd-al-Mun'im al-Shahat, a spokesman for there's da'wa salafiya, announced that he still holds the opinion which he declared a short time ago, that democracy is forbidden (haraam) and disbelief (kufr). He declared at the same time that democracy is the only means for solving the political differences in order to preserve the cohesion of the society. 
After playing the video which shows al-Shahat declaring at a previous time that democracy is disbelief (kufr) and forbidden (haraam), (media personality) Dina ('Abd-al-Fatah) asked al-Shahat his opinion about this after he was about to win the election. Al-Shahat responded that he continues to hold the same opinion. 
Al-Shahat said in an interview with media personality Dina 'Abd-al-Fatah on the satellite station al-Tahrir, that all of the electoral indicators show that he is ahead of his opponents, and has gained more than 60% of the votes in the Montazah Department in Alexandria. 
The spokesman for the Salafi Call (ad-da'wa as-salafiya) does not believe that his entrance into Parliament despite his declaration that democracy is forbidden is political opportunism. He pointed out that he believes that Egyptian-style democracy is permissible, while Western democracy is disbelief in Allah. 
Al-Shahat also believes that the cause for him leading his opponents in the elections owes to his religious and political background, as well as his participation in various debates and seminars.

3) Translated from Arabic-language article at al-Masry al-Youm, 8 December 2011:
Nur Party Candidates: Democracy is 'Kufr' ... and Propaganda from the Masonic Bloc ... We Should Return to "al-Bay'a" 
A number of leaders and candidates from the Nur Party in the Department of North Giza (Egypt) stressed that the understanding of democracy with the meaning of the people ruling themselves is disbelief (kufr) in Allah. They believe that the political elite "are opposed to what the apostles followed" in relying upon the system of allegiance (al-bay'a) after the death of the Apostle, in order to choose the caliph for the Muslims. 
In an electoral meeting which they held Wednesday night in a hall attached to the Eastern Mosque in Barajil province, they described ads in the streets from the Egyptian Bloc as "Masonic-Jewish ads." Shaykh Sha'ban Darwish--a member of the Nur Party High Council--stressed the need to change the philosophy of the current liberal system which the last two presidents, Sadat and Mubarak, produced, and which failed to promote the state to an Islamic system. 
Darwish said:  "If the Salafis strike the earth, it will bring forth money. The liberals should be ashamed of themselves and remove themselves from politics through the ballot box, because they caused corruption in the land over the last 60 years. Now they want to preserve their interests and benefits, which are connected to the Americans and the West." 
Dr. 'Adil 'Azazi, who is at the head of the Nur Party list in the Department of North Giza, said:  "Leaving the ruling to the people, or what is called democracy, is disbelief (kufr) in Allah." He pointed to the need to rely upon the system of allegiance (al-bay'a) to choose the caliphs of the Muslims. 'Azazi added that Islamic laws applied in Saudi Arabia, and especially in applying the penalties of the Islamic Shari'ah, have contributed to a decrease in crime.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders quote Prophet Muhammad at al-Azhar conference: "O Muslim, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him"



While the much of the West was still congratulating themselves for their role in supporting the so-called 'Arab Spring,' Muslim Brotherhood members (the soon-to-be rulers of "the new Egypt") were at al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo on 25 November calling for genocide against Jews. The call came in the form of a recitation of an authentic hadith from the Prophet Muhammad, in which he declared that Muslims should fight against the Jews "until the rocks and the trees will say, 'O slave of Allah, o Muslim, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." The occasion was the commemoration of what the International Union of Muslim Scholars named "Save al-Aqsa Friday" (for previous reporting on this day, see here).

I provided the translations for the above video clips, which were expertly put together by Vlad Tepes. His article follows:
Two speakers from moderate, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, recite genocidal hadith at conference 
Lots of people are clinging tenaciously to the notion that Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood are somehow the horse to back as compared to perhaps, the Salafist party in Egypt. 
Here is a segment from 2 clips of speakers from the M.B. at a major conference at Al Azhar in Cairo (we remember Al Azhar as that is where Obama gave his famous outreach speech shortly after being elected and given the Nobel Peace Prize) where at least two speakers at the Azhar rally recited the canonical hadith calling for Jew annihilation. 
One was Abd al-Rahman al-Barr, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau [clip 1] 
Shaykh Muhammad Mukhtar al-Mahdi, professor at Al Azhar and head of the Islamic Law Society, did so too [clip 2] 
Thanks to Andrew Bostom and Translating Jihad for this one. 
There is much more on this, and misinterpretations of this (which is why this was translated and titled by us) at this link.
The English transcripts for the two clips follow:
Clip #1: Here is something which is extremely important. We must prepare the generations for the hour of jihad and conflict, which is not far off. The leaders of the Zionists said they are expecting a coming war. But I say you can even be certain of it, for the Prophet (PBUH) told us, "Fight against the Jews until a Jew will hide behind the rocks and the trees, and the rocks and the trees will say, 'O slave of Allah, o Muslim, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him'." 
Clip #2: It is incumbent, therefore, on the Ummah to unite its ranks, and prepare for that day of which (the Prophet) (PBUH) informed us when he said, "The hour will not come until the Muslims will fight against the Jews until the rocks and the trees will say, 'O Muslim, o slave of Allah, this is a Jew behind me, kill him'."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Egyptian Parliamentary Candidate: Jizya Is Only Half a Dinar, and It's Taken from the Rich Christians

This is from the salafi Nour Party, which apparently will be forming part of the majority coalition in the new Egyptian parliament. The votes haven't even all been counted yet, and already they're talking about implementing Islamic law to discriminate against Christians. This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody, as the candidate himself expresses below--it's not like these guys just "fell from the sky." We know who they are, and all along both the salafis and the Brotherhood have been very clear on the fact that they want Islamic law. Those of us with our eyes open know what that means--an assault on individual liberty, institutionalized discrimination against Christians, Jews, and women, and hostility and war against all non-Muslim countries. And yet the Obama administration and far too many Republicans tell us that this is 'progress.' Yeah, the same kind of 'progress' we saw when the Palestinians voted Hamas into power.

Translated from elfagr.com, 3 Dec 2011:
Candidate for the Salafi Nour Party in Assiut: Jizya Is Only Half a Dinar, and It's Taken from the Rich Christians 
Muhammad Kamal, elfagr.com 
A candidate for the salafi Nour Party, Ahmad 'Umran, expressed his surprise at being asked, "Who are you, and what is your role in politics?" He responded by saying, "They act as if we just fell from the sky." 
He added, "The Copts should not forget that we were the ones who freed them from the hands of the Romans, and that jizya is only half a dinar, which is taken from the rich and given to their poor." This came during the Friday sermon at the Mosque of the Court in the city center of Abnub. 
'Umran stated that they are planning to take their future in their own hands, and put into practice the Islamic Shari'ah. They believe that they must implement it gradually. 'Umran wonders at Egyptian law, saying:  "The law which governs us in our Muslim country comes in three sections--first, statutory law, then customary law, and then the Shari'ah. So the Shari'ah comes in the last of the three sections."