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Dr. Gamal Abdul Salam: An interview with a newly released detainee for Ikhwanweb
Believing that his profession would serve as a relief for thousands of people, he decided to work as doctor, however, it brought him many troubles and adversaries since he was one of the working figures in human aids at the Doctors’ syndicate in Egypt which offered many services to many ruined areas. Dr. Gamal Abdul Salam was released recently after he spent his term for four months behind the
Monday, June 25,2007 00:00
by Asmaa Shehata, Ikhwanweb

Believing that his profession would serve as a relief for thousands of people, he decided to work as doctor, however, it brought him many troubles and adversaries since he was one of the working figures in human aids at the Doctors’ syndicate in Egypt which offered many services to many ruined areas. Dr. Gamal Abdul Salam was released recently after he spent his term for four months behind the bars where he was accused of the lame charge of being affiliate to outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. He was born in Sayida Zeinab, married and has two sons and daughter he also has a twin grandsons, he is a doctor of internal diseases, he worked as a head for the committee of relief and emergency at the Union of Arab Doctors.

Ikhwanweb interviewed him:
Dr. Gamal Abdul Salam


The Egyptian regime has to work for reconciliation with all different currents and all political powers
At the beginning, how were  you arrested? And what happened exactly?

I was detained on Thursday 15th February where I was in duty at Al-Khalifa hospital. At 1:30 AM  Officers from state security broke into my home, inspected my house and asked my family where I am now, they told them that I am at the hospital but I would like to say that they were really polite and they opened the drawers quickly, they did not violate etiquette when inspecting my house they even took permission before entering my bedroom after my wife left the room and took her veil, actually we did not see any violations.
In that day I was sent to Darb Ahmar Police station  where the officer started an investigation with me lasted for 8 hours for three times, in each time he was discussing with me the MB ideologies and beliefs. I felt his sympathy and I felt that he wanted to release me. After calling the general attorney for the Prosecution of South Cairo, he decided to prison me for 15 days. Then I was transferred to Al-Mahkoum Prison in Tura to be with criminals, and all the people detained there was sent to the same jail.

What was the charge?

The charges were affiliation to outlawed MB, attempting to exploit the economic and political status of Egypt to propagate for the ideas of MB and attempting to stir sectarian seditions among the people.

How did you face all these charges?

Praise be to Allah, my wife and children made a very good profile for all my works and sent it to the attorney Mukhtar Nuh who defended me and denied all the charges against me for attempting to assault the our fellow Copts. They collected all my photos with Bishop Bisant in many ceremonies that we held with our fellow Copts, I had so many photos from ceremonies where we have  suggested to held since 1993. Most of these ceremonies was attended by a representative for Pope Shnouda since 1993 up till now. I have always good ties with Fellow Copts and I explained to the prosecution that I as a Muslim follow the teachings of our Prophet Muhammd Peace be upon him where he urged us to treat fellow Christians in Egypt kindly. We abide by this will which was stated in the Holy Qur’an in Surat Mumtahanah that calls upon us to treat those who differ with us in creed with wisdom and kindness. All of these evidences persuaded the officer. Concerning charging me with exploiting the deteriorating political and social status of Egypt in order to propagate for MB ideologies. I was able to prove the opposite of that, they asked me about the signboards that I used to hold in all relief missions I told them that these signboards carry one message “A gift from the Egyptian people to our….fellows” whether our fellows were from Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestinian occupied territories or Tsunami or other places, this proves that I did not exploit conditions in Egypt.
The Court decreed your acquittal several times…

how did you receive these news and what was your impression for executing the decisions after four months behind the bars?

I knew that the first decree was a faked one and that the state never respects the decrees of judiciary. When my wife heard the sentence she was so much excited while I was behind the bars, I told her that if I were to be released I will have a trip with you and the our sons and If I am not to be released then be patient and you must be aware that the government never respect laws, I was not optimistic for executing laws.

How was your day behind the bars?

My day starts before dawn prayers for an hour or two according to conditions, we performed the night prayers, then perform  witr prayer after that we get ready for Dawn prayers, then we beseech Allah through saying the Azkar    until the time for forenoon prayers starts, then we have our breakfast. After that cells open and we go and visit each other, go jogging until 2:00 pm then we go again to our cells to have lunch. we used to sit with each other spending our time in debates and lessons especially arguing about Surat Yossif in the Holy Qur’an which gave us too much strength and resilience. We used to make parties in jail where we sing, or exchange jokes and we each of us can tell what did he do if he had a visit after that we have a free time to do whatever we want.

How do interpret the incessant clash between the regime and Muslim Brotherhood?

The regime only looks for short term never considers long one, it does not look to the changing words and to the other Islamic movements branched out of MB  like Hamas, MB in Jordan, Tagamuu Islah Party in Yemen and other movements. These movements either assume power or participate in governments like in Turkey, while here it treats us as if we are the Bete-noir who panics the Egyptian government although we offer an uncorrupt alternative. Can you tell me how many problems the ruling party succeeded in solving it in course of time like the problems of traffic, water, drainage, housing even we have a moral crisis, the ruling party did not solve any.

Through our work in trade unions, we offered simplified solutions for these crises, we had honorable figures and honest people from MB worked in trade unions they never stole or exploit funds of trade unions. We have never heard news about some one fro MB who stole or took bribery. We have offered pure and honest Islamic solutions and figures. In my own personal views, I  think that this crisis stems from the government’s skepticism against  any one conducts charity deeds even if it were a political action. We hope that the government uses reason and to try to show some patriotism for this group and try to think in these cultures Muslim Youth who loves Egypt and bear no grudge against any one although they spend many years behind the bars. We are ready to sacrifice any thing for the sake of home, it is incrediable to always blame MB for the trials of assassinating Al-Nuqrashi Pasha and Al-Khazindar, not all MB members are alike, beside these accidents were from long time. People should look to the achievements of MB inside home especially in Trade Unions since the 1980s, and how much people near respect towards MB and how Muslims and Christians receive us after release and we wait for no reward.
In Egypt, most MB are scholars in different domains, and instead of detaining them in jails, the government had rather to make good use of them and their experiences in order to promote development in Egypt.

What was the most thing that affect you in detainment?

The most thing that affected me was the view of young kids who were waiting for their fathers  and as soon as they see them , they run into them to exchange hugs. I was about to cry when I see them and see their longing for their fathers who want them to return home, this affected me so much.

What would you like to say to the ruling regime in Egypt?

I tell them you have to open a new page with all different currents and not only MB because I saw in jail people from different currents who spent tens of years . I met one of the prisoners who spent 16 years in jail in the case of Jama’at Islamiyah  where he left his son who was four years at that time, his son is now in jail accused of drug trafficking because he did not find any one to bring him up, so he deviated. When I went to visit the son and deliver him a  message from his father, the son was so much affected after seeing his father who did see from years. I say the ruling regime like the greatest Imam Abdul Halim Mahmoud said “Intellect can not be faced but through intellect” so MB ideologies as well as Salafi Jihadists can not be confronted save thjrough intellect not though jails.

Were their any revisions that took place in the detainment for your affiliation to the group?

There were many revisions that took place whether in religious affairs or worldly ones and even revisions in our decisions to join MB, so we wondered ; is joining MB was an error or a good thing, and al revisions resulted in our complete persuasion that if years are to go back we would have never chose another way but that.

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